They say that those who struggle with mental illness have a very difficult time dealing with emotional pain. They also say that artists (of any kind) feel an emotion (whatever it may be) more deeply than other people. Imagine a person who is both. That is me.
When things are falling apart in my life, my illness makes me feel like it is the end of my world as I know it, and honestly feel as though I want to die. I’m not trying to be a “Drama Queen” nor am I trying to sound “crazy or ridiculous”. But, that’s what you all think and what you see.
It takes time for me to come to terms with what is happening and to realize that although things seem like they just fell apart, they may actually be falling into place. I’d love to just “get over it” and “stop crying so much” as you all suggest I do in record time, but I am not built that way, nor is it always something I can control. Instead of helping, you add to the stigmas in my mind.
In the scary awakening that has so recently become our world and new normal, I am struggling heavily. Added to my “everyday madness” of my illness I have now had to add heartbreak from a relationship gone bad and a worldwide pandemic - called Covid-19. Can you imagine for one second the height of anxiety and depression that surrounds me?
There have been days during this virus outbreak that I have not been able to get out of bed, not been able to eat (or stop eating, some days). I've cried for days and then there were the days so numb I felt nothing at all. I’m so scared of getting sick, of being alone and of never really feeling like myself again. Fearing that if I hear one more news update, I will lose my mind for good.
As if that isn’t enough, I have to battle the monster in my head, whose voice is extra thunderous these days - spouting its venom. Commentary of how worthless I am, how unlovable I am, how weak I am - that I clearly have no way out. And now, the possibility that I will contract this virus and surely die because I am not strong enough or healthy enough to overcome it. So, why not end it now and make the pain go away...
I will not lie or pretend to tell you that I don't sometimes give in to these voices in my head, begging me to self-sabotage, because I absolutely do. Some days I don't have the fight in me and it's just easier to do as they ask and feel horrible about it tomorrow. There are many, many setbacks. However, I am slowly learning that it's not always about where you've been but where you're going. That possibly the "comebacks" can mean so much more than the setbacks. So, I give myself permission to feel everything that I'm feeling.
It’s ok to scream and cry and feel like it’s all unfair. But, I try to give myself a time limit. I give in and feel it hard for a bit and then say goodbye to it for the day.
I am also learning to replace my negative narrative with words that make me feel positive, which make me feel strong - even if it's only just for a few seconds. If it lasts a minute or two, then I consider it a victory. You’re not going to change a lifetime of voices in one single leap. A mindset takes time.
I'm learning that it's "ok" to be me. To know that I'm "normal", even with all the imperfections. That there can also be a beauty to be found in all the madness.
I am doing my very best each day to cope and keep my attention and focus in the present time. I try very hard to have or place no expectations on myself, and to give up the need to know why things are happening as they are. To just let life happen as it is but, doing my part to help my destiny along in any way that I can. If you put in the work, all you can do is pray for direction.