Today is World Mental Health Day, and as someone who discusses mental health throughout the course of the year, I come up short today. I come up short because I am dealing with my own battles, and they have been cruel to me. Hell, so have the people who are supposed to be “on my side”. Know this; the majority of mental health issues are fought silently, with no support at all.
I’m struggling. I’ve been struggling, and a few people close to me are actually offended/bothered by my speaking out about it. They don’t like the answers I am giving them, so I’ve decided to say nothing. There’s a gigantic, “Fuck you” elephant in the room, and I’m not going to ignore it or accept their bullshit politely. That’s not who I am and it’s not how I roll. If the tables were turned, there’s no reason for me to be a bitch or to be hurtful to anyone who is already hurting enough. I call that empathy and compassion. We aren’t ALL born with these traits.
Some people, by proxy, should have a more sensitive approach to mental health patients, especially those who’ve hit patches which required hospitalization(s), doctors, medication, and/or therapy. You don’t get to act superior to those of us who do not suffer from passing issues, but suffer tremendously with DAILY struggles. And quite frankly, you don’t get to dictate to me. Ever.
Only I truly know how bad I am suffering. I’m the one who asked for medication, adding on another failed drug which made me sick and caused me to need an additional week to get it out of my system. For most people, it leaves in twelve hours. It somehow built up in my system, in less than ten doses, to the point where my doctor and I were stumped by it because it’s not supposed to linger in the system.
I was prescribed something new yesterday, but the pharmacy is out of stock and had to order it. Moreover, my doctor won’t be in the office this coming week, so I will not get to speak to him until later this month. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is when you’re starting new medication and you’re slightly freaked out by it. I have valid concerns when he isn’t available, despite him assuring me that I can have the hospital contact him no matter where he is. I appreciate knowing this, but I feel like it’s only to be used in a dire emergency. I would never use it in any other fashion. Here’s hoping I NEVER have to use it.
Setting aside this one day for, “World Mental Health” is almost insulting. Suicide numbers are up. Prescription numbers for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, insomnia, and commonly associated comorbidities are up. You can’t deny the facts.
At the start of my mental health journey, I lost almost every friend I had, including my best friend of twelve years. Many people acted like it wasn’t real, and if they did treat it as something real, they suddenly didn’t want me around them. Let me make something abundantly clear for the uneducated and ignorant; Mental health is NOT a communicable disease. If you will so easily revoke your love and friendship from someone, then you are far more beastly than what mental health does to millions of us solo.
This was a long time ago, but as I’ve been actively working on trauma over the past few years, things of this nature have resurfaced and hurt me all over again. I hesitate to bring too many new people into my life for precisely this reason. Instead of seeing me as a person, people tend to see me as damaged. I am no more damaged than anyone else. Life is not point A to point Z. There are twists, turns, shocks, emotions, pain, and surprises along the way. There are journeys no one but you can participate in. No matter how hard people try to project this false image of life perfection, there’s no such thing. There’s no such thing as the perfect anything. The word itself is both overused and improperly used.
This is what brings me to today’s reality; I genuinely have nothing to offer. Despite being voted “A strong voice for the mental health community”, sometimes I need to be silent. Sometimes I need to put my headphones on and hear nothing, but music. People communicate with me via text and Facebook messenger, and I’d delete both if I could most days. No one ever picks up the phone to see how I’m doing, because people are so wrapped up in themselves these days, and I don’t trust enough people to discuss any of this crap at length.
Last year, when I had to have genetic testing done to see if a medication was safe or not, I mentioned it in passing to another family member. This person didn’t bother to ask if I was all right, but wanted to know what medication it was. I didn’t provide an answer because our ancestry is so different (She does not have any of my maternal ancestry.), despite being related, and because she can figure it out for herself since it’s part of her job. If I hadn’t found the fine print on this particular drug, I never would have been tested. It is a medication for depression which requires a blood test if you have Far East Asian ancestry. I had to factor this in since death was a rare side effect for those carrying two specific Asian genes, but most people will probably never require this test. And really, if I share something deeply personal, I would think any normal person would ask how I’m doing. Alas, I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that few people have good manners. Or common fucking sense.
So, as World Mental Health Day comes to a close (from where I’m sitting), I’m going to take medication for anxiety, insomnia, and Complex PTSD. I am also going to include a few muscle relaxers because, as my migraine treatment wears off, it puts a heavier load on muscles in my face, head, neck, shoulders, and upper back. And I’m going to try to forge ahead, like most people who suffer and survive. We aren’t quite sure what we’re surviving for most days, but we do it, nonetheless.
copyright © 2020 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
I haven’t mentioned it, that I’m aware of, but these past few months I have prioritized my mental health above nearly everything else. I saw all the potential warning signs, and have not missed a single appointment, except the one my doctor had to cancel when he looked at his schedule and found out he’d been booked solid for a week he was not supposed to be in the office. He even apologized for it because it meant I’d be going almost a month without seeing him. When I first got back in with him as my treating physician, he told me how often I come in, and for how long, is 100% up to me. I choose twice a month, which totals out to nearly two hours. My therapist, who I met because of my doctor, is good. I’ve only seen her a few times since she started working there, but again, I have not missed a single session, and we’re still getting to know one another. They have both encouraged me to call them immediately and reach out if I need help. Believe it or not, I would prefer to rely on the people who spend the most time with me, and my doctor, unfortunately, is probably the person who knows me best from a medical perspective. Yes, he gets paid to get an “insider’s perspective”, but do I trust people with every thought I have? No. However, it feels good to have a doctor who knows I’d lose it on him if he ever stabbed me in the back.
Do what’s best for you. Mental Health MATTERS.
I know, realistically speaking, I might lose my battle one day. I’m more aware of it than I might ever admit. However, on occasion now, I have slightly more hope than usual.