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Life Is A Burden

5 Jun

Ein Ende mit Schrecken ist immer noch besser als ein Schrecken ohne Ende. -Sophie Scholl
(Better an end with terror than a terror without end.)

One day, not so many years ago, I looked over the edge of the cliff that was my life, and I knew that with one short step I could fall forward, into the oblivion, and perhaps into peace.

For reasons that are still unclear to me (maybe I’m too brave? or not brave enough?) instead of taking that last step toward an untimely end, I backed away from the edge and sought the help I so desperately needed.

Not everyone is that lucky. People around us live day in and day out with voices inside their head pointing them to one conclusion: the only way out is to jump.

Suicide is a topic we tiptoe around. It happens every single day, in every single state, and yet we still whisper the word, like even saying it out loud will push someone into it.

It happened today, in a tiny town in Southern Wisconsin, to a person I didn’t know well, but who was loved by many – evidence of this overflows on his Facebook page, and the pages of those who held him dear.

I can’t even fathom the grief these people are feeling – the blame they may be shouldering for his loss. I keep thinking, if this person had been my friend, what would I do? Could I have helped? Would they have called in the middle of the night if they needed me? Would I have answered?

The pain I feel for this man’s loss, and the pain I feel for his family, friends, and the community we shared, overwhelms me tonight. I don’t have any advice – having been on that edge, I know the hopelessness he felt, I know what the voices sound like, and I know there was nothing anyone could’ve done for me. Suicide is a conscious decision that will be made without thinking of those around you. It is the ultimate act of selfishness. And yet – we cannot place blame on the victim. We have no right to judge something we do not understand. You can’t look into someones eyes and understand their pain.

Every day, 88 people in this country take their own life. We have a moral obligation to put aside our judgement & fear and support our fellow human beings through their times of crisis. This ability to help, to lend an ear, or a shoulder, or make a call when our friend can’t do it themselves… this is what makes us innately human.

If you are in crisis – there is help. Making this call is truly the bravest thing you can do.

1.800.273.8255 – www.asfsp.org

And if you’ve stumbled here and are grieving a loss… please know there is help. The web is full of first hand accounts from survivors – you don’t have to suffer your sadness alone. Here’s a good place to start. http://www.afsp.org/i-am/grieving

One parting thought. 90% of suicides are caused by mental illnesses that can be treated with medication. It’s time to share our stories, and shed light on this dark disease. I am always here to listen.

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One Giant Leap For This Girl

8 Mar

I moved to Texas two years ago, and since I left Milwaukee, I haven’t seen a therapist.

I thought my anxiety was “under control” and not “ruining my life”. In the last few weeks, I’ve come to discover that I am wrong, wrong, wrong.

I don’t sleep unless I’m drugged up. I dread work because my phone anxiety is becoming overwhelming. I feel frustrated, helpless, and hopeless.

If there is one thing this girl is NOT, it’s helpless.

So, I just submitted a request for an appointment with a psychiatric group here in Houston. They’re supposed to call me to schedule an appointment within one business day. (Yeah, I submitted an online request. That’s how bad shit is getting around here!)

(also, a Google search recently revealed that I am not alone in this weird phone-anxiety-bullshit. THAT was a relief. It’s very isolating to think you’re the only person who suffers from a certain kind of crazy.)

Cheers to taking a step forward and regaining control of my mental health! Maybe, if you needed a push to see someone, this was it.

I’m A Big Effing Hypocrite

26 Feb

Holy crap, it’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

I’m here today to admit to you, my loyal friends, family, and awesome random people who have stumbled over me on the internet, that I am a big fucking hypocrite.

I preach on Facebook and in real life about the stigma attached to mental illness – how you shouldn’t be ashamed, how you should talk about it, how everyone should just fucking GET OVER IT, because one in four of your fellow Americans suffers from a mental illness.

And last week, I realized that I’m having a problem practicing what I preach.

You see, my anxiety disorder manifests basically in two ways: I HATE talking on the phone (no really, like, it paralyzes me with fear when I have to  call someone without knowing them. Putting a list of cold calls on my desk is the most awful, painful thing you could ever do to me. I’d rather have bamboo shoots stuck under my fingernails.) And crowds. Crowds & noise & hot FUCK ME UP.

So anyway, last week I met with my new boss, and I had to tell her this stuff, and seriously… I was the crying girl at the table in Starbucks. I can preach to everyone about how talking about it is OK, and YOU SHOULD TELL PEOPLE, I still see it as a flaw in myself. Something totally unforgivable. I guess it’s because the first time I had to talk about it, I didn’t know WHY it pained me so much (my anxiety diagnosis was still about a year in the future), and that truly made it feel like it WAS unforgivable. (The people at the organization I was with didn’t help, either.)

It’s a fear, I guess, that I’ll be judged, or docked points off the bat for having this “flaw”. I’m trying to learn to forgive myself for being “imperfect”, but it’s a daily battle. So now not only do I have this GODDAMN anxiety disorder, but I have to deal with the anxiety that I feel about HAVING THE GODDAMN ANXIETY DISORDER.

I’m lucky. I have this blog, and I have people I can vent to, and at the very worst, I have a prescription that helps. I’m so glad that this disease (this “imperfection”) was given to me and not someone else. Because without my support system, I have no idea what I’d do. Thank GOD that I can protect someone without that support from this godawful mental illness. If it had to be someone… I’m so glad it’s me.

 

Tell me an experience where you had to tell people what the hell was wrong with your fucked up head. Maybe if we share, we can move a step in the right direction to being able to talk freely about these demons.

 

PS: My boss was absolutely accepting of my admission. She didn’t look at me like I had a flaw. Actually, she told me how proud she was that I could be honest with her, and how helpful the knowledge will be as my manager. A small victory, I guess. One step closer to practicing what I preach.