My Mental Illness & Strength

I work on topics for this blog frequently although I don’t always post them quickly.   I mostly use my phone and when I have a great idea I write it down in my memos section.
This is a fantastic phone for many things.   My last blackberry phone has a memos section but every memo entry goes straight into the same section/folder and I have thousands upon thousands of memos for all different things. So when I would create a blogging memo to later post to this blog, it would be lost amidst the thousands of other memos and if I would forget the title of the memo, well I was out of luck.

So I would write the word “Blog” in every title so when I searched I would search for the word “Blog ” but then that list was getting way too long and it took a long while to find the post I was searching for.

But this phone let’s me create multiple folders for anything I want! So currently I have a folder for the sole purpose of this blog, one for inspirational quotes, one for poetry, ….

It’s so organized and convenient and I love it.

Anyway, today I am depressed and hallucinating. As I have mentioned here before, I struggle with Major Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features.   I have since I was eleven years old and was diagnosed at 21 years old.   And it sucks. I have recurrent episodes, sometimes with psychosis(hallucinatuons & delusions) . When I’m hallucinating, I don’t always know it. Until someone points out my bizzare thinking or behavior. Or when my depression lifts and I realize I was totally schizing out. 

My depression is generally much, much better than ever before.   My episodes are not as frequent and usually not as severe. But today I was so depressed I could not get out of bed for a few hours. I laid in bed for hours wide awake but unable to move. I was in so much pain it was incredible. It felt like my gut going through a shredder. Like my whole body weighed thousands of pounds, it was agony. It really was.

I can’t even explain it in words. It was not triggered by any one specific event. But endless negative thoughts scurried through my head. All of my failures, feelings of lack & loneliness, anger, grief, despair.   It was hell. Then I got myself out of bed and was standing in my bedroom. My sister was in her room and my mom was downstairs.   No one else was in my house. My dad was at work.

I looked to my side and a man was standing next to me and startled me and I jumped and screamed loudly. My mom was on the phone with a utility company person and did not appreciate my shrieking.   I succumbed back to my bed and the man vanished. I later realized I was hallucinating.   My hallucinations are often very vivid and seem very real. Sometimes I know I’m hallucinating, sometimes I don’t. I have visual, auditory, &  tactile hallucinations.   The tactile (bodily / feeling) ones are usually the worst and most frightening ones.   I feel someone or something on my body pulling me, crushing me, strangling me. Sometimes I believe and feel that I am being dragged across the floor, down the stairs, and just all over but really I’m just laying in bed.  It’s horrible but I have learned to cope.

I hear voices sometimes, which are all in my head but they are just as real to me as an actual person standing before me and talking. They often speak nonsense. Sometimes they talk to me and other occasions they have conversations with one another. Sometimes about me. They don’t say bad things about me and they don’t tell me to do things.

One night some years ago I was laying in bed trying to sleep and two different voices were trying to determine if I was already asleep or not. I know now they were not real.

I see scary things that others can’t see. But not all of my hallucinations are scary. They can be annoying and they can just be there.   Not scaring me, not annoying me, just there.

This freaks some people out. It freaked my aunt out years ago way before I was diagnosed and had no clue whatsoever what was going on with me. She was too afraid to be around me after that and I was invited over to her house less frequently and was not allowed to sleep over or go out with her anymore.

When I was at the jersey shore with her and my grandmom when I was fifteen years old, I slipped into a very deep depression and I could not get out of bed. My grandmom yelled at me and said it was for attention. Other people said it was a “Rebellious teenage Phase” and my aunt was scared out of her mind yelling that I was “Going off. “. Me? I had no idea what was happening. No idea how to explain it to anyone.

It was a living hell.

I was delusional, thinking people were conspiring against me and wanted me dead. As an adult I  have believed that therapists of mine were out to destroy me and were working against me. And wanted me dead or ruined.

When I was a teenager I had no idea what depression or psychosis is.

But here I am now. All grown up and I know what I have and what to do to help myself.

I am not dangerous to others or society. I will not hurt anyone or destroy anything. I know what is right and what is wrong. While I cannot always control my thoughts or emotions I CAN control my actions. I never think about or want to hurt or kill anyone other than myself. And usually I do not even want to hurt myself anymore.

My mental illness is a part of me. It is not the biggest part of me. It is not me. But there’s no denying that it IS a part of me and may always be. I am not embarrassed to write about it and I am not embarrassed to talk about it in person to anyone at all. I can’t deny it and pretend it’s not real or not serious and I don’t want to. It may not be good and it may not be pleasant but that does not make it any less a part of me.

I don’t always go out of my way to bring it up to people out of nowhere but I never go out of my way to cover it up or keep it a secret. 

I am not a secretive kind of girl. I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be anonymous or shady or keep to myself. I want people to know me for all that I am, good & bad alike.

I realize that sometimes I talk about my illness and suicidal thoughts or compulsions lightly or a little too casually for some people.   It’s just the way I am. It’s not to make light of a serious disorder but because it’s so much a part of me and I am so used to being me, I tend to forget that mental illness and suicidal contemplation are not light or extremely common things that people in general tend to talk about casually or openly.

So a conversation of mine can go a little something like this:

“So today I woke up, got into a shower, contemplated suicide, walked to the store and then I went to work and I was hallucinating all day and I got an iced coffee and I came home…” sometimes I just forget that to other people, that can be the biggest shock to hear or read, that I contemplated suicide today. But to me, that’s just part of what I am.

Lol

I have no problem discussing it in public even when strangers can hear.

It used to kill me that I wasn’t like other girls. I wasn’t a “Normal” girl. I have this extra baggage to lug around. But it is what it is.  

When I was in tenth grade and would sit in class with the other girls, I knew I was different in an unpleasant way.   When they talked about what they wanted for their sixteenth birthdays, they wanted cars, and cellphones but all I wanted was a gun and a casket. When they giggled and dreamed about what to wear and who to take next year to the prom, all I could think about was who, if anyone, would come to my funeral.

Of course I did not mention this to anyone at all. I was not as confident or open back then. I suffered alone in silence.

Today I was excruciatingly depressed BUT the thought of taking my own life did not even cross my mind! I’m so happy to say! I am getting stronger.   I am getting better.
Just a year ago I would have gave in and contemplated or thought of ending my life but not today! Not anymore!

And even through the pain of today, I was able to grasp onto some positive things and thoughts and not succumb to what may have turned into a full-blown, clinical episode. 

I can think of two things that contributed to my depression today. Lack of sleep last night and I woke up early and read a girl’s heartbreaking story of her best friend who recently died of cancer at age 27 years old.
They were inseparable friends and could not stand being apart. 
I can’t stand reading that people die. My heart just breaks.

I want everyone to be able to talk openly about mental health and illness. Some people may genuinely not want to discuss their own condition and that’s definitely ok. But there are those who do want to discuss it but cannot bring themselves to out of fear of being misunderstood or ridiculed or rejected and abandoned.

Your mental illness is not who you are. You are so much more.   But it is a part of you just like any physical condition is a part of other people. And you can learn to cope with it and accept it.

If other people cannot, you may want to reconsider being around them too much or putting much thought  into them.

There are people who will accept you, mental illness and all. And there are those, like me, who know exactly what it’s like to struggle with it.

You can’t pull yourself out of it or directly talk yourself out of it but you CAN make decisions and form habits that will contribute to remission or recovery or just make your condition less severe and easier to handle.

It won’t always be easy. I now view this as a blessing, as painful as it can be. It inspires me to better myself in general and strengthen my positive nature and my general gratitude.

It’s not always pretty but it does have its positive side.

Having this blog helps me tremendously. Just thinking about the fact that I have right here to post whenever I want about positive thoughts, experiences, coping mechanisms…to help others and myself brings me a sense of consolation and inspiration.

YOU can empower yourself and inspire yourself. Be your biggest advocate.  

I am depressed right now but not like earlier. And I know it’s temporary. It comes and goes and I am strong enough to prevail.

” All the world is full of suffering.
It is also full of overcoming.”
– Helen Keller

Let today be the day that you choose to become your own greatest hero. 

Xox0 Kim

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😀

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