Nothing to be ashamed

When Chester died, I wrote a lot about the stigmatism surrounding mental illness. How it is very scary to openly talk about having a mental illness. That talking about it is like having the plague.

Seriously, I am still scared to openly talk about my illness because so many people have made it a joke. I have seen a lot of people who experience nervousness over something claim that they have an anxiety disorder However, after whatever makes them nervous, they no longer have a mental illness.

It is like having an anxiety disorder is something to joke about. It makes those of us who really have it afraid to come out with what is really going on.

There is also this type of stigmatism that if you have a mental illness you should be ashamed.. that you’re seeking attention or playing the victim.

We live in a world where it is so hard to have a mental disorder. I have anxiety disorder, panic attacks and mild depression. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am living with this and I am living with it my way. Why should I feel ashamed about it??? Seriously? Why should any of us feel ashamed about what is going on iside of our head. When you have a heart issue, your heart is sick. No one makes you feel ashamed of that. The brain is an organ. It can be sick like any other organ in your body.

Don’t be ashamed of it. Own it. You have a mental illness. And that is okay. If you’re on medication… THAT IS OKAY. Seriously. taking medication for your mental illness is brave. Because you had the courage to seek help. To get help. There are so many who have not been able to drum up the courage to ask for help.
When Chester died, many of those who knew him, came to the forefront to speak out for mental illness. To break the stigmatim. I think that the more that we talk about it, the more it will be accepted as normal. That it is nothing to be ashamed about. Because it’s not.

Open up. Tell me your story. Tell me what makes you overthink. Tell me what your anxious about. Because I am here. I will always be here. As a listening friend. As someone who shares your story. Who understands what it is like to have a mental illness. Who knows what it is like to be made ashamed of my illness. To know what it is like. So tell me your story.

Shouldn’t Apologize

Okay so it last night I happened to look at our calendar that is hanging on the wall that faces the laundry room. Since the laundry room is right off the garage…it is the wall we see the most when we come in the house.

I happened to look up and see that my kid is taking lunch twice this week. Considering we did a bit of spring cleaning yesterday… I knew we had exactly one lunchable in the fridge. So after my kids take a bath and I take a shower… I ask her what did she want for lunch tomorrow since I had forgotten…come on everyone forgets sometimes. I asked what she wanted for the two days she’s taking lunch and of course she asks for two different lunchables that we don’t have on hand.

So there I was at 8 PM still needing to take a test going to the store with wet hair. On my way back from the store, I pass a church that has a message that I found quite interesting on their sign. It said ‘if you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t apologize for it’.

And it hit me quite hard the whole way home. Why?

Well I am known for apologizing all the time. Even when I am right. Even when I am doing things the way they should be. I think I am apologizing because I am worried that I am hurting someones feelings.

Even if I am telling the truth, I have been known to go back an apologize for saying something that might have hurt someone’s feelings. Sometimes I feel like I am constantly walking on glass, afraid that anything I say or do will cause the glass to crack or break and I’ll fall. What I mean is that I constantly worry about things I do or say and how they may affect those around me. Like what if I say something wrong and this person feels hurt.

This actually comes from dealing with my brother. I constantly want to tell him off. Or tell him the truth to his face instead of sugar coating things. But I don’t. Why? well my brother has been known to be overly sensitive in the sense that if you tell him he’s being stupid or an idiot….he’ll want to cut himself. This has been going on for many many years. So…

My point of this post is..

Stop!

Stop caring what others might or might not feel. It is not your job to baby anyone’s feelings or take care of how they react. I mean if you’re an adult and you’re talking to an adult… then they should act accordingly.

If you are doing right by you. By your health. You should never have to apologize for anyone else.

This kind of goes back to the post about the worst feeling is having to hide your pain for someone else’s emotions.

Yeah…we need to stop doing that.

I say we because I am completely guilty. All the time.

But if we’re going to break the stigma surrounding our mental health….then we need to stop giving a crap how we make others feel when they’re around us. It is not our job to make sure they’re comfortable. Either they take us as we are…or there’s the door. That sounds so horrible and rude. But it is the truth. For our mental health we shouldn’t surround ourselves with people who force us to be a fake version of ourselves.

Drop a comment….let’s start a conversation about mental health 🙂

I Am The Change!

So all of Linkin Park fans know that today is Chester Bennington’s birthday. While many of us are still sad about his passing. It was a big hit for those of us who fight many of the same battles that he struggled with every single day. The same battles that he talked about so openly.

So many of us fans wanted a way to celebrate the life of Chester since it is his birthday. And it is because many of us loved Chester and wanted to honor him, Talinda Bennington the strong, beautiful and outspoken wife of Chester asked everyone to post a photo with the words “I am the Change” written on our hands to symbolize that we know the 5 signs of mental illness. And that we are going to be the change to the stigmatism.

I have spoken very loudly about the stigmatism that plagues those who suffer from any form of mental illness. and this isn’t just anxiety or depression. Stigmatism plagues many of those who suffer autism, ADHD, ODD, and many more.

My best friends kid is autistic. And he suffers from a lot of stigmatism. To the point that some family pretend that his autism is made up and that his antics are just him being bad. Which enrages me. But that isn’t the worst of it. It is even so bad that his school holds his autism over him as if it is a reason to be held back a grade even though he is as smart as a whip. All because his ‘social’ skills are not what they believe is ‘up to par’. Well uhm I have been around this kid since he was a baby. In fact, my mom and I actually called his autism. We baby sat him one day and we could tell that there was something. Not that we treated him any different. He’s about 6 months older than my oldest daughter. In fact she’s his best friend. We have never ever treated him any different. In fact, I think that I do more for or with him to compensate for the bullshit he has to deal with. The kid is 7 and he’s already faced a world full of stigma. Unfortunately, he has a long life that looks like it will be full of stigma.

And that isn’t the only stigma this family faces. My best friend suffers from PTSD, depression and anxiety. and possibly more, I can’t remember right at the moment. Her husband has depression. So when I talk about being able to hang around my friends and they understand when I am having such a bad time…. They completely understand. Because they have dealt with it themselves.

But this isn’t a sad post! This is about Chester! And if Chester was still with us. (It’s sad saying that ;( because he was such an inspirational person) He would be right with us… Fighting the stigmatism. Which is what we should all do. We should continue fighting for what Chester believed in. We should continue fighting against the stigmatism that plagues pretty much anyone who suffers any form of illness of the mind. Because anyone with a spinal illness, a heart illness or anything else is sympathized with but those with ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, etc. are frowned upon. Lets put an end for this stigma. Lets #BreakTheStigma and #MakeChesterProud

Pretending

I have said before that my anxiety will never going completely away. Instead, I can learn how to control it so that I can manage things better. But getting to that place will be a journey.

I cannot reach my destination by pretending that my darkness never existed. I have to accept the things I have been thru. I have to forgive those who that have caused some of my darkness. I have to work thru the darkness so that I can be better.

I want to help others. Because I have gone thru this journey pretty much all by myself. So if I can help others get to their destination a little faster than I am then I feel like I am doing a good job. I will feel like maybe I am helping.

Because lets be honest. I have a low self esteem. So I am pretty hard on myself. But the one good thing about me that I can never take from myself is that I will help anyone and everyone around me. And I feel like I am in this fight so I can help others with their fight.

Mental illness is not an easy fight to deal with. We are not only fighting our own minds but we’re fighting the world around us. I find that there are some who are struggling with their fight because they pretend that their darkness never existed. That maybe if they ignore what they’ve been through they will get better faster. But that only causes more problems.

Life is tough

One thing they never tell you as a kid is that life is tough….well unless you have a tough childhood.

 

You see….my childhood wasn’t completely bad…honestly. I did experience abuse…starting from my dad when I was a baby and leading til my older brother stopped living with us…. Well I mean if you look at it now…certain people still try to use mental and emotional abuse against me… what they don’t realize is….I came out on the other side. I am stronger now… I don’t get suckered to easily… but I’m not completely healed. Sometimes I do get suckered.

Growing up with just my mom…. things were tight financially…pretty much all the time. There were many years where we didn’t celebrate Christmas, instead we got our gifts at Tax time. But even though we did have a tough time when I was little… I still think my mom is one of the strongest person I know.

Not everyone started their life in a tough manner. But as most kids become adults, they learn life is tough. Having a mental illness only makes life even harder. But although life is tough, you are tougher.

There is nothing easy about waking up every single day to fight the same demons that kept you up all night. Never let anyone tell you that your mental illness makes you weak. You are tough. You are strong. You are a fighter. I am a fighter. WE are fighters. Life might be tough, but so are we.

Lets break the stigma.

People Simply Don’t Understand

 

I think anyone who has anxiety disorder knows that our mind is quite honesty our own worst enemy.  However, I feel like another issue with having anxiety is that no one seems to understand.  And when you try to explain, it’s like explaining chemistry to a 1st grader.

If that doesn’t give you a visual, I would like for you to explain chemical reactions, covalent bonds and anything else you would learn in chemistry (which I took when I was 17) to a 6 year old.

Not as easy as it sounds huh?

My family hasn’t always been understanding. In fact, I feel like the majority of my family is in denial. Because they simply cannot comprehend how I can look so normal but have something wrong with my head. I feel like if I had a heart problem then they would understand. But because we live in this stigma filled world, I doubt they will ever understand. And honestly, I doubt they would even care to understand. I have a lot of family who are self centered. If it’s not about them….forget about it.

So….I pretend. Around them. I pretend I am ok. There is so much that make up and a smile can hid.  Do I wish more people were accepting? Yes, that is why I keep posting…keep getting my voice out there.

Do I really think that I will have a band of followers like Talinda Bennington or any other celebrity that is making mental illness their journey? No. I really don’t. I am nobody. I live in a small town. I am a small voice. As small as a mouse. A squeak. But I do have 50 followers. And I am very thankful that they think my rants are worth following. (Thank you guys! you are my heroes)

But I think that one day….if we work together. If we keep getting our voice out there. If we keep telling people about our normal. That we are not like them and that it is ok. Then one day. we will break the stigma.

You are not a burden

Having anxiety can be a complete burden sometimes. You’re constantly afraid for no logical reason. Your heart races and you can’t breath. Then there are the times where your anxiety completely takes over and keeps you from doing the things you really want to. Having anxiety can keep you from experiencing new things and man it is a burden.

 

However, having anxiety does not make you a burden. Talking it out doesn’t make you a burden. No matter how much that voice inside your head says it does. No, your support team is not tired of hearing you complain. Trust me. I always feel like I a being a burden to them. That they’d be better off if I would just shut up. But it is not true.

They are your support team for a reason. They love you. They understand that what you are doing is from an illness. They want to help. They want to listen. They want to better understand what is wrong. So even though it feels like the world is telling you to shut up and stop being a burden. I want you to stick your middle finger way up in the air (or even just metaphorically) and tell that stupid voice to shut the #$^$ up. Because you are not a burden.

I know it seems like having anxiety automatically makes you a burden, but it doesn’t. The only burden is anxiety itself. It causes you to have a hard time but it doesn’t make you a burden.

Anxiety situations

 

One thing that I cannot stand is when people tell me ‘you’ll get over it if you just do it.’ They’re actively trying to force me into situations that I’ve very clearly stated give me anxiety.

I know that one way to get over your fear is to face them. But the keyword in that statement is your. Facing a fear should be a journey you take yourself. Yes, this journey is going to be scary as hell and yes during this journey you can and should lean on others. There is no shame in asking for help. Those who truly love you will always be willing to lend their support.

What they should not do is force you to do anything that you’re not ready or not comfortable doing. I know they’re only trying to help but throwing a person with anxiety into a situation that gives them anxiety when they’re not prepared to face it will only make that person more anxious.

Seriously. If you force someone who is has anxiety to do something that gives the anxiety it will not erase that anxiety. It will only cause more anxiety. For instance, I am terrified of roller coasters (didn’t use to be but I am now) They make me have a panic attack. I’ve seen way too many videos about them malfunctioning and people dying or getting seriously hurt. I was forced to get on one (not physically forced but goaded) It did nothing to help me face that anxiety. Instead, It made it worse. I sat there, on that ride feeling how loose the bar really was and how easy it would for me to slip out during the drop. I saw the worst possible outcome during the whole ride. When it was finally over. And I was on solid ground. All I could do was cry. ad shake. And not breath. It was a traumatic experience. I would not want anyone to ever feel like they have to do something because others want you to.

Unfortunately, anxiety is not technically something that can be cured. It is, however, something that you can learn to control. It is a journey. It is your journey and you can take all the time you need.

#BreakTheStigma

Care Too much

I don’t know about you, but I have had the occasional person as me what it is like to have anxiety. There is just one sentence that I think sums it up without sounding too dark. Having anxiety is when you care way too much about everything.

It is when you know you shouldn’t stress about it but you can’t help it. It’s having that person in your life that never changes so you say don’t care anymore, you won’t help anymore but at the end of the day you do anyway so you can give your mind just a little bit of peace. Even though it never comes because there is always something to stress over.

It is staying up all night no matter how tired you are, because your mind won’t stop running. Have any of you ever seen the show scrubs? Having anxiety is like the inner monologue that J.D. constantly has. Except instead of the nice, carefree voice of J.D. where he has all of these nice little fantasies that make the audience giggle, you are given all of the insecurities. The dark matter. Having anxiety is like having Dr. Cox constantly in your head providing your monologue. Or, well he is kind of a mean ass on the show. So just imagine having that as a monologue in your head. 24/7. Never ending.

Having anxiety is a struggle. Your emotions are on your sleeves but not everyone understands. So we should keep discussing the battles of mental illness. Share, talk, tweet. Get the word out so we can #BreakTheStigma

Recovery is not a race

I think that everyone who has a mental illness is just trying to cope. They’re trying to recover. And that is wonderful.

If we could all help each other, encourage one another through our individual journey would greatly increase our chances. It would also help in breaking the stigma.

What I think some don’t undersatnd is that recovery is not a race. We each go through our own storms and there should be no guilt in how long it takes us to find our rainbow.

However, I think that we don’t realize that we are harder on ourselves than we are judging others journeys.

I have been guilty of comparing my recovery to that of my friends. But I never blame them for getting better faster. I blame myself for not being at the same pace as them. And that is so wrong. You should never feel guilty that it takes you longer than you thought it would.

What you should do instead is compliment yourself on how far you have come. If you start feeling guilty or blaming yourself, you’re only hurting your recovery.

This is not a race.

Your recovery, your journey is all your own and you are a warrior, a champion for getting where you are now.

If you need an ecouragement team, comment below. I will be your fan base, I will be your cheer squad. We will break the stigma together.