Now, having just typed that statement, I freely accept that there are some – who know me beyond just words on a screen – who would be hard-pressed to believe I could ever struggle to get what is on the inside out into the outside.
In other words I accept freely that I am perhaps not always known for my diplomacy and tact 🙂
Indeed, for those of us who struggle with self-harming, one of the statements you will often hear in response to the question “why?” will be based around the need to actually “feel” something or “see” something tangible. To somehow “feel” or “see” what is “trapped inside” actually coming out in one way or another.
And trust me that is a very negative web and thought process. It really is short-term gain leading to long-term pain.
Firstly there is the whole issue of trust (or lack thereof) that is going on inside of us sometimes.
Do we really trust what we perceive to be happening?
Can we really trust our own thoughts?
And even if we do trust them, can we really trust the person we are speaking with to actually understand them let alone respect them?
And trust me the severity or level of impact of such questions can vary according to what state our mind – or even our lives – are in at any given time. Folk who, like me, struggle with voices and negative (often-times harmful) internal dialogues and who are therefore subject to stressful or difficult ‘episodes’ are far less likely to trust when in or when having just come out of such an episode than we are when things have been fairly good – And this is totally understandable isn’t it?
The difficulty is however, the more you experience such episodes the more they (and the resultant lack of trust) become the ‘norm’ and so that lack of trust can grow like a cancer in your life.
I found this wonderful illustration by an artist called “jollyself” over on the templates.com blog .
For me it so encapsulates the passion and yet the tragedy that is the disconnect that I am talking about between the inside and the outside for some of those of us who suffer with mental health issues.
In it I see both that disconnect and indeed the artificial, unreal, nature of how we perceive our own thoughts our own perceptions to be sometimes.
Over the past few days I have been struggling with these. Struggling to keep my mind focused. Fighting to keep a grasp on the real and to not give way to those harmful, negative, self-sabotaging thoughts.
Is it because I am feeling defeated? Not not at all!
I recognize the struggle (and in many ways the need to express and even explain – especially to those who love me and who will read this post – just where I am right now.
But I am certainly not yet at the point of feeling defeated.
Nor, just for the record, am I at a point of mania. Heck I am far to tired and physically weak to enter into a manic episodes right now.
No, I am writing this post right now because not only do I need to explain – to those who love me and who will be reading this post – just where I am at the moment but more importantly to try to offer some hope to others who may be going through such thoughts and feelings.
You see I know this ‘disconnect’ so very well. I know it’s methods, its nature and it’s potential outcome. But what is more I know it’s lies, it’s falsehoods and its trickery. And what is more I know that it can be defeated!
It is a corrupted perception as a result of the thought processes my mind is throwing up at the moment. And when that happens we need to cling on to the real. To remove our focus from the unstable and focus on the stable.
As a mental health sufferer finding that stability can be so very difficult can’t it?
But I am a Christian and as a Christian mental health sufferer I know something which, someone who will always remain stable. And that is the Lord. And it is on the Lord that I build my confidence and my strength.
So if you, like me, are struggling at the moment – I encourage you to hold on – there is hope. And I encourage you to pray. God is bigger than our mental health and His love – through Christ His son – is so very real. And nothing, not even our mental health issues – if we truly call to Him – can separate us from that love.