At the end of April I realized May would be Mental Health Month. I looked forward to seeing loving energy and attention being brought to those of us who struggle. Inside, my heart leapt. It wanted to contribute. It dawned on me that I could use my words and be vulnerable about things I deal with. I hesitated a bit because frankly that is scary and I would have to be brave.
Here are the first ten of my posts. Part two is here. The rest will come later. You can click the title of each one to see where I posted it originally on Facebook, and the comments it got there.
may is mental health awareness month..
more mind full
more heart full
less hurt full
Not sure how many of you have noticed, but I have not been posting much lately. When I am not strong I have few words and little faith. I withdraw because I feel no one cares about those more vulnerable. I work hard to stay strong but am dealing with my own demons and self care must come first at such times.
I ask those who have minds, energy, and care to step up to the mark, because frankly those who are ill are not enough to help those who are ill ~ the drowning rescuing the drowning, the blind leading the blind. Your compassion counts. Make room. Take time.
silence stigma suicide
3 little words
It’s remarkable when you have friends and a support team that circles in to help you be safe. Mental illness is not fun and games and is certainly not a choice. The love exchanged is beyond comprehension..
I’m 55 and still alive.
I am proof one can suffer suicidal thinking for a lifetime and not only survive but thrive. My devoted and tenacious friends are the most successful antidote daily inviting me back from that edge, besides the countless souls who have dealt / deal me kindness. They are my suicide interrupters. You too can make that difference.
Let’s do this..
Rarely do those without illness want to hear of chronic illness struggles. I find that we only want victories, happy endings, and positivity. This Mental Health Month of May has given me permission and courage to go ahead and share the insides of my lived experience of illness. My hope is to encourage insight and care. I will post regularly through the month. Then I will get back to fluff, flowers, and animal videos which are more acceptable.
When one is invisibly ill nothing shows on the outside. On the inside, however, there is much going on. There is an unending queue of changing symptoms. There is confusion about who one is, a feeling of being out of one's mind with skin crawling, anxiety, terror even. And on top of all this, stigma makes us have to fake it, to pretend to be someone else in order to make others comfortable. And so we hide.
The energy required for the facade only makes us sicker and doesn’t yield the connection we long for. Isn’t it about time to drop judgement and let the light of honesty and kindness in? Let’s be real..
Sitting here on this gray day I’m going through all the business cards I’ve gathered over the last twenty years. I cannot tell you how many dedicated and hopeful practitioners dared to work with me. So much money. So much time. So much effort. All spent.
My greatest healing has been acceptance. My body speaks to me in pain, fatigue, and mood. Acceptance of that allows me to move through life honestly, gracefully, messily. This is my truth.
Please stop promising me a rose garden.
That being said I have an amazing massage therapist and outstanding chiropractor that patiently and wisely keep putting me back together again as I continually fall apart.
It’s a process. It’s called life.
The psychiatrist I worked with for over ten years was old school. He believed in minimal drugs and talk therapy. Even though I am diagnosed as bipolar he always wrote mood instability on all the paperwork. He did not believe in labels. He did not believe in the fancy expensive drugs. He believed in people and their ability, when given proper care and connection, to move toward balance. I never felt like a patient. I felt like a human. I believe there is much wisdom here.
There are those who envy me. They look at my life and think I'm on easy street. I have a lovely apartment in a lovely city. I have extraordinary close devoted friends.
People think I’m strong. People think I’m lucky. People think I have an interesting story. “You should write a book.” I get that a lot.
The road taken to get where I finally have support was a very long one. It included rape at 15. It included a 7 year physically and mentally abusive marriage. It included a sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit. I’ll stop there. There was much more.
These things are forgiven. I am not ashamed. I count them not only as beautiful scars but as a measure of my character and resilience. I don’t however take them into my present. What happened then happened then. What happens now happens now. And yes I am vigilant to who and what comes into my life.
These days I rest - a lot. I twist in pain - a lot. My mind takes me on benders - a lot.. There are those who envy me.. But would they trade their life for mine?