Choose to See

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

This will pass, you see. Gotta make it what you want it to be. That’s what they keep saying to me.

But I’m empty, scarecrow wondering who I want to be. Things holding me down, rocks in my pockets, underwater struggle to break out of the sea.

Yup, that was a cockroach crawling on my skin. Yes, living room lights dying, going dim. Can’t pay my bills and my patience is growing thin.

Work harder and smarter. Keep pushing farther and farther. Halfway through with a little baby starter. Everybody telling me to hold on longer.

Easy for you to say when food doesn’t hurt you. You want me to believe accepting your table scraps is a virtue. But I bet you can sleep and receive successes for your hard work, too.

Some of just hurt and hurt no matter how healthy we choose to be. We have to learn to trust in what we can’t see. Cuz our elbow grease and overtime leaves our energy stolen and our souls empty. Our experience shows we’ll never get to where we need to be.

Telling me I need to believe better. Telling me I must need to try harder. If I’m still not in my right mind, if I’m still falling behind, if I’m still running blind, I’ll never have anything to offer.

Fact of the matter is you don’t have to try that hard to get what you need. I used to run until my demons started to bleed. But my body decided I couldn’t even have that and I had to concede.

You brag about your bootstraps and all your achievements. While I’m out here fighting to get out of bed, my own mind, and bereavements.

I’m sinking but keep swimming. You’re throwing insults and demeaning. Some of us out here fighting fire in our skin, ducking and swinging.

Gotta run a marathon before we can step to our dreams. Cuz the giants are in our blood, pulling us apart at the seems.

We have to play doctor for ourselves. Pick up the pieces of our own egg shells. Take a gun to our personal Hells.

All of this before we get out of our beds. Because our hangman lives inside each our heads. All the while people advising us to start popping meds.

This is where you want us to break. Crying about how there’s only so much we can take. Don’t mind my creepy smile but this is where you made your mistake.

Didn’t you hear what I said? We’re out here working to silence the voices in our head. And that’s before we’re working on paying for our bread.

Yeah I’m gonna have days where I complain. Hello – no matter what I do, I’m in pain! But all this extra work isn’t in vain.

But listen up, pull out a chair, be a good kid and sit there. You don’t have to tell me, I already know life isn’t fair. But if we go a few rounds I’ll forever be there!

Oh yeah you’ll knock me down and I guarantee you’ll mess me up. But if there’s one thing we’re pretty good at, it’s getting back up.

You can fight me all day long but I’m a beast in the ring. You don’t understand the kind of pain my own issues can bring. But if you’ll notice, every day I’m the one winning. So if you think I’m weak or easy, you haven’t been listening. I’ll keep falling down but I’ll get back up and swing.

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

I think I’m going to mix it up and stay out of bed. Ignore all the ugliness swarming in my head. Do something different just like my heart said.

If I had to give advice, I’d say be careful what you’re fed.

 

by Daphne Shadows

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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.

Worst Fear and Worst Enemy

 

“What’s your worst fear?” He asked.

“Myself.”

 

fight — don’t give in

 

I answered immediately.

I realized this later.

Didn’t skip a beat.

Didn’t have to think about it.

It wasn’t forced, it was honest.

 

I am my own worst enemy.

I knew this already, in the back of my mind. My subconscious always knew.

And, in the front of my mind, where I’m aware, now that I think about it…

I agree.

 

I tie myself in knots over emotion.

I don’t know what I feel, I don’t know how to get to what I feel when I do know what I feel, and I don’t know what to do with what I feel.

 

I read an article yesterday.

An Important Question to Ask if You Feel Suicidal

It’s a great article. Even if you’re not suicidal, even if you don’t even have depression — its a great eye opener. The stigma of depression, suicide, and anxiety is made up of untruths, half-truths, and ignorance. This gal goes all in, committing to be honest to her readers.

I’d like to do the same.

Lying has never served me.

I’ve always had the urge to be honest. Vulnerable. Ironically, vulnerability isn’t my thing. I war with myself, in case you haven’t noticed.

Anywho.

 

and just so ya know, fighting sometimes simply means surviving the day healthily

 

Depression isn’t my fault. It wasn’t my choice. I didn’t ask for depression, didn’t sign up, didn’t decide, ‘oh yeah, sure, no problem, I’ll work with this’.

Depression isn’t who I am.

It’s only part of who I am. Also — however I deal with depression, with all my struggles, that’s also who I am.

 

The gal in the above article put into words my exact thoughts.

If there was a lever I could pull, one where no one would get hurt, and I would die in a painless, instant way — some days, I would pull this lever.

Not today.

Today I’m doing pretty good.

Okay, that’s a lie.  But I’m not ready to pull that lever.

And pulling that lever — that’s not me. That’s the parasite living inside me, drugging me with this disgusting, confusing, and numbing paralytic.

Sure, I learn through dark and painful stories, but I’m stubborn and I always try, sometimes even to my determent. I’m optimistic and goofy as well as dark.

I fight depression. Giving into struggles isn’t my thing. Stubborn, and all that.

 

So I suppose I’m my worst fear because I don’t know how to define myself, how to reach myself, how to be all of myself.

But hey – at least I’m aware.

Awareness, Acceptance, Action

That’s a good start.

 

What’s your greatest fear? Worst enemy?

Weird Dream

I had the strangest dream the other morning.

 

I was asleep in a house with my entire family. They were in the living room together. I was down the hall in my room, half asleep. This was our home, had all our stuff in it, and only our family lived there.

Lebron James walks out of the room next to mine and goes into the living room, dripping annoyance as he says, “If Daphne doesn’t wake up soon, we’re not going to be able to watch the movies.”

 

Weirdest dream ever.

Seriously.

I dream about people eviscerating other people; creatures chasing vulnerable people and attacking with sledge hammers and foot long, thick fangs; falling in love with (very attractive, human looking) aliens; the world ending with just me and my dog left; falling, hitting the ground, and flying.

I wake up and think woohoo! Great story ideas, hurry up and write this down.

But that?

Definitely my oddest dream thus far.

I don’t even watch basketball.

I don’t know anything about Lebron James except that he plays the game!

 

Since I started taking medication for depression and anxiety I’ve been dreaming. A lot. I didn’t used to dream except now and again. They started out really uncomfortable bad dreams, but now they’re great for my creative writing self!

 

Had any strange dreams lately?