Mental Illness and Failure

 

I read over this, continued on, then stopped as the end of the quote made it through my “scanning” mentality and into my freaking rib cage, where it proceeded to rattle around and saunter on into my soul with a glass of chocolate milk, a hatchet, and a killer smile painted red (from the blood of my demons, not lipstick).

 

“Your mental illness is not a personal failure.”

NOT

A

PERSONAL

FAILURE

 

…Yeah… Just let that beauty sink in.

Seriously. Take a minute.

 

I don’t think a sentence has ever given me such a pause.

If I get caught in a hurricane, a volcano’s explosive raining lava (like in the movies), and an earth cracking earthquake – all at once – I will not be as shooketh.

And I do not mean to cheapen the gravity of this truth with goofy word-smithery. But this is who I am. And if we’re on the subject of truth, how can I mute my strangeness while trying to communicate the uncommunicable of HOW THIS QUOTE HIT ME IN THE HEAD WITH A COYOTE AND ROADRUNNER SIZED ANVIL and then let me fall down the rabbit hole, forever?

The answer… I cannot.

 

My issues, they are not a personal failure.

This never occurred to me before.

Feeling ashamed to tell the truth, that ‘no’, I’m still not doing okay. I am still struggling. I am still broken and scarring and trying as hard as I can to dig myself out of a hole, only to find that I’m standing in the middle of a desert with a body bag and a knife.

…. This isn’t me failing.

This is me telling the truth.

Trying as hard as I can.

And feeling shame when I can’t just “pull myself up by the bootstraps” and become a mentally stable person.

 

Someone told me I remind them of Eeyore in the mornings when she picks me up for work. She didn’t say it maliciously. She was smiling. She is okay with who I am.

Why can’t I be?

Why do I see myself as a failure because I am not “whole” like other people?

Why do I feel the need to “get over” mental illness the way that people get over a cold?

I don’t have any outward symptoms. Any tell-tale signs of a physical illness. And unlike a sinus infection or bronchitis, I cannot “get over” mental illness and expect God to wipe me clean of the challenge He gave me.

Who knows if it’s a lifelong challenge? I might wake up in three years from now and no longer struggle with mental illness. I’m a believer in miracles. But I’m also a believer in God (or whatever/whoever your Higher Power is) giving us trials. And some of those trials are lifelong.

 

People don’t seem to understand this.

They expect us, those with mental illness, to simply chipper up. To get better and stay better forever. That because we had a good day, a good week, a good month, that we’re “cured” and we won’t struggle with this in the future.

A bad day, a bad week, a bad month, these things aren’t signs of failure or doing worse. They’re symptoms of mental illness.

And guess what?

We understand.

Sure, some of us use it as an excuse to do nothing, to expect nothing of ourselves, and to do nothing but wallow in the pain and expect everyone to disfigure their faces in sorrow and pity and miserate with us. But there are people like that in every walk of life, whether mentally ill or not.

Those people are a personality type. Much different from a passing emotion or coping mechanism or grieving stage. They’re different from the days we need to sit in our pain and feel it. How we need to define how we’ve been victimized before we can let go of being a victim. Or sit, paralyzed by anguish, fear, and stunned apathy at how unaware we were of how hard things would get. Or those days where we need to look at what we’ve been through, what we’re still hurting through, and sit there and hurt in it. Those move, they’re fluid. Mental illness is fluid. People who plant themselves firmly in misery and soak in it permanently, without trying to solve any puzzles in their lives… that’s not mental illness.

 

“Your mental illness is not a personal failure.”

I cannot put into words what this means for me. To me.

I can do everything right. Make all the right decisions. Get into all the healthy situations, atmospheres, in with all the right therapists and doctors and group therapies. But that sometimes doesn’t affect where my level of mental illness is that day.

I cannot keep myself from ever getting a cold by eating healthy, exercising, and taking healthy herbs and micronutrients.

Just as I cannot keep myself from having the unpredictable and uncontrollable symptoms of a mental illness by doing everything to keep my mental, emotional, and spiritual self as healthy as humanly possible.

Only God can heal me of mental illness permanently. And I am not God.

I can only do so much.

And still, I can get a cold.

That doesn’t mean I’ve personally failed.

 

And somehow, I feel shedding the tears that welled up when I read that sentence, is the only form of communication that can describe, paint, encapsulate all that I feel inside when I read it.

I cannot explain it to you.

You must feel it. You must know it.

We must believe that having a mental illness does not measure if we are a successful human being or not. Our challenges do not define us. What we do about them, how we do it, all those details… those are what define us.

 

“Your mental illness is not a personal failure.”

 

 

For more quotes on mental illness, check out this page, which is where I scrolled upon this paradigm re-shaper.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

One response to “Mental Illness and Failure

  1. Hey, hope you are doing well.

    I invite you to read a post of mine where I am gathering warriors facing mental health challenges 1st hand to educate people, to raise awareness and acceptance.

    I need help from you in fighting stigma.

    Here is the link to post..
    https://stoneronarollercoaster.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/mental-health-awareness/

    Your participation can make a huge difference in life of someone.

    Thank you 🙂

Speak and be heard...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s