Yesterday’s challenge required me to write about the best thing with regard to my mental health. Certainly, as I tried to illustrate through yesterday’s post, there are benefits or positives which could easily be associated to having my mental illnesses or more accurately my mental health.
But it is perhaps interesting that when it comes to writing about the worst thing in regard to my mental illness the list (in my head) seems so much longer and indeed finding the ‘worst’ just that little bit harder as a result of this.
And let’s be open and honest here. So many of the associated; aspects, behaviors, effects, fall-outs, symptoms, and results of my having my mental illnesses are connected and interwoven, that it would be nearly impossible to pick just one without my own mind (or indeed you the reader) thinking well what about such and such?
Let’s see now which of the list – chaos, confusion, emptiness, paranoia, hopelessness, desperation, fear, terror, disconnection with reality, alternate realities, loss of reality, loss of time, loss of control, loss of memories, disconnected memories, distorted perceptions of time, disassociation, fixations, self-frustration, self-criticism, self-doubt, self-hatred, self-harming, sense of loss, sense of not belonging, lack of grounding, sense of not fitting in, helplessness, negative thoughts, jumbled thoughts, echoed thoughts, detached thoughts, repetitive thoughts, obsessive thoughts, distorted perceptions, – to name but a few, do I choose?
And indeed, and hopefully others who experience mental illness or poor mental health will be able to relate to this question, “What stage of it all do I choose?”
Is it when it first begins (that is if it creeps up on you instead of being a sudden ambush) that time when you still have enough clarity of mind to realize that it is coming but are so far along that you can do next to nothing to stop it?
Is it when you are in the middle of it all and all those things (and all the others I haven’t listed) are upon you? For whilst you might not know exactly what is happening – this is the time when most of the damage is done.
Is it when you are coming out of it all and you realize that you have been through an episode? And at the same time remember the havoc previous episodes have brought in your life and are frightened of what you are going to find out?
Or is it when you are out of that episode and are facing all the damage that resulted from it but are not totally convinced you are yet fully aware of all the damage done?
Or is it, and yes I think this should also be in the list. The not knowing what triggered that episode and the fear that actually it could happen again at anytime – that ticking time bomb experience?
And likewise, what do I choose? The way all this effects me or the way all this effects those I love and who have to witness all this? Because I have to tell you that, although I live alone and so thankfully the level of impact that this has on others is limited, I still so very much struggle with the worry and upset my mental health causes to others.
And on that note I have to tell you that whilst I dislike so very much the fact that these things happen at all, I am truly so very grateful for the fact that when it does happen – when those episodes come -, my mental illness is such that I implode rather than explode.
And trust me when I say that I dislike – with a passion – the implosions when they happen and indeed the extreme and intense sense of bullying pressure that I feel as they happen. But it is at least, well in my eyes it is, the lesser of the two evils.
Which do I choose as the worst? It really is proving to be such a difficult question.
And I haven’t even included all the negatives of other people’s reactions to my mental illnesses/mental health. Things like – pity, lack of understanding and at times lack of even caring, the lack of trust from some others, that it can bring, the stereotyping, the stigma, using my mental health to justify their bad behavior, or bad attitudes or to convince themselves that their argument or position is right (even when it is wrong) and that my mental health isn’t allowing me to see it all clearly – even thought I so obviously do.
No. I think the thing that I will choose – and yes it is purely to complete the exercise and I openly admit that there are (as I have detailed above) a number of other candidates (almost or) just as deserving. Is the fracturing or disconnecting and the lack of grounding that it all brings.
And this manifests or presents itself in so many ways.
That sense of not fitting in.
That sense of not being somehow slightly wrong or damaged or disconnected from who you should be – and even being a burden to people.
That sense of so often doubting or second guessing yourself – not being able to have confidence in your memories and recollections.
Consider this if you will. So much of our life, so much of our grounding, of who we are, of our relationships is built on a whole series of our experiences and memories and recollections of those experiences.
If you fail to retain those memories, if you feel disconnected from those memories, if you have no confidence in the memories which you do have, if those special or important moments which go to grounding you, offering you belonging and security are not fully grasped or are lost along the way, where is your grounding?
How do you maintain and strengthen or build on relationships? How do you maintain and strengthen or build on healthy, normal, long-term relationships?
With anyone? Including yourself?