03/27/18/The Funny Thing About Mental Illness

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that a diagnosis works by

Spilling your lie over someone

Who tries to find a match

But the picture puzzle is just

Shades of color and missing pieces

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that the treatment is just throwing things at the problem

And deciding which thing

Is the least bad

But the problem is camouflaged

And deftly dodges the slow projectiles

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it’s a flowing river ride

Sometimes softly flowing

Sometimes lower or higher than normal

But there are also rapids

And terrifying waterfalls

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it’s all in your head

So those around you have a hard time

Believing that you are fighting for your lie

But sometimes they just don’t care

Enough to stop pushing buttons

Until something breaks

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that you never really “get better”

You just learn to cope better

But coping better means fewer people

Believe that you are struggling

And more people are pushing buttons

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it is exhausting to just exist

Everything takes more energy to get done

And if you get derailed, it takes even longer

To calm down and get back to it

But people just think you’re lazy

And they derail you anytime

Because it’s not like you do anything anyway

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that you can’t just let things go

And the more that people harp on you over it,

The more distressful and disruptive it is going to be

But they don’t care about sparking an anxiety attack

Because you don’t actually matter

As much as the thing they want

 

The funny thing about mental illness

Is that it’s not funny at all

But everyone treats it like a joke

Until you start laughing too

 

I inadvertently took a break from this blog because of mental illness. Last Memorial Day, I had a PTSD inspired anxiety attack and ended up shoving my way out of a literal corner and walking for around a mile with no shoes. I found myself in a park with bleeding and burnt feet and no phone. Luckily a stranger came by and called an ambulance or me, in retrospect, I should have asked him to call my spouse instead. I ended up with basic wound care, a diagnosis of “anxiety” and an ambulance bill my insurance decided wasn’t necessary for them to pay. I also ended up getting anti0depressants and a good dose of fat shaming from my, now former, family physician.

That medication amped up my executive dysfunction and I gained over 50lbs without changing my eating habits one way or another.

I went off that medication a month ago with no ill effects and have been playing catch-up ever since. Over the last 9 months, I have developed some bad habits and so have my kids. My home is no longer clean, I haven’t written fiction or poetry and I almost lost my job.

Apparently, I need my anxiety to function. I am doing a lot better and working with a good medical team and support system to get back where I want to be, so don’t worry. But, I wanted to share this to let y’all know that I don’t sugar-coat my lie to look perfect online. I don’t want or need pity. I want to end the stigma around mental illness, because the funny thing about mental illness is that it is more common than you think and the support systems are not there to help. Because it is so stigmatized.

Next time someone is struggling, instead of telling them to suck it up (my favorite is “moms don’t get days off” because it is just bursting with shit) maybe ask how you can help.

And never stand between someone and their exit, especially after they have answered your question and asked to be left alone.

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