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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Sticks and  Stones

Words can be my best friend and my worst enemy at times. As a writer, written words are my way of expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotion.  I can make sense of senseless situations simply by writing them out on paper.  In this way, words tend to be the one way I can calm my brain. On the other hand, though I enjoy public speaking, I have problems with speaking without thinking. Instead of an organizations of thoughts, my spoken words tend to be raw, unedited, thought.  It may not always be a bad thing. Certainly, raw thoughts can often be the most creative or inspirational. Yet, it also seems, when I say things without thinking, I get myself into trouble.  I end up having to talk myself out of awkward or uncomfortable situations. 

I’ve wondered what it would be like if I went a day without words.  No spoken words, no text messages, no emails, no Facebook: I would simply sit, and listen.  I would observe the world around me.  During this time, I would take notes.  These would be for my eyes only.  I’d write my observations without making judgments.  At the end of the day, I would take these notes along with my memories and write about my day.  By this time, everything would be throughly processed.  It’s such a beautiful idea.  It’s certainly not practical at this point in my life, but maybe some summer day, I will take the plunge.

So why do I talk about all of this? Well, I really want to live life more intentionally. I want to learn to be a good listener. I want to be more mild with my words.  You see, I’m a very robust person when it comes to my words.  I’m loud, quirky, quick whitted, and often very blunt.  Though that is definitely a huge part of my personality, a part I don’t want to go without, I do think sometime I may not make a great friend.  It’s easy for me to talk about serious things when it comes to myself or things of close interest.  It’s a lot harder to talk about or listen to things I know little about.  At these times, I either find myself making snarky comments or making jokes at inappropriate times.  I use humor to make uncomfortable situations less uncomfortable. For a while, I even joked about going to the “coo-koo hut” before I was okay with being mentally ill.  

I also think my thoughts, my real thoughts, are silly or dismissable. Who wants to hear what I have to say? Purely from the stats this blog has, it seems more people than I realize think I may have something to say that is worthwhile.  It may be important to note here that I do credit any good thought or talent I have to God.  He’s certainly showing me ways to use my gifts to glorify him more and more.

So moving on from here, I don’t know if I will be able to think and listen more, though that is my goal. I just want to be more conscious of my words.  Words can impact a person so deeply.  Words are strong. Vows, love, and words of hate all draw out emotions that could lead to action.  In cognitive therapy, a triangle is used to describe the effects thoughts have on feelings and behavior.  In the triangle the three connect to each other, every facet having the potential of effecting another. When it was described to me, an outside event often triggers the thought. Because we are human, many people don’t catch what the event or the thoughts were. They simply focus on the emotion they feel or the behavior they carry out.  So what does all this have to do with words? Well, my words, or your words, could be someone’s “event”. Thought processes such as this happen after all events, both good and bad.  I just don’t want to be the one that triggers any bad feelings simply because of poor word choice.  Uses of the words “retarded” or “gay” as derogatory terms have been hot topics lately.  Bullying has been at the center of school related new stories.  Xinophobia and hate filled speech towards Muslims or Mexicans have been constantly fuled by politics and media.  With such words of hatred going around, I want to be a voice of change.  I want to be a voice of love.  If I can’t be that voice, then maybe it is best is my voice is not heard.  

Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will forever haunt me.