May is for Mental Health Awareness….

Okay, so let’s clear something up right now, I’m crazy and I’m more or less fine with it. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that it’s a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone but at the same time, I’ve dealt with this shit for long enough to know how to ride the waves. The funny thing is, I’m not alone, not by a long shot. Chances are that either you’re fucked in the head or someone you know certainly is. This is why we need to be open about it and end the stigma. 

It’s not a defect of character. 

One of the first things we need to address is this bullshit idea that having mental health issues is in any way a character flaw. Being depressed or having panic attacks doesn’t make you a shitty person. No one chooses this any more then people would choose to have diabetes. Now, if you leave it untreated and things get out of hand, that’s another thing but having mental health issues  itself doesn’t mean that you’re weak or less of a person somehow. 

This stigma alone is why a lot of people suffer and end up breaking. Having to deal with this doesn’t make you weak, in fact, quite the opposite. People with this tend to be more compassionate since they understand suffering first hand and know how hard it is to deal with this on top of life in general. 

It seems real, but it’s not. 

Again, I’ve dealt with this shit for as long as I can remember and one of the hardest parts is that, when you’re in a depressive state, it seems really fucking real and it makes a scary fucking amount of sense. In a really weird way, it’s able to convince you that you’re not even crazy and that you’re actually seeing the world the way it is, fucked and full of suffering. 

There have also been times where everything was perfect, I had money, drugs and was getting laid and yet my mind was telling me to jump off a bridge. It’s almost surreal to watch myself go through it knowing full and well I’m not making sense and can’t trust my own judgment. The good news is that I’ve learned when I’m on balance and when I’m off and I try my best to stay as centered as possible. 

I’ve had to go through the cycles more times than I can count and as fucked as it is to say it, I’m sort of used to it by now. I can usually see it coming and brace myself for a few days of feeling like absolute shit. When it happens I don’t beat myself up for it, I give myself a break and let myself ride it out. I also smoke a lot of weed and watch stupid 80’s comedies to distract myself. 

It can be both genetic and environmental. 

I was lucky enough to get fucked with both. Depression and addiction run rampant in my family and I also had to deal with some pretty extreme trauma as a small child which messed up the wiring in my brain while it was still forming. 

The point is, there’s an aspect of this that’s just always present and there are also waves when my chemistry gets thrown off. This is also why you sometimes see people who have great lives go off the rails despite the fact it looks like everything is perfect. Sadly, this is also why you see photos and videos of people smiling hours before they commit suicide. 

You’re not as tough as you think you are. 

Oh, I know some of you are going to laugh and think this is funny right? That panic attacks are for pussy little emo kids? It’s funny until it happens to you and I really don’t think that the majority of you who are talking shit would last five minutes when every sound is on full volume and your heart rate is hitting near critical levels. 

I actually had a friend go through some pretty serious medical shit which in turn, messed up the chemistry in his head and he got a taste of what it’s like to live with this shit. Don’t get me wrong, he’s always been cool but there’s a difference between knowing about something and understanding it from first hand experience. It was actually pretty scary to watch him go through it since I’ve never known the dude to be anything but stoic or stoned. I also got a taste of the shit I’ve put others through. 

You’re still responsible for your actions. 

No lie, I’ve done some seriously stupid, selfish shit while in a depressive state. My friends and family have had to put up with a lot of psychotic outbursts and even a few suicide scares. Was it my fault? Yeah, it was totally my fault. The first few times when I didn’t know what was going on, maybe not. But at this point, I’m not going to use my mental state to deflect responsibility for my actions. 

Yes, I’ve lost jobs and relationships because of things I’ve done and said while I was depressed. No, I don’t blame the other party, I was a liability in the Kitchen and I was a toxic asshole to my girlfriends. 

At this point, I know what’s going on and I’m able to tell my friend’s “Hey, my heads going dark again.” and they know that I’m going to be off for a bit. They’ve also learned to remind me that it’s just a wave that will pass over in a few days. They don’t give me grief about it, they’re cool and they know if I need anything, I’ll reach out before I do anything stupid or harmful. 

Find a way. 

Everyone’s different and I consider myself lucky as hell to still be able to be functional (debatable) without prescription meds. Some people can handle things with diet and exercise, other people need a bit more help. What you decide is right for you is your call but if you’re dealing with this shit, it’s not the end of the world. 

Listen, this is the hand we’ve been dealt and it sucks. The way I see it is that we have two choices, we can either let the shit in our head call the shots and make our lives hell, or we can face the situation head on and learn to work around it. 

Yes, it sucks to be crazy but if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have started practicing meditation and questioning things the way that I have. It’s because I’ve spent a whole lot of my life in some very dark and scary places that I don’t take much for granted and yes, I even stop and enjoy the flowers as often as possible. The suffering I’ve experienced has also made me a lot more compassionate towards others dealing with their own struggles. 

By all means, if you’re really feeling ugly, please reach out 1-800-273-8255

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2 Comments

  1. Rick J. Smalls

    This hit home in so many ways, gonna be honest here, I kinda teared up a bit reading this, it was like you were in my head for a minute.

    I work a kitchen with a lot of really screwed up cooks, we’re all mad here, but we are lucky that we all have each other to help us through the hard, dark times.

    We are not alone!!

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