The topic of conversation at hand today is mental illness. I believe the human mind can overcome many extreme, severe, difficult, and even impossible circumstances. Even mental illness. The “stigmata” of this phenomena and all of its many components are broad. I do not want to get into a debate about treatment, lack of treatment, risks, or who should be responsible. I will not debate the issue of what is metal illness and what is not. I am not a professional and although I have a wide range of personal experience- ranging from suicide attempts, cutting, anorexia, depression, and a myriad of other diagnosis, I FIRMLY believe that ultimately the responsibility falls on the individual to get well.
If I came to you and was insanely out of control, for that brief moment you might say, “ARE YOU CRAZY?! You are UNSTABLE! While that may be an accurate description of the current situation should that episode of lapse in judgement automatically deem me as mentally ill? If by chance this was a regular occurrence in which family, friends, and anyone who interacts with me on a regular basis is fully aware but I myself justify my behavior for whatever reason and legitimately think I am fine then who is anyone to make that judgement call? If I am so out of control, as I have been on way too many occasions where my thinking is CLEARLY skewed and my judgement is impaired, someone steps in and forces me to get help but i am unable to recognize that I ACTUALLY EVEN HAVE A PROBLEM then what is the point? The cycle will continue for as long as it takes until the person hits a bottom or has no other choice but to accept their condition for exactly what it is and CHOOSES to commit to recovery. It took me 47 years, to finally come to a point in my life where i had to decide FOR MYSELF that i truly wanted to be better MORE than i wanted to stay sick. I had to take personal responsibility for my own life and commit to change- no matter how long it took, what i had to do, and how bad it was going to hurt. THAT is where my healing began.
I know what its like to called crazy by a world that says if you arent “normal” than you are different and that’s wrong. IT SUCKS! I lost my already lost “self” trying to figure out how to find balance, live in a gray area, understand difference and diversity, and to not be afraid of everything. I know what it’s like to feel like if you aren’t living up to this standard or that and that there was something wrong with you. True, I was a delinquent, I learned every lesson the hard way, and I am stubborn. Beating me into submission, forcing me into treatment, and pointing out how flawed I was had NO affect on my character defects or dysfunctions. It was the most terrifying, confusing, stressful, and sickest I have ever been in my life and it was because of my BRAIN and they way i think. I was a f—d up, difficult, angry -kid, teenager, and an adult.
This is me in 8th grade. This was the me that nobody liked, including myself but I didnt know why i hated life, i just did. I suffered in silence, acted out, my parents had me in and out of therapy forever and this was WHO i was. Pitiful… I tell my mother all the time, how did you not just bury my angry miserable mean ass out in the back yard or even tolerate me all those years?! To this day it baffles me. Again, you can’t change another person, you can only change YOURSELF. She was helpless, hurting, and powerless.
You all know me as the person you see today. The inner strength, beauty, and heart you see now has always been in me, i just didnt know it. It wasnt until i TOOK CONTROL OF MY OWN LIFE, COMMITTED TO CHANGE NO MATTER WHAT, AND DUG MY WAY OUT OF THE DEEPEST DARKEST PLACE IMAGINABLE THAT MY “MENTAL ILLNESS” NO LONGER CONTROLLED ME. I had to not only NEED HELP but also WANT IT! I had to be brave and stand up and say Hey, i think i have a problem and i want to fix it. I had to PERSUE treatment and fight HARD if i wanted to conquer these demons in my brain that with every positive thought i managed to produce they would strike down w/ 3 negative ones. I had to do things, say things, and react to life in a way that made no sense! IT WAS HARD, but thats what made ME a FIGHTER, and its how i can proudly share my stories of my ridiculously crazy life and be proud. No mental health screening when i was a kid, dragging me to the psyche ward after threatening or attempting suicide, countless anti depressants, and combinations of medications, drugs, alcohol, sports, addictions, hobbies, friends, family, interventions and adult supervision- ALL of it was just a spongebob band-aid when what i needed was stitches! You can pick a scab over and over and it will never heal until you decide to let it. My scabs were GROSS! Now i embrace them. They remind me that my pain WAS real. When i get tempted to pick at one I CHOOSE to throw glitter on that bitch, call it Cinnamin, and make it give me a lap dance! Occasionally I am fortunate enough to be able to make it rain… and then I get to see the rainbow.