Mental Illness and Failure

https://www.healthyplace.com/insight/quotes/quotes-on-mental-health-and-mental-illness

 

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.”

 

https://www.healthyplace.com/insight/quotes/quotes-on-mental-health-and-mental-illness

 

For more quotes on mental illness, check out this page, which is where I scrolled upon this paradigm re-shaper.

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Holiday Season Blog Gratitude Challenge 1

Alrighty then.

We’re going to play a game. Kind of like tag, except I can’t smack you and get away with it (because, “YOU’RE IT!”) because I can’t reach you.

 

Holidays are great.

Holidays are lovely.

But we also have a way of sucking the joy, humanity, and reason for the holidays right out of the season.

Yay us!

NO *shakes head*

 

So, screw whatever we’re supposed to talk about during this time of year. We’re going to talk about being grateful. And I’m going to ask you questions, even some personal ones. Well, if you stick around I’m going to do this. If you click out I am so not going to chase you down, chain you to a desk, and force you to answer. I’m too worn out, cuz you know, I have my own life that I’m working on.

Let’s get to it.

 

 

These questions need the following answer: how you’re grateful for them and why.

 

5 Life Lessons

  1. Budgeting – boy will I not mess up on this one.
  2. Forgiveness – it’s hard but has helped me heal and gain strength to put up healthy boundaries.
  3. Eat Healthily – seriously.
  4. Healthy Boundaries – no joy without them.
  5. Attitude of Gratitude – focusing on what I’m grateful for doesn’t erase the nastiness or pain. It does, however, give me more joy and less suffering.

 

5 Trials You’ve Lived Through or Are Still Living Through

(you didn’t think I was going to make this easy on you, did you?)

  1. SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)

This gut disease has taught me a lot. I’ve changed how I eat entirely. I eat completely healthy and when I eat chocolate (daily, come on now) it’s healthier with real sugar and no GMOs or fake ingredients. I feel so much better. I’ve discovered that how I eat has a huge impact on how I feel physically and emotionally.

  1. RLS (restless leg syndrome)

Okay, so for a month I was walking around in the bathroom and sobbing at night because I couldn’t sleep. I’d pass out in bed for fifteen to twenty minutes on and off at night, equaling up to two hours of sleep in every twenty-four hours. Not fun. I finally got on a medication that stops, for the most part, the RLS. What this taught me is how important sleep is. Getting eight hours, every night is needed. But what I feel most of us don’t do, is make it a priority. We act like because we have work or children or other obligations that it isn’t possible. It is. And I’ve decided to make my health a priority and see to it that I get the sleep I need.

  1. Psychological Abuse

I would never sign up for abuse. But I can say that living through it has taught me a lot. Most people don’t want to exist inside their own skin and so distract themselves out of it. We walk around numb and ignorant of ourselves. Being abused caused me so much issue that I had to take a look at myself and get help from other human beings. This is how I learned to get out of denial and choose my own life.

It’s also taught me that a lot of people turn their noses up at emotional issues. They think therapists are idiots or pointless and think people ought to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, smile and bear it, and/or simply knock it off, get over it. But never, ever talk about your problems and never ever, need help. Let me tell you, there is so much arrogance and ignorance in a person like that, that it’s unbearable. And they’re generally not all that happy.

  1. Bipolar

I’ve heard so many people tell me to pray to God and He will take this away. I’m Christian so I can tell you, they’re not saying this out of faith or belief or spirituality. It’s a load of crap. Let’s just get that out there. Some tests in life are for life.  I truly believe God (or whatever your Higher Power is) doesn’t give us more than we can handle. And yes, much is expected of us. Life is hard work.

Being diagnosed has allowed me to stop thinking there is something wrong with me. I honestly didn’t know what my issue was. How was I so messed up? Knowing I’m on the bipolar spectrum has allowed me to view my past and realize why.

Now I have a name to put to what I feel, what I’ve experienced. And life is a lot less scary and a lot more doable. I can’t deny part of who I am. Trying to would only bring more misery.

  1. Jobs I Loathed

It took me a while to realize I didn’t love them, didn’t even like them. But having jobs I didn’t enjoy has shone a light on what I want to aim for.

 

 

5 Things from Today

  1. Petting Lucky
  2. Internet
  3. Work
  4. My religious practices (brings peace)
  5. Love

 

5 Things from the Past Week

  1. Thanksgiving – really enjoyed this holiday this year. I love the focus of gratitude this holiday brings into focus. I don’t care how it came about or how many lies its steeped in. I love what it’s become.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly happy white men tried wiping Natives out, I simply choose to focus on the goodness in humans at this time. Which is a lot harder than one would think. We humans can be terrible. But we have goodness in us, if we so choose.

  1. Birthday – my twenty-sixth. I did absolutely nothing and loved it. Hung out with family. Best.
  2. Walking Lucky – I love my sweet, fluffy boy. He brings me so much joy and taking him for a walk, away from everyone else and simply being outside, watching him sniff around in curiosity – it’s peaceful.
  3. Applied, Paid for College Class – SO excited for this one! I’ve never been to college before.
  4. Ability to Change – can you imagine never being able to change, grow, learn and make different decisions? We’d all be screwed. There’d be no point to life. So I embrace change.

 

5 Things About My Health

  1. I can eat solid food.
  2. I can walk. I can run!
  3. I have all my limbs and they all work properly.
  4. I don’t have a disease that is going to kill me.
  5. I have my mental faculties in working order.

 

 

5 Favorite Traditions

  1. Birthdays are important in my family. We always celebrate, regardless of age. It’s the day we came into this world. Of course that should be celebrated. It’s a time for reflection and goal setting. A time to take stock of what I’ve done and become and what I want to add to my life and self.
  2. Hope Chest. In my family, when you turn sixteen years old, your parents buy you a chest and begin filling it with things for when you begin your own life. I love this tradition, I will be passing on.
  3. Dating. We don’t take this one for the gift it is, I believe. We have the right to choose who to date, dump, and stick with. In other countries, people don’t have this option.
  4. Marriage. I don’t feel we take this one seriously as a society any longer, but it’s still important to me. I feel like marriage has become a joke, sexless, loveless, and well, okay, a joke! That’s not what I want. I’m going to marry for commitment, for love, for a real relationship. A sharing of souls. It’s easy to make fun of, but that doesn’t make it any less important to me.
  5. Allowing people to think for themselves. It’s something I very much intend to carry on. If my children have different likes, desires, hopes, dreams… go for it. I find that many of my friends in high school were given no choice in their life. Their parents had planned everything out for them and they lived in a rigid world without freedom of character, choice, or personal lives. It’s a strong truth in my life; we are each a unique person and what we each need and want, is what we need to go for.

 

5 Freedoms

  1. To work. As a woman, that wasn’t always an option. I couldn’t imagine living in the past. I don’t want to imagine it. I won’t even read novels in the past because the way women were treated disgusts me.
  2. Control over how I deal with my mental illnesses. Stigmas are still alive and strong but at least my freedom isn’t stripped from me. I can look at what is happening, realistically, and choose the healthiest way in which to deal with it.
  3. We aren’t exactly, “of the people, by the people, for the people” any longer, but I am extremely grateful that I live in this country, which allows me to make my own vocational and life choices.
  4. Freedom to worship. I love my spirituality and religion. It brings me strength, choices, respect for life and love, and peace. I wish all humans on planet earth were allowed to practice their beliefs (as long as they’re not abusive) in their own lives.
  5. To marry whomever I please, whenever I please. I mean, come on, we all know that at age 26, I’d be an old maid in the past.

 

 

Last 5

  1. What do I wish I wouldn’t take for granted?

Technology, running water, modern conveniences.

  1. What is something I am grateful for that I probably partake of too much?

Chocolate.

  1. What is something helpful I have that my parents did not?

Internet. Thank you, Google, for helping me adult properly. Also, the ability to talk about things. I cannot tell you how annoying it is that people didn’t “talk about things like that” in the past. You know, human things.

  1. What is something I have that my parents did not that is not helpful?

Too many options. TV stations, internet stuff, etc. How much time have I wasted on something that doesn’t matter? It all comes down to personal choices, but sometimes I feel all the unnecessary choices make life harder.

  1. What was I most grateful for as a young child?

Feeling safe. It was a rarity I appreciated more than any treat or toy.

 

 

Okay, TAG!!!!

(pretend I just smacked you upside the back of the head)

Your turn.

Erase my answers and add in your own, then tag someone. And check back for my next blog gratitude challenge in the weeks to come. And don’t forget to link back here so I can see your answers. 😀