I thought the other day about mental illness, and how they say “..you suffer from _____”. I was uncomfortable with that word usage “suffer”. Do we suffer?
Suffer: To feel or bear what is painful, disagreeable or distressing, either to the body or mind; to undergo (biblical definition)
Today though, yes I am suffering- immensely. My heart doesn’t agree with my mind. That ‘inner me’ does not want to feel like this. I want to get up and get out and do things, I really want to, and my mind won’t let me.
But on the days when my illness has subdued, and I feel neither polarity of mania or depression, I feel the heaviness of confusion and doubt on whether or not this illness still harbors my mind. I know that I do not have to take the psychiatric diagnosis and allow it to identify me. I identify me. I make the decision about who I am. I choose the lens through which I see and understand my mental health.
I just know that on days like today when the control of my emotions begins to slip from my hands, I can’t help but wonder if this feeling has a name. Do I call it depression? Do I call it bipolar? Do I call it low serotonin levels? Do I call it normal?
I am between a thing I can’t name, and a thing that I know I am feeling.
Too often I feel like I need to announce that I am suffering mentally in order for people to understand me. I feel like I need to give this suffering a name, so that they can understand; Even when it makes me uncomfortable to say that I am something that I don’t always feel that I am.
I feel drained and tired of being in a war with my mind- and then being in a war with the people around me because of it. There is only so much understanding that someone on the outside can have, and I know that it must be hard holding onto just an idea. And I know that it must be hard to trust that it is real. And I know that because when people can’t see it, they doubt its power. “The power of the mind” – is a quote that never felt exciting or blissfully awakening for me. I knew the power of my mind before it was something that was fun and willfully explorative.
I am on a journey to cease the war in my mind because I know that it doesn’t serve me. I know that anxiety is an illusionary fear that holds no weight. I know. I know. I know. But even with all the tools to think higher, and to shift my thoughts, I still suffer. I can tell the voice of doubt to be silent- but I know that I would have to settle for a whisper. Now, all I hear are people saying ” I have such bad anxiety” or “I don’t want to go out, because I have social anxiety” and I was bothered by it, without understanding why I was bothered about it; But our generation has taken normal experiences and feelings, and replaced them with psychiatric terminology. Why have we turned feeling scared into something that isn’t normal? Instead of saying, “I have anxiety”, say “I am scared”.
When we use exaggerated and inappropriate terms to describe normal human emotions we downplay the legitimacy of mental health issues. We’ve become a generation of people who are only comfortable with one human emotion which is happiness.
Check yourself, is it you? Are you the “positive vibes only” police? Because I’d really like to kick you. As human beings we experience the entire spectrum of human emotion, that which ranges from feeling fearful, angry, sad, lonely, frustrated, etc. People are suffering in silence because they don’t feel comfortable talking about their emotions because they may not be “happy” ones. There is nothing “positive” about looking away when other people are suffering. If you want love, if you want healing, if you want prosperity- you have to give that to the world. God cannot do for us what he cannot do through us. You have to do what you can to help people who are suffering. Those who hate, hate with conviction- so we need to keep our minds stayed on love.
I think it’s a shame that we all are battling something and are silent about our pain. Imagine how much the world could heal if we spoke our truths without shame and without a filter. Even when I am being transparent, I skip over truths for the comfort of my company- and for my own comfort. The parts of my story that I leave out are probably the parts that other people need to hear, and the parts that I need to voice. We can all easily say by now that “my parents got divorced” or “my boyfriend cheated on me”- and although that is still vulnerability it is still vulnerability that is within our comfort and within our reason. We are so used to staying on a surface level with people, because we know that they can meet us there. They have been cheated on before, or their parents split too- but going any deeper poses a threat to our fear based minds. We believe that they haven’t been through the deep wounded experiences that we have and therefore they won’t understand. We have so many thoughts about other peoples’ thoughts- when the real truth is, we all want to connect deeply, we all want love, and love requires humiliation. To reveal to someone, even someone close, that you were sexually abused or physically abused would be a very difficult thing for us to do, but also a very brave thing for us to do. When someone is opened with me, it immediately disarms me, because I know that they too are disarmed. I don’t see their physical anymore, and their ego has dissipated. All I can see now is their inner being, their spirit, their soul, their core, their depth- which is who they truly are. Now no matter what happens after this conversation, I’ll know that I have seen THEM. I can say “I know who this person is”. We hear often “you don’t really know anybody“- and what we are really saying is “we don’t know what people are struggling with, or what demons they are fighting”- but we don’t care to ask- because we are struggling with our own, and therefore can’t be bothered, when in fact that is just the ego revealing itself.
One thing I know for sure is that mental illness is real. The power of being opened and vulnerable is real. The way that God will use you as a vessel is real. And shifting your thoughts from fear to love will change your entire life.
Those are just thoughts I wanted to share with you all .