Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It Will Come...

After I heard the news I wept. Not right after the news specifically, but after I called everyone. One would think saying it over and over again would laminate it over in my mind, "I have bad news....I am so sorry....she is gone.....I love you too." That it would soften the blow each time I said such ugly words. "I am so sorry, she is gone." I am always the one to make the calls, because it is what I do. I am the calm one. The one that can lambaste the information quickly and slightly monotone one phone call after another in rapid succession. I knew that it would be too hard for my grandmother or mother to have to keep relaying the news to others, so I became the Paul Revere of death. Crying out the information to anyone that would listen, "The grief is coming! The grief is coming!" I wanted to help, no I needed to help. To do something, anything but sit there and think about what was to come next.

Then I went in the kitchen wiped my face and had a violent argument with myself. Took stock in my own feelings. I did not want to go through this. I do not want to grieve. I hate this and I know exactly what it is going to feel like. The pain and devastation, the anger of loss. I don't want to do it and so I declared that I wouldn't. I simply wouldn't grieve the loss of my loved one. Instead, I dried the last of my tears off of my raw face and made dinner.

I am good at distraction. I am a semi closeted control freak. Usually, when a loved one passes, I immerse myself in the plans of what is to be done next. Funeral arraignments and helping the family consume the time normal people use to grieve. I do not allow grief for my own loss until everything is in order and over with. I have to be strong for my family. I am here to provide a function of getting what needs to be done, done so they can deal with the pain. I am good at distracting my feelings because it needs to be that way during this time. And so I wipe off my tears and make dinner, and do laundry, and make phone calls, and set up plans, and send flowers.

But this time is different. I am not making plans and funeral arraignments because I am not there. I am here and I have nothing to consume myself with. I can feel the deep overwhelming pull of grief swirling within me and yet I am unable to touch it with my fingers. Unable to immerse my hands in it's black gritty desperation. Unable to stick my palms into it's sticky darkness. I am simply waiting for it to reach me...

I have found myself doing 'busy work" to make the time sludge along faster. Making pointless pintrest posts and reading too many mind numbing facebook statuses. Watching B movies with the sound off. Internally planning upcoming events. There are birthdays and Thanksgiving and Christmas still to come. I am careful to avoid the mental mine fields that would hasten the memory of loss. Birthdays are fine to think about because her's was in May, and Thanksgiving is just turkey and stuffing, but Christmas is off limits. I will think of what to get my children, and husband, and follow down the line until I reach her name. Except it wont really be her name anymore, just a gaping black hole where her name used to be. Almost as if her name was written on yellowed brittle parchment only to have been scratched out and excised with a scalpel. I am afraid if I look closely I can still see where it used to be and then my battle to avoid my feelings will be lost.

 I am scared. I am scared that soon this facade will crumble and my mask will fall to the floor exposing what I know to be true. What I am currently and openly denying is happening. That I am not okay. I don't want to go through this. I do not want to feel this. I do not want to hurt like this and yet I know it is coming. It is a delayed reaction. It is much like watching a train barreling towards you as you try to jump to safety only to realize it is too late. You have already been hit by the train, you just don't know it yet. I am aware I have been struck, I am just waiting for it to arrive. I am waiting for the grief to overcome my paltry defenses and make me deal with it. Make me look at it's hideous face. Make me spill out my tears and tear out my own heart. I am sitting here waiting because I have no delusions of grandeur. It will come....and I will lose.

Rest in peace Aunt Patti,
Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Goodbye......

I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers that you sent in my aunt's direction. Unfortunately, my Aunt Patti died today.  I am just......I don't know what I am. Devastated, bereft, empty....... there are so many words and yet none of them quite reach the level of pain I am in.

She went to take a nap and never woke up. I am glad she didn't suffer but at this time we do not know what she died from. I strongly suspect a brain bleed or stroke from the falls she had been having. They didn't give her a M.R.I at the one hospital and she had been acting very odd since that last bad fall where she hit her head. I was not there, but she had commented on them threatening to put her in a psych ward because of her onset erratic behavior. They never assumed it might be medical just mental. She was a little nutty before, but she was not mental in that way til after the fall. I feel like maybe they saw her, her record, her being a recovering drug addict and they wrote her off like a piece of garbage. Like she wasn't worth their time. It has happened before. It pisses me off.

I was lucky enough to have had a phone conversation with her two days ago where we made each other laugh and I told her how much I loved her. She said she knew that and that we didn't have to say the words because we both knew how much we cared for each other.

That meant the world to me....it still does.

I won't be able to go to her funeral and I am very upset about that. I want to but I can not afford the prices to fly across the country( and I have severe panic attacks on flights), the bus prices are no better, and there is no train service that goes directly from here to where she is. I can't just leave my kids here and they are in school now, so I can't take them with me. My husband is unable to get off work for the three to four day trip.....basically, I wont get to go. I just hope that she knows I wanted to be there. I want to support her children in their time of need and I love her enough to do all that I can, which sadly doesn't really seem like much.

My grandma is going to go though, and my heart breaks so much for her. She lost her oldest son thirteen years ago and now she has lost a daughter. I can not imagine....I just can't. I can't even try to think about it without crying. I once had two uncles, a mother, and an aunt. Now I have one uncle and my mom. Somewhere along the way we have lost half of our family and neither of them ever even reached the age of fifty five.

In our last talk she said that when she died she wanted someone to read something really nice about her. It made me uncomfortable because I didn't want to talk about her leaving us, leaving me, or even the possibility of it.

 What could I say about her that I haven't said already? She was hilarious and fun. She always kept you on your toes with her wit and intelligence. She was loving, caring, compassionate. She was a true friend.


I don't really know what to say except that Patti was an amazing woman. She was smart and funny. She had a big heart and an extreme stubbornness, that I admire. Many people only saw her for her addictions and they placed blame on her. It is their loss. She was beautiful, magnificent, flawed, and broken in many places and yet she kept going, working, striving to carve out a life of her own against abuse, and addiction, and every other harmful thing that had tried to steal away her life bit by bit. When I look at Patti in my mind I see a survivor. A gutsy, strong, fearless survivor that never gave up, never backed down.

Looking back on it, I find it an extreme shame that many never got to know my aunt. That many let their judgments prevent them from seeing such an incredible person. Someone who could make anyone feel comfortable and then turn around and make things uncomfortable just to get a laugh.  Someone who never judged others because she knew how shitty it feels to be judged. Someone who loved with all of her heart even if she didn't always know what to do with all of that love. She tried. She tried relentlessly, everyday and really what more can you ask of someone but to try?

I guess if I had one thing to say to her it would be that I know she had a very hard life, I know that she was flawed and had issues, I know that she struggled.....but even with all of that I am thankful everyday that I got the honor of her being my aunt. That no one could have taken her place. That if there would have been different choices of who could be your aunt, I would have chosen her every single time...because she was worth it all. All of the struggles and pain. She is worth every single tear we have shed. Sometimes over her and sometimes with her. She was worth the beauty she brought into our lives and I will miss her everyday, always, for the rest of my life.

Goodbye my Aunt Patti...... til I see you again...I will keep you in my heart always.

Neurotic Nelly

Hectic...

Sorry I was unable to write on Tuesday. Things are sooo hectic right now. Both of my kids have started back to school. One of them is doing online school which is way more complicated than I previously thought, but I am sure it will get easier when we get used to how it works. Also my husband has vacation all week long so my schedule is completely off. I am no longer sure which days are which. It is Thursday right?

I am still worried about my Aunt but we won't know much about her issues until after a M.R.I. which won't be until next week. I would love for her to have gotten one when she last fell and hit her head, but that crappy shack of a hospital didn't have one. I mean, what hospital doesn't have a simple M.R.I. machine???!!!??? That one, apparently.

So in short, I have been so damn frazzled I have no idea what to write about, I haven't been able to keep all the way up with reading the posts in my group, and even have struggled to read some of my comments in an orderly fashion. (So if I haven't responded to any comments you may have left for me, I apologize and will be answering them shortly)My normal plans have been altered and as someone with OCD I am finding it hard to get into the scheme of things. I am not sleeping well. I am stressed. I have been more aggravated than usual. I haven't been in the best of moods. I just don't deal well with changes in my daily regimen. Ugh.

I will find my niche though, and I will get back to my usual blogging. Sorry about this guys, and I hope to be back writing with an actual post about mental illness on Tuesday. Till then, hope you all have a marvelous weekend.....hurry up Saturday I need a nap already!

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, August 21, 2014

She Never Had A Chance.....

XXXX.....WARNING TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING.....XXXX



I was going to write a post about mental illness but honestly, my mind is somewhere else right now. My Aunt has had an extremely hard life.

Picture a beautiful blonde haired, green eyed girl with a slight band of freckles across the bridge of her nose, growing up in the sixties and seventies. Bell bottoms and maxi dresses. Peace and love.  Picture her smile and her humor. Picture her life surrounded by love and laughter, and it would be true except that her life wasn't surrounded by love and laughter or very many smiles.

She was abused as a child by the same person that molested my mother. Physically, sexually, and mentally tormented. Called ugly and stupid. Her nickname by her father/abuser was "rummy dummy". He never called her by her name just "rummy dummy" as to make her feel even more worthless and ignorant over and over again. He called her a liar and so she learned to lie because no one believed her anyway. He took from her, her innocence, her sense of self, her security every child has a right to feel, and her voice. She has been a hardcore drug addict since the age of thirteen. She has lived on the streets, turned tricks, and been in prison several times. This is the reality of drug use. The ugly horrible truth of what life is like for addicts. Being used and using others all for a fix to numb the pain. So when I say that no one wakes up and says, "Today, I am going to become a drug addict", I mean it. There is no glory in living an addicts life. No comfort when you have to live in crack houses, sleep on the concrete sidewalk, steal for food, get high behind a rancid dumpster in some darkened alley way, or getting in a car with some john paying you to demean yourself all for a fix. She has been beaten black and blue, raped, robbed. She has been strangled, humiliated, and demonized. She had boyfriends beat her and turn her out. She was arrested so many times in Dallas that the police knew her by sight. None of these people she was around cared for her. All of them abused her much like the father she grew up with. No comfort. No love, only pain. She has suffered immensely.

What do you lose as an addict? You lose yourself. You lose your children. You lose your family's trust and respect. The belief that you are a worthy human being. The understanding that you deserve better. That you have a disease, because addiction is a disease and not a choice.You lose everything.

Underneath all of that my aunt is a good person, just a person that wrestles the demons of her past and has no idea how to get rid of them. My mother got therapy for the abuse, my aunt turned to the needle. It could have been my mom. I could have been raised by a drug addict. Very easily my mother and aunt could have lived on the same path. But they didn't.

There is a large amount of addicts in my family. It is a sign of the dysfunction that has seeped down the line. Loving addicts changes a person. You try and live a normal life but somethings are never truly normal. I can not explain the hardship of growing up wondering when we would get the phone call that one of our loved ones would be found dead in some ditch somewhere from over dosing or being murdered due to the dangerous people that addicts hang around.  The apprehension of any late night phone calls. Afraid that each ring was an omen of the bad news we tried to prepare ourselves to hear. Would it be my brother, my sister, my uncle, or my aunt? Thankfully, all of them have gotten clean and we never received that dreaded phone call, just the calls we got when they were arrested. The visiting a loved one in jail or reading letters from them sent from prison. The stories of the horrible things they have endured to get high. We are a remarkable family for all that we have been through and yet there are so many of us families out there. Wrestling with the loss/pain and frustration of loving our addicts because we love the person not the disease. There becomes a loss of hope as we watch the ones we love lose everything around them and spiral out of control. We have to learn not to enable and that is hard because we know why they suffer and we don't want them to suffer more and yet we can't give them money, or trust their actions. or get them out of trouble. They have to hit rock bottom and unfortunately, sometimes rock bottom kills them. It feels like watching them drown and there is no way to save them until they are ready to ask for a life jacket.

Out of all of the addicts in my family, my aunt struggles the most. My uncle was clean and sober for over ten years when he died of a heart attack. My brother and sister are relatively healthy and have been clean for years. My aunt still wrestles with addiction and relapse. She is still in the system and is on probation. She had a five year clean streak until her then husband started using and started pressuring her to use again. That was years ago. She got clean again for a bit and relapsed two years ago. She is freshly clean again. It has been on and off but she tries really hard.... Her life has been very difficult. To makes matters worse, her 54 year old body has been greatly affected by her abuse of it over the years. She has difficulty breathing. She has hepatitis. She once had gangrene in her needle marks. She has had unusual illnesses that only come with being in the dirty disgusting drug dens or from being a prostitute or injecting that shit into your veins. Now, she is on oxygen. She has something wrong with her lungs but we are not sure what, and today I learned that while in the hospital she has suffered a stroke. She can't talk right, she isn't cognizant of what is going on, and she is scared. Worst of all she doesn't seem to know who we are and she is halfway across the country from us. All I keep thinking is what can I do to help? How can I comfort her? This woman who has never really had any real comfort in her life.

My heart is just broken for this woman. This strong woman who has battled for so long. Not just an addict but a woman I love very deeply. Because addicts are not just addicts they are also the broken people underneath the disease. She is an addict but she is still my aunt, a beautiful blonde green eyed woman trapped in addicts failing body. I want to hate my grandfather. I want to rage at him but he too is dead and sadly he too was a victim of horrid sickening sexual and physical abuse. He had no childhood. He was terribly abused and by many. It doesn't excuse what he did but it explains his sick perspective. When someone says abuse is a cycle, they know what they are talking about.  I don't know how to feel right now except sad. My mother says when she thinks of my aunt she thinks she never really had a chance.....

She never knew trust. Never knew love from a man that didn't consist of rape, abuse, or drugs except her first husband but she was too far into drugs to stay and didn't understand his love because she equates love with pain. Never been told she is a worthy human being. Never been taken seriously. Never believed. Never trusted because of the drug use. Has no home, no job, no career, no family close by except her girlfriend, no pets, no car, no plans for the future that most of us have. She has never gone on a real vacation or traveled outside of the U.S. She has nothing that most of us take for granted everyday and yet she is the age most people look at to start retiring. She should have those things but drugs took those things away from her. Her disease has taken away so much. Her abuser continues to win every time she uses which also allows his abusers to win. Yes, I know she has to take responsibility for her actions but then I wonder who should take responsibility for why she uses to forget in the first place? The way she grew up and the path she took I sometimes think my mother is more right then she knows. Maybe she really didn't have a chance at a normal life because my mom found help and my aunt never could...

I sit here and write this I have no idea why. I guess I wanted other people to know her story. She deserves to be believed and her story counts. Maybe other people will understand addicts better from it. Maybe other families going through this will find comfort that they are not alone. Maybe my aunt will find comfort in the fact she is not alone....She deserved better and she still does. Maybe people will see how abuse ruins people's lives. How damaging it is. How it affects everything you do and every choice that you make. Maybe it will bring some sympathy in the hearts of those that think addicts want to live such a miserable life. They don't, they are just tortured and need help.

I am not giving up hope for her. I refuse to give up on her like so many have. My mom and grandma and my other uncle and his wife will continue to hope that she will recover as will my aunt's girlfriend. She needs to know that we love her and we believe in her. She is not "rummy dummy" she is Patti and she is beautiful. She is magnificent. She is worthy. Maybe she never had a chance, but she has one now.

So I am asking if you guys would send her some positive thoughts, or pray for her, or send her light. She needs to recover from this stroke so she can continue her path of staying clean. I would really appreciate it because, dammit that woman has had enough crap coming down on her all of her life. She could use a little support.

Thanks guys,
Neurotic Nelly


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Big Tongue, Small Mind....RANT. RANT. RANT.....

XXXXXXXXX....WARNING>>>GORE AND FOUL LANGUAGE>>>WARNING....XXXXXXXX

I like Gene Simmons. His music isn't necessarily my go to music but I do like his brand. He is a very savvy intelligent guy. He happens to be in my uncle's favorite band. I am familiar with his work and I have even bought some of his merchandise as Christmas presents. That being said, I am woefully dumbfounded by some comments that he made on July 31 during an interview with Songfacts that are just coming to the surface. To be fair, this was a rather long and interesting interview and this is only a small blurb of many topics he discussed but here is the quote that has recently put him in hot water.


When asked if he still gets along with the original guys he answered the following:


No, I don't get along with anybody who's a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim. Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: "The world is a harsh place." My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don't want to hear fuck all about "the world as a harsh place." She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, "I'm depressed, I live in Seattle." Fuck you, then kill yourself.
I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. I'm the guy who says 'Jump!' when there's a guy on top of a building who says, "That's it, I can't take it anymore, I'm going to jump."
Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the fuck up, have some dignity and jump! You've got the crowd.
By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, "I'm going to blow your fuckin' head off!" He'll go, "Please don't!" It's true. He's not that insane.


You can read the article and interview yourself in it's entirety here:


When he received the negative attention he did apologize stating :


"To the extent my comments reported by the media speak of depression, I was wrong and in the spur of the moment made remarks that in hindsight were made without regard for those who truly suffer the struggles of depression. Somewhere along the line, my intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression. Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention. I simply want to be clear that my heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression and I deeply regret any offhand remarks in the heat of an interview that might have suggested otherwise."

Now, I am happy he apologized but nowhere in that statement does he explain why his comments were wrong, leaving me to believe that maybe he doesn't understand why what he said was both damaging and completely insensitive. For me to accept his apology he would have to not only have educated himself on depression but also make an effort to educate everyone else that he made that comment to, on it as well. His apology to me speaks of backtracking and reeks of an ass covering fluff piece all people backpedal into when they say something inappropriate but have no idea why it is in fact, inappropriate. I would like to enlighten him and people that think this way about depression and other mental illnesses so bear with me and hold onto your hats girl's it isn't going to be pretty.

Mr. Simmons, I agree with you about your mother who suffered through a horrific event. The holocaust was absolutely horrible. I am not even sure there is a word to describe the horrors of that period of time. The crimes committed against innocent people were tragic and horrendous. I stand by that statement completely. Your mother must be a wonderful, courageous, and strong person to have lived through such, and I totally see where you are coming from at this point of your statement. However, your main issue is comparing your mother's traumatic life in the concentration camp to other people's traumatic life events and you can't effectively do that. All pain is pain and there is no comparison.  Who are you to act as if this mythical twenty year old from Seattle hasn't gone through enough pain to be suicidal? Are you the pain police?  Do you know his life personally? Maybe he was abused. Maybe he was molested as a child. Maybe he has no other family. Maybe he suffers from other mental illnesses. Maybe the horrors of his life are so profound to him that he doesn't know how to deal with them any other way than to beg for help as loudly as he can. Sure, he looks like a regular twenty year old from Seattle but then again, we all appear normal on the outside. The holocaust was caused by evil people, depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains. There is no one to punish or hold accountable for the horrors of depression. So we end up not only feeling hopeless but also blaming ourselves for having depression in the first place. 

I would like you to think about how much pain it takes to make someone to not want to live anymore. I would further like you to think about the fact that addicts, which you so despise, usually become addicts to suppress such agonizing things such as mental illnesses, physical pain, abuse issues, and feelings of self degradation and worthlessness. No one wakes up one morning and says," Today I want to become a drug addict." That life is neither fun nor noble. No one purposely chooses to end up with a needle in their arm in some dark scum covered alley smelling of urine and unwashed body odor.

As to the comment about holding the gun next to a suicidal person's head, let me be real with you for a minute. My great uncle decided to end his life by blowing his brains out all over the ceiling. Do you really think that if you had popped up beside him right before he pulled the trigger and put a pistol to his head he would have begged for his life? In what world does that make any fucking sense? And sadly, my great uncle wasn't loudly protesting what he was going through, although we all wish he had been. Maybe we could have saved him or gotten him help if we had known this was where he was at mentally. Or at the very least we would know why he felt killing himself was the only way out, we still don't know why and because he is not here to tell us that, we never will.

Or since you are obviously so knowledgeable about suicide and other people's pain maybe you could have been there to tell him simply to cheer up. Maybe your pep talk with a gun would have made him change his mind and my great grandparents could have ended up walking in and seeing him sitting there reading a newspaper and smoking a pipe rather than opening up the door and stepping in his brain matter....what do you think? Possible??? 

Or you could have also applied this logic to my mother the second before she swallowed a bottle of prescription pills when she was 31. You could tell her that just because she was raped from the age of seven to the age of eighteen by her father who was the community preacher, that her pain isn't as bad as your mother's so she should just quit her bitching. It doesn't matter that she suffers from Depression, Bipolar, and PTSD. Since you know all about pain and suicide and who has the right to be miserable or not, you could save us all from ourselves and our own "pity parties" before it is too late. We want you to stop us before we become too victim like for your taste, because your opinion seems to be the only one that matters.

You see Mr.Simmons, suicide isn't about attention grabbing, or pity, or unfounded misguided jealousy. It isn't about what you have or don't have, or what horrid God awful things have happened in your life, or if you were born into a perfectly wonderful family with no issues. Suicide is the final act of immense desperation. An act to simply end unbearable agony and hopelessness. As you said," He'll go, "Please don't!" It's true. He's not that insane." you have made a great misjudgment. At that exact moment in time when he/she is ready to step over that threshold and commit suicide, they are just that insane and make no mistake, they are victims.  Victims of a disease that kills more people than AIDS, car accidents, homicides, or prostate cancer. But hey, what do I know? Maybe after losing one family member to suicide and almost losing my own mother to it, I am just a tad bit sensitive on the matter. Well, then I am just so very sorry to have to put a damper on your ignorant way of thinking.

Apparently, Mr. Simmons has never had to live with depression or known anyone in his circle of loved ones that has suffered from it. Apparently, he has never had to deal with the ragged, open, gaping wound left behind from a loved one's suicide. Well, good for him, I wish that we could all be so lucky. I wish that none of the 30,000 American families each year never had to know what it is like finding your loved one dead on the floor in a pile of empty pill bottles, or bleeding from the wrists, or after shooting themselves in the face, or after suffocating themselves with car exhaust, or see their broken bodies after jumping from a building, or God forbid finding them hanging from a belt wedged between the closet door and the door frame...... 

We are all victims of this disease whether we suffer from it or not Mr. Simmons and I think it would be more wise to understand that.


Neurotic Nelly






Thursday, August 14, 2014

Maybe Just A Little Bit......

Last Sunday was my thirty fifth birthday. My mom and I celebrated our birthdays as we have always done, together. It was nice and calming and the food was good. I got to visit with my grandma which is always a plus. She is so adorable and it got me to thinking....

If you listen to the media and how it portrays mental illness you would think that sufferers look different than other people. You might expect them to look crazy or scary. Dirty or aloof. Awkward or zoned out.

For instance you might think that people with depression look sad....or that people with PTSD look unhinged. You might expect people with Bipolar Disorder to look disheveled or manic....but the truth is that underneath all of the pain and emotional dysfunction and confusion, we are all only human. We don't have our diagnoses printed on our heads in big bright letters. We do not wear our disorders pinned on our sleeves for the world to see.

Look at this picture for example: this is my mother who is a wonderful human being that just so happens to suffer from PTSD, Chronic Depression, and Bipolar Disorder. 


You would never know by looking at her that these are her daily struggles. That sometimes just to get out of bed in the morning seems like an insurmountable task.


And this one: You might never have guessed that both of these people suffer from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
That I suffer panic attacks and have medical and germ fears so badly I fight them on a daily basis or that she (my grandma) worries and obsesses about things until she gets so full of anxiety she cries. That we both avoid certain triggers that make us uncomfortable. That we both suffer from a tremendous amount of undeserved guilt and shame.


We look fairly normal. We look like the millions of other people that walk the earth. There is nothing in these pictures that show our trials and our struggles. We look like everyone else because in reality we are so much like everyone else. We just happen to have mental illness.

I grew up in a family full of strong women. Compassionate, loving, kind, but also fearless. Not because we were born to be fearless but because there was no other way to be and survive. We are women that have lived through abuse. We are women that have lived through mental illness. We are women that have fought for our lives and triumphed because there was no other option available and we are too stubborn to back down. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that depression doesn't always show on your face. You can be a smiling face to the world but be wounded and alone on the inside. You can be Bipolar and look like the neighbor that cooks out on Tuesday nights. You can be OCD and be the mailman that wears that funny little safari hat in the middle of summer. There is no "mental illness look". There are no physical traits that show our pain or our issues. We look like everyday people because we are everyday people. We just have different struggles to deal with.....

The media would have you believe that people that suffer from mental illness look like glazed eyed ax wielding murderers. They would have you believe that we look like kidnappers and boogeymen. They try and paint pictures of us that are neither helpful nor factual. We are not the thing that goes bump in the night. We are not the monsters hiding under the bed. We look like a thirty five year old woman and her fifty six year old mother on their birthday and their seventy five year old grandmother. We look like a beloved always smiling for the public sixty three year old comedian and actor. We look like soldiers coming back home from war. We look like doctors, and lawyers, and car salesmen. We look like children, and parents, and siblings because we are all of those things..... We look like other people because we are other people. We are just ordinary, regular, everyday people that just happen to suffer. We are no different and we are no less magnificent. We are still beautiful. We are still worthy. We are still lovable, courageous, intelligent, fascinating, purposeful individuals except maybe we are just a little bit stronger. A little bit more aware of the struggle of others and maybe just a little bit more compassionate about it.

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Heartbroken....

Heartbroken. I am angry, sad, and lost.

I didn't personally know Robin Williams. I am not famous or in the movie industry. I am neither a comic nor a comedian. I am just a person. A regular person. An ordinary person. A person that can't yet fathom never seeing new a Robin Williams movie or hearing his comedy routines live or watching him ham it up with the latest talk show host ever again.

I loved Robin Williams. His humor, his energy, his fluidity of voice changes and characters. His references were both poignant and truthful. He had a way of making everyone feel like his best friend even if their only connection to him was watching him on the television set or viewing one of his many skillfully played characters at the movie theater. He illuminated the masses with his hyper and manic humor. He brought tears to our eyes with his heart touching roles. He shared some of his life with us. Some of the inner workings of his genius mind and he did it all while making us smile. He reminded many of us that grew up watching him, of our own beloved yet goofy family members. The crazy uncle that dances around and does funny accents and silly voices or the wacky aunt that jumps from story to story, each story being bigger and more implausible than the next. Everyone has one of those kooky relatives and Mr. Williams seemed to encompass them all but with more oomph and better fashion sense. His smile brought many of us comfort. We knew no matter how hard our day was or how sad we might be, that even the smallest of his jokes would change all of that. Even if for only a few moments, we knew that Robin Williams would make us laugh and we would feel better, and he did.

That is why so many of us were so terribly shocked that we lost him in such a profoundly devastating way. He was for many of us, a hero. Not only did he make us laugh but he was open and honest about many of his struggles. He had battled with addiction and wrestled with depression and he helped raise awareness of both of those issues every time he discussed them. He was successful even though he suffered and it made him a hero to a great many of us. He made us realize that we too could reach for our dreams even though we may have mental illness or addiction issues. For me he was more than an actor, comic, or funny man. For me and many like me, he was an inspiration.

Sometimes when others make us laugh we fail to see the pain behind their eyes. Sometimes we fail to see that laughter can hide agony and despair. I do not know why Robin Williams committed suicide but I do know how devastated his family and friends must be. I know what living with a depressed parent is like and sadly I understand suicide and the fear of it on a very real level. My mother tried to kill herself when I was ten years old. She suffers from among other things, bipolar disorder and chronic depression.

Depression isn't simply feeling sad. It isn't just being overwhelmed and lonely. Depression is a black whole that sucks up every important, valued, wonderful thing in your life and swallows it whole. It decimates and devastates. It leaves you raw and numb. It smothers your other senses so completely that it tunnels your vision until all that you can see is the pain and agony in which you have lived your life in. It is not just having a bad day. It is an exhaustion, a soul crushing exhaustion that pollutes every sense of normalcy in your world. It takes everything from you and leaves you desperate for any semblance of solace or peace.  Depression isn't simply an emotion, it is an illness and like all illnesses, it can and it does kill.

I think people are surprised by his depression because he was successful and famous. Because he seemed so happy and jovial. Because he had done so many things most of us will never achieve. But that just shows how little most people know about mental illnesses such as depression. Depression doesn't discriminate. It has nothing to do with money or fame. It has nothing to do with race or social status. It has nothing to do with gender, sexual preference, or one's religious views. Depression is a mental illness and as such it can affect anyone, at anytime, anywhere.

I actually read a comment implying that if he had known the love of God this might not have happened and I was sorely disappointed by the ignorance of that statement. My mother has always loved God...she loved God while she prayed...loved God when she went to church on Sundays...and my mother still loved God just as much when she swallowed a bottle of pills...one by one while hoping to die. She never stopped loving God, she just wanted to end her misery. To imply a loss of religion is the cause of suicide is not only folly and ignorant but dangerous as well. You can not simply wash away a chemical imbalance in your brain with prayer. It does not work that way... So it, in fact, does not matter what religion he may or may not have believed in or if he had or had not known the love of God. Suicide has less to do with one's beliefs and more to do with ending one's pain.

And I am afraid that people will judge him. Some will say snide remarks and ugly comments about his life and decisions or his belief systems. They will call him weak or cowardly. They will act as if they know what was going through his mind or that they would have ended up differently but the truth is most of them have no idea what that struggle is like or how deep the pain of depression can seep into your soul. There will be internet trolls and judgy misguided people with big opinions and little ability to understand anything but their own preconceived notions of mental illness. They will try and make his battle with depression something to be looked down on or ashamed of and that is wrong. His family doesn't need judgments and ignorance, they need understanding and acceptance. He lost his battle but that does not make him weak or cowardly. I am not advocating for suicide. I believe it is devastating. It leaves a definable scar on the fabric of your family that never fully heals. However, I believe that we have to stop demonizing those that have done it and understand that they don't do it because they don't love their families, or they are weak, they do it because they truly at that time are unable to see that there is any other way to end their suffering. They do it because they suffer from a mental illness that is often times overlooked, understated, and stigmatized by the public.

If this tragedy does anything to shed light on the issues of suicide in this country, than I hope it reaches people on a very real level. I hope that it can help end the ignorance and stigma that surrounds the topic of suicide and mental illness. Robin Williams was a wonderful person, a big hearted, loving, magnificent person and he will be sorely missed as will the over 30,000  other Americans that commit suicide in this country every year.  Their loss is a tragedy just as horrific and devastating as Mr. Williams's.  The discussion of suicide is swept under the rug or discussed only in hushed voices. We owe it to those that have lost their battle with depression and other mental illnesses to stop sticking our heads in the sand. They deserve our attention and their pain deserves to be discussed. Their lives deserve to be talked about and their suicides deserve to be acknowledged so that we can help others before they get to this point of despair.

Suicide is preventable. There is help. There are other options, better options, and until we start being honest about suicide in this country sadly, we will continue lose more people that could have been saved.

My heart goes out to the Williams family and all of his friends, fans, and acquaintances. My heart goes out to the whole world that has lost such a bright, intelligent, and magnificent man that they will never get to know....and my heart goes out to Robin Williams because his pain must have been profound and daunting and because as in so many other cases, we as a society failed to be open about mental illness like we should be and because of that we failed to reach him in time.


Neurotic Nelly








Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Maybe It Is Just Me?...

I hated Spanish class in high school. I love the language. I love the idea of learning a new culture. I however, hated this particular class with everything in my soul. It was right after lunch and the teacher knew that I sucked at foreign languages (dyslexia) and so he would call on me to say things in Spanish...which was always wrong. The kids would laugh, the teacher would laugh....I would feel totally embarrassed. What's worse, was this was the one class I had panic attacks in. I would go sit down at my desk, start to shake, and end up bolting from the class in sheer panic mode. I got sneers and snide remarks from other students They had no idea what was wrong with me, but clearly there was something off. It was mortifying and yet I kept going back day after day after day....I rather not recall those painful days of high school and yet I often wonder what others think when they see someone freak out in that manner.


I was reading this weird little blurb last night about what to say to people that are having a panic attack and it kinda made me laugh a bit. Not that it wasn't a nice article. It meant well, but some of it was rather silly. To me anyway. It said things like "let them know you are there for them". That is a nice sentiment, but I don't need to know you are there for me in that moment. I know you care but you being "there for me" doesn't resolve my anxiety in any way while I am in the middle of the attack. It does make me feel better afterwards though.

There were several more sayings like this but the worst one for me, was "ask them what they need". Listen, during a full on raging panic attack it is all I can do to concentrate on my own breathing. I don't want to hyperventilate and pass out. So, the last thing I want or even can do at that moment is to hold a conversation and tell you what I need. What I need is to breathe.

Maybe it is just me, I prefer to have my panic attacks in seclusion. If I have one in public (God forbid) then I go somewhere private so I can get control of it. I can not talk during one. I can not handle being touched during one. I can not deal with other outside stimuli at all. And the thought of anyone watching me break down like that, even family or loved ones, is mortifying to me. I am not a science experiment and I don't want to be stared at like one.

Unfortunately, having an anxiety disorder means that I do have panic attacks and I have had to learn to accept that I may get triggered and have one at any point in time. Most of the time, I can talk myself down out of one. But there are the big ones that hit me out of nowhere and I am left having to pick up the pieces when it is done. So, I am wondering if I am the only one.....How do you respond to panic attacks and do you find being told people are there for you or asking what you need in the middle of one helpful? And if you see someone having a panic attack and you don't suffer from them, what do you think when you see one?


Neurotic Nelly