Let's be REAL About Mental Illness

You can be happy, successful, rich, have a wonderful family, and still have cancer.

So what in the world makes people think you can be all of the above, and NOT suffer from mental illness?

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression more than 20 years ago. 

I have a great life, and most people wouldn't look at me and guess I fight my mental illness with every weapon at my disposal. 

I have a wonderful job, and coworkers. I work really hard, and have earned a certain amount of respect in my field. 

My family are amazing.  They love me, and I love them. 

I can't help my broken brain. It simply...is. I work around it. I live with it. I CAN treat it. I can, and do. 

And sometimes, it wins.

When your broken brain takes over, you may get anxious and afraid. you probably become anti-social and feel...worthless and small.  Your broken brain convinces you that you do not deserve happiness and success. You don't deserve love. You don't deserve...anything. And you are just so damned...tired. 

My broken brain gets set on repeat, and the things it tells me, you would never say to another person. It's that bad. It's a whirlwind of vicious negativity that bombards me with horrible, terrible, no-good things...and it Will. Not. Stop. 

I shake. I cry. I huddle under my blanket in the dark and wish it away. I think dark thoughts. 

For a while. 

But there is always this tiny light in the back of my brain that tells me it will get better. 

It ALWAYS gets better. 

I have sunk into some dank, black pits in my time. And I have come out the other side. It ain't a pretty journey, but all roads lead...somewhere.  And I am not depressed all the time. Not even most of the time, to be clear. 

In some of my darkest moments, There's a small bit of me that knows...this isn't real. It isn't true...it's just my brain, messin' with me again. 

And, most of the time, I start the slow climb out within a few days. 

When things get bad, I have learned to reach out and talk to the people I love. I have learned to force myself out of the "pit of dispair," and into the sunlight for a bit. I make myself go to the store, and do the mundane things that we all have to do to get through our week. I listen to music. I read books. Sometimes I force myself to take a shower or do my nails. 

Hey, it's the small stuff. Don't judge. 

I am lucky. Some people don't hear that wee voice in the background saying that this is going to pass. 

Some people get lured into the deadly siren's-song their broken brain is singing...and take their final spin around the floor. They believe it won't end, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Their broken brain convinces them that the only way to end the pain and mental self-immolation is...the end. 

It's sooooo easy to dismiss the self-harm of the rich and famous.

"What the hell do they have to be sad about?" "Oh, probably booze or drugs." Maybe even, "What an idiot."

They aren't "sad." They aren't stupid. They MAY be self-medicating, like millions of others, and they may not be..I have no idea. 

The face of mental illness comes in every color, every gender expression, every socio-economic stratum. It doesn't give the slightest bleep about what God you believe in...or don't. 

We can speak openly and honestly about it. We can help each other understand that mental illness can hit anyone, anywhere, anytime. from any station, background, race, religion...mental illness is an equal-opportunity offender. And the face it is showing may have a genuine smile, sparkling eyes and a mischievous sense of humor. 

It doesn't care who the heck you are, what you do, how much money you make, or how funny and charming you are. 

Hi, my name is LaDona and today is a good day. I'll take it, because tomorrow may be dark, and full of terrors. And I will take that too. Click here, and join me in the fight against suicide. Yes, I am asking for money.

                 

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741

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