Friday, September 30, 2016

Porch Opossums, Flower Pots, and Mental Illness......Oh My

I have an inside/outside cat. We have, on occasion, put out cat food for him. Problem being that we have discovered that he doesn't actually eat the outside food. The food bowl would empty but the cat would not be the one emptying it. It was like a bizarre magical trick until a few days ago. That is when we saw it.

We have an opossum. 

Smallish but getting bigger everyday. It has taken over our porch at night. It has become fearless. It doesn't really care if you see it, as long as you don't get too close. Last night, that bastard broke one of my flower pots and stood there defiantly licking his fur on my outside bench.  Clearly, it is not afraid of me or my outside cat, or my flower pots.

It made me think about mental illness, which is probably some sort of mental problem in itself, actually. How it takes what it wants. Slowly it feeds off of your fears or stress, especially in the night. How it becomes brazen in it's symptoms. How fearless it is when stealing little bit of your life away. How it has no issues knocking over your flower post and watching you whole world turn upside down. It isn't afraid. It is defiant. It is a little bastard and before you know it, it makes claims on your porch without your permission or knowledge.

And what do we do? Usually, we blame ourselves for something we did not ask for. We get scared. We worry about stigma and sometimes that worry gets in the way of the help that we need. We keep it secret a lot of the time. We struggle with sense of self worth.  We hurt.

But, I think what we need to realize is that just like the porch opossum, we are not responsible for mental illness befalling us. It is just something that happens. It is not our fault nor does it say anything about who we are as people. It does not label us. I t does not lessen our worth.

There is no need to blame ourselves for something we have no control over. And there are many things to help people with mental illness. There are therapies, medications, groups, and treatments that have been helpful for most mental illnesses. There are people that understand. there are people that know what living under the stigma of mental illness is like and there are people who care. 

Honestly, mental illnesses aren't even that rare. Much like finding an opossum eating out of your garbage can, lots of people have encountered it. The current statistics prove that 1 in 5 people in the US will have some sort of mental illness in their lifetimes. That isn't a small number. In fact, you probably know someone affected by mental illness right now. So, there is nothing to be ashamed about when you break down the sheer amount of people that suffer with you. Why we treat it like some majestic rarity is really beyond me. Clearly it is neither majestic nor a rarity at all.

That is the Point that I am making, I think. Mental illness should not be seen as a weakness or weirdness. It should be treated and looked upon the same way as any physical illness is. And until it is, we should keep fighting the stigma, keep helping ourselves, and keep being proud of how much we have been able to accomplish.  Because having a mental illness is hard and we should be proud of every single time we win against it. No matter how small that win may be. It is still a win.

I am strong. You are strong and we can do this. We can tell the mental illness opossums of the world that flower pots be damned we are not afraid to fight back and get help. That we are worth it. That we matter. Because we do and our minds and porches are not something we are just going to give over without a fight.

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, September 16, 2016

I Am Going To Be Fine....


Calm down. Be calm and breathe. Think about fluffy kittens and silly puppy faces. Jam your hands in your pockets. Tap your fingers on your knee. Breathe Nelly, Breathe. You can do this. You are going to be alright.



Deep breaths. Come on you can do it. Inhale and exhale. That's it. You got it. You got it! Again, inhale really deep and exhale really long. There ya go.

I am writing this trying not to have a panic attack. I hate this. I hate this so much. My heart rate goes through the roof and my breathing becomes shallow and fast. My palms get sweaty as I battle this overriding feeling of complete and utter doom. Dread encapsulates my senses and fear fills my nostrils. I can smell it. I can taste my own terror. I want to run. I want to hide......I want to throw up.

I could get angry with myself for not being able to do things like a normal fucking person, but what is the point? This is my reality. This is what I have to live with and who I am. This is one of my many, many issues and that is okay. I am going to be okay.

Just breathe.

I wish I had more control of this than I do. I find it embarrassing when it happens in public. I am not ashamed that it happens but it can be upsetting to other people. I wish that I could leave my house with the certainty that I will not lose my shit and breakdown in the middle of the floor in a public space. But I don't have that certainty and I have learned to just be happy when I surprise myself and do well. Tomorrow is probably not going to be one of those days. Not if I am already fighting of a tsunami of panic the night before. But whatever the outcome of this day, I am going to be fine.

I am going to be fine either way. Breathe....

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I'm Back and Hopefully Better....

Well, I have recovered....sort of.  Apparently while going to my doctor's office for a checkup I contracted what can only be described as the flaming gungamo.

I have no idea how it happened. I used hand sanatizer. I avoided direct contact with other patients. I kept my hands in my pockets. All of my OCD germ tactics to stay safe.

I was going to write but I was ill in bed coughing up a lung and wishing my ears didn't feel like I was trapped underwater.

The first day I awoke to the feeling one would have if they had swallowed razor blades. Thinking I had Strep throat I went to the Urgent Care. Spoiler alert: it was not strep throat.
 I was given antibiotics. The pharmacist tried to pander their flu shots to me while I waited in line looking and feeling like a snot zombie. I was not amused.

The second day, I felt as if angry bat wielding leprechauns had attacked me in my sleep. My head hurt. My sinuses were flaming balls of lava. My eyes refused to focus. I had what I like to call congestion stupidity, where the facial pressure makes you unable to concentrate. The pressure triggered my vertigo which allowed me to spend the day  bumping into everything and falling over as if I was drunk. It was fantastic....sarcasm.

The third day, I wanted to die. There was clearly no relief or hope in sight. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it and I was not entirely convinced I wanted to. The urge to crawl instead of walk from the couch to the bed to the bathroom was becoming more of a need rather than a desire. I don't remember much about it except whimpering sounds that I realized where coming from me as I laid rolled in a cover, scrunched into a ball, with kleenex shoved into my nostrils. I woke up choking from the chest congestion. I woke up unable to breathe from my whole face. I woke up having to blow my nose....I slept too much but none of it was long term bouts of rest. It was like a bad ironic joke and the punchline was clearly me at this point.

Thankfully, the third day was the worst and I was up and running on the fourth day. It has been twelve days since.

I now still cough but not as much as before and I don't sound like I have peanut m & m's shoved up nose. So, that's a plus. I did, however, pass it on to both of my children.  This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.....sorry kids.

That being said, I am in a way better mood than usual. Probably from my new found ability to breathe through both of my nostrils at the same time. Nose breathing is great, isn't it?

Other than being sick, I have nothing really to talk about. I am thankful to be back to my old crazy self. I am happy to be on the mend. I am still confused as to how I caught this bug in the first place but I am happy it is mostly over.

So, here's to you guys. I hope to write a better post than this for next week. I am hoping all of you are feeling well, and are having good days. If you are not, please just remember that even in the darkest of hours daylight is only around the corner. Just hang in there. You matter. You are important. You have insurmountable worth. You are heard.

Until next week guys,
Neurotic Nelly