Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are tricky.  Those who have never suffered with one can never fully understand.  I'm not saying you can't love and support someone who suffers with one, (or maybe more than one) but you'll never fully know their battles.  You may wonder why I'm choosing to write this and without getting all melodramatic I'll explain briefly.  I was recently informed by my doctor that he believes that although my depression and anxiety were kick started by my post partum, he doesn't think they'll ever go away.  I'm showing too many signs of them becoming permanent.  

While this is discouraging, I'm determined to fight.  I'm a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend and now to my titles I get to add total nut case. =)  I refuse to let all those people down.  I am determined that this mess will not control my life, although it might try.  I will have ups and downs, but I will come back up! 

Those of us with mental illness are often thought of as being snobs, because we don't really want to talk to people.  And asking us to talk to NEW people?! that is 10 times harder.  We're thought of as being aloof and that we think ourselves better than others.  

This is not the case at all.  We struggle.  We have days where all we can do is get out of bed, get dressed and make it to where we are going.  Sometimes we can't even make it where we are going.  Our minds won't let us.  I know that sounds silly, but it's true. 

It often feels as though a huge weight has been put on the middle of your chest so that even the effort of breathing feels hard.  New situations, new people even new places are hard to handle.  Forget about NEW even places that we've been 1,000 times can feel daunting.  I can't really explain the actual feeling I get, but it's scary.  And the worst part?  Is that we know we shouldn't feel like that.  We know it's not normal, but we can not help it.  We can not control it.  It controls us.  It's almost like you can see yourself and you're willing yourself not to be this way, but it's futile.

And if we do happen to get where we're going and make it all the way through whatever it is we came there for, once we get home we are completely exhausted.  Socializing is work.  I love people, I really do.  And I have some people that I love so much it pains me to not see them.  But it's still work.  Let me see if I can explain this for those that have never experienced it...  After a few hours of being around people (and new people, no matter how much I like them are harder) I am so wiped out that I come home and spend at least 2 hours in bed.  I feel like I've run a marathon, I'm just not as sweaty ;).  It's not fair to my kids or the Hubs and I know that, but it's not optional.  IT'S NECESSARY.
The Hubs has gotten really good about reading my looks.  All I have to do is look at him and he'll say, "we need to go home, don't we?"  Have I told you I love that man?!  Then on the way home I cry and tell him I'm sorry.  He always tells me it's ok, but I hate it.  I hate it for him, I hate it for me, and I hate it for my kids.  I pray that they will never have to deal with this.

Those of us with mental illness feel broken.  Like we're Humpty Dumpty and no matter how much glue you use we'll never be normal.  

I just wanted to give you a little insight into the world some of us face.  I was not trying to depress anyone, or get sympathy for myself.  But please understand that sometimes people may seem snobbish or aloof, but they're really just having a hard time breathing right that minute.  Another day they may be just fine and would love to talk to you.  Give us more than one chance before writing us off.  We crazy people need love too ;).  

Hope you have a great day!
Ms. T 

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1 comment:

  1. Oh, my dear...you know I am your biggest supporter. I am so proud of you for being open about such a personal subject. I hid it for way too long, and hiding it never made it any better (in fact, I think it made it worse).
    I know that opening up is a very vulnerable place to put yourself, and you open yourself to the comments and opinions of others that may/may not have experience in dealing with your struggle. So, Here is my opinion on the subject:
    I believe that you and I both are fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe that God knew, before we were in our mother's wombs, the struggles that we would have. I believe that He can heal us, but may choose not too. I believe that prayer can help us cope with our struggles, but praying does not mean that our struggles will just disappear. I know that some people think that if we were better Christians, we could pray our way out of this (they have said this to our faces). I also know that they would not be so critical if our battle were a physical one, such as cancer or heart disease. I KNOW my God can take this away from me, and from you. But I do not know that it is His will that He heal us from our silent infirmity. I know that He has a reason for allowing us each to deal with the issues that we deal with. I do not regret my illness, because I know that God gave it to me, and I will be able to help others better than I would have without it.
    I know that you are a survivor. Each morning that you wake up, and kiss those babies you win another battle. And although it doesn't feel like it, the times that you cry and seek your solitude, you win another battle. You choose to seek for truth while fighting an illness in which your own mind lies to you. You rely on your Redeemer to provide you with joy, even when it seems there is no joy to be found. You continue to fight, even when those around you take the smallest things, (such as breathing) for granted.
    We are survivors. We are friends. We are sisters.

    I love you.