Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I Stopped Fighting My Mental Illnesses.

 To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven.
A time of love, a time of hate.
A time of war, a time of peace.
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing.
              From the song: Turn Turn Turn
                                        By Pete Seeger

Most of my life, as long as I can remember Mental Illness has wreaked havoc on my life. Depression, Anxiety, Emotion Regulation, Mood stabilization issues, Black and White Thinking, Self Medication, Rage. All this led to an inferior quality of life, broken relationships and a trail of human wreckage that spilled back decades. In the late 00’s after another “breakdown” and Suicide attempt, I got, as they say, “sick and tired of being sick and tired." I was ready to do whatever it took to get better. I decided I was going to fight this Mental Illness until I defeated it leaving me victorious over it. So with determination, I slowly and deliberately trudged my way slowly out of despair. I gained the skills and tools to wage my war on the illness and symptoms. I started changing my mind and my values creating space for growth and change. My symptoms still raged at me. But I was getting better, stronger, I was learning to turn back my symptoms and resist my difficult feelings and emotions but I was still not winning my war, the fight raged on. I labeled my symptoms demons and monsters. I visualized them with skull faces, and I hated them. I pushed my body and my mind. I endured the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings the “demons” conjured in my head until I bearly budged a centimeter when they would try to claw at me and ruin me. I fought hard….
 A fight is a violent confrontation or struggle. It is synonymous with: brawl, fracas, melee, rumpus, skirmish, struggle, scuffle, altercation, clash, disturbance. You get the point.  A struggle is constant and ongoing. After time though I was in many cases better than I can ever remember being when it came to my mental health. I was happy, without waiting for the next breakdown. But I did break down again. And again. It was different now though. I would fight, until  I would get so weary that I would become exhausted. Fighting every day, all day, eventually, I would be fatigue and be overtaken by the effort of my daily struggles until I fell.
I couldn't figure out why I wasn't winning. I was metaphorically kicking my symptoms ass. I was diligent. I pushed back. I would get so tired of having to fight... It again became almost more than I could bear. Then I would "break down."  I was bewildered. I was winning the fight of the day to day battles, but it felt like I was loosing in the more protracted overarching war.
I thought about it. I thought hard about it. Did I need better tactics or more allies to win this war against the demons? Did I need to figure out how to amass more energy to spend in my struggle? Nothing gave me confidence or made me feel like an end was in sight to the campaign I was waging against my Mental Illness. Then slowly it dawned on me. The problem wasn't how I was going to win the fight. The problem was the fight itself. I was in an unsustainable battle with an unbeatable foe.

In my path to better Health and healing, I had learned a few facts about my illness and symptoms.  I am not like other people. I don't have the luxury of entertaining certain things in my life and still have an experience worth living. Extremes, judgment, prolonged anger,  lack of acceptance of my life as it is. I don't get those things in my life if I want a healthy experience. Period.  I don't get to have that. So why did I think that this one thing in my life could be different? This fight this war with my Illness. My Illness, I said it like it was separate from me. That is was an outside entity. I said it as if it wasn't me..... But It was me. My illness is just an aspect of who I am. A small part of the many elements that combine to complete me. How could I sustain or even win a war against my self? Where is the balance? How is that accepting of my life as it is?
I stopped fighting my mental illness. I quit, just like that. I opened my mind and my heart and my life. I made room for my symptoms, and I accepted them. I let them be a part of who and how I am. I was finally honest about my life and my lot in it. Accepting my illness doesn't mean I let my symptoms run roughshod over the good things in my life. It doesn't say that the unwanted thoughts or challenging feelings get to run free across the landscape of my life. But it does mean that I am no longer weary and tired day in and day out from waging wars against my self.
The war is over. I surrendered. This change has made the difference in my health and my life.
Accept who you are and your Illness and see if you can't find peace with it. It made the difference in my life.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Self love : From one extream to another.

Balance is good, because one extreme or the other leads to misery, and I've spent a lot of my life at one of those extremes. 
-Trent Reznor

Is loving yourself a thing? I mean really. I get the millennial need for hyperbolic sentiment and overstated importance. But loving yourself? The definition of Self-Love is Narcissism. It really is. I love my Mom. I love my sons and my partner. I love the cats that scamper around the apartment. I love my sisters and my friend Craig. I even love Pizza. But the Idea of loving myself, well that's just weird. I read Mental Health bloggers and YouTubers and Instagram accounts constantly talking Self-Love or love yourself. It creeps me out. Don't get shit twisted I don't expect to change any one's mind with this. If you are in the self love cult it's pretty hard to backpedal from something you have been preaching wholesale.
I know that you may have had challenges in the past reconciling your feelings about yourself and your value. If you're at all like me you have detested everything about yourself. Or you took care of everyone but yourself or you had/have good old-fashioned low self-esteem. I am very well acquainted with all of those feelings.
I have a problem maintaining middle ground. Extremes are easy. I'm Bipolar for Fucks sake. That is pretty self explanatory. I have Borderline Personality Disorder. Which is Black and White thinking. So as I said very little middle ground for me if left unattended. The middle ground is however where most of the quality in my life lies. It's in the balance. Right there in the middle.
So as damaging for me as hating myself can be the swing to the opposite side of the same coin loving myself is just as destructive. Both are extremes. Extremes leave zero room for growth compromise or balance.
It's just like the person who is always looking in the mirror and at their body and hating on their looks and weight and hair. If that person flips that around and are always looking in the mirror and at their bodies and gushing about their Beauty and the perfection of their flesh. That person still has the same problem. It's not the hate or the Narcissism. It is the preoccupation with self. It is the mirror they keep looking in. You don't drowned a man who has caught fire you remove the  flame. You don't dry a person's clothes by placing them on a pyre you put warmth near them to let them dry. I know life isn't that cut and dry. But the premises is sound. I think it also makes my basic point.
A healthy sense of Self Worth. Self esteem, Self respect, dignity, self regard, self assurance, confidence. None of those words can be replaced by conceit, they are not synonyms . They just don't mean the same thing. Big Headed conceited, self centered, vain. These words can be replaced with self love and still mean the same exact thing.
I don't buy that I can't love others if I don't love myself. I have searched for some authoritative study that says that this popular Idea is true. I couldn't find one. Not a single study that backs this seemingly plausible statement. I personally do not love myself. I just don’t . I am however completely capable of loving others. I think we often just accept things that sound good to our ears and take them for gospel even though there only church.
Modern Pop  Psychologist, have all perpetuated the Self-love concept and movement. So the current batch of Self-Lovers come by it honestly. But for me (and I'll bet I am not alone) Love is something that flows out from me for others,  and in to me from others. It is not something I have for myself. When I express love it is intense and it is fierce and it is for things outside of me. For myself I have respect, a healthy sense of Self-Worth and dignity. So there is no confusion to others or myself . Maybe you need to love yourself. If you do you I totally respect that and want you to Self-Love you're till you're blue in the face. I however I think words are important and have power and having a healthy sense of self worth will always be a healthier mindset than Loving yourself.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018


When I am out running* and I see another runner.
I don't know how far they have run, or how far they have yet to go.
I don't know if they are experienced, or if they are a novice.
I don't know if they are running for distance, or speed.
I don't know if their effort is easy and manageable, or if they are struggling and the run is taking everything they got.
I don't know why they run.
So I just accept that they are also out running just like me.
That I should just cheer them on and wish them the best without judgement, as I myself keep plugging along with my run.

*Running is a metaphor for life. 5/18/18

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Mask

The Mask

That mask you wear. The lie on your face.
The one that you think protects you. The one you think keeps you safe.  That mask is poison.
That mask is the tool you use to lie to your family and friends.
That mask you use to hide the true you, and that's the problem.
You see what you think is helping keep the real you safe actually hides the real you from the light. It hides the real you from the truth. So the real you shrivels in the dark a wades in lies. The real you starts to buy the lie that the mask you wear is good and the real you needs to be hidden.
Until the real you that has been forced behind the mask so often for so long no longer feels valuable to you.
The mask is poison.
The real you needs light to grow.
The real you need light to heal.
The real you is authentic there for beautiful.
So I ask you. I beg you. Take the mask and break it. Throw it away and be you.
Show you. Let the real you feel the light on your face.
That mask you wear. Is killing you. 5/25/18

I Stopped Fighting My Mental Illnesses.

 To everything (turn, turn, turn) There is a season (turn, turn, turn) And a time to every purpose, under heaven. A time of love, a time ...