Mental illness is a myth?

Mental illness is a myth?

I was scrolling through Facebook and came across an article that said “Everything you Will Miss if you Commit Suicide” then it followed with the caption of “suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you are no different. But we need to talk about it.” This caught my attention for 2 reasons, (1) because it is true and (2) because my brother died by suicide in 2009, so I instantly see posts like that. They just jump out at me. So why does my title say “mental illness is a myth?” I say that for a number of reasons. Number one though is because I don’t believe that it is an “illness” so to speak. What if it is just how you are wired? I mean essentially it is. You are born a certain way, with a certain personality, with a certain way of thinking and sometimes your internal wiring is different than the average person. So, why should we call someone that is wired differently, mentally ill? Why should that term be used? Doesn’t it just further stigmatize the idea that the person has something “wrong with them”? That they are some how damaged? What if the way they are is essentially the way they were meant to be. That God intended them to be different for a reason? I know, really nice idea right, but what’s my point? My point is, that maybe if we didn’t label everyone who was different as “Mentally Ill” we might have less suicides.

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Think about it. If you feel different your whole life, if you are told you are different your whole life, if you are labeled with this affliction or that affliction your whole life, how are you supposed to feel anything but damaged? In addition to that, if you are diagnosed with this syndrome or that disorder, it becomes a part of your permanent medical file, it literally follows you your entire life. Sometimes it hinders the things that people will let you accomplish in life. So what if we said “mental illness” isn’t a thing. What if we just accepted that everyone is different and some people are a bit more different than others but they are still children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves them just as much as he loves you and I. What if instead of labeling people, we just loved them? What if instead of having government agencies and societal constructs that set these people up as failures, we let everyone be who they are without judgement? Without labels?

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Here is what I know (I don’t have a psychology degree or anything) but here is what I know for myself. I know that labels break people. I know that once you stick that label on someone, it’s over. They are now not human anymore, they are a label. People begin to talk about you, while you are in the same room as them, as if you aren’t there. You become this thing. This problem that people have to deal with. You start to feel like you are a burden to those around you. Then maybe you think, what if I just wasn’t here anymore? This is what I think, I think it is really easy to get from a label to a place of “people are better off without me here”. I recognize that I have even done this to people in my life who have been diagnosed with a “mental illness”. It is easy to see the problem and not the person. So, yes, I have wrongly done that, without realizing it. Now that I realize that this thinking, to me, is inherently wrong, I think it might be better to dispense with the titles.

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When you think about it, don’t we all have some sort of baggage we bring with us? Aren’t we all at some point or another “mentally ill” if you want to use that term? I’ve gone through depression in my life. I’ve been at very low points in my life. So why am I not “mentally ill”? Simply because a doctor hasn’t diagnosed me as such. But what if we just stopped looking at people as problems? People who see things differently aren’t problems, they are people, they are human, they likely feel very deeply about a lot of things. They likely know they are different and punish themselves for it. I’d like to stop perpetuating the cycle that people are problems. I’d like to recognize the true greatness in all people. That greatness that is God given, not man given. God loves all his children, he doesn’t see there problems as problems. He doesn’t see there quirks as issues. He sees all of us as we are, loves us where we are at. He doesn’t think there is something wrong with you. We need to be kinder. We need to insist that in schools and anywhere else that we interact with people that labels aren’t used. Maybe we say mental illness is a myth. This person is struggling with something and we just need to love them. We don’t need to label them, or break there spirits or talk about them as if they are a disorder and not a person. We need to see them as the awesome people they are, nothing else.

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I feel like if we do this, that maybe people who are struggling with whatever issue it is, will feel more comfortable coming to you and saying I feel this way, can you help me? The reason people don’t speak out about the problems they are having or feelings they are feeling is because of those labels. If I say something, they will tell me I am “Mentally Ill” and then that will be my life forever. Think about how daunting that is for a minute? To be labeled forever because you asked for help? Really? Is this the best we can do? I don’t know about any of you, but, for me, my new philosophy is that mental illness is a myth and everyone has a struggle that they are dealing with, and it’s okay because we all have struggles and we can all help each other. We should all help each other because God loves us unconditionally, regardless of our problems. He loves us. We need to do better. We need to stop judging. We need to recognize that people are not”ill” for being who they are.

To be honest, I was planning to blog about some very spiritual experiences I’ve had the last week, but this topic just jumped out at me and I felt I needed to address it because I feel like life is too short to let promptings like this go by. It is something I feel strongly about. I feel like this life is hard enough without labels. So why not? Mental illness is a myth!

Hello Darkness my Old Friend

Hello Darkness my Old Friend

So this is literally what I felt like upon waking this morning. Just endless thoughts of what is the point of my life. Not just that but just this sick, unrelenting feeling and these sick unrelenting thoughts of doom, and despair, and just darkness that were all swimming in my head.  I have no idea why. I had a perfectly fantastic weekend in the trenches of the Supernatural Convention 2017.  Saw some great speakers, spent way to much money, pictures with the super awesome, super gorgeous Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. So why wake up to this feeling right? It makes no sense, much like me sometimes. I just make no sense. I am this strange complex person who, apparently is fine one minute and filled with darkness the next. Yay Me!

So what’s my point? I wish I knew. I wish I could give this feeling a name, or a description. I guess darkness is the closest thing to an accurate description I can think of. I want to be so quick to just say, oh it’s the adversary filling my head with this stuff, but I think that would be a mistake. I think it would be a mistake to just blame it on Satan and be done with it. It seems to easy to just do that. I have written a lot about some very intense and trans-formative feelings I’ve had recently, mostly in a spiritual and light-hearted way at times. But I feel like I just can’t get their today. Like I can’t just spin some spiritual thoughts and poof I’ll suddenly see the light again. I’m not sad. I’m not mad. I’m just here.  Like in the song “Amazing” by Aerosmith (greatest rock band in the world by the way) it says “in the blink of an eye, you finally see the light.” I keep blinking today but there is no light. I have a wonderful husband who loves me. Sure he has his faults but so do I. No one is perfect. My daughter is absolutely amazing and she is perfect just as she is. So why can I only see darkness today?

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Like have you ever had the thought that you just didn’t want to be here anymore. Like you just wanted to go away or run away. Think about it. What if I just woke up one morning. Packed a bag and left? What if? It’s a horrible thought for sure and just even typing that out is hard. It’s hard to read back. I wonder though, how many mothers or women in general just feel like enough already? Like I said, I have no particular reason to feel this way at this particular moment. I had an awesome weekend. My husband got home from his trip last night and everything is good. So why? Why feel like running away? Why feel like you wish the end was here? I think that’s why I thought of the song “Sound of Silence” because it starts out “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” It sort of perfectly sums up my feeling. And why is darkness my friend?

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Maybe it’s a feeling that things are going good and so you think to yourself things shouldn’t be going good, let me look for my old friend darkness so I can feel horrible again. But I don’t think so. I don’t think I sought it out. I think it’s just there. Always lurking in the shadows, waiting for me to feel good so that it can come and claim my soul for its own. I have no idea what I’m saying and I’m fairly certain this blog is taking a very dark turn and probably will cease to be interesting anymore.

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Here is the thing about me. Most people who know me, know I am a very optimistic and generally up beat person. I’m not Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh who is perpetually sad, dark and gloomy. That just never was me. Today, I feel like Eeyore. Like it all just doesn’t matter anyway so why bother? That is just my general mentality today. I hate that I feel that way, it isn’t at all a comfortable feeling for me. Some people who have that general gloomy disposition most of the time might find it comfortable in the darkness. I myself prefer the light. So when I wake up feeling drowned in a murky cloud of darkness it leaves me perplexed. It leaves me unable to really function well. Now, normally, I’d blame something like this on hormones or whatever. But it doesn’t feel hormonal. It doesn’t feel like what that roller coaster of emotions feels like when you are in that state. This feels eerily calm. Like I’m not freaking out needlessly or just riding that roller coaster of imbalance. I’m calm and yet I’m enveloped in this darkness. I think it’s the calm that bothers me. The fact that I’m in this state and I don’t care. The fact that I can have some of the very dark thoughts I’ve had and still be calm. That it could not faze me in the slightest.

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So, now that everyone who might read this blog is thoroughly depressed now, I suppose I should stop bringing the world down. I don’t know what any of this means. I don’t know why it’s happening. I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. But hey, here is this blog right? I guess I’ve disturbed the sound of silence enough. Maybe silence is better.

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

I was torn on what to write about today, because the ideas just keep coming. I know #bloggerproblems right? Just kidding, I’ve never been a blogger before now so I wouldn’t know if it is a problem for others or not. However, today I have just felt extremely good about everything, for no reason. I kind of hesitate to write that down because it’s like Murphy’s law, if you say it out loud you jinx it. Anyway, too late.  Over the course of the last 2 weeks I’ve went through a lot of very deep diving emotional and mental breakthrough’s, it’s been exhausting to say the least. So why the title “lost and found”? Well, because that is sort of like what the last couple of weeks or, if I’m honest, the last 4 years, have been like. It’s been like I found what I had lost, except that before I found it I didn’t really know it was lost. I guess in a way, I kind of did, it’s like scotch tape or the scissors in your house. Do most of us know where they are most of the time? I mean, we know we have tape and scissors somewhere, but could we actually tell someone where to find it in the house if we had too? Well, maybe some very organized people can, but I can tell you I can not.  I might be able to say, I saw it in the general vicinity of the kitchen,  maybe start there.

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So, like the scotch tape and the scissors that I know I have in my house somewhere, I felt like my faith and my spirituality and my emotional and mental health were somewhere inside of me. Like I knew it wasn’t just gone, but like my tape and scissors, I probably couldn’t have told you where it was or what happened to it.  So when I say it wasn’t really lost, I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know where I put it. So I suppose a better term would be misplaced rather than lost. But lost sounded better in the title. I mean misplaced and found sounds silly.

Now maybe you are one of those people who always knows where you put everything. You know, everything has its place and everything it its place so to speak.  You are probably one of those people who has a label for your label maker right? You have a cute holder for your scissors or your tape that you made off of Pinterest right? Well, for that person I say, good for you. That is awesome that you are such a tidy person.  So being that type of person you probably would never misplace your faith right? Let’s hope not. I’d hate to think that you could keep track of scissors but not faith. Okay, I’m totally making fun of organized people now. But it is all in good fun and I don’t mean anything bad by it. I am truly in awe of your organizational talents.  Come to think of it, I used to be a very organized individual and at work I still am, but when I’m at home I have essentially given up the organization fight.  But I digress, so back to spirituality and faith. How does one misplace it? That is the million dollar question.

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For a lot of people it is probably gradual, where they just sort of stop using it. When you don’t use something very much it’s easy to lose track of its whereabouts, where as something that is used daily, like your cell phone, you don’t lose track of because it’s likely permanently glued to your hand.  But the scissors or the tape only get used occasionally so it’s easy to forget where you last left it. The same can be said for your faith, your spirituality. If you stop using it, you lose it.  So by that I mean, you stop doing the things that brought a spiritual connection to you. Maybe you used to pray daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to read scriptures daily and you stopped. Maybe you used to go to church every Sunday and you stopped. So if you stop doing the things that exercise your faith, then you start to forget where it is or how it made you feel.  You let life happen in its place. Now again, I am truly awe inspired by those individuals who consistently exercise their faith because they are more likely to not misplace it. I, on the other hand, am very prone to complacency and very prone to be arrogant enough to think that I could stop exercising my faith and still know where it is. I am wrong. I am wrong every time I do that and yet, I keep doing it.  Just like I’m wrong every time I say I’ll just set the scissors here, I’ll be able to find them again next time, only to have to tear the house apart looking for it when I go to wrap Christmas presents every year. I swear, I never learn.

 

Over the past 30 days or so and more specifically the last 2 weeks, I have undergone some what of a spiritual overhaul. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it? It’s not. I mean it is but it is emotionally and mentally draining. So I uncluttered my psyche, and in the process found where I had left my faith and spirituality, turns out it was right in front of my face the entire time. It’s always the last place you look though. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot more clutter and organizing to do still, but I found the core of it at least. Like a scattered puzzle, I found the box with the pretty picture on it,  I’m just looking for all the pieces now.

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Part of my journey I really think started late last year, but I didn’t realize it.  Possibly even half way through last year. I was having problems in my business and with my family and just with everything in life including my health. I think everything was manifesting itself in my left eye. Cornea infections are not fun, let me tell you and I am still having left eye issues. I was searching for something but didn’t know what. I had even hired business coaches and life coaches to assist me thinking that would help. I know, me, life coaches (nothing against life coaches) but I was seriously that desperate and the fact that I was paying life coaches was just, eww…like made me want to gag. Because I’ve never been that type of person. Now I’m not saying life coaches are bad. I know plenty of them and they do add value to a lot of people’s lives and businesses, so don’t start sending me hate mail. It was just something that I never thought I’d do. Anyway, the point was I had done this trying to find answers. The answers were in me all along. I had just misplaced my faith. What I was searching for was God. He never left though. I just closed the door on  him and forgot which door I left him standing behind. But he was still there, when I found that door and opened it, there he was. Never moved.  Just in the same spot I left him. The wonderful life coaches I hired didn’t know I’d left him behind a door. How could they. So they couldn’t help me find the door he was behind because they didn’t know he was there.

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What I needed was help from someone who actually knew he was there and that I had left him behind. So, God, in his infinite wisdom, because he couldn’t get a hold of me, started calling on some friends to alert me to the fact that I totally forgot about him. Luckily, eventually the right people answered the phone and he sent them to the rescue. To remind me that hey, I’d slammed the door on God and left him just standing out in the cold. He didn’t do it for himself though. He wasn’t like, how dare she do this to me?! Just forget about me like that! He was concerned that I hadn’t come back after I closed the door. His concern was for me. So he sent a posse out to find me to make sure I was okay. I am so thankful that he did. Because now, today, even though I’m still finding pieces to the puzzle, I feel amazing. I feel connected. I feel again. I think I had stopped feeling. So here I am writing this ridiculous blog about tape, scissors, and faith, but I feel amazing doing it. I have a lot of unanswered questions right now and I’m even unsure about some drastic events that may or may not happen in my life right now and somehow, I’m okay with all of it. I’m so okay that I’m actually happy, giddy, excited about life again, regardless of what that life looks like now.

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The bottom line is never lose hope, never think that something or someone is so lost they can’t be found. God doesn’t quit looking, he will stand there at the door knocking for eternity until you finally find the right door again. He will call reinforcements to help you. He will never quit. You will always be found! Now, the tape and the scissors is another story, that’s all on you, but rest assured that tape and scissors can be easily purchased again so don’t sweat it.

Let It Go! (No, not the Frozen song)

Let It Go! (No, not the Frozen song)

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we just hold on to useless stuff. Not just material clutter (which I have plenty of) but emotional clutter, baggage, unnecessary feelings and struggles. We just cling to those things like they are so precious to us. Why?

Here is what I think, I think those things build up. I think we don’t think about them until suddenly we realize our minds have become this waste land of crap! It happens slowly so we don’t realize it until we find ourselves mentally bogged down by these feelings. They have suddenly taken over your life to the point that your true feelings, your true potential, and your true spiritual nature are suffocated under the weight of it.  So why do we let it get that way?

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Have you ever carried a heavy bag or back pack? You pick it up at first and think this isn’t so bad. Maybe it isn’t even that heavy at first. You walk around with it on your shoulder and as you go along you collect stuff. You have the bag after all, why not put stuff in it.  Maybe you don’t even put that much in it. But, if you carry that bag around long enough, it starts to feel heavy. Suddenly you find yourself switching shoulders. Then you walk around with it on that shoulder for a while until it starts to get to heavy for that shoulder to. So what you end up with is 2 sore shoulders. Do we ever not think of maybe setting the bag down, or even setting it down and taking some stuff out of it that we don’t need?

Now that’s a great metaphor obviously, I know women out there can relate to carrying around that enormous purse that you throw literally everything into. I’ve done it.  Then when you go to find your wallet or your keys it is buried under all this crap. Well, because we are always so busy and just never get around to it, we don’t clean out our purses until one day we get so frustrated that we can’t find what we need that we dump the contents onto the table and start sorting things out.  Most of the stuff we collect in our purses, is just garbage that we end up throwing out. Receipts galore from shopping trips and grocery store trips. Business cards from networking events, (who is this person again)? All the crap that we just throw into our bags without thinking gets sorted through and then we put our wallet and our keys and maybe our lipstick or a compact mirror (you know, the necessities) back in and we are so proud of ourselves for getting organized. At least until we go out again and start that collecting process all over again!

My point is, maybe we should stop (first and foremost collecting useless junk in our purses) but more importantly, stop collecting useless junk in our minds.  Because we do the same thing with our minds.  Sometimes we are just a veritable plethora of useless information right?

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What if, instead of filing away that offensive remark or that small slight that someone made towards us (either intentionally or unintentionally) and just decided to let it go from the beginning? What if instead of beating ourselves up for stupid things we’ve done to ourselves or to other people, we rectify it and move on. Why keep that stored in your head to trip over one day? What if instead of the hurts we remember the good things someone has done for us? What if we kept those things. Wouldn’t we value those things?  What happens when we trip over that memory of something bad? Ultimately it brings us right back to that moment in time where we have to feel all of that hurt again. So what we’ve done is saved something that makes us feel bad so that we can one day stumble across it again and feel bad all over again. What?! Why?! LET IT GO! Let it go so that you don’t have to stumble across it again.

For example, in our homes we take care of the things we value and they are displayed nicely and kept safe right? The junk, is just left around or stuffed in a closet or a corner and only pulled out or dealt with when we keep tripping over it.  So what if we treated our emotional and spiritual minds like we treat our valuable possessions? What if we didn’t store useless junk in the corners of our minds to trip over on our way to getting to the valuable things? What if we only stored the good stuff? What if?

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It is easier said than done to let small stuff go and to not keep it filed away. It is easier said than done to let the big stuff go. I’m not sure I have the answer, what I do know is that if we take the time to pause for a minute and decide if something is worth keeping or not keeping (mentally or emotionally) then maybe we will stop collecting the useless stuff and start valuing the valuable stuff. Something to think about, and if someone out there masters how to do this let me know because that could be useful information right?