Normal is an Illusion.

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Morticia Adams said it right when she said “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly”.

You cannot look at someone and say they do not conform to the normal standard of a mental illness.  Because , do you want to know a secret?  Normal does not exist, even in mental illness.

No cookie cutter, cutting out perfectly shaped bipolar copies of each other.  No mold to shape out perfect play doh depressive shapes that all look the same. No stamp coming down and stamping out borderline personalities for everyone.  We are not slowly going by on some conveyor belt, shape after perfect shape like a line of perfectly sculpted copies of each other.

We are all different.  Sure I have bipolar disorder, and maybe you do too, but we are different.  We are not mirror images of each other, facing each other in some mirrored time warp where we do everything the same, just on opposite sides.  When I am depressed you are manic, when I am manic you are depressed.  No, this too is an illusion.

We are each a part of a world where normal does not exist.  Morticia said it completely right in saying that it is just an illusion.  Some made up magical concept in our minds.  Nothing is normal.  Everything is the way it is meant to be, whether it is perceived as normal or unusual.

We are all different.  Each and every person ever diagnosed with a mental illness are different from each other. No two are alike. We have different patterns, different issues we must deal with and different abilities.

We lie somewhere on a spectrum of the illness we have been diagnosed with.  Some things the same, some things different.  We range in severity, we range in symptoms, we range in color, shape, size, we are all different.

And you want to know another secret?  This is okay.  It is okay to be different, it is okay if you are not a text book example of the mental illness you have been diagnosed with.

Because normal……It is just an illusion.

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May Is Mental Health Awarness Month

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Did you know?

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).
  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

What are you doing to break the stigma?

Looking back

I have spent a huge amount of my life pretending everything was fine.  But the truth was: I was barely holding it all together.  Using glue to hold the pieces in place.  Plastering on a fake smile and going about my day.  All the while the rapidly drying glue was cracking in places and the plaster was crumbling.  No one else knew, no one else saw what was happening.  I knew exactly when to smile and where to hide so I could keep my secrets to myself.

I perfected the art of camouflage.

But inside, I saw what was happening.  I felt the storm raging on in the dark corners of my mind.  Pulling me further and further into the darkness.  I felt the tug from both directions at once threatening to tear me in half, to break me.

I was using all my energy trying to make sure not to show any signs of weakness on the outside.  But inside of me I was exhausted.  All I saw was where I went wrong, what I did wrong, and how very weak I really was.

For me the signs of mental illness were there as a child.  I had some very traumatic experiences at a very young age and the problems began not long after.   Anxiety, rapid speech, pressured speech, followed by severe depression then back full circle again.

I was struggling with who I was behind my dim soulless eyes.  I was changing, and I was not sure I liked who I was becoming.

My days began running together.  Wake, Eat, School, Sleep, Rinse-Repeat.

I was like a ghost at school drifting through the walls from class to class, teachers did not know how to speak to me, guidance counselors did not know what to do with me. And I had all but given up on myself.

My grades went down hill and I began loosing interest in school.  I lost friends and I most certainly lost myself.

I remember situations where my mouth kept talking where I should have kept it shut.  I talked and talked and talked.  At times people couldn’t understand me, I was constantly told to slow down.  Breathe.

I spent more time with anxiety and in depression.  I cried myself to sleep.  I was ashamed, I was afraid, and I prayed.  Boy did I pray.  I prayed for help, I prayed for guidance, I prayed for a savior.  But none came.

So finally I prayed for death….

….But that never came either.