I’m so glad I made a career change. Working outside is amazing for the soul. Peace!
I have to share this post from mzukowskiblog.wordpress.com. In those times when it really feels like we just don’t measure up. When we compare ourselves to people who seem to have things figured out, or at least appear to not be hanging on in life by a string. This is a great reminder that we really don’t know what anybody else is dealing with in their private life. We see every dirty detail of our own lives, but people don’t openly share the struggles the pain like they share their successes. Comparing our front row seat to every dirty detail of our own lives with the polished hand picked for the public details of someone elses, our own lives will of course appear to be lacking. It isn’t a fair comparison. In any case, I just wanted to pass this on because it made me feel a little better about things.
For everyone that’s either given up or on the verge of doing so, this one’s for you.
For everyone trying hopelessly to escape that abyss, this one’s for you.
Disclaimer: I do not know things. I know what I’ve experienced and I know what I’m experiencing. I’m trying here, just like you.
I want this post to be the least patronizing it could be (see disclaimer), so to do that I want to say, I’ve been in your shoes, October of last year. Yes, I know. You go outside and there’s immediate intimidation from either the clothes people are wearing (suits to your joggers), their hair (bouncy to your flat), their skin (spotless to your acne), their body (slim to your fat or skinny). The list goes on.
If you can relate, then I need you to consider the following three points:
- That person has been in your…
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They were like wolves. No, hyenas. Ripping and tearing, feasting on my most intimate frailty. I tried to fight, to make my worth known. I wasn’t very convincing. God, I couldn’t convince myself. I just didn’t know that. They could smell it. The fear. The insecurity. They loved it. They hunted it, gorged on it. Before I knew what happened they had all had a piece. Bellies full, my self shredded and torn, they relished. I was good for them. Their egos. I was their bond. I just didn’t know it.
This is really interesting…
The issue of stigma involving mental illness is alive and well, but who is responsible to stop it? How can it be stopped? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I don’t even know if I am truly convinced that I have the right to say that I am sick when I really truly am sick. Stigma is often self-inflicted, I have come to believe. Not that I am openly stigmatizing myself, or directly and purposefully perpetuating it, but by allowing myself to be affected by it. By that I mean by allowing myself to feel or believe, whether unconsciously or not, that what is being implied through stigma is truth. For example, I wasn’t able to continue in my last career because I wasn’t able to maintain a depression/manic free state. Sure, it was a good job and I was able to go on medical leave, but ultimately I left the job that I loved because of instability. Why then, in the back of my mind is my default feeling about this that it is my fault and that I couldn’t keep the job because of some personality flaw, or some other flaw that is in my control. Why do I feel like I screwed up and that in reality, didn’t deserve to keep the job. It makes me feel bad. I know intellectually that I was sick, but I can’t feel that it is true. I don’t feel that I have the right to say that I am sick. It has to stop.
This has got me to thinking. While it is important to educate about mental illness, and that will help combat stigmatization against the mentally ill (I personally don’t see the difference between mental and physical illness, but that is a topic for another time. In fact, I did a post related to that here. ), I think it is probably most important that we focus on ourselves . We need to change the language both in general and in the way we are referring to ourselves and our situations. If we are experiencing depression, anxiety, mania, or are referring to a time that we were, we should boldly and unapologetically say that we are or were sick. That we have a brain disorder. The brain is an organ in our physical bodies and there is an imbalance in the chemicals and therefore it’s functioning. The problem is not some abstract condition that we cannot identify. It is a direct result of our brain chemistry, it’s that simple. It is not up for debate. We are sick. Just as a cancer patient is sick and has a physical illness, one of our organs is not functioning properly so we are sick. That’s it.
The fact that the personality is formed by activity in the brain makes it very obvious that if there is an imbalance, and therefore a disruption, in brain function it only makes sense that the personality would be affected. The personality is not a choice. The fact that a person is suffering from extreme irritability during a depressive or manic state does not mean that they are an irritable person. The personality is not the self, in my opinion. The self is our bodies and the personality is a function of that body. We cannot chose it.
Additionally, our brains create and recreate connections all the time. The creation and recreation of the connections, how the brain is “wired”, is affected by our environment. I believe that the environment can contribute to mental illness insofar as a propensity for mental illness exists. It has been shown that some people who have the predisposition of mental illness may or may not develop such, and that outside stimuli, such as trauma or abuse, can trigger the illness. That is not to say that the person is not really sick and that the person can choose to get over the trauma and move on, back to not having a mental illness. They have a mental illness. Someone might have the propensity to develop a certain type of cancer but never become sick, while someone else in the same situation might participate in a lifestyle that increases their chances of developing the illness. That doesn’t mean, that if latter develops cancer,that the cancer isn’t legitimate. The brain is affected by intangible stimuli. Stress might result in stomach aches and headaches or worse, and it can also trigger a disorder in brain function. Mental illness is nothing more than physical illness, it just has a different manifestation. Sick is sick.
Honestly, until we stop trying to change other peoples’ opinions or impressions of mental illness, and start talking boldly, confidently and unashamedly about our illness just as though we have any other illness, I doubt the problem of stigma is going anywhere very quickly. If we own it, speak openly about it, and expect others to accept it like they accept any other serious illness, then eventually they will.
It has been forever since I posted here. That is not for lack of trying. It’s just that I have been down more than up over the past few years and every time I sat down to write there was just nothing there. I couldn’t find anything to say, I lost the motivation to do anything. Quite frankly, mental illness sucks. Bad.
I swear to God I don’t know how so many people make life look so damn easy. It isn’t for me. For some reason I can’t seem to get life right. I know I have talent, I’ve always been at the top of my class, the team captain and the competitive pianist. A typical type A overachiever. I have three university degrees and even a professional degree. What gives?
Right now I am job searching. Most jobs I have ever had are ones that I should have been able to do better. I am a hard-working, dedicated employee but for some reason I see my peers passing me by. Is this typical of people with mental illness? Is that why I feel so behind compared to other people my age? I am not married, have no children, don’t own a home and probably never will. I am pretty, hard-working, and if my achievements are any indication, very smart. I always get along with my coworkers, when I have a job, and I do well at work. Why do I have so much trouble? I don’t get it. It seems like I take 3 steps forward and 3 to 5 steps back, but life just keeps on moving ahead without me.
How do I figure this out. I want a normal life but I don’t know how to get one. Almost every job I do is one that I really am overqualified for. Perhaps I lack confidence. Perhaps I am sending out a bad vibe or I’m on the wrong frequency. I don’t know, but at this point I’m willing to try anything to catch up in life. Does anybody know where I can get help with life? Is that a thing? I’ll try just about anything. Help!