What’s Stopping You?

I am being bombarded with self improvement “hear me roar” messages at every turn on the internet.

What’s stopping you from achieving your goals?

Why can’t you have a career, make more money, have nice things?

Believe it is possible, make it happen.

The only thing holding you  back is you.

OMFG. Just stop. Knock it off. Shut the fuck up already. Choke on your pompoms. Give yourself an enema with your pep talks.

Life is just different for those with chronic mental illness. It’s not an excuse. It’s a fact. And frankly, I am tired of having sunshine spewed all over me, even by supposedly “mentally ill” people who find the magic cocktail and their year of “suffering” is abated now hear them RAWR. I am not in a bad mood. I am not being negative. I am stating facts, those annoying little things the masses shun because it’s just so much more chipper to say we all have options, choices, nothing can hold us back.

This is asinine. Like comparing someone with a limp to a marathon runner and saying the one with a limp has no disadvantage, they just need to try harder, limp faster.

No one wants to admit they have limitations. It would be super fun ball happy day if we were all exactly alike and on even ground from birth. But we are not. Some have physical challenges (which even if overcome, still factor in). Some are born into poverty and never catch a break no matter how smart they are or how hard they try. Short people can’t reach the high shelf without help. Tall people can’t fit through a four foot hole without stooping. And chronic mental illness is not a matter of “self sabotage” or “not trying hard enough” or “letting the past hold you back.”

It’s time to take off the shiny happy people blinders and acknowledge these facts. Not everyone can be extraordinary and go on to cure ebola and create a computer that also makes toast or build a method of feeding starving countries out of a jellybean and sun lamp. It’s not “lack of effort.”  Sometimes it’s being behind from the start of the race, tripping over shoelaces, falling down, catching up only to get behind again…THAT is reality for most people.

Dreams, goals, it’s all a wonderful thing.

Until the world starts forcefeeding this one size fits all menu of positive affirmation and “you can do it!” crap. It sets up so many for failure, for judgment, for self loathing. Rather than allow us to feel free to figure out what our limitations are and how best to make do with what we can do limitlessly, we are constantly browbeaten into “I am such a loser because Jack Sprat’s only 25 and has one leg and a robotic eyeball and he’s worth a jagillion dollars for creating that virtual masturbation ap!”

ENOUGH ENOUGH ENOUGH.

Call me negative. Call me nasty. It’s the hazards of being a realist in a world where people only accept sunshine spewage or negative nelly-ism. No middle ground to simply say, “It’s rainy today.” Nope, because that would be a negative, a complaint, and because we, as human beings, are magical, we should be able to MAKE IT STOP RAINING. If born with one eye, you should be able to regenerate an eyeball!

Am I being ridiculous?

No more so than telling people there are no limitations except those in their own minds. Of course, no one would say something so idiotic to one with a brain tumor, because, duh, you can’t cut open your own head and remove a tumor. You have to get medical professionals and treatment and whether you live or die really ISN’T in your control.

Kind of like mental illness. No matter how many doctors, meds, therapists, hear me rawr articles and pep talks…Whether you respond to any of it is NOT within your control. If it were, then it would be a personality quirk, rather than an illness of the mind.

Maybe my biggest problem is that I’m not ambitious, never have been. My only goal ever has been to survive. Make the best of what I have. Hope for the best, be aware the worst could happen. REALISM.

And what built this monster of realism, seemingly incapable of even digesting super shiny positive thought second hand?

About a dozen attempts at “accepting no limitations”. Over and over again, get manic, go insanely happy. Get stable, think that I can finally be cured. Fall down the rabbit hole, think I am a lost cause. Recover. Relapse. Lather, rinse, repeat. Always charging out of the gate with my can do attitude and “I am not weakling” stubborn streak. Always thinking, “Oh, it’s been four months, I am s0 fucking cured and now I am gonna go back to school, learn a trade, get a great paying job, live the american fucking dream!” And at the time, I mean it, I believe it, I live it.

Right up til a med combo conks out or the depression storms the door. I’m not defeatist. I am a realist. Which means I no longer crumble under my illness’s false highs, the hopes it gives me that vanish in a second flat. That’s the thing with bipolar. You only THINK you’re all recovered. Too easily you can come unglued, especially if other diagnoses are involved. It’s a delicate balance for everything to work in concert and align so you start on the same stable ground as others. Keeping that stable ground…isn’t always possible. No matter how determined, how fierce, how badass you are…Mental health issues simply don’t care.

I am happy to be a realist, to have finally learned a lesson about my own mood cycles and how they lie to me. Four years ago, I woke up to being a single mom. I was gonna prove everyone wrong. Go back to school. Find a job. Get meds and therapy that works. And I did most of it, at least looked for a job even though no one would have me. I tried to go to school (even though what I applied to learn was sooo not in my interest, just a way to secure a job in a limited job market here) but the loan wasn’t approved. I tried learning computer repair with a book, disc, and a friend willing to teach me and even pay for the certification test. I failed big time. I kept going. More meds, more therapy, more effort.

I was a badass. The Donor was gonna see what I was made of, I wasn’t gonna fall apart without him.

As it turned out, it was never about him. It was never even about me becoming successful by society’s standard. It was a manic fallacy I fell for, convincing myself I was all fixed when in fact the next cycle came within seven months and I fell apart, had bad reactions to my meds, and became utterly non functioning and flaky again. Even as I was doing the job search thing, telling people I was stable because I wanted to be and was expected to be and if I just kept telling myself that, it’d become fact….

But I have limitations and I have come to accept them. Not complacently, mind you. I still have goals and thoughts and ideas. But I’ve been anhedonic for so long, it just gets away. You keep looking for that med combo that’s gonna glue it all together as a cohesive unit so you can focus on the dreams and goals. I’m not deluding myself that there will ever be a perfect time. Much like having a child, I waited til I was nearly 40, always thinking there’d be a better time, when I was cured of bipolar, when I had more money, when when when….

And then it was out of my hands and I have a kid, like it or not, and for four years, in spite of all my struggles…She’s a happy healthy monster which means…I may not have accomplished all that other pie in the sky stuff..But I’ve managed the one goal that was the point all along. Taking care of my child.

Considering how many parents without mental illness can’t handle caring for their kids…I’d say I’ve held up remarkably well. I won’t be wiping my ass with hundred dollar bills any time soon, but we’ll leave that to the next Fuckerburg who creates an anti social media site to control the sheeple.

And little known fact…There was a time I’d clip out little inspirational quotes from Reader’s Digest and I would tape them to my mirror so when I looked at myself, I’d have to read some positive tidbit. I’ve literally tried everything but shock therapy and accupuncture. (And if the insurance would pay, I’d go have needles stuck in my frickin skull if I thought it’d help with this depression.)

I’m not negative or positive. I am a realist. I know my flaws. I try to improve on them. The major thing is, I don’t agree with others (DSM) on what my flaws are. So while I am focusing on not being a domineering loudmouth, they’re having litters of possums because I wear black and like coffin decor. Now in my view, they’re the ones embracing limitations. Because the color and decor I like has nothing to do with the fact that my brain chemicals can’t maintain a happy medium.

So…Believe the mania, believe the sunshine spewing party line, it’s your choice. Hate me, hate my blog, move along. Just for the love of pegacorns put a dimmer switch on all your bright light of shiny happy joyness.

Realism isn’t ugly. It’s just…REAL.

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8 Responses to “What’s Stopping You?”

  1. alfgarnet Says:

    BrillI, and well said hunny , say it exactly as it is , if people don’t like it , there’s the door don’t let it hit your ass on the way out, life’s to short for candy sugaring , take care be strong , x

  2. Whatchu mean?? My brain tumor’s in a pickle jar on my bookcase! And,,, I took it out all by myself in 2 hours with a “Get Over Yourself, Try Harder! A Book Mentally Ill DIY Surgical Procedures” SMH? What is stopping you? You just need a DIY mental illness cure workshop with FREE course book,,, ❤
    Hey I'm gonna be a motivational speaker!!

  3. I’ll keep my pink glitter to less shiny standards for you. Not a damn thing wrong with REAL. For the sheeple, real is scary and it’s easier to think I can be a kardashian than I can be me. I’ll take me-and you and D and Zoe and Tessa the way we are tyvm. Love you and your goth and coffin decor

    • I am the odd one out right now because for once in my life the damn meds are working and still working and I keep waiting for the day they quit. They can’t work forever. Though I kind of miss the mania days. Stable isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

  4. ❤ my crazy ass ❤ s ya all!

  5. I nodded all the way through your post, it’s so accurate.

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