Tuesday, June 2, 2015

UnValidated...

" Sometimes the people around you won't understand your journey. They don't need to, it's not for them." -Anonymous

         Deflected. That is what it feels like when someone makes excuses to not sympathize with how you are feeling. I get irritated when someone assumes that because I am upset about something, that it is because of my mental illness. As if, I am not allowed to have true feelings unless it is related to my OCD. Like somehow my OCD means that I can not truthfully be angry or hurt. It matters not what has transpired during my day or what situation I am facing. Crying or showing otherwise perfectly normal emotional responses to something is thrown back in my face because, surely it is my mental illness's fault and not because I am truly upset over something. It can't be because I had a shitty day. It has to be because I have OCD. And since I do have OCD, my feelings are just overreactions. My diagnosis has fundamentally colored the way I am perceived. And I am apparently perceived as someone who can not feel unless my mental illness is dictating it.

I know it may be hard to believe, but just like everyone else I am a human being. And being a human means that on occasion, I actually have human feelings. And they can be trampled on or hurt. (Go figure.)

         Few things hurt  more than when I am discussing my feelings on something and someone's response to it, is that I need to get back on my medicine. (I have medication resistant OCD). I don't think it is meant to be insulting on purpose but it is insulting all the same.  What you may be saying is that I am really passionate about whatever we are talking about or that I am really upset, but what I hear is the soft click of the door of communication as it closes tightly shut behind me. What I hear is that you do not care about my feelings. What I hear is that you can not get on my level and understand where I am coming from. What I hear is that my opinion is not important and my feelings are annoying and should be kept to myself, lest I bother anyone else with them. You may not know it, but these few simple words have effectively swept my emotions under the heavily stained, moth eaten carpet that everyone has trampled and wiped their dirt covered feet on.  It pushes my feelings away and crushes them down. Leaving me to feel misunderstood, extremely frustrated, unbelievably isolated, a tad bit devastated, and just plain sad. No one likes to feel ignored or swept aside and it is no different for those of us that suffer from mental illness.

       
       Even when I was on medication, if I had a moment when I was struggling or upset with something that had nothing to do with my mental illness at all, I would be asked, "Did you take your meds today?"

       I wanted to scream,"What the hell does my medication have to do with the validation of how I am feeling? Is it not possible for you to see me as a whole person? To see me as someone who is hurting? What does it matter even if it is my mental illness making me feel this way, are my emotions any less important? Any less valid? Do I not still feel them just as deeply? Why are my emotions ignored and overlooked and dismissed just because I suffer?"

I want to yell these things, but I usually end up just ending the conversation. Because once my feelings have been rebuffed by someone, I have a very hard time trusting that someone with them again.

        I can not begin to tell you how incredibly hurtful the medication question is. If you really think about it, it is more of a statement rather than a question. It says you are judging me. It says, albeit subtly and well hidden, that I don't have a right to have feelings let alone express them because they clearly aren't real. It implies that no one that has mental illness has any real emotions. They are a figment of our fractured minds and therefore do not need to be validated or listened to. They are immediately suspect and mistrusted. They are almost always looked at with a wary eye and a half closed ear.


        I mean yes, sometimes my mental illness affects my mood or causes me to react a certain way. But that is not every single time I feel an emotion. When someone has been a complete asshat to me and it hurts my feelings, I get pissed. I do not get pissed because I have OCD. I get pissed because someone has been a complete asshat to me and has hurt my feelings. I should not have to explain that. I should not have to validate that to someone else. I have a right to feel the way I feel about things.


 We are not emotional zombies. We are people.


       Asking me if I have taken my pills when I am upset makes me feel like I have to constantly validate my feelings when I feel them. It makes me start to feel as if I am not trustworthy of my own emotions. Like somehow, I am defunct and incapable. That my feelings are not important on the basis that I am mentally ill and because of that, those feelings have no merit.  Your feelings count and are treated as such. So should ours.  There shouldn't be this overwhelming need to explain why we aren't faking it or not overreacting. There should be no long drawn out explanation we have to give every time we are upset by something. Our feelings matter and they are very real to us. That should be more than good enough for everyone else.

         Somehow people with mental illness are always asked to defend how they feel about something and I hate that. I hate that I have to feel like my emotions are not my own and it is okay for them to be sterilized and whitewashed over simply because I have OCD.  My feelings are not a old barn door that needs to be reclaimed and painted over. They are not grimy bed linens that need to be washed clean with bleach. They are not distasteful and something to look down upon. They are simply feelings. Not something to be scrubbed away or sanitized.  Being told I need to water down my emotions when I am hurting is total bullshit and I vehemently resent it.

We are not exempt from feeling things. We are no different than anyone else.

            I am not asking you to understand every single thing we feel. We don't expect that from you. What I am asking is that you be compassionate. That you be kind. That you listen without ridicule or judgement. That you offer support just as we do you when you are upset or hurting. That is all I want. That is all any of us want. It really isn't that complicated. We just want to be heard. We just want to not have our feelings glossed over, ignored, omitted, or have them remain unvalidated. No one deserves to remain unvalidated.

You wouldn't like if we treated you like your views and emotions were pointless, so please don't do that to us either,

Neurotic Nelly

2 comments:

  1. I'd offer advice.....but I'm afraid I don't understand. :)

    ReplyDelete