My Perspective: Battling the Monster of Mental Illness

My Perspective Mental Illness

 

If you are new here, you might not be aware that I’m a crazy person.

 

Like literally certifiable crazy.

 

I’ve written about my Borderline Personality Disorder and about BigE’s struggles with his own demons. We’ve been working through it all together. Our family and friends try to understand, but for those who don’t suffer from mental illness it’s hard to comprehend.

 

I can’t count how many times people just say “snap out of it” or “Just laugh a little you need a better sense of humor.”

 

Laughter is not the cure, empathy is.

 

To those of you that have no idea how Robin Williams could end his life, or why your wife is curled in the fetal position crying for what appears to be no reason or why the person who seems to have it all together is crumbling inside here’s what mental illness feels like.

 

You jump into a pool.

 

Each time you try to swim toward the surface a hand grabs your ankle and pulls you back down. You can see people on the edge of the pool laughing, smiling, waving at you to come up for air, but each time you try you are pulled back down again. Eventually after so much struggling you give up, you sit on the bottom of the pool watching as life floats by. Unable to join in the fun, and unable to reach up to the light you always see. You are trapped in darkness and soon the light at the top of the pool become fainter and fainter. Your lungs, deprived of oxygen, begin to fill with water, and soon you are consumed. Not one person reached down to pull you up, not one person jumped in with you. You were all alone, and suffering in the darkness.

 

Mental Illness

 

For those of us with mental illness that’s how we feel EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

 

So often those at the edge of the pool become frustrated or angry because you “just aren’t yourself today”.

 

Umm, yeah no shit.

 

I’m not myself everyday it’s just that today I’ve let my guard down. Today, the world feels like it’s closing in on me and I feel like I’m suffocating and the only way to relieve the pain is to end it…end it all.

 

You want your wife, daughter, mother back, but the person you know is just a farce. There’s so much more and you aren’t ready to face it, and those of us suffering live in shame. We have disappointed you yet again because we let Pandora open the box and all the shit came streaming out. Even though it may be once in a great while when the shit storm hits, it decimates everything in its path.

 

In and effort to squelch the storm we pop pills and see therapists, but the reality is mental illness is never cured.

 

It’s wrangled like a beast in a cage. It lurks under the surface always ready to escape. Those of us with brains in overdrive, we see life differently and experiences are magnified exponentially. There are days when we can’t stop the beast from emerging and on those days we need YOU – the spouse, brother, sister, mother, father and friend. We NEED you to reach out to us and hold our hand.

 

Reassure us that the monster inside is only a small part of who we are that we are so much more than our illness. This monster will not take us and we will not live in fear and worry. Tell us that you will help us slay this monster, and that no matter what happens you will always love us.

 

I can tell you this as I battled my own monster. I have attempted suicide 5 times in my life the earliest being in High School, I’ve had my stomach pumped 3 times, my wrists bandaged twice. I’ve popped countless pills and visited a plethora of therapists. If my mom is reading this, her heart is breaking right now. I know she wondered what she could have done differently.

 

The reality is sometimes holding us tightly may not be enough. The monster has already consumed us.

 

Ending it all is not a selfish decision. I always get angry when people say that. It’s a strong and albeit weirdly brave decision to step off that cliff and let the monster consume you. In a way it’s like you are making a sacrifice, all the pain and guilt you’ve held in forever, and the wake of pain you’ve caused others disappears in that one moment you make the final decision to fall.

 

I’ve been there and I know.

 

It’s a physical pain that unless you’ve experienced it, you will have no concept of its engulfing power, and its ability to lure you to the depths of sadness and lock you there forever.

 

You feel your only escape is the end.

 

That’s why we need an army.

 

Those of us with mental illness need our family and friends to stand with us on the battlefield. Even if you don’t understand it or “get it” please just hold our hand and stand by us as we fight this fight. We are strong, but sometimes the monster is stronger and it takes many warriors to wage a war. Even on the days when we appear to have it all together the fight still wages on and we still need you. Together we will defeat the monster of mental illness, so that no one needs to wage this battle alone.

 

The monster can’t take another victim.

 

Mental Illness 2

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My Perspective: Do I Deserve to be an American?

American

 

“Hey buddy, what have you been learning at preschool,” I inquire during the trip home from school.

 

“Oh, we learn bout Merica,” he states matter of factly.

 

“Did you learn the Pledge of Allegiance,” of course the moment the question came out of my mouth I knew the answer.

 

Of course they didn’t learn the Pledge of Allegiance, because no one says it anymore. You know because of GOD and religion and schools and some other politically correct BS.

 

As I drove home, I tried to recite it in my head and for a few moments I stopped and stuttered before finally finishing it.

 

Seriously?

 

It was Independence Day and my kids had no clue about The Pledge of Allegiance and I could barely recite it.

 

Which got me thinking…Do I really deserve to be an American?

 

Sure I was born here.

 

I at one time {aka the dark ages} said the Pledge of Allegiance every day.

 

We hang an American flag out front of our house on Flag Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.

 

We stand and remove our hats for the National Anthem.

 

But if push came to shove and I had to take the US Citizenship test would I pass?

 

Here are a few questions…

 

America 3

America 2

How Many Amendments

 

And the answer would be a Definitive NO.

 

It’s quite pathetic really. I an American preach the American Dream the land of bounty and democracy, freedom to the people and yet I have no FREAKING idea who some of the people are running our government, what the branches do and how the heck it all works.

 

Perhaps I’ve been subjected to too many X-Files episodes with government conspiracy theories, or maybe I’m just old and can’t remember my Civics lessons {Sorry Mr. Linderman}

 

Whatever it is, I’m embarrassed.

 

I’m embarrassed that my children don’t know the Pledge of Allegiance, that they don’t know the words to the National Anthem {granted they are 4 and 7}.

 

Their American education will be up to me {the American poser}, because they will never learn it in school. I’m sure it doesn’t fit into the Common Core curriculum.

 

How on earth can the future of America, be in the hands of children who have no concept. It’s scary and sad.

 

Frankly, the country needs to change.

 

We take so much for granted. Our children have no clue how our freedom was won, and what we do to protect it and honor it. In fact, all they see, more often than not are news stories on how messed up it all is. How money and greed rule the world and influences our nation.

 

The moment Little Red and I arrive home,  I hop on the internet and show both boys the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and I teach them how to stand with your hand of your heart.

 

Then together we said…

 

I pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.

 

It’s a beginning.

 

My Perspective: Angry Won’t Win

My Perspective Angry Wont Win

It was a gorgeous last Saturday.

 

The sun was shining, the temperature finally represented the month on the calendar and we were ready throw a party. We just needed a few last minute items from the store, because you can’t have a birthday party without ice cream.

 

E and I walked hand in hand, laughing and talking about his party. Once we entered the store our smiles quickly faded.

 

We stood at the entrance and watched in horror as a mother beat her child in the produce section. I’m not sure how many times she slapped him, because I lost count. The store was silent, but for the sounds of her hand making contact with skin and his screams. As the three year old crumpled to the floor crying, his mother yanked him up by the back of his pants and put him back on his feet.

 

I felt like I had just been slapped. Did that really just happen in my hometown grocery store? What is this world coming too?

 

E cuddled closer to me, scared and confused by the entire situation. He even started getting teary-eyed. Immediately I leaned down and hugged him to me. “I feel sad for that little boy,” he said. “Me too baby,” I replied, holding him even tighter.

 

Sadness and anger swept through me as I watched everyone else just go on about their business, even myself. We all did nothing, but watch the horror unfold. Not one of us came to that little boy’s rescue.

 

As E and I continued through the store we had to stop right next to the little boy, his mother and someone whom I’m assuming was his grandmother. The little boy was still crying, tears streaming down his cheeks all while his grandmother berated him, calling him a cry baby and telling him to shut the “f” up.

 

I want to say something to scream at her just like she was screaming at him. But I couldn’t, because I was scared. First of all the woman was a mountain – 6 feet tall, and probably 200 pounds, and if she had that much rage in her heart what would she do to me or my son? I couldn’t risk it, and there wasn’t enough violence to call the police {which made me even madder and sadder}.

 

Choking back tears, I turned to walk away, but not before I saw something miraculous. Out of all the people standing there – store clerks, mothers, fathers and others it was a little old lady who finally intervened.

 

She intervened the way little old ladies do – by doting on little kids. “Awww, it’s ok little guy,” she cooed to the boy. “It’s ok.”

 

For a moment I braced myself as the grandmother turned toward her readying myself for the worst. “You want him? You can have him,” she shouted.

 

Seriously?

 

You know an hour later I had the perfect comeback to that statement, but at the time nothing …

 

I wanted to tell her that I would take him. That I had friends who have lost babies and can’t have babies, and have so many babies, but would take another, because that little boy deserved better.

 

He deserved a freaking chance – a chance to know love, kind words and a life without violence.

 

But I didn’t I just stood there silent, and held my son.

**

The next day, I needed to go to Wal-Mart. Seriously NOT my favorite place to go, but it’s close to the house and I needed a cake mix and some eggs to make cupcakes.

 

Quickly I grabbed all my groceries and made my way to the checkout.

 

As I approached the line, a man was standing just outside the lane talking with his wife, debating which line to choose. I totally understand this as the Wal-Mart checkout is often the abyss and you can spend hours lost in one line.

 

No biggie.

 

Eventually they choose. Picking the line I was standing in. They put their purchase on the conveyor belt, but continue blocking the lane. I attempt to make my way around them and up to the checkout so I can set my purchases on the conveyor belt behind his. At which point, he gets in my face yelling at me. He starts going on and on about how there are people in front of me and I just need to wait my turn.

 

Now…any other time I probably would have kept my mouth shut, and moved to another line, but…after what happened a day earlier there was NO way I was going to let another angry person bully me.

 

So I politely said, “Oh, I’m not cutting in line. I just want to put my stuff on the counter.”

 

Silence and stink eye.

 

He continues stink eyeing me all throughout his purchase.

 

And when he was done I told him to enjoy his movie and have a nice day.

 

At which point he yelled “FU, kiss my a$$.”

 

Awesome, but at least I said and did something.

**

After the two incidents my heart is just broken by the world in which we live.

 

Why are people so ANGRY?

 

Is the economy?

 

Is it stress?

 

Or are they just angry people and will never change?

 

I don’t know the answers, but I do know one thing if you are going to be a bully and an ahole you better expect that I WILL be standing up for myself and others. I’m done letting angry win in this world.

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