I Know I’m Not Crazy

So I am really into shows and movies about doctors, hospitals, and the like. In such shows, there is sometimes a patient that comes in with all these symptoms and the doctors will then try to say “Oh, those are the classic symptoms of insert mental illness here. Let me call in a psychiatrist.” The patient will panic and say the famous words, “No, please! I know I’m not crazy.” The doctor will then perform numerous tests and find some tumor or lesion and it will be removed and the patient will go on their merry way. When the doctors give the patient the news that it’s a tumor or some other tangible ailment, the patient is relieved because it is much easier to accept a tumor than it is to accept a mental illness.

I know I’m not crazy. I’m not. I have a condition in which my brain produces too much or too little of certain chemicals which cause my mind to not function as well as it should. Just like a tumor I have no control over this chemical reaction. I’m not crazy. Why does society treat those of us that suffer as such?

I understand why people would be upset when they hear that they might have a mental illness. I get it. It totally sucks. It sucks because mental illness is hard to diagnose and even harder to treat. It sucks because it takes a lot of hard work and patience to treat an illness. It sucks because you know you’ll be treated differently because of a chemical imbalance in your body. I get it. It sucks. Let me be perfectly clear, however, it does not suck because we are crazy! It doesn’t. We aren’t crazy.

We may feel crazy at times because our brain is trying kill our body. We may feel crazy when the world around us functions with such ease and our world fails to function at all. We may feel crazy when people treat mental illness like a mythical creature. We may feel crazy, but we aren’t.

Do you know how hard it is to get through life knowing you have nothing to live for? No? Well I do. I have gotten through and created a life worth living. My brain constantly try’s to take that away from me and my fist full of pills remind me I am one slip away from losing all hope. However, these things don’t make me crazy. They make me a fighter. I realize that I will be fighting the rest of my life and that is exhausting. I will not, however, let the world tell me my fight isn’t legitimate. It’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I hope one day there will be a Doctor show where the doctors suggest a mental illness and the patient is able to say, “That really sucks, but I’m happy there is treatment. Walk with me while I fight it.”

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Raise a Glass to Change

Have you ever looked back a year or two and thought about all that has changed? I think a lot of people do this.  Some see change for the good, others for the worse.  Ragardless, change is bound to happen with time.  Noticing change as it happens harder to recognize.  Usually it happens so slowly, or so suddenly, our brains don’t even process that a change has taken place.  It’s only when you look back that you can see a full picture. 

In the age of Facebook and the newer feature “memories” looking back and see everything that has changed has gotten a bit easier.  I usually look at my post from 7 years ago and shiver in disgust at the annoying teenager I appeared to be.  Facebook mainly captures such shallow memories, however, that it is harder to see any real, valuable changes.  Of course I was annoying 7 years ago.  I was an immature high school senior who thought she knew everything. Of course I have matured since then.

We all mature in different ways.  Our mental ability to navigate in this world usually grows.  Social cues and behavioral norms usually become more learned as we grow older.  Today, I saw a type of change in my life that is a harder one to see.  My regular therapist was recently blessed with a baby boy, so I was placed with a temporary one until she comes back from her leave.  Luckily, the person I was today was a familiar face.  The woman who walked through the doors to call me to her room was recently hired into the office I go to.  Before that, she was finishing her PHD while interning at the inpatient mental health center of Holland Hospital.  How do I know this? Well, she worked there during the many months that I spent during the very dark days of my life.  

Today all of those memories of suicide attempts, addiction, horrible abuse flashed through my mind.  I thought for sure that this is what she would remember me for.  I wasn’t wrong about that, she sure did remember that woman in which she did psych evaluations on and even a case study.  She didn’t treat me like that woman though.  She knew I wasn’t who I was a year ago.  Through our conversation, simply by telling her what’s happening in my life now, she was able to show me how much progress I have made.  She revealed to me the true extent to how much I have changed.

I expressed to her me fears of becoming that woman again. I told her how I didn’t want to fall back into a deep depression. I ranted about the fears I have of the mania that may consume me and turn me back into an addict or worse.  She showed me again, how much has changed.

Since stepping back into real life I have been able to build a life worth living.  That is a life that I don’t want to end.  That is a life that I don’t want to manipulate and destroy.  It’s a life I want to live until completion. I have so much to live for. My family, friends, job, passions, and dreams are all so important to me now.  More than ever, I want to succeed.  I want to help others succeed. 

Today, I had a glimpse of my old self and realized how much I and my situation has changed.  I have worked so hard over this past year and for the first time, I can say it has payed off and I’m proud.

So raise a glass to change.  In this life, we will live.

Shalom

Bridging the Gap

I’m a little pessimistic.  If I’m not happy at this point in my life, who’s to say I ever will be?  I don’t think it’s wrong to think that way.  It may not be completely right, yet it may not be completely wrong either.  After all, never once has someone’s life come with a garenteed happiness.  In fact,  the Bible promises we will face trials of all kinds.  Why then do we as Americans believe life is about our happiness.  The order I see is me first, those I love second, and everyone else last.  Seems pretty backwards of you ask me.

Comfort I one of Satans largest tools.  He gets us to believe we deserve comfort.  Money, power, wealth, and safety have become so important to us, we forget what the most important thing is.  If we truly were to try and live like those “WWJD” bracelets,  do you know how different our lives would look? 

I think about this as I see a friend striving for pleasure and happiness with no purpose.  He doesn’t have Jesus to live for.  He has no hope in anything and he can readily admit that he could care less about living or dying.  The sad thing is, I see a lot of my Christian friends striving for those same things.  They do claim to have a purpose, but often fail to act.  I don’t want to live a meaningless life.  

So, living with intention can be daunting.  Honestly, not everyone can give up everything they have to do mission work somewhere.  That’s the reality.  We then have to look around us and see how can we best use our talents and abilities to serve.  Tonight, at a prayer gathering, my pastor talked about bridging the gap between the city and the church.  If you think about what a bridge does, it allows people to cross from one thing to another.  Jesus is our bridge to God.  How can we bridge the gap where we live?

Prayer is a huge part of this.  We need to intercede for people.  There is power in the name of Jesus.  I also think it’s important to act.  Love those who hate you.  Serve those around you, even if you know you won’t get anything in return. Give what you can. 

I’ve seen how God uses his people to bring them to him.  I’m living proof God can redeem those who are terribly broken.  I think that’s why I’m so motivated to want to move.  Imagine the whole Body of Christ working together as one to share the good news of salvation!!! It reminds me of the book of Acts.  I’m so excited to see how God will move in this generation.  Remembering that it probably won’t be easy, know that the ultimate reward is waiting for us in heaven.