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.”


Can You Hear Me Now?

It has been a while since I have posted publicly to my blog. At times I feel it is best my thoughts remain private, but right now, I only feel I need my voice to be heard.

I don’t know how many tines I have written about the invisible terrors mental illness causes. I have probably spoken on this topic far more than I could count. One thing I often don’t talk about though sexual assault. Now for those who may be triggered or have a hard time reading about these types of things, I do encourage you stop now. I would never want anyone else to relive trauma.

Now, every form of abuse I have suffered still causes me problems in my life. This very specific form of abuse however hurts me in ways I can’t even comprehend.

I want to tell a brief story. There was a young man who came to my work place looking for a home. Now, to everyone else, he probably seemed normal. If anything, maybe he seemed to be a tad bit conceited. To me, he was different. This man’s personality, his actions, & his mannerisms flipped a switch in my head. In my mind, I have seen him before. Even though I probably had never actually met him, my mind knew him. My mind recognized his mannerisms and set off a warning alarm. My body’s fight or flight defenses turned on because all of a sudden, It wasn’t a stranger. This man wanted to hurt me, degrade me, rape me.

I don’t know him and he probably is an okay guy, but from past experiences, my mind and body thought this man was threatening. It pulled to mind gruesome memories and details that I never wanted to think. Now, do you want to know the worst part? It was noon and I still had to work six more hours before I could go home and cry.

One of the worst feelings a sexual assault victim can feel is degraded and unheard. My mind screams internally and my body feels numb. Those same describing words could be used to describe several of the sexual assaults I have survived. I’m fighting this deadly feeling and I can’t say a word.

Why don’t I say something? Well, times like these happen more often than I care to admit and if I said something every time, I would surely turn into the boy who cried wolf. That is why I stay silent. I keep quiet until I get to a time that my body produces a physical reaction: sobbing, yelling, convulsions, hair pulling, etc. I wait until this happens because I know people will see something is actually wrong. They will be able to hear me. They will be able to understand. It’s like my mind is screaming “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!?”

I hate living life like this. I’m in constant fear. I wonder if anyone can relate. My therapist suggested I get a doctors note so if I feel unheard, people will believe me. My everyday life consists of trying to stay calm and trying to remain normal. I practice many coping skills throughout the day just to function.

Sometimes it’s even worse after I go to therapy because it brings things up that I would rather ignore. I have been hurt too much and I’m mad that it’s able to control me. I’m mad it can hold me hostage. I’m mad it can take me away from my work. I’m mad that it effects my intimacy with my husband. My mind is mad and now it’s screaming at all the men who hurt me “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

That is why I wanted to make this public. I want people that know me, to hear me. I want them hear the silent screams for help. I want others who read it to relate or to hear others. Think of the four closest women to you. Now pick one. Statistically one in every four women are sexually assaulted in their lives. Let our voices be heard. Because sexual assault isn’t just a “me too” Facebook post and then let’s all forget. Sexual assault is a monster that devours its victims daily.

So this goes out to those who feel like they can’t be heard. And I ask those around me, can you hear me now?

Stoping Silence

I’m experiencing some sort of hurt that I can’t stand to feel. Not for the fact that it hurts for I have dealt with far worse but for the fact that I know so many others are standing under the same hurt I experienced during the depth of my illness.  Let me explain further.

Last year was easily the hardest year of my life.  I fought for and tried to give up my life on numerous occasions.  The hurt of the deep darkness and depression I felt was strong enough to draw me to want to end my life.  The problem is that the reactions to my hurt worsend my hurt to an extreme that I honestly find hard to put into words.  Now I realize why many stay silent for the pain of dismissal was far more disturbing than the pain of depression or mania. 

Nothing made me want to kill myself more than the reactions to my attempted suicide.  By many, not all but many, I was not nurtured but instead I was punished. I was treated like a criminal.  This is a hard thing for many to comprehend.  For I know more than anyone how awful and wrong suicide is.  The difference, however, is I was not the criminal. I was the victim of a disease.  I was the victim of a very real illness called bipolar depression.  I could not suck it up nor could I pray it away.  I will restate something I wrote long ago.  I do believe Jesus can and does heal, but I also believe he provides us with modern medicine to heal.  Like a dibetic can’t live without insulin, mentally ill can not live without their medications either.

It seems medication for those with mental illnesses are greatly debated.  Some say the pharmaceutical companies feed off of people’s paranoia.  Once again, I am shaken and insulted to the core of my being.  Do not dismiss these illnesses.  This is what leads people to keep quiet.  This is what lets depression win.  We tell people to fight for their lives when it comes to cancer by using strong medications but them others are told to suck it up because the medication will mess you up more.  This statement has my cringing.  Trust me when I say, in my depths, I could not be messed up any more.  I would never tell anyone the things I’ve thought in fear of disturbing them.  You see, I am sick, but my sickness is invisable to the naked eye. 

I hate knowing others also must deal with this dismissal. I hate knowing people are invalidated.  I hate knowing people are taking their lives daily because of such ignorance. I hate seeing jokes about the mentally ill depicted in straight jackets.  I hate the fear associate with places that treat the mentally ill.  I hate thinking back on how I was treated after I attempted suicide and knowing others are treated similarly.  

Please hear me out on this one and make yourself an ally to those who suffer in silence. Talk about it and be about it.