I talk a lot about mental health. I hope that talking about it will normalize mental health for at least one person. Maybe just one individual will hear everything I'm saying and, for them, life will be a little bit more manageable. It is also really easy to talk about mental health in the past tense. I struggled with my mental health, I worked hard to get better, I had panic attacks. However, a lot of these sentences would remain true in the present tense. Progress is not a straight line; a trajectory from start to finish. Progress is twisted, it loops back on itself until you're not totally sure where the beginning ends and the end begins. But this past-tense-retelling of my mental health is only half the story.
I have great days and I have bad ones. And I want to talk about the latter half of that sentence. The Bad Days. It would be so much easier to brush them off and pretend they don't happen. Shove the handful of the Bad Days I still have under the rug, smile for the cameras, and make a happy-go-lucky post about taming your demons. But that's not being honest, so here goes nothing:
I still have Bad Days.
I still have panic attacks. I still can use negative coping mechanisms. I still have a less-than-amazing grasp on all my triggers. And that's because as I change and as I experience new things, I need to learn new things about my illness. I still can't do a lot of the things I want to do. There are certain areas of my life where I am less-than fine and I can't stand it. It's make me angry thinking that I have to put up with social anxiety. I hate playing the game of life with the cards I've been dealt because sometimes it feels like everyone has a winning hand and I'm trying to play poker with a deck of cards from a fucking Uno game.
And I would love to say that there is some overarching life lesson to this. That I could wake up tomorrow morning and be cured of the illness that my brain gave my body. I want to wake up give you some answer to the questions you've been asking. But there aren't direct answers, because if I had the answers, I wouldn't have the problems. I would love more than anything to to pull some "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" bullshit and say the answer to your issues is "42", but that's not the reality of the situation.
The only thing I can say it keep moving forward and be honest with yourself about where you're at. I have lived nearly 21 years on this planet, and I am not wise in any account, (I still consistently make the mistake of setting my alarm for 7PM instead of 7AM) but I know your life is a collection of decisions. And some decisions you make will be dumb (I climbed up on a garage roof while I was drunk and fell off) and some decisions will be great (setting an actual sleep schedule this year after 21 years of my mom pestering me about it. She was right. Moms always are). But as long as you're trying the best you can to make the right decisions, nobody can fault you. So yeah sure, I'm playing poker with a bunch of Uno cards, but I'm going to play the best hand I can because nobody is going to re-deal me in just because I don't like my cards. I'm going to keep moving forward because I actually don't have the ability to move back. October sucks. It gets rainy and cold and Christmas seems like a long-haul from here. So take care of yourselves and take care of each other. Even if you're going two steps forward and one step back, you're still moving forward.
From me, with love, to you,
What's going on?
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