Category Archives: Stream of Consciousness

The Monster

“Are you sure?”

*slams head into desk*

*rolls eyes*

*dramatic sigh*

Is anyone, ever, one-hundred- percent certain?

Ever?!

skull-690246_1920

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How to Talk to Your Mentally Ill Friend

 

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

 

A person who is missing a limb can pray to God for help all day and night long. I’m pretty certain God (insert your Higher Power here, if not God) isn’t going to grow their limb back. We aren’t lizards. Not how it works.

Mental illness challenges are much the same. Not saying they’re the same as having your arms blown off, but you get me.

 

I get told to pray to God and He will take away my sadness.

One – depression and sadness are NOT the same thing.

Two – God gives us challenges on purpose. So we can figure out how to live with them in the way He wants us to. As well as help others who suffer from the same challenges. These things help us grow, challenge ourselves, rise to the occasion. Pretending like being bipolar is something I can just pray away is an insult to God and to myself. He has trusted me to handle this.

Perhaps it will go away. That happens.

Or perhaps it will be more like getting a knee injury. Occasionally, that knee will act up and I’ll have to deal with it.

There is no one way that mental health challenges work. Different person, different life experiences with mental illness.

But none of us can simply get up, decide to no longer have mental illness issues, and *poof* be healthy. Doesn’t work that way.

A cancer patient doesn’t get the diagnosis, decide to stop having it, and *poof* no more cancer. Uh-uh. They have to fight it. Give it everything they’ve got.

Sometimes the disease kills them.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it goes into remission and comes back, only to go into remission once again.

 

If you aren’t sure how to approach or talk to someone with mental health challenges, consider how you’d talk to a friend who has fibromyalgia or is in the process of going blind.

Mental illness isn’t a choice.

 

 

Yes, making good choices can alleviate it or even get rid of it. But that’s a process. And is true of all illnesses. Get diabetes or cancer, you’re going to have to change what you’re doing, eating, etc. Get panic disorder and you’re going to have to do the same.

We can all make good choices.

That includes aiming for understanding, empathy, kindness, compassion. Instead of telling someone with devastating depression or a mood disorder or any host of other mental illnesses, to simply “knock it off”, “get over it”, “choose to be happy,” “pray and trust God to take it away”, etc.

Perhaps your Higher Power will take it away. Just as He might take away cancer. But that’s not going to happen without the person trying, working for it, making changes, and suffering through a lot of pain that they didn’t choose to have.

 

We can be happy and depressed at the same time. Because happiness is the opposite of sadness. Not depression. Depression is an illness.

You wouldn’t tell someone to just knock it off and quit sneezing when they have a cold, would you?

 

SO IF YOU’RE UNCERTAIN whether or not to say something to someone who struggles with mental health issues (anxiety, depression, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, etc.) a pretty good guideline is:

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

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Where Is Your Head?

 

Where do you choose to put your head?

What do you choose to put in your head?

 

What goes on in our heads makes A HUGE difference.

What goes on in our heads can change something amazing and wonderful and beautiful into something boring, stupid, horrible, ugly, and painful.

What goes on in our heads can bring something ugly up to something possibly gorgeous.

 

 

We don’t know everything.

We don’t know what everyone is thinking, wanting, needing. We don’t know what everyone else has been through.

Half the time we don’t even know OURSELVES. What we want. What we need. What needs we’re getting met in unhealthy ways. What dreams and hopes we’ve buried alive.

 

We can program ourselves. Our minds.

We can’t control what emotions zing into our heads and bodies and hearts.

We CAN control what we feel. About emotions, about others, about situations, about ourselves.

Let me repeat that one again.

WE CAN CONTROL WHAT WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELVES.

 

Emotions are signals FROM OURSELVES being sent TO OURSELVES.

We need to look at what our emotions are telling us.

Are we angry because we need to say no? Because our ‘no’ was ignored? Because we need to draw some lines in the sand and set some hard boundaries? Because we’ve got loads of suppressed emotions we’ve not dealt with, tried to ignore? There are loads of reasons.

 

We most likely already know what the emotion is trying to tell us. We know and we ignore it because we don’t want to feel it. We don’t want to slide up beside Reality and be like, “hey, what’s up dude?”

Oh no, we’d rather hide from Reality inside the nastiest sewer and peek out to see if Reality can see us. Only, eventually, we’ve stopped even realizing we’re in a sewer. While we in the bottom of the sewer drowning and hating life.

Well, gee. GET OUT OF THE SEWER AND DEAL WITH REALITY.

 

Now, we all get their in our own time. But sometimes we stay in that sewer of our own making for far too long.

Why?

Most often, to avoid pain.

Guess what.

Life comes with pain.

If you feel it, it goes away pretty fast. If you try to ignore it, you feel it every single freaking day and pretend you don’t. Until it gets so bad you have to deal with it or die for one reason or another. Let’s not forget stress really can kill a human being.

Let’s not get their, k?

And if you are there, don’t forget you can back away from the edge of the cliff at any moment. Your feet, your brain, your body. Your decision to make.

 

What most people do with emotions is avoid them.

If we don’t feel anything, we’re going to end up exploding eventually. We’re going to go numb, which is a next level pain, and THEN we will end up exploding, but we’ll get there eventually. Or you know, die.

Or we try to just keep feeling our emotions over and over again as if that’s going to do something.

Sometimes we really just need to get over it. Or reframe it. Or make a decision to not know what we’re doing in life and just move forward in a healthy direction we want to go in. We need to do something new. Make a different decision. Ask for help from a safe, trustworthy source that knows what they’re talking about.

 

What we almost always have control over is what goes on in our mind. I’ve got a bipolar mood disorder, intense bipolar anxiety, and depression. Along with a host of physical medical conditions. Like a digestive disease that causes me to need a prenatal vitamin because my body literally will not accept the food with the nutrients it needs. So I eat a limited amount and work with what I’ve got. What are most social settings revolved around? Food. I’m an emotional eater. I eat something my body doesn’t want and I’m in Hell for a week at the very least, not to mention I then get stuck in negative thought loops about how stupid I am for doing what I knew would hurt me. Again. So guess what Daphne doesn’t do a lot? Attend social gatherings.

Life is bloody hard. It’s hard for all of us. We ALL have something or multiple somethings that CHALLENGE US. But we can either see these things as problems or puzzles. It’s either the end of the world again or a challenge.

This can be hard when you grow up brainwashed into believing that the world was ending every moment of every day. I understand. It takes A LOT to change the way our brain is wired. Especially if we’ve been abused in such a way that we didn’t know we were being abused/brainwashed.

But we can change ourselves.

It takes time. But it happens. Baby steps.

We can assume responsibility for what is going on in our own mind, for what we do, for how we respond or react to ourselves, our issues, other people, situations, etc.

We cannot control others. But WE CAN CONTROL OURSELVES. We are responsible for our feelings. Our words. Our actions. Our decisions.

 

 

 

Today I went into exercising without having a routine pinned down. Which was irresponsible of me because I know that irks me. I like to know what I’m doing, how many reps of each, and what muscles I’m targeting. I like this because then I can hit it hard and go, go, go (with healthy resting periods of course) and I really feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to.

Instead, I ended up agonizing over what I’d do next, how many I needed to do, whether or not that would be too much since I’d just used that muscle group pretty heavily yesterday with weights, etc.

And I got pissed. Frustrated. There’s a physical and emotional rage that just hits me and sticks into my pores with grappling hooks made of steel and stubbornness.

So I went for a jog.

The entire jog I was just negative in my head. That rage just building and building until the jog was no longer satisfying.

I got almost all the way home and realized what I’d done.

First, I’d done something I KNEW would upset me.

Then, I’d gotten stuck in negative thought loops and made it worse.

I started attempting positive self-talk. And guess what? I felt better. I came home feeling great. I did some yoga, thinking positively. I meditated for like three minutes (which is better than zero minutes and it was my first day back to it in months).

I am by no means saying I am a pro or even good at positive self-talk. And I can’t even say that I always believe it. But I’m trying. And I believe that if I want to change my beliefs and what I believe I’m worth and deserving of… I believe that if I want to achieve a quality of life I can enjoy… then I need to change the way I think. I need to change my decisions about how I feel about my emotions. I need to change the stories I tell myself, about myself and others.

I truly believe that if I can rewire my brain with positive thoughts, I’ll live a positive life.

I mean, why not? Negative thoughts have given me a miserable life.

 

What goes on in our head is paramount to the quality of life we live.

 

 

We laugh about positive affirmations. We get snarky, call it ‘woo-woo’ or ‘new-agey’ or whatever else.

But let me ask all of us this question…

How did we get miserable?

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. NEGATIVE FOCUSES. NEGATIVE FRAMING. NEGATIVE FEARS ABOUT THE FUTURE. NEGATIVE MEMORIES REPLAYING OVER AND OVER AGAIN, BRINGING UP THAT INSTANT NEGATIVE AND DISGUSTING EMOTIONAL FEELING ATTACHED TO IT.

We tell ourselves we’re ugly, fat, stupid, not good enough, too skinny, too loud, too quiet, too pale, too slow, incapable, not capable of doing what others can do, yada, yada, yada.

BLECH.

We feed ourselves negativity.

So we feel terrible.

Shocking. Really. *heavy on the sarcasm there*

 

We can reprogram our minds. I love what Kristen Lamb says.

“The mind cannot tell the difference between truth and lie. What we tell it, it simply accepts and obeys.”

WE CAN UNDO NEGATIVE BRAINWASHING.

And we can brainwash ourselves.

Into having a positive mind.

 

it

makes

all

the

difference

 

I promise.

 

And while we’re at it, smile. Physically. I know it’s goofy but just do it.

Get up. Move. Do some squats. Do some pushups. Even if you think you stuck at physical fitness stuff, do it. Do jumping jacks.

It’s pretty hard to be full-blown miserable when your body is in a motion that reminds it of joy, sex, etc. When we exercise we release endorphins, we FEEL better almost instantly. Try it. We no longer feel stuck or stagnant or trapped. Because we’re moving.

 

Try other healthy stuff.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

If we really WANT to feel better, live a different life – we will figure out a way to do it.

That doesn’t mean we don’t need help. Let me be real with you.

I DON’T CARE WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU ARE, WHAT YOU BELIEVE, HOW YOU IDENTIFY, WHAT YOU WANT —– WE *all* NEED HELP.

From the right people. The right support groups, therapists, books, videos, etc.

Never feel ashamed for needing help. We need each other.

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The Hollow Hearted Society

Weakness is masquerading as strength, walking among us with flashy muscles and a hollow heart.

What’s worse, is it rubs our noses in it.

What’s worse,

is some stay silent.

 

 

Weakness has slithered into our

Subconscious and rewired our sight

It has ripped from the corpses

Of its victims

And fashioned a strong looking Giant

It whispers

And we don’t turn away

We listen

We don’t fight back.

Is that why some join in?

For the lack of having to care

Exerting energy, compassion

The possibility of vulnerabilty

is it really

that terrifying

the a person would prefer

to burn another alive

so they never

have to learn what

a paper cut feels like?

 

Those who cry from the loss of a loved one

Or a life they thought was real

But found to be lies stitched together by the soul of one who

Pretends to have no heartbeat

-Them

They are eaten alive

By this instant gratifying, short lived pleasure dripping mask

This charade

That somehow

They are weak.

 

We are told the ones who are weak

Are those who fall down

More than once

And sometimes don’t tell

A soul

That theirs is slowly breaking down

And they don’t know what to do

 

We are told the weak ones

Are those who

Wake every day

With the knowledge

That their demons are still

Inside their blood, their skull,

In the marrow of their bones

And they have to fight them off

Again

and Again

And Evermore

Or cede one moment and

Never return to breathe

 

Those who feel

I mean Really Feel

And live like it all matters

Those who find life

Sacred

Worth fight for

Worth spilling would-be murderous blood

Worth dying for

Those who hurt

When another hurts

When a human is ripped away

From another soul

When a dog is

Tortured

A cat set on fire behind that building

Those who sob at home

When they see the pain

On the children’s faces

On tv

Those who ache

Because they can do nothing

For their love

Wrongly Accused

Wrongly Hated

Wrongly Treated

Battered and broken and treated

Like so much trash

Those who want life

But don’t know how to fight

 

 

Those who cry

Who hurt

Rage in their heart

Wish for some

Magical power

To make it all better

 

We are told that these people are the weak ones.

 

That the people who

Shoot for fun

Who hurt because they can

Rape like its a rite of passage

Lie to get what they want

Pretend they feel nothing

When inside

They are bleeding from every cell

That feeds into their

Battered heart

Hardly beating within a hollow

Cage made of bones and paper scraps

The people who give up on

Those who aren’t strong “like them”

The people who ressent those who

Hurt

Who can’t get back up right away

Like they pretend to

Who have to fight the same battle every day

Like they don’t bother to

Who keep getting hit with the same car

In their living room

Where there are no streets

No reason for someone

To drive through their home

And attack

Because they think it is fun

Because it feels good to hurt another

Because they no longer truly feel

Anything

But blood lust

And arrogance

An urge to strike

To force down

To hold mouths shut

and remove another’s power

 

We are told that these people are the strong ones.

Because they pretend they don’t feel

Until they don’t

Because they take what they want

By erasing another’s life

 

We are told that the people who are weak

Are the ones

Asking for help.

What scares me most, is when we believe their lies.

When we don’t stand up

We don’t cry

For people to see

We don’t step up to and beside those

Who have echoed what we know is truth

And speak truth with them

Even thought it is terror in our blood

And our bodies shake

And our hearts pound

But that’s the difference

We let the fear flow through us

as we stand for what we know

is hard

but right

What scares me is when

We don’t grab the hand

Of those who can’t find the words

Or the sense or the hope

And are seeking an anchor

A lighthouse

In another soul

So theirs doesn’t

Burn out

 

Like Gandhi once said,

“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”

 

We are all strong and we are all weak. Simply in different places and at different times.

To pretend apathy, hate, the cold heart… is strong, is to end any chance we have at a life worth living. At a world we can attempt to call humane. To pretend we are not who we are, is to put the gun in our own mouths, pull the trigger, and keep walking around, like we are somehow real.

 

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good luck putting a title on this one

do you ever get to the point where you’re ready for a nap – from life?

just curl up and sleep for days

or maybe pause time every day for four hours and sleep

then do something for fun

something you enjoy

do something ONLY for the purpose of enjoyment and fun

and then start life up again

go back to the responsibilities, the challenges

 

I feel like i’m there again

how?

because I wore myself out

again

I can’t even be bothered to capitalize the beginnings of my sentences. check that out! that’s a tired writer. and I didn’t even put periods on any of those ones up there.

 

life is a lot more than tiring, exhausting, responsibilities, and challenges

but we don’t get to see that if all we do is wear ourselves out

and then wonder

why we’re so dead outside and in

 

how do I get here?

again and again and again and again

it’s like i’m a record that NEVER got old enough to skip. just keeps turning and turning, playing the same songs on repeat

 

I know how I get here

I DON’T do anything for fun. just for the enjoyment.

those things aren’t really JUST for enjoyment. they are absolutely purposeful. they’re what keep us alive. really alive. not just faking it with our zombie walk and plastic, forced smiles.

enjoyment. fun. these things are the purpose of life

and I keep missing them

in the hustle, the bustle, and the bloody rat race to make enough money to survive

in the false belief that if I don’t __________ then i’m not a “real adult”

ha!

how ridiculous

we make these rules up and then beat ourselves with them

and we mock people who self-flagellate! we’re doing the same thing – only in a myriad of different ways and for a thousand bucketfuls of different reasons excuses

 

today what would I like to do?

right now?

this very moment?

i’d love to go for a run with some music and no one to see

read a book

get lost in mythology

walk my dog

i’d love to work on my novel – which I have not given much commitment since it isn’t seen as a “real job” because it doesn’t make me money right this second and I’m not making myself or my calling a priority

funny

that’s come up a few times in the past few weeks

i’m working with this woman who seems to be the feather tipping my scales of self-realization

you know how you need like a gazillion people and situations telling you the same thing until you finally allow it to not only sink in, but to accept it as truth?

sometimes I think God is probably rubbing His temples, wondering how I ever got so fully brainwashed and stuck there even though He’s sent countless people and occurrences my way to get my head straightened out

 

writing isn’t just something I like doing

I am good at writing (it’s hard for me to type that)

writing is my calling in life. it’s my purpose. i was made to be a writer. i am a writer.  God crafted me to write stories.

and i’m suffocating

myself

by not writing

seriously, if I didn’t blog here, on my new blog, or write in a journal, or save pins on Pinterest of fantastical creatures and myths… i’d probably be in a mental institution for real

i’m cutting myself off from myself

 

i’m in a constant state of moving, doing. i’m in a frenzy

basically dying

 

could it maybe be

that if i’d take time

make it a priority

make a commitment

to myself

to  use my time

every week

toward me

and research

write

run

lift weights

brush, walk, and love my dog

get lost in a story

research fun stuff and blog on it

…that i’d not get to this point

of utter exhaustion

sure, i’d still probably

have issues

 

but perhaps

they wouldn’t hurt

so badly

 

If i sought out

creativity

within me

if i tried

something new

that i’d remember how to breathe?

 

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I Dreamt I was Loki

It’s true.

I had a dream I was Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

Don’t worry, it’s not the first time that I’ve dreamt I was a dude. The first time that happened, I was Will Smith.

Which is weird, considering I like being a chick.

*shrug*

Perhaps it’s a writerly thing.

 

Anywho… back to me being Loki.

*wiggles eyebrows*

 

 

The entire human species was on a living ship in the depths of the ocean. I say ship and not submarine because somehow it was a bloody ship and we weren’t covered in water even though we were submerged in it.

It’s a dream. Run with me here.

Something was causing a huge hole in the bottom of the ship, which was allowing water to actually get into it. Or onto it. Whatever. Hole in the bottom – death by drowning looming on the human race.

Loki (me) was trying to help Captain America and Thor fix the issue. In the beginning of the dream Loki was a bad guy but by this point he (me) is an anti-hero. So, a good guy. Trying to save all the people.

Glad you’re all caught up. Moving on.

Then my grandma is in the dream, and she’s in one of the bottom levels of the ship (it has loads of levels, because you know, entire population of world stuffed in there) and her dog (she doesn’t have one in real life) is dying. She was above her sleeping area in another level at the time of the hole being created and escaped with a lot of others.

She called me (Loki) to save her dying dog. (I think he was dying of old age.)

Loki gets to the dog but then my grandma, still on the phone (because apparently cell reception in the middle of the ocean in a ship that doesn’t let in water while being fully submerged, is great!) decides she doesn’t want me to risk my life by trying to get her dog, since her dog is dying soon anyway. I, Loki, was like, just because your sweet little fluff-ball of a dog is going to die, doesn’t mean his remaining life doesn’t matter. And he shouldn’t die alone. So Loki saves the dog.

Then the dream does dream like stuff and skips ahead. I’m still Loki but now we know that the hole in the huge ship was caused by The Villain of this dream – and now we know who that is.

Captain America and Thor try to fight off the Villain in an end-of-the-movie-like-showdown.

Human lives hanging in the balance. *drama*

 

 

Captain America and Thor are fighting against the Villain and they get thrown to the ground in dramatic movie fashion after hitting each other really hard.

*rolls eyes* This is in my subconscious, don’t forget.

Then the Villain isn’t the Villain anymore.

The Villain is Loki, lying there all beat up and disillusioned.

It becomes apparent to me (in the way dreams just let you “suddenly know” things because it’s in your own bloody head) that Loki and the Villain share the same body. Two different beings, one body. And Loki didn’t know this until just now. Neither did anyone else.

Captain America looks at Thor. “Two beings in one body. That’s a problem.”

Or something like that. It sounded cooler in my dream.

They both look at Loki, who says, “You know the only way to kill him is to kill me.”

And you know what the sad thing is?

Captain America and Thor don’t even try to figure something out. They just nod at one another, then Loki, and walk forward with the intent to kill him. And Loki just sits there.

Then I woke up.

 

You know what the actual sad part of this is?

I realized I’m not just Loki in this dream. I’m Captain America and Thor too.

Because I am always the one to give up on me. I never stand up for myself or my dreams. I never say, “wait, we can figure this out so I can live too”. I never try to be my own friend or protector. Never try to understand or help out or wait for.

I am always trying to pretend it is outside forces that keep me from writing or exercising or making the changes I want to make and becoming the person I dream of being.

But it’s not.

It’s me.

I’m pointing at Captain America and Thor – but it’s me, Loki.

Just sitting there. Knowing I will give up on myself and just waiting to die some more inside.

 

My being Loki was interesting to me.

Loki and the Villain in one body. That’s a whole can of worms for me. Yes, I’m my own worst enemy, but it goes further than that for me. Yes, I am bipolar and at odds with myself, and moody, but still. More to it.

But you’d have to understand my relationship with the character Loki before knowing all the meaning the dream holds for me.

I’ve liked Loki the Trickster long before the Marvel movies. I love mythology and tricksters just kinda do it for me. Plus Loki in the recent movies was unloved and treated poorly, then became evil and terrible as a coping mechanism. There’s a whole list of reasons Loki is relatable to me. (Not that I plan on becoming arrogant and murderous.)

I also particularly like Captain America because he always does the right thing, whether that means standing alone or not. No clue why Thor was in there. Not that I don’t like him. There are loads of heroes and versions and mythologies and let’s not get into that because it would be never ending. I just love superheroes and mythology.

 

 

I’m certain there are tons of interpretations behind this dream.

I figured if I wrote it out for all to see, I’d think about it more, instead of ignore it. Because ignoring myself is something I do FABULOUSLY.

But I’m hearing from many sources – including psychology sources – that dreams are a lot more our brain and a lot less wishy washy things to be ignored. So if my subconscious is trying to tell me something, I’m trying to listen. This week anyway.

 

Just so you know – I don’t think it comes across in this post – I actually really enjoyed the dream. And I woke up in a good mood. Its like a symbolic, mythological, superhero, metaphorical map of my subconscious.

 

What do you guys think my dream means?

Had any interesting dreams lately?

Obsessed with mythology?

 

(As for my grandma appearing in my dream, that’s personal.)

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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.

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