Never Give Up

Let me put that better…

Always keep moving forward, always keep trying.

 

Whatever you’re struggling with today, you can handle it, I promise.

Even if it’s hard and it’s a struggle the whole time – you’re still winning.

I mean, seriously – what’s your track record?

You’ve survived every single bad day, horrid challenge, and painful experience. You’ve beaten all of your trials in life. You have a 100% success rate.

You’re still here. You’re still trying.

 

Don’t forget to pay attention to how much you’ve grown, achieved, learned, and succeeded at.

You’ve got this.

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My Lips on Your Lungs

There isn’t black black-enough to cross it out.

Sitting like a king on the horns of doubt.

Does anybody know what I’m talking about?

 

If I set fire to the moon, would you notice?

Could I sacrifice my pain to see truth, to know this?

Misery is the only home I’ve had but it’s one I wouldn’t miss.

 

It’s a little crazy, isn’t it?

Grinning to ensure you fit.

It burns, doesn’t it?

 

Almost like the world wants us to live. But it doesn’t.

Realizing I’ve walked in the skin of someone I wasn’t.

Until I became you to stay away from what I mustn’t.

 

Mustn’t, little miss.

Good girls and boys all know this.

 

Mustn’t be a mess

Pretend you have no stress

Got society to impress

They might ask you to undress

Must always answer yes

And speak a little less

Win this game of chess

Ignore your heart’s abscess

Yes – you can breathe, I guess

(Just not in excess)

Climb to my your success

Must make everyone obsess.

 

I tired your way, discovered something –

I don’t want this life and I’m fighting.

Everyone ready? You might need better lighting.

 

I’ll undress alright, unzip my skin,

Drop it on the floor and let the horror settle in.

Pull up a chair, take a seat, I’m about to begin.

 

I’m a mess, I confess, no doubt about that.

Can’t just pull mental health out of a hat.

And something’s making it worse, let’s talk about that…

 

You want who I am to be the mask you used to see,

But that’s just not me and I’d rather be free.

Instead, I’ve started stepping into me.

 

You’re angry but that’s okay, I expected the worst.

But this shabby glass bubble, I’m going to shoot, it’s going to burst.

I need some space. My soul needs to be nursed.

Sometimes all this compassion makes me feel cursed.

I’m drowning in pain ‘cuz I never put myself first.

I wish all these wasted years could be reimbursed.

When I speak up now, it has to be rehearsed.

Feeling so spineless? Let me tell you, it’s the worst.

 

Have to climb a mountain just to open my mouth.

Always afraid the situation’s going to go south.

 

Then there’s this other part of me that wants everything to burn.

‘Cuz maybe if they hurt too, they’ll have to learn.

With their pretty plastic melting, with nowhere to turn,

Maybe they’ll remember some respect, some human concern.

 

If I’m honest though, sometimes I just want them to hurt.

Yeah, I know, it’s childish. I’m trying to divert.

No, I won’t smile and no, I won’t revert.

I’m thinking it’s time to draw some lines and assert.

 

Let me just slide it down like lace,

I won’t force but you’ll embrace

Or I’ll leave, erase every trace.

I’m using my own two feet if I’m running this race.

You can’t have my voice or my face.

Won’t sell my soul, get off my case.

Think I’ll eat it? You’re off base.

 

Won’t take it for the crowd or sit like a lady,

Won’t wait politely in line for a bowl of misery.

Think you can stop me? Then you never knew me.

 

Sewing my own skin now and it’s Mizz not missy.

You want into my life? Show me!

Think I should go back to pretending? Try me.

Think I’m too messy? I’m so not sorry.

Think I’m too open? Don’t follow me.

 

Throwing husks into the fire so I can see inside myself.

Taking all these voices off the shelf.

Going to work. Shattered mind won’t fix itself.

Watch me stitch them together into one self.

 

Double sided, bipolar, multiple personality,

Jekyll and Hyde. Yes baby, that’s me.

Normal to be more than one thing, you hear me?

 

Not enough whiteout to cover me up now.

You could probably extinguish me, but I’m not sure how.

Kill me but changing me’s not something I’ll allow.

Killing butterflies and making dignity bow –

That’s not for me, I’ll stop you somehow.

Bottom line is, you won’t have any part of me, I disavow.

 

Silly shadow eater, you thought I was done?

I’ve got my ribs to crack open and wars to have won,

Barbed wire to come open, velvet to slide on,

I’ve got my boots to lace up, some hearts to shake, hon.

Walls to break until your fears come undone,

I’ve got heavy nights to bleed through to meet the sun.

Oops – that’s not what you meant by some edible fun?

My lipstick on your lungs, I’ve got a reckoning to run.

 

By Daphne Shadows

 

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What Do You Want?

I don’t want to be someone who, at the end of their life, regrets not having lived.

I don’t want to go to my grave filled with shame and guilt and woe.

I don’t want to live my life as a woman who allows her challenges and demons to decide her mood and daily choices.

I don’t want each day to be filled with rigid rules created by societal judgy-ness, resentment, and jealousy.

I want to be able to breathe. To feel my own two feet on the ground and know they and my Higher Power can and will support me – if I trust, believe, have faith, if I have hope. Not just in God but in myself.

I often forget about that part.

To believe in myself.

We can wake up and, instead of dreading the coming day, choose joy. Hope.

We can take responsibility for how we feel and how we shape our lives.

This seems overwhelming at times. But baby steps are how we win at every day, every moment.

We are strong enough.

We are good enough.

We can make simple changes in habitual thinking patterns, morning routines, after-work routines, relationships (with others and ourselves), our self image, and so on.

I want so much more out of life.

And so it’s up to me to do something constructive about that. To work toward it.

Today, I hope you know this isn’t a pointless existence. That the humdrum bustle and stress, the rat race and cruel jokes of fate – they aren’t all there is.

As Walt Whitman said,

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.”

We are so much more. We can have so much more.

Our potential for joy and motivation, change and growth in a direction we crave – what we truly desire – it is lying dormant, waiting for our embrace.

I choose more.

What about you? What choices are you making? Because we mustn’t forget that not choosing, is a choice.

Find Your Wise

Okay, not wise.

Why.

*eye roll*

Forgive a goofy writer her wordplay.

*wink*

 

We’re pretty familiar with a situation like the following:

A person tells you how great you are.

You don’t believe them.

Said person is then miffed as to why you don’t believe them. Why can’t you see how awesome you are, they wonder.

 

Most of us have been on one end of this conversation. Many have been on both sides.

We’re living in a world where we hear things like the following much too often:

They kept texting her to kill herself, so she did.

He couldn’t make the pain stop any other way, so he jumped.

She buys all that stuff for the rush of feel-good chemicals.

He buys all that makeup because he thinks he’s ugly.

She won’t marry him because she thinks she’s too fat to be loved.

 

I hear all the time that my parents’ generation has a hard time believing in things like anxiety, depression, mood disorders of all sorts, and suicide rates.

I’m not here to figure out why suicide and depression and things of the like are on the rise. I’m not here to argue about what we need to do in order to stop them.

I’m here today to offer some insights on self-hate and what to do when you find yourself suffering from it.

 

If we are ever to stop allowing self-hate to color our daily behaviors, thoughts, motivations, etc., we first must figure out why we treat ourselves this way.

 

Why do we tell ourselves we’re fat, ugly, not tall enough, not skilled enough, that everything we’ve done is trash?

Why do we constantly talk to ourselves in our minds like we’re not worthy of love, respect, compassion, patience, etc?

 

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Our self-commentary can turn deadly. We know that.

So why do we do it?

The answers vary from person to person, year to year.

Perhaps we grew up in a not so great family situation.

Maybe the shouts of the plastic society we live in got to us.

Possibly something traumatic happened and we learned (incorrectly) that we were wrong, bad, or not enough.

There are an endless amount of variables and often times we find that there isn’t just one reason we treat ourselves so unkindly.

But we need to be willing to poke at ourselves, to peel back the painful layers of low self-esteem, low self-confidence, cruelty to self, and simple self-hatred, and pick at the reasons behind them.

If not, we’re not going to find the answers we need to move forward.

 

Now, don’t expect these answers to be logical.

More than likely, we’ll find our “why”s are emotional. Rooted in emotionally painful experiences, situations, upbringings, conditioned behaviors, and so on.

Don’t go looking for reasonable answers. Go looking for the truth.

 

I’d challenge you to write it out as you go.

Why do I treat myself this way?

Write down the reasons. Talk them out with someone you trust.

Do they seem less realistic now that you’ve shined the light of day on them?

I certainly hope so.

 

Accept that these are your reasons. That you’ve allowed these things to define you and the way you think about and talk to yourself.

You don’t have to approve of these truths.

Simply accept that they are.

 

Now congratulate yourself!

It’s insanely hard to look at these things!

But you are. You’re trying. That’s what matters, what counts.

We can’t pull out a weed and expect it to stay gone if we leave the roots.

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The Daphne Shadows Paradox

I’ve been much too hard on myself lately. And I can say that intellectually, but I’m not very good at actually acting on that truth and putting a stop to the beating up of myself. 😉

If you’re doing the same thing – realizing you’re too hard on yourself and need to change – don’t be upset with yourself over that too! Just know that you’re human and we all have things we need to work on.

My digestive disease has gotten progressively worse. I found out there was a giant chunk of information out there discovered by gut doctors who specialize in my thing. Of course, the form of the gut disease I have is the hardest to get rid of. There are two reasons my kind is caused and of course, I have the hardest reason to recover from, as well.

🙄

 

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All of the stuff I need costs loads of monies and I’m currently out of a job. Again.

I’ve tried multiple jobs and each time I end up having to quit because they make my health way worse.

Is there any better fuel for treating oneself terribly than not being able to work? Being able to provide for myself and my dog was the best feeling ever. Now that it’s gone, I find I’m worse about being kind to myself than before I’d ever worked at all.

Other than that, my restless leg syndrome has kept me from sleeping to the point that I began having hallucinations once again. Terrifying. But, at least I know I’m hallucinating.

*shrug*

The migraines, nausea, and anxiety and depression have worsened too. None of the mood stabilizers work. In fact, I never had restless leg syndrome until I took a certain mood stabilizer. I haven’t taken it in almost a year but that’s something people don’t talk about often. Mood stabilizers tear up your health – and once you get something from them, that symptom typically never goes away. Whether you stop taking it or not. I didn’t know that.

No more mood stabilizers for Daphne. Besides, they literally did nothing for my anxiety or depression. Zero change.

 

Through all of this, one of the two hardest parts is not being able to make money. I think it’s the biggest reason I’m so hurtful with myself. 

Despite all of this, I am optimistic. I have my days where it all builds up – can’t eat, starving so I eat something that hurts me, can’t sleep, can’t get rid of the pain, can’t work, can’t support myself, can’t create. My family will ask me if I’m okay and I’ll collapse into a ridiculous amount of hard crying.

Some days it’s hard not to be able to eat, sleep, or do anything but try to find a way out of this Hell. With no luck.

If I wasn’t blessed with a family that cared about me, I don’t know what I would have done by now.

 

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Not being able to create has been one of the hardest things. It’s part of who I am.

Not writing or blogging or doing videos has been so painful in a way I cannot express. And I’ve never been able to get creative in a physical way, creating things with my hands. Because I don’t have the money. And if it isn’t something requires money, I am too bogged down with focusing on trying to survive, that I simply can’t.

There’s this impossible situation I’m living inside. It lives inside of me, physically and in my mind, slinking through the halls and making certain every fiber of my being is focused on despair and failures. Until I see nothing good in myself.

 

The silly part is, I don’t let on to how terrible I feel and how extensively my health messes with me on a daily basis. It’s isolating. It’s isolated me from myself.

 

The past couple of days I’ve been trying to simply accept what’s going on. Surrender to the fact that I can’t control this. Realize I’m not a terrible person for wanting to eat a sandwich. I even want to eat healthily – just can’t digest most stuff.

But what if I stopped being cruel to myself? What if I stopped putting myself down for not getting over my health problems miraculously (gee, that sounds ridiculous now that I’m typing it up)? If I stopped hating myself for not being able to hold down a normal job because of my health?

I’ve never given up.

But some days I do give into feeling defeated and trapped. Recently those days are popping up more and more.

But I’ve never stopped trying. Never stopped searching for the next healthy thing to try.

 

I’ve sincerely had enough of this.

Why should I be angry with myself for being hungry?

I feel I’ve reached a stalemate with self-hate. I can’t quite treat myself in a positive manner but I refuse to act as if any of this is my fault or makes me a bad person, a failure, or weak.

 

I hope whatever your struggles are, knowing others are struggling too brings you some sense of ended isolation. You’re not alone. We’re all struggling with something.

I hope you know change will come. It will come whether we want it to or not. But we can help decide what change that will be.

Don’t isolate. Find friends. Go sit outside with them. Walk around your block and enjoy nature and the fresh air. Write all your feelings out. Find something fun to do and do it. Find whatever is missing in your life by trying everything that looks interesting. Find your purposes and stick to them in a joyful way.

 

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Knowing that I’m struggling isn’t the point of this.

I’ve never given myself much credit when it comes to anything, really. I know there are loads of you who do the same thing. Tearing yourselves down, only focusing on what you “get wrong” or “haven’t done”.

We have to stop doing this.

So I’m going to give myself a compliment. Online, for everyone to see. *cringe*

And I hope you’ll give yourself a compliment in the comment section of this post too.

 

Compliment to myself: Daphne, you are living with immovable objects all over in your life. Things you cannot stop. Things you cannot control. Things and situations that have never let up, not for a moment, always trying to hurt you, to stop you, to defeat you.

They’re not going to win. You’re an unstoppable force.

Fights between immovable objects and unstoppable forces never end in defeat.

I’m already winning by not giving up. Even though nothing gets better. My health only gets worse, in fact. How amazing is it that I haven’t given up? I am not prideful for seeing that.

I’m still here and trying. I haven’t given up. I’m even looking into ways to getting paid for being a creator – you know, what I’m good at and won’t worsen my health. How on earth can I see myself as weak?

Leave a compliment for YOURSELF in the comments section below, would you? You have something great inside you that can never be reached if you squash it with self-cruelty. What compliment can you give yourself?

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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.

Something Whispers

 

Filled to Empty

Once Again

Just so you can

Poke holes in me

 

Shaped into something

Beyond

Recognition

 

Soft thumps

Abrade the inside

Of my rib cage

And something odd

Flitters through

My chest

 

It isn’t life but tubing

Left there from

When I hated myself

A little less

 

Electronic beeping

Reminding me

To pretend I am alive

 

I am not.

Not today.

Not inside this skin.

 

Not inside

This mind

That falls down

So easily

 

Sometimes it seems

So silly

That I ever thought

I could be real

 

To walk without oiled joints

Or charged lights

Behind my eyes

From which everything

Was stolen

 

(by me)

(something whispers)

 

I forgot

I was the one

Behind the mask

Wearing the gloves

Leaving no trace

 

I forgot

I was the one

Who let this happen

Who roused from slumber

And did nothing

Who watched from behind

Serpent eyes

And let you die

 

I wonder

If it would hurt less

If I was never human at all

 

Simply a stain on the porcelain

The sand slipping down the time

Shivering down the hourglass

 

I forgot

How to tell the truth

Or which it was

 

I forgot

How to speak

Without a tongue

How to see

Without a spine

 

Can I walk

Knowing the many times

My very breath crawled

 

Why?

Why do we torture ourselves?

How many of us are there

In here?

This one little body

 

Pieces hiding

Shuffling about

Slipping behind curtains

Fixing smeared mascara

Redressing so no one notices

 

Their stories

Are shuttered up

Dust chokes the sunrises

Moonlight can’t hide

The shadows

 

I forgot

How the tip of a fingernail

Could hold so many

Dead skin cells

 

They aren’t all mine

 

(yes they are)

(something whispers)

 

And I deny everything

Black lipstick that doesn’t

Smudge

Or leave

Photos behind

 

And no, I wasn’t

Made by accident

Why does everyone ask?

We all clamber around

Waiting for a story to be

Unfolded

It wasn’t an accident

We remember

I shake my head

We know

Our skin

My skin

We feel

 

It’s like they can see

I’m made from

Different coincidences

Kissing beneath the

Atom bomb

 

Waiting for something

To change

Or someone

To notice

The shadows

Etched into my bones.

 

(can anyone see me?)

(no, I don’t think I can)

(something whispers)

 

By Daphne Shadows