Yeah, I’m not the best at coming up with creating titles to draw in a reader, but….meh.
The reason why I write about mental illness is because I know a little bit about it. Not everything, but I know what it feels like to have to hide my inner turmoil. I live it everyday. I’m a chronic sufferer.
The reason why I write any of the content I write about, is because I live with managed anxiety and depression. The me inside, is not defined by my clinical diagnosis. I just happen to have a few extra challenges to fight against, to have a “normal” life.
A life of laughter, and appropriate sadness. I may be a retired-stay-at-home-mom, but I have held jobs–long-term jobs. Some jobs I loved, some I hated. I used to be a chronic volunteer, until I was sucked dry because I was the one everyone turned to. (ha! chronic was the only way I could describe doing a ton of things without pay–and I kept asking for more–now that’s insane)
I have friends, but I’m not sure I make a good friend because I continue to be a work in progress. For some odd reason, I tend to attract extroverts, and it’s hard for an introvert to keep up with them. Unfortunately, they misread my actions–but I need to be more up front with them. There again, being introverted is also misunderstood.
Sure, I have written some posts full of torment. Ideas I’ve had rolling around my mind that the release through writing helps me. I also hope it helps someone else, who is hiding, to know they aren’t alone. I also write some mundane everyday life things, and silly things to show that I am, in fact, “normal”.
I went through neuropsychological testing to pinpoint my particular difficulties. I learned I had severe/major depression. I found that to be a bit of a surprise that someone discovered my secret. I knew I was depressed, I had been down-playing my depression. I was okay knowing I was depressed, but severely depressed wasn’t were my mind wanted to go.
You know what I learned? I knew how to answer the vague questions asked on a one page questionnaire. I knew that if I were honest, I would have been diagnosed as having major depression, instead of mild to moderate. Would that mean the loony bin for me? So, I learned to lie. I’m wondering if the people who suffer from true psychosis understand how to manipulate the psychiatric system.
Luckily, we have good insurance. I rooted around, and finally found the correct help.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to mental illness.
Mostly, I am “normal”.
I cook, grumble about going to the grocery store, I make feeble attempts at making my house look like a magazine layout, I knit, I’m an beginner/amateur photographer, I like working with wood, and I cross stitch. I know the difference between right and wrong. I raised three kids without damaging them. I worried about my illness affecting them, but they turned out okay. I have one who suffers from depression, but I continue to encourage him to seek help. He is approaching that quarter century mark, and I can only meddle so much–therefore, I must be an example to him. I’m open about my struggle, and he can see that I am managing well.
Does that mean I never slip? No. I have setbacks, but they don’t completely destroy me.
Right now, I’m going through an anxiety producing event of figuring out how to deal with six different cats. Three of which aren’t mine–they belong to my kids–the boomerangs. My three have health issues and are in need of medication, and careful feeding. All on different diets. —and to think I aspired to be a cat hoarder. bahahahaha! I’m trying with all my strength to avoid letting the anxiety control me.
Yes, we need help, and it needs to be affordable, comprehensive, and not stigmatized. We should not be ashamed if we have to ask for help. We shouldn’t have to hide our illness.
We need to have less focus on the psychotic, and more on the complexities of other forms of mental illness. Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans have a diagnosable mental disorder? Yes. That’s a lot. And we hide because we aren’t viewed as “normal”.
We are the strong ones, because we have to fight harder.
That’s what I believe.