08 June 2017

Stigmas with Ebbs and Flows!

My mind is a weird place sometimes.
It's like a black hole that just sucks me in
and it's hard to climb back out.
This is part of my anxiety and depression battle
that seems to be constantly there.
Some days it's worse than others because it's like the ocean:
it ebbs and flows.
 
 
I think that's part of why I love the ocean so much.
I don't like going into the water,
but the sound of the waves and watching the water calms me down.
Probably because it's a physical demonstration 
of what seems to be going on inside my head:
As the waves crash on the sand it represents me feeling overwhelmed
and not being able to breathe.
But as it recedes I see that I'm still there,
maybe a little torn up from it,
but able to go on.
 
I recently saw a very good and slightly eye opening video showing 
"If we talked about physical health the way we do about mental health"
(scroll down a bit and the video is there)
and it struck a chord in me.
It's sadly true.
I know it is because I used to think the same way.
I used to think it should be easy to just "shrug it off".
I used to think a lot of things that I know now were very naive
and very judgmental (even though they were never meant that way)
 
Why is there such a stigma about depression and other mental health issues?
Is it because it's not a physical ailment?
(though it sometimes can manifest that way)
Is it because no one really fully understands why
it happens?
Is it because it's so hard to diagnose properly?
Is it because we're scared we may "catch it" like some
infectious disease?
I don't know the answers to these questions.
All I know is that there shouldn't be one!
 
Depression isn't always triggered by a loss.
Sometimes it is but not always.
Depression takes many forms:
anger, sadness, indifference, hopelessness,
and in extreme cases self harm, suicide, etc.
Sometimes it's not even there and you get a glimpse of what 
"normal" can look and feel like.
 
Anxiety isn't just "feeling scared".
It's when you can't turn your mind off
from worrying about anything.
Big, small, insignificant, important, child related,
spouse related, earth related, really anything on the spectrum.
And most of the time it's subconscious
but still your mind will not let you rest.
It can be a stomach ache that hits you out of the blue.
It could even be a panic attack
that is very real and you cannot breathe.
 
 
Insomnia is your best friend.
I often beg it to leave for just one night so I can get some rest
only to be wakened by children throughout the night.
(Motherhood has no "closed" hours)
 
The saddest part of it all is when you don't even know the person is
suffering inside because we've been programmed to say 
"I'm fine"
whenever someone asks how were doing.
We do it with a smile and hope someone 
sees the broken glass insde so we don't have to admit it out loud.
Sometimes we answer honestly and can talk about it.
Most of the time however, we won't.
Not because we don't trust you,
or because we don't think you'll "get it".
But because even we don't get it sometimes.
We don't know why we feel this way.
We don't know how to "fix it". 
And we've been told 
"it's all in your head"
"Are you even trying to be happy?"
"Your life is wonderful, why on earth are you sad?!"
or a plethera of other things.
So we decide to keep it inside and answer
"I'm fine."
even though we may be drowning inside,
amidst a crashing wave.
 
And then when our ocean is receding,
and we can breathe air again,
life really is good and we know it.
We just have a few more waves to ride through than some people
and it's ok.
So let's end this horrid stigma that mental health is laughable,
silly, not real, not important.
And give it the time it deserves to help us not feel so alone,
abandoned, made fun of, or feel less than human.
 
Hold us through the crashing of our waves
and help us ride them out.
 

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