- Posted May 16, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Going public with mental illness
Walking the Beaches
They say that fighting the “fighting the good fight” has made all the difference in the world, and it is the same for a mentally ill human being as the genetic condition can be a “life-draining experience”. But, the willingness to “mentally die” for the “inches of life towards the end zone”, is such a daunting task that coping with the constant “stressors of life” maybe difficult for the mentally ill human being. I remember reading Robert Frost, and one of his famous poems (The Road Less Traveled), keeps me hoping for “a better outcome” in the future as my life as a mentally ill patient in 20 years has tested my self-faith, self-hope, and self-love.
But, this short story is by no means an avenue for political and social issues of mental illness as having two religious novels and websites keeps a unique perspective on staying pure. I refuse to make this agenda for social and political organizations. Also, my own self-promotion. This short story is for the mentally ill patients who are suffering from genetic conditions of mental illness, as well as the friends and families that are “wishing and dying” to understand the impact of mental illness on a patient.
I will use over 20 years of experience of being a mentally ill patient to further the desires and wishes of the friends, families, and those who are currently suffering from a mental illness. I can only hope that the help of my past experiences will lead to the enlightenment of everyone.
What is mental Illness?
It’s like the vast ocean where the dark and deep creatures can alter one’s reality. The dark creatures of the shadows of the dark oceans of emotions and life experiences always grab the reality of the mentally ill patient. It is a constant balance of reliving the negative life experiences. The only way to save a “drowning patient” is, either to throw a life-preserver, or picking up the human being in a boat. Sometimes, the mentally ill human being has neither two and has to” save themselves" as it was my life experience of saving myself.
I grew up in a home of domestic violence throughout my childhood as it was a common occurrence. The household was apathetic, volatile, and judgmental. This would only aide to my future illness. In high-school, I excelled at sports and became a good student. I made the varsity football and basketball team in my freshman year as I was proud of my accomplishments which only aided to my belief that “brighter future laid ahead of me”. But, one day, I was beaten up by some of the players as the betrayal of the negative experience haunted me for the next 20 years.
I met my former spouse and we had 3 beautiful children as I left school to support my family. Yet, the negative experiences (domestic violence and betrayal) of the past came back haunt me as I became violent towards my spouse until I “snapped-out-of-psychosis”. I haven’t been violent ever since that towards anyone since that “fatal mistake”. We divorced in 1995. And, the beginning of the “roller coaster” began.
In 1998, I was at my first appointment when a state-regulated psychiatrist witnessed that I was in psychosis. I was immediately hospitalized after this as my first hospitalization at San Antonio State Hospital petrified me as the stigma of mental illness had me remembering the portrayals of mental institutions and patients.
My suicide attempts were in 1999, 2004, and 2009. All had failed, but I was convinced that I could finish the job. What else could I do?
But, in 2009 after my last suicide attempt a magical thing happened. I realized that I was in denial of my mental illness. I began to comply with the doctor’s orders and medication management, began Dialectal Behavior Therapy, dieted when my budget allowed it, and exercised when I could.
On a daily basis, I have to remember each morning to take my medications to keep me stable throughout the day. It's embarrassing to admit that to others. Yet, it is the only thing that keeps me sane.
The constant struggle to make sense of the creature of the deep and dark torrid ocean engulfs my mind as the memories keep revolving in my head. Most days, I wish it would just go away. I'm constantly perplexed by it all.
But, every day begins the same, I wake up and take my medications to begin the day. I make my usual pot of coffee as I have to stay away from drinking it all day as it can keep the chronic insomnia active. I turn on my computer to visit my websites, read the daily news and e-mails, smoke my cigarettes as it keeps me calm, although I know it isn't good for me, read my philosophy and religion dictionaries, throw my instant oatmeal in the microwave, and end the mornings relaxed. I never had structure in the past, but I had to change my routine to sustain the recovery of my mental illness. It has made a big difference in my life for which I am grateful.
Yet, the day is only beginning and the creatures of life hasn't even visited me. I dread the afternoons in all honesty.
And, as the day goes on the memories of my current and past life experiences alter the reality of my life. In most afternoons, the constant reflecting (which is essential in the recovery as one cannot overcome a mental illness without self-honesty) of my whole life drains me throughout the afternoon. I struggle with sadness, grief, anguish, anxiety and self-hatred throughout it all. I hate what I see in the mirror most days. I avoid it when I go to the bathroom.
But, the mass perplexity starts here. This is what hope and faith is all about.
And, then, I remember the past and current instances of my transformation of being in-a-shell for two decades and the natural beauty of self-appreciation.
The revolving winds and sunrise of the ocean ignite the second part of the afternoon. I look forward to this part of it. I begin to love myself by the wonderful feelings of hope, self-laughter, self-worth, self-love, and faith as the calm waters of my current creatures push me towards the beaches of another island with the mountains guiding me. I love this part of the afternoon. I'm ecstatic and downright giddy.
But, I still avoid the mirror. I don't trust what I feel at the moment.
I still smoke, drink soda water and listen to music to keep me calm throughout the day. I asked my father this one time and he has been supportive of my logic ever since. When I smoke, I ask him "Would you rather have me return to doing drugs or smoking cigarettes?”. We chuckle. But, it keeps me calm.
But, when the night approaches, I begin to wind down in my routine with the same behaviors of the beginning of the day. I make a practical dinner for the night as I try to stay away from "big meals" as gaining weight happens with most psychiatric medications. I deplore the side effects of them. But, they usually go away after a tolerance of them has developed in 2-4 weeks of feeling the full-effects of them. I may deplore them, but it's what is saving my life. And, I take my medications again.
My routine is what is saving me too besides the medications, as well as developing good coping skills.
I long-ago, let go of the self-consciousness of society as I need to visit the hospital when the relapse of my illness overcomes me. I don’t care what people think of me when I ask for help.
I continue to fight the “good fight” throughout the days, I have hope now when I realize that I will be fine in the end-of-all. I have two websites and novels, as well as helping others. I will be attending college in the fall for my third degree.
I have come a long way as the “inches of life” have me nearing the end zone. And fighting the “good fighting everyday" has “made-a-difference” with my self-hope and self-faith, as well as a faith in God (it sure does help).
I struggle too with this as it is by no means over. I’m not completely happy, it’s just the beginning of being “hysterically happy”.
“The Cardinal Virtues” for friends and family are; empathy, patience, sincerity, and most importantly, non-judgmental.