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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Lukewarm Memories

So you know the feeling you get when you start reminiscing about years gone by? That warm gentle feeling of nostalgia that washes over you like a wave. You know, that feeling you get when you hear an old song, see an old item, or go to a place you haven’t frequented in some time. I generally love that feeling. Remembering gives me a warmth.

Unfortunately, tonight.. remembering feels cold.

I’m not sure how my brain came to this place. I was thinking of such good days and good times. Those memories life’s my head with joy. That is, until I found conflict in my memories. I found bad things in a good memory. Can it still be a good memory if it is filled with bad things? Should I still hold on to these types of memories or work to let them go altogether?

Here is an example. I remember spending many summers on Lake Michigan at my Grandpas property. I think so fondly of that place. I remember imagining growing up to take my husband and kids there. Alas, that never can happen. Now should this negative effect such a positive memory? No? Well here is a harder one.

One of my favorite things about high school was how extroverted I was. I loved being social, hanging out at friends houses, going parties, and honestly doing some things I know I should feel guilty about. However when I remember some of these times, I still find a sense of warmth. I’m glad I had those experiences because I think they shaped me into a well rounded person, I’m even thankful for some of the memories I have with some less than wholesome people. Shouldn’t I inherently dislike the memories if the I dislike the people?

Do you see why I’m conflicted? I don’t want to give up these parts of my past. I often feel like in order to heal, I must erase certain things completely out of my life. Problem is.. I don’t want to erase everything out of my life.

Of course I want to erase some terrible awful detailed memories that come to haunt me. However, to erase people, places, or things would take away a lot from what makes me, me.

I think I made some pretty poor choices over the years. I also think I have made some extremely wise choices over the years.

So, should I be in conflict? Should I let go of people who hurt me? Should I even let go of the memories we have shared (especially good ones)? Should I continue to hold on?

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. All I can do is keep being strong and being the best version of myself.

The Clay Girl and The Scarred Hands

Imagine with me.  A small, beautiful, red clay person grows up to believe she is not good enough.  She can’t measure up to the other clay people.  So, she decides to try to fit in.  She gives up who she is in order to fit in.  That means she lets others tell her which shape to be in.  She is kneaded, squished, and squeezed into places she hates.  She is molded into a different person for every person she encounters.  Soon, she is molded by so many dirty hands, her color grows dingy.  The more she is molded, the more pliable she becomes.  One day, she decides she has had enough.  She wants to go back to the way she used to be. She tries and tries to shape herself into who she thinks she is, but no matter what she does, she remains imperfect and dingy.  She is afraid to be molded by anyone else.  She believes he best option is to harden herself.  That way, no one can mold her.  She may not be perfect, but she feels this is better than nothing.  She spends hours in the freezer, just long enough to grow hard.  Satisfied at first, but eventually worn by her imperfections, she cries.  She looks back on her life and looks to back when she was beautiful.  When she does this she notices something she hadn’t before.  Every single day, no matter where she went, a man watched over her.  If something destroyed her shape, he would quickly jump in and fix it.  If she messed her own shape up, he would gently knead her back into his image.  This man was the one that created her.  When  she forgot about him and decided to fit in, she wouldn’t let him mold her any more.  She thought he was the problem and she was better off without him.  Quickly, she ran back to the man, knowing he probably wouldn’t love her dingy, beat up frame.  The instant he was her, he scooped her up in his nail scared hands.  Quickly and quietly, he molds her back to her original shape.  He pours a thick red liquid over her to restore her bright red color.  Soon, she was even more beautiful then she remembered.  When she looked up at him, she noticed his face was pale.  He was beaten, cut up, and bloody.  She asked him why?  He just smiled at her and said, I love you more.  Pondering his words, she wondered who he loved her more than.  It was at this point she realized, he made her beautiful by sacrificing his own beauty.  Her pain, he took from her.  He dyed her to a beautiful red with his blood.  He loved her more than himself.  She cried out to him, knowing nothing she could say would ever repay his sacrifice.

It’s easy to believe we are nothing.  The world sends us signals every day.  It tells us we are not pretty enough, thin enough, fit enough, smart enough, good enough, etc.  It’s so easy to believe these lies.  Especially when they are all we are consumed with.  Soon, we start sacrificing our morals, values, and self worth in order to fit in.  I know I personally try so desperately to be loved sometimes, I will do just about anything for it.  For years, I tried to fit in with so many different groups of people.  I was constantly pretending. My friends, my family, nobody, knew the real me.  I honestly didn’t even know who I was.  After years and years of trying to “fit”, I hated myself.  I looked in the mirror and saw a dingy body and soul.  It wasn’t until recently I did a lot of self reflection and discovery.  Instead of pretending all the time, I was very bluntly honest with myself and those around me.  I discovered something through all this; there is only one man who will love me perfectly.  I kept feeling so ashamed.  I knew how awful I was and I never thought he could love me.  He does love me.  He whipped me clean and made me new.  I wrote this story about the clay girl when I was trying to describe to myself how God has taken care of me.  It might be simple and childlike, but it helps remind me of how he took on my sins.  That’s why I wanted to share it.  Forgive me if it’s cheesy, but thank you for reading and feedback.