The Prompt: How are you taking care of your own mental health? How does mental illness affect your life?
Being me gets complicated
It’s draining, tedious, depressing
Pressure on my chest aching
OCD tags along with anxiety
Losing control of emotions
A daily struggle with medicine
Rare for someone to understand
Dreading public places
Inability to breathe is very real
Somedays the highs feel enlightening
Organization skills lack conviction
Run down from insomnia and life
Distancing myself from everyone
Easy for others to make assumptions
Rock bottom comes in many forms
I wrote this for Day 10 of OctPoWriMo. I realize I need catch up, but I have struggled with anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and due to this, I am a recovering addict. So, this topic is very important to me. It’s difficult when family and friends don’t understand, they think if you just get out of the house, your blues will go away. It isn’t that simple. On good days, I feel creative, eccentric, artistic, and unstoppable. On bad days, I don’t eat, sleep all day, or don’t sleep for weeks. My speech is rapid. From the time I was 13 years old I was told I could be an auctioneer. Anxiety attacks come and I still am not used to them after 17 years. Sometimes I can realize a trigger. Sometimes there are no warning signs or triggers. I have been in check out lines at Wal-Mart and felt boxed in by one person getting behind me. It’s hard to explain. I immediately begin sweating, then not wanting to be noticed, I feel like everyone is staring at me. I know they aren’t but my body doesn’t always go along with my brain. If I happen to make it to the check out clerk, I’m shaking, feel like they know I have issues, I almost feel like I’m watching myself go through normal motions of paying and grabbing my belongings. There have been times the line is too long, I can’t breathe normal, I feel like a million elephants are stomping my chest, and I have walked out of the store, out of the check out line, leaving my buggy right there, in an attempt to get outside and get air. It’s embarrassing, but it’s also scary. My OCD has gotten better some with medicine. As far back as I can remember, I have had an obsession with the number 3. I check the door lock 3 times, I check everything 3 times. I do things in patterns of 3. I don’t have it as bad as others. Sometimes my ‘3’ obsession goes unnoticed. Dealing with depression and being bipolar, this is hard. I’m bipolar 2. Which means I don’t have extreme highs and then extreme lows. My highs and lows fall close together. The problem with this is when I hit my lowest, I know there is no extreme high to come. I may feel better. But there is always that tugging in my mind telling me something horrible is going to happen. Over the years, and many, many medicines later, I have found a combo that works best for me. So, I’m okay for the most part. But when life gets too stressful or I feel out of control, even the medicine is unhelpful.
I hope that more and more people can realize that though they don’t understand, these issues are very real. I don’t have a huge support group and my lowest point was 2000 after my grandmother whom raised me passed away and I cut my wrist with broken glass. I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t planned. Something snapped and I broke all her plates that still occupied the kitchen. Then after realizing what I had done, I grabbed a broken piece of the plate and cut my wrist. I felt I had nobody left in the entire world. It just so happened my cousin came to my home to my home to use my telephone. She was used to walking in. So, after walking in and yelling for me, she found me in the kitchen lying in the broken glass and called 911. I was in treatment for awhile. Now I have two daughters, whom I pray never go through this struggle. I also try teaching them that it’s okay if they do have some issues. It doesn’t have to be a burden that is suffered alone. I think a lot of people believe that mental health issues are exaggerated. Or like some people use it as an excuse. The stereotypes are horrible. Mental Health Issues shouldn’t be dismissed and a lot of people, including myself, have been humiliated over the diagnosis. I hope that anyone who feels the way I have since a child, gets help, talks to professionals, and never feel like they are alone.
If there is one person that needs a community to turn to, there is a wonderful Blog for Mental Health site with people who struggle with mental health issues or know someone who does. It’s a very good place to start or share resources.