You go into the mental “Rabbit Hole”….A downward spiral of sadness, shame, darkness…Does it make you a Narcissist?
What happens when something triggers a mental health spiral? Let’s think about this for a moment….
You may or may not go through the following emotional chain of events:
> You wake up feeling “off” or sad. Perhaps you have been here before and you just KNOW what is happening. Or conversely, you have NEVER felt this down before and you wonder what the fuck is going on inside your head?
> You Dwell on your feelings. You have these conversations inside your head with yourself. “Why do I feel so alone?” “What is bugging me so much?” “Why does EVERYONE and EVERYTHING annoy me?” “What is happening to me?” “I have never felt so tired in my life”
> You try and explain how you feel to friends or loved ones. They don’t say anything you want to hear, or they “try” and help you, but even after a long chat over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, you STILL feel blue. You still hate the world and you STILL feel so damn tired. You begin to talk yourself through it …”Maybe I’m crazy” “Maybe I am just not explaining my feelings well”
> You consider talking to a professional Councillor or a physician. Sometimes you actually make an appointment and you may go, or you may cancel last minute. Either way, you think about it, and weigh your options… Will they understand? Will they medicate you? Or will they check you into the booby hatch/funny farm/loony bin…The unknown freaks you the fuck out, so you have a nap. People ask you how you’re doing and you lie, hiding behind your mask of confidence and courage.
> You finally speak to a doctor. The first thing the physician asks is “what brings you here today?” You burst into tears and explain how tired you are, or how much you hate people, or how stressed you feel and how you are falling down a downward spiral, and you are GLAD that someone is finally HEARING you. The doctor prescribes medication OR suggests you speak with a councilor, or BOTH
> You talk to to your loved ones and friends about it again. Here is where it gets tricky.
Friends and family who have NEVER suffered a mental illness DON’T GET IT! They can offer you suggestions, “try yoga or meditation”, or “what about taking some herbal supplements like Fenugreek or Lemongrass” or “How about trying these essential oils?” “Have you tried a Multivitamin or B Vitamins?” Their intentions are purposeful and they ARE trying to help you, but in helping you, they show that they just don’t get it. You mention that you are on medications for sleep and to balance the dopamine in your brain. They respond with “Oh I would NEVER take drugs like that. I have heard they can really Fuck you up!” ……………….WHAT?!?!
Ok, this is where it needs to STOP! People need to understand that Mental Illness is not something that can be just FIXED overnight. It cannot be fixed with some miracle supplement or oil. It cannot be fixed by some MLM one-a-day pill that will make you have instant clarity and make your hair grow.
MENTAL ILLNESS IS A REAL ILLNESS! People do crazy shit if their mental health isn’t in check, and its people who shame others for being medicated that are the root of mentally challenged people’s derailing. I don’t know WHY it is so difficult to understand that when someone is in a crisis of feeling sad and alone all the time that others think they can just step in and “fix you”. I have suffered mental illness throughout most of my life, with eating disorders, sadness, depression and anxiety. This doesn’t mean I am PSYCHO. It means I have a condition in my brain that causes my dopamine to be irregular and it causes anxiety. It doesn’t mean I will hurt myself or others. It is not a cry for attention. And it’s NOT something that is easily “fixed” by any one treatment or method. It is A LOT of work on my part, just as it is for millions of people who suffer from it. There is a form of STIGMA that is attached to people who “admit” to mental illness and it is beyond unfair.
We are NOT narcissistic because we have the bravado to ADMIT we struggle within ourselves. Typically people with mental health concerns struggle with Self Esteem, Confidence and Self Worth and Value. People who do not understand what it means to have high anxiety or depression, do no understand that when they minimize it and tell us “ You’ll be all right, just take some B vitamins”, you are causing more harm!
I would love it if MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS would go viral on Social media, like the “Bell Let’s Talk movement”, NOT just once a year, ONCE a DAY! The stress and judgement in our world feed mental health problems, much like gasoline on a small flame. It seems we all have to justify how we feel about EVERYTHING, but serious issues like Anxiety and Depression are very seldom spoken of, because none of us want to admit it.
When someone has cancer, or pneumonia, or even a bad cold, friends and family don’t minimize it to “Oh, you’ll be all right” They ask what they can do for you. They tell you that they are there for you, if you need anything and they follow through (in most cases). Why is MENTAL ILLNESS so much different? Because its not a visible illness? Because its not tangible?
“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.”
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places- from Goodreads
The other day, I forgot to take my medication and was having a small inner melt down because I was in a huge group of strangers taking training for a day for work. I am not good with speaking in public, and I am not very comfortable among a large amount of strange faces. I am “ok” when I take my pill in the morning, but I forgot on this day.
I mentioned to one of my close colleagues, “Oh my god, I am so nervous, I forgot to take my pill this morning”. She KNOWS that I have recently been diagnosed and given a prescription and she seemed open enough to talk to about it when I disclosed to her in confidance. I was stunned with her response! “I wish I could just take a pill every day to make me feel better. Maybe I should “medicate””
She used the “air quotes” when she said the word MEDICATE. Are you kidding me? I am not on some kind of pity party soap box! I was being open and honest about how I FELT…. My bad.
I beg of you, fellow Medium readers/writers. If you know of anyone who has the guts to tell you and ADMIT to you that they struggle with Mental Illness, PLEASE have compassion and TRY and understand. Don’t try and “one remedy” them. They need you to LISTEN and not fix them. Listen, give your feedback. but YOU CANNOT FIX them.
Try giving them a HUG.