The Eggshells That Are The Ground The Mentally Ill Walk Upon

How would I describe myself today? Precarious. My anxieties have quadrupled, my paranoia has gone rampant. Re-reading some old blog posts, and seeing just how little progress I have made in spite of my best efforts, has me feeling desolate. In fact, while I have people around me, even a friend who came to sit with me last night because I was in such a state…I feel so utterly alone. The lack of joy in life I complained about a few days ago…Seems pretty insignificant compared to the overwhelming darkness enveloping my mind.

And yeah, ok, I have some outside stressors that heighten it all. I’ve finally washed my hands of a friendship that never really was and it makes me both pissed off and sad. I am facing a battle for my own stability and well being which impact my child and leaves me able to think and obsess over nothing else. The cold weather is making the depression grip me like a vise. The panic attacks come in waves, knocking the wind out of me. Oh, and I fell down the steps on the snow this morning so I’ve somehow wrenched my back.

Dealing with reality doesn’t bother me.
Dealing with reality while my mental state is dangling by a few frayed threads…bothers me immensely, almost to the point of paralysis.
It’s like my mind is a flesh eating bacteria, spreading, consuming, devouring, until there will be nothing left of me except to don a straightjacket or walk in front of a bus.
Which is only a mild dramatization. As I have told every doctor I’ve ever seen…I don’t really get suicidal impulses. I just have many days where if a speeding bus were coming at me and I needed only to take a step back to save myself…I’d probably choose not to.
The panxiety is at fever pitch. I can honestly say hearing R talk about all his 9/11 conspiracies when I dropped a shipping label off for him really did not help. The world has become a place so ugly, so vile, and the truth is…who even knows since perception claims to be truth and we all perceive things differently and sometimes we are programmed by repetition to believe something is true when in fact, it was reported incorrectly.
Needless to say, it was not what my nerves needed today.

My mind is a cyclone of activity and yet, I am paralyzed.
And to make things worse even though the opposite was intended by a well meaning friend…GRRRR.
I wish I could just get shock treatment and be done with it all. I am so sick of being…sick.

I think what really pushed me over the edge was a Foamy The Squirrel cartoon called “Drugs in your head.” I love Foamy, he always makes me laugh.
But then came the inevitable rant equating people who take antidepressants being the same as people who smoke pot or snort coke or smoke crack.
I am so sick of that mentality. “You can’t handle reality, so you shovel pills.”
The reality is, anti depressants do not get you high, they do not necessarily dull reality and make things easier.
When you are truly ill, they simply help correct the problems that hinder normal life. Being equated with a crackhead really did send me over the edge. And yes, it’s a cartoon squirrel, I am being asinine, but the mentality…is out there, in droves.
And much as it pains me to admit it, it is not without a measure of validity. When we became prozac nation, the doctors did start tossing out bottles of pills if someone was blue for a couple of weeks. Kid too energetic? Medicate ADHD.

It is such a disservice to those who are truly mentally ill. Being told we have a weak character and can’t handle reality. That is ignorance. Anti depressants don’t get you high, and if they work right in the right dose, they don’t numb you to reality. I fail to see how we can such an evolved society capable of creating things such as the internet and organ transplants and artificial limbs…Yet the general populace still has no grasp of mental illness.
Thank you, Prozac Nation, for bastardizing an illness that is very real to many of us.
Those who doubt, who say the pills are evil, that nothing is wrong with us but bad personality and weak character, thanks to the prevalence of how psych drugs are pushed wily nily…
You are wrong about a large number of us.

And for me I think the proof in that is, I suffered through a bruised rib without more than Tylenol. I had bronchitis and a sinus infection for six weeks and toughed it out rather than run off for a quick med fix. I don’t like going to doctors, don’t like being poked and prodded and given an antibiotic to fix one thing while it causes some other feminine issue that also needs to be treated medically. I’d rather suck it up.
So the fact I admit I have a mental illness and need to be medicated, not just for the sake of functionality, but as well as the well being of those around me who have had to deal with my mood swings and such…
It’s a sign of strength, being able to face an ugly truth about yourself. I can’t conquer this mental illness on my own, god knows I have tried. Exercise, diet, light therapy, chakra therapy, aromatherapy, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups…I spend so much of my life working toward getting better it often feels like I don’t even have a life.

And when I never seem to “get better” for more than a few months at a time regardless of how many lifestyle and behavior changes I have made…It’d be so easy to let the naysayers get inside my head and convince me I’m a malingerer, I’m part of prozac nation, I’m just weak…

Thing is,I am not weak minded. My mind is strong. However, it is not entirely stable and that is something I have to contend with every single day. I don’t get days off. I don’t get to say, “Oh, nothing went right today, so I am going to be depressed.” Nor does “Oh my gosh, this day was amazing, I am cured” apply.
It’s all about mental states. I’ve been through tough times (having my own broken into and stuff stolen), the transmission blowing up on the car, being left a single mom…And provided my mind frame is stable enough, I can roll with the punches.
But then there are times when nothing catastrophic has happened and I have every reason to be hopeful and upbeat…and it’s like there’s this black blanket tied around my head, blocking out all light, air, hope.

So maybe the psych meds don’t cure all. Maybe they have some nasty side effects. Maybe using them feeds the big evil pharma machine.
But I know what life is like with them and without them.
And I’d prefer not to go back to screaming and throwing things at people’s heads followed by dissolving into a closet in tears for a week. If the meds help me not behave that way anymore…
I guess I will have to learn to live with the judgments. They are based on ignorance, or personal bias, not on any hard science. Mental illness simply isn’t as cut and dry as medical science. And because there is no X Ray to prove whether you’re a pill popper out to get high or actually have mental imbalances going on…

It’s always going to be my word against that of others. Except I have a medical file of my mental history that could rival several college textbooks. The evidence is right there for all to see. And still, some will not.

I will close with this quote that resonated with me on many levels.

“You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe”

― Carl Sagan

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2 Responses to “The Eggshells That Are The Ground The Mentally Ill Walk Upon”

  1. I like this post a whole lot and I’m really glad you wrote it. And your reaction to the cartoon squirrel isn’t asinine, there are humans behind the animation after all. And it’s disinformation and misinformation and … well, a bunch of crap.

    Most people I know seem to expect my progress to be linear, when bipolar is anything but.

    Bah.

  2. I’m sure you’ve made more progress than you realize. 🙂

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