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Posts tagged ‘understanding’

Bi-Polar Unmasked

 

Many don’t know or understand what living with a mental health illness or living with someone who has one is like. It’s definitely more recognized now than in years past and I’m thankful that more are taking this seriously. Mental health illnesses deserve acknowledging, being researched, funding for help, etc. From bi-polar to schizophrenia, doctors, scientists, and more are taking notice and working hard to help those of us that struggle with these seemingly invisible illnesses. Still, there are many out there who treat mental health illnesses as though they’re unimportant, made up, or those who have one are some sort of freak show. Being treated like what we live with isn’t a big deal or like we’re damaged goods gets old. It can be hurtful to be treated like what we live with is just something we can just snap out of at anytime.

Maybe if you eat better, surely it’s just a matter of diet. Maybe if you just willed yourself to overcome it. Maybe if you just get over yourself. Maybe you should just stop being so dramatic. Maybe if you prayed harder. Maybe if you did this or maybe if you did that. Gah!!!!!!

OR…..

You’re a total freak show. I can’t associate myself with someone so messed up. Your moods are just too all over the place. Your depression brings me down. Why are you so anxious all the time? Does it really matter if things are out of place? Why are you freaking out? Is there a reason you’re crying, again? How long has it been since you brushed your hair? I can’t be your friend, you’re just too high maintenance.

Unless you live with a mental health illness, you can’t truly understand how crippling it can be. How long has it been since I brushed my hair or showered? You know, I’m not sure. Why did I just spend money on things I don’t need? I felt a compulsion and couldn’t stop. Does it really matter if things are out of place? Yes. YES! If things are out of place, I feel an agitation I can’t put in check. I MUST have order. I MUST have things a certain way. I won’t rest until I do. Rest? I feel like staying in bed all day. I’m just exhausted. I feel so depressed. The tears won’t stop. I’m a failure and a freak. Why would anyone love me? I’ll just call in today, again. Mania sets in and now I’m crazy cleaning, extra irritable, and ultra hyper. I have such energy. What’s wrong with you? I don’t know. Why are you so touchy? I don’t know. Why are you snapping for no reason? I don’t know. Why are you crying, again? I don’t know. Why can’t you just snap out of it? I DON’T KNOW!!!!

Therapists, pyschologists, psychiatrists, and medications, oh my!!! Say that five times fast! Insults are hurled if we utilize these to get help. Can’t you deal with things without meds? Why do you need some shrink? You’re just weak. You’re just having a few bad days here and there, just suck it up. But then again, if we refuse to get that help, then we are wrong too. Clearly you need help, so why not get on medication to control your mood swings and stabilize yourself? You know, it’s not just about you, right? See a therapist, you need help. No matter what we do or don’t do, we’re failing in someone’s eyes.

It’s a daily struggle, on or off meds. Whether we see a mental health specialist or not, things are still hard sometimes. Fighting your mind isn’t an easy feat. You’re constantly torn. You try so hard to be “normal”. Why can’t I just be mentally stable? Why am I like this? Why?! Why is it so hard to maintain friendships? Why do people turn their backs on me? I know why. I wouldn’t want to deal with me either. I want to hold a regular job. I want to succeed. Eh. This job just wasn’t right for me. Maybe the next one? I want to be loved. I don’t deserve love. I can overcome anything. I am strong. I can beat this. I can’t do anything right. I’ll never amount to anything. I can’t beat this. My past stirs up awful memories. The nightmares leave me barely able to function. The past won’t beat me. I survived. I can survive anything. I am lonely, but I don’t want to leave the house. I want to make my dreams come true. I’ll fight to do just that. Well, maybe tomorrow. Up, up, up, and then crashing down, HARD.

I have bi-polar, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. I’ve been ridiculed, laughed at, treated like a freak, and pushed away, by many, including myself. Many can’t make sense of what goes on inside my head, least of all me. Growing up, I didn’t know what to make of what was going on inside my head. I just thought I was broken. As an adult, I got diagnosed with bi-polar first. The others followed behind that. I have been on many medications and seen many doctors. It’s been a fight the whole way, with or without that specialized help. One thing I’ve found that’s helped the most is a personal support system. They have made and continue to make a huge difference in getting through the really hard days. They deserve so much credit.

Those who live with people that have mental health illnesses should never be overlooked. They deal with our mood swings, meltdowns, odd behaviors, and more. They help us through. When we’re beyond reason, they just wait it out and deal with whatever we throw their way. If they themselves deal with mental health illnesses, that makes things even tougher. When you have more than one under one roof, it can be a challenge. My son and I both deal with them. Our relationship sure has been tested. Then there’s my husband, the stable one, trying to deal with us both. It’s not been easy for anyone. Somehow, he manages. Accepting us both hasn’t been easy, but I’m thankful he has. Since he’s entered our lives, there’s some semblance of stability. He deserves a thousand shout outs. As hard as it is to live with the actual illnesses, it’s plenty difficult living with those that do. So, thank you.

Things like cancer, MS, Cystic Fibrosis, and heart disease are major concerns and definitely deserve to be recognized, researched, have people fighting for cures, and to have people across the globe raising awareness for them. I find no issue with any of that, at all. I have had family members and friends face cancer, Type One Diabetes, heart disease, CF, Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and more. Some I love have even lost their lives to these. It’s not been easy watching people I love suffer. So I support causes that try to help them and others that live with or have lost their lives to such illnesses and diseases.

I just want to also raise awareness for people who live with mental health illnesses. What we go through is serious and deserves recognition too. So, here is bi-polar and such unmasked. Yes, the illnesses are in our minds, but only in the sense that’s what they effect. They stem from imbalances in our brains. They’re very real. If you know someone that lives with one, try showing compassion, patience, and love. I know we’re not easy to deal with, but we’re far more than the illnesses we live with.

I am not bi-polar. I’m not my illness. I have bi-polar. There’s a difference between being and having something. I refuse to let it define me. The mask is off. Here I stand, telling you about a part of myself. I hope you’ll learn something. Maybe it’ll help you with someone you know or maybe you are dealing with this yourself.  Either way, I hope this opens eyes and minds. Mental health is important. It starts with the mind, but it also effects physical health as well. A healthy mind and body go hand in hand. Having support instead of insults and ignorance is the first step to helping. Let’s all take one step forward today….

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Break the Cycle

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I’ve been working really hard to be that person. It’s not an easy feat, at all, but when I look at the world today and see so much hatred, ignorance, cruelty, and bitterness, how can I just be a part of that? Sometimes I look at how people treat others and wonder how they came to act that way. I wonder if they were hurt somehow and ask myself what if they’d been shown some compassion, love, forgiveness, or acceptance? What if they had been taught to do the same by someone? Maybe they’d been hurt really badly, but what if just one person had shown them there was a different way to handle things?

We are NOT what happened to us. We are NOT our pasts. We are NOT our mistakes. We are NOT our illnesses. We are NOT defined by the color of our skin, what neighborhood we come from, who are parents are, how much money we have or don’t have for that matter, our political views, our sexual orientation, or any of that which many decide should label us.

We CAN be whatever we choose, no matter what others say we should be. We CAN be greater than the choices we’ve made thus far. We CAN be better than we have been. We CAN make a difference. One person CAN change things for those around them. We don’t have to let the cycle continue. Don’t let the cycle define or confine you. Let the anger, resentment, bitterness, vengeful actions, and state of constant sadness stop here. The choice is yours.

The Not So Easy Christian Life

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Some say that God won’t give you more than you can handle

But here’s the thing, sometimes it still feels like it’s too much

Sometimes we feel like we’re drowning and like there’s no way out

Sometimes we doubt and sometimes we lose faith

 

Some say that God will always provide a way out of temptation

But guess what, sometimes we don’t see the way out

And sometimes we blatantly wish not to see it

Sometimes we want to give in to it and just dive in head first

 

Some say that it must be so easy to be a Christian

But in truth, sometimes it’s really not so easy

We’re constantly judged, seen as holier than thou

Sometimes people won’t give us the chance they want to be given

 

Some think we don’t struggle the way others do

But that’s not true, we do and sometimes we feel alone

Sometimes we fail, we fall short, and fall down

And sometimes we need understanding, compassion, and forgiveness

 

Those that truly love and follow Christ are not pure rays of sunshine

There is light and dark within all of us

And for as much as non Christians wish to be seen, heard, and not judged

We wish the same thing for ourselves too

 

It’s not just so simple to stay on the path that God has set before us

There are those that call themselves Christian, but then judge harshly

Which makes everyone who wears that title look bad

And it is frustrating to those who are just trying to show His love

 

The life of a Christian is not simply about going to church

It’s not just about giving, donating, and giving of our time

There is so much more to it than people on the outside see

We just want people to open up their eyes and see us for who we are

 

We have flaws, insecurities, doubts, and struggle with life too

What gets us through that is God, prayer, and one another

Though sometimes we don’t just simply get through it

Do you not see that we’re human too?

 

We’re mocked, criticized, put down, and shut out

Some hear the word Christian and turn us away

We have been beaten and killed for our beliefs

And not just in foreign countries, but here at home as well

 

Being a Christian is about more than a title

More than wearing a cross around our necks

More than about the scriptures we quote

And more than just the words we sing in worship

 

It’s about love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness

It’s about being a beacon of light and of hope to others

It’s about that while we know we too fall short

That there is someone that loves us no matter what

 

It’s about showing the same to everyone else

Which includes ourselves, which isn’t always so easy to do

It’s about the chance at salvation He’s given us

And about spreading His word, so that others may believe too

 

It’s not about judgement, for none of us have that right

It’s not about who has the nicest home, clothes, and car

It’s not about your past or how dark it may have been

It’s about your future and how amazing it can be

 

The reality of it all is that we know not everyone will agree

Some will continue to hate us, but we’re still called to try

And as much as you want respect for your beliefs

We want the same from you in return

Yes, words escape even me sometimes….

I have been known throughout my life to be one who often has the right thing to say to someone, who can help, who often knows how to cheer one up, who knows how to make things better, & who has great advice. (though doesn’t always take it myself. *laughs*) I have been called an Empath since childhood. Even if I haven’t been through something, I am able to put myself in their shoes, and feel the emotions as if I were going through it myself…which has often led me to being able to be there for others.

Sometimes that “gift” can be a bit overwhelming, especially when going through a lot myself at any given time. Taking on my problems and others can be a bit daunting, but overall I am glad I have the ability to be there for so many people. I am the helper, healer, giver, motivator, and I am okay with that most of the time. Now and then, I need that in return, but usually I am alright.

However, there are times when someone is going through something and even I lack the proper words to say, sometimes I just don’t know what to do. I wish not to offend anyone and I know that there are times that while something might comfort me, it might not be what helps them. Sometimes all I can really do is be there, listen if they need me to, hug them, cry with them. I know that means a lot, but sometimes I feel horrible when I can’t heal, fix, or change the situation. I should not beat myself up over it, some things in life just can’t be made better. Sometimes all we can do is find ways to help people cope, it’s just difficult sometimes to do.

Today would be the 33rd wedding anniversary for my boyfriend’s parents. His mom died on November 17th, 2012. It’s been a bit rough for him, his sisters, his dad, and her parents. Getting through their first Christmas, New Years, some of their birthdays, etc has been difficult for them. I never know quite what to do or say when I know they’re hurting.

She had an obsession with the number three, hence May 3rd being their anniversary. She even felt the need to have three kids, even though Doug’s dad was fine with two kids. I am grateful for her love of the number three, Doug is their third child. 🙂 Anyway, so this would have been a major anniversary for her, it being the 33rd. Doug’s dad is struggling with this and tonight they’re going out to eat at a place they liked to go have pizza, play cards, and just have a good time as a family. I have been invited, so I will go, to show my support for Doug and Phil. I don’t know if either of his sisters will be there, but I can imagine either way that today must be hard for them too, especially with Mother’s Day being next Sunday. My heart breaks for them as I type this. My eyes sting from the tears and I have to keep pausing so that I can wipe the tears away.

My mom and I haven’t always been close. In fact, we’ve been “at war” as it were for years at a time. We’ve begun the healing process and I am grateful to be where we’re at now, even more so considering the many I know who don’t have their mom around anymore. I wish I could take the pain away from Doug, from his family. God had a reason she was to leave at this time, one we don’t understand, especially given the circumstances…but we know God is good. Doug has an amazing family, so grateful they have one another to lean on through all of this. Doug tells me that my support means a lot to him and I know that it does. Still, sometimes I wish I could do more. Sometimes I wish I had just the right words to say, that there’d be a way to make things alright for him, for all of them. I have grown to love not only Doug, but his family as well. I know I can’t make things right, all I can do is be here. Though it doesn’t feel like enough to me, I know it’s all I can do right now, and I know that through my lack of words, Doug knows I care and will support him through this and everything we each face….because we’re no longer going through things alone, we face things together.

I pray for healing and for peace for Doug and his family. Let their love for You and for one another help them through this. And help those surrounding them to be of comfort to them, to be patient, to be understanding, to be caring, to just be there. Maybe we won’t have the right words to say, but just allow us to be the comfort and care that they need. I also pray for my cousins Chris, Scott, & Kari…and their dad, Mother’s Day will be rough for them too as they still struggle with the loss of their mom, my aunt Debbie. I pray for all who will struggle to get through that day, as many have lost their mom. I also thank You for giving me more time with my own mother. I am blessed. I often complain about what is going wrong in my life, beg for a job lead to pan out, ask for financial help, whine about the weather, complain about not feeling well or about feeling “old”….but there is so much to be grateful for. Thank you for the many blessings…..for my parents, my step-mom, my son, his dad and step-mom, for my siblings, for my remaining aunts and uncles, for my cousins, for my nephews, for my niece, for my boyfriend, for his amazing family, for my friends, for my life, for my gifts and talents, for YOUR love….thank You. 

I pray that today is a day to remember and rejoice in the good times…somehow they will get through today as they have the other days that were especially hard for them…they will get through them because they love You and one another, their love and support will help them through…sometimes words can’t make things better, but love and support surely goes along way, even when it’s silent. ❤

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