Accidental Circuitry – Mental illness

chris-barbalis-186421

I write what I am passionate about. And I felt compelled to write this and share my thoughts.

Suicide has been condemned as a sinful cowardly act. It’s not that simple. We won’t ever know someone’s pain. They might even feel like they are doing everyone a favor. It’s messed up for everybody involved, but I get why people do it. Make no mistake, I don’t agree or disagree with it. But I understand.

Our personal demons become bigger than us. It is an internal war. You lose once you can’t stand to look directly into your eyes in the mirror. When all the love in the world can no longer sustain you. When everything means absolutely nothing. You give up fighting for yourself, because you will never win and you’ll never find peace. An insufferable existence.

I am not a clinician. I can’t speak on everyone’s behalf. Suicide is not the end all for everyone whom suffers. I’ve learned things through trial and error. It’s one big experiment.

My results:

I never continue to see a doctor I am not comfortable with. Question everything. Voice your concerns. They should not be dismissive.

This is your body. Not every medical professional is looking out for your best interest and some will be bias, their loyalty is to vendors that are most profitable for their pockets.

Do you own research on prescriptions, pay close attention to in depth reviews from other people, seek out a balance of pros and cons and compare.

Don’t become overwhelmed with the negative experiences, there will always be more of it, just search harder for the positive experiences.

Sometimes the side effects are not worth it and the withdrawal symptoms could be traumatic if you had no idea what to expect. Research the half life of medication before you start on a regimen.

Give yourself the appropriate time frame to adjust to new medication, and also the appropriate time frame to wean off if it’s not working with your body chemistry. It’s a process either way. Play it safe.

If your primary doctor does not want to help you wean off, but you feel that this medication is detrimental to your health, find another clinician willing to help and purchase a pill cutter. I asked a nurse practitioner at an Integrative Medicine practice to help me off medication completely.

I know a pill can lessen the severity of what you’re feeling. I spent that time evaluating what needed to change in my life. I thought about my relationships, environment, employment, and mindset.

I supplemented with counseling. Read about different therapeutic approaches; borrowed methods from everything that was applicable to my circumstances; and adapted this guidance into what makes sense to me.

Not everyone needs medication long-term. It can be a temporary salve, but the real beast to tackle is all mental. It’s a daily on-going battle to make you self-aware and accountable for the things you have the power to change with discipline and strong enough to accept the things you are unable to change.

***

Embracing your victimhood is mental defeat. I wanted to rebuild my identity, discover who I am and take the reins back. Even if it terrifies me, I rather feel it than stay numb.

Analyze your mind as a spectator. Catch yourself before you fall. Don’t feel pressured to be happy because you think you should be. Get angry, be sad, feel butterflies in your stomach, scream, try on every facet of human emotion.

Feelings are abrupt and fleeting. I use them to figure out what my triggers are and learn to understand myself better. I am not these emotions. They are waves of distraction.

My personal demons are a permanent stain on the mind. There is no cure, no hiding place, only progression to make it bearable, to lessen their impact when they sink their claws and teeth in. I must learn to live with them.

Supplements can be used as alternatives to prescriptions. I’ve used suntheanine/L-theanine, ashwagandha, 5 HTP (time released), holy basil, St. John Wort (not recommended on birth control) for anxiety/depression. I’ve used passion flower or low dose of melatonin for insomnia. I’ve taken fish oil, black seed oil, hemp seed oil, magnesium, zinc, vitamin d, b-vitamin complex. I’ve felt each one made a difference in some way, in combinations and on it’s own. Placebo or not, it was beneficial.

I don’t use anything already premixed. I want to know what works for me. I’ve done cycles of regular supplementation and gone weeks without. It depends how I feel. I eat as clean as I can. Exercise, dance, stretch, move.

A panic attack is the scariest thing. It comes on suddenly. I’ve passed out in public. I’ve been taken to the ER a few times before. I monitor my body. I can sense when I’m off, and it becomes a matter of “when will I experience an attack”. Because it will come. There is no preparation. I don’t try to fight them.

I feel my hands become clammy. I feel shaky and woozy, out of control, scared, panicked. I feel myself splitting into two, disconnected and powerless; observing my anxiety from a detached state. If my vision starts to blur, I lay down, on the floor, couch, bed, and close my eyes. I remind myself that this will pass. And I will not die. Not from this anyway. I pretend I am floating and concentrate on my breath.

***

Anxiety brings a posse. Here comes Depression, PTSD, OCD, Panic Disorder, Body Dysmorphia, Bipolar Disorder, etc. To what extent it affects someone varies. Not everyone suffers the same. Many people are ignorant of how mental disorders impact someone’s life. They associate it with psychotic criminal activity. Or think of a homeless person rambling to seemingly no one out on the street. Or attribute it to an outcast, a person whom doesn’t belong to the popular social circles because they are weird.

This is the media’s interpretation of mental illness. It’s not to say it’s all wrong, but it doesn’t always fall to that extreme. The stigma of these conditions.

This doesn’t account for the millions of people whom suffer in silence. Who go to work every day, as leaders, creators, performers. Who take care of their family and are in stable relationships. They appear to be like everyone else and assimilating with society. But are inclined to retreat back to their personal quiet spaces to re-calibrate.

While others struggle to do everyday things, but push through if they must, and secretly beat themselves up that they don’t act “normal” enough to fool anyone.

Or those whom have no idea they have a mental disorder and just assume they are crazy and let it get out of hand.

There is too much misinformation. Too many opinions. Not enough people willing to educate themselves on a profound deeper level beyond what’s on social media and the news.

My role is to be kinder to myself. Others won’t always be. Many won’t care enough to try to understand. So I need to trust myself to know what’s best for me.

Find someone to talk to. Seek out a therapist, a friend, a relative. There aren’t always genuine people around. So find someone you admire, even if you don’t know them personally. Follow their story, to guide you, inspire you. Or adopt a furry friend. All that matters is they bring you joy, they make you smile, and they guide you through the challenging times.

We were never meant to be solitary.

My partner knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I go through. That’s what keeps me going. Before that, I found inspiration wherever I could. But it had to be someone or something significant to pull me out of my head.

Find something that is yours. Empower yourself. I’ve learned to enjoy myself after I learned to enjoy being around someone else. Bond. Connect. It’s a mutual love. The best kind.

Toxic people made me feel soulless. I was dragging around insurmountable burdens. The use of alcohol and drugs no longer provided escapism; it intensified this breathing darkness into something uglier I could no longer contain.

I had to get rid of it all. Detox. Start over.

***

I’ve wanted to die. I thought I could never fight this unrelenting gloom and be completely happy. I’m not here to say that I am now. But I am surviving. Vastly better than destroying myself piece by piece.

I know contentment between the struggles.

I no longer dislike myself as a person, but my dreams are fire-kissed, frayed at the edges. I am haunted by former times, and by fears of the future, stumbling in the dark. I am cautiously alert. I am constantly pondering, insatiably curious. I contemplate dark things. I don’t think I’m OK, but I tell myself I will be if I stop worrying. If I can.

The world can be cruel and sometimes I want no part in it. The thought of death doesn’t frighten me. But leaving behind distraught loved ones does. So I keep going. I don’t know when the world will stop spinning for me.

No one really has it together. Just some are better actors. And the crude caricatures trolling on social media are a joke. They all have something to say, powering up their fingertips on the keyboard, posing behind a camera.

Don’t fall for it. There are more people like us than you think.

This has been my path. You aren’t alone. You are not weak.

The mainstream just wants you to think that you are.

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3 thoughts on “Accidental Circuitry – Mental illness

  1. A very gripping & insightful post! I admire the goodness of thought that you possessed as you so gracefully talked about such a serious topic. Thanks for sharing such a soul touching post! According to your convenience please do read some of my writings would love to know what you think about them 🙂

    Warm Regards,
    Sidharth
    https://sweetdevil69.wordpress.com/

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