Life is hard (mental health blog)
Friday, April 26, 2013
You know, I've been thinking, after reading some blogs lately, that life is hard. Warning, this is going to be a little messy. I usually try to stick to positive blogs, but I need to vent, and this is as good a place as any.
Like I said, life is hard, for everyone. Everyone seems to have some overwhelming thing, or things that keep them struggling, almost non-stop, without seeing a lot of progress. The more people I "meet" online and in other areas, the more I see this. I think our modern life is just really overwhelming for the majority of people, myself included.
There are so many things that I struggle with, including mentally and emotionally healing from trauma in the past, while somehow trying to accept and deal with the present and attempt to work towards a positive future. I feel like I have been dealing with one huge hurdle after another, since I was about 12 years old. I have seen so many traumatic things including watching my Father deteriate in front of my eyes after a seriously hard and debelitating safety discrimination case against the company he worked for until the day he could no longer work due to mental and physical disabilities. In this process of watching him slowly die, and watching my family go down the tubes with him, I struggled to preseve my self esteem, and worked my butt off to better myself, and not let what happened to my parents, happen to me. My father reached an all time low in 2007 when after a month long manic episode he attempted to kill my mother. What ensued after is something I deal with on a daily basis. He is now in state custody, no one knows exactly where, and the majority of his side of the family has blamed my Mother and us four children for not being there for him, and has let us know in every way they can that we are not a part of thier lives anymore. As if dealing with my sick and violent father for 10 years prior to his breakdown was not enough, I had to lose the closest family (cousins, aunts and uncles) that I had.
Upon dealing with the hard blow this had on my family, and especially my Mother, I myself fell into my first bi-polar episode, and battled that, in and out of the hospital, and on and off meds for three years before I came to terms with my condition, and accepted the reality of what I have to deal with in order to be healthy. Including taking daily meds that ultimately lead me to gaining over 60 pounds in about 2 years. My younger brother and sister were also hit very hard from the stress of the break-up of my family, and both dropped out of college and were also diagnosed bi-polar. My sister accepts the situation and now takes the same meds I do, and also gained 60+ pounds in about a year, but my brother does not accept his condition, and struggles just to maintain even the slightest of tasks. Me and my three siblings were all honor students, in fact we all graduated Valedictorian's of our classes (it was a small school, but we all strived for the best and worked very hard to get the very best grades so that we could go to college.) So, the onset out our mental conditions.......coupled with our inability to finish school and find meaningful jobs has been a deep, deep blow to our self esteem and self image. It is so hard to be told how smart and great you are throughout your formative years, only to grow up and find that you can barely support yourself.
In dealing with my mental health these last years, and the weight gain, I have learned a lot about my abilities, and disablity. I have learned that I am OK, with being "unsuccessful" according to my early visions of success in life. Being voted "most likely to succeed" in high school, and growing up to live in a one bedroom apartment, and fail at college by 33 is quite a hard pill to swallow. But I've swallowed it. I attempt, everyday to move forward. To get stronger, healthier, happier, more adjusted and more accepting of who I am. Dealing with the cards life deals us is hard sometimes. For me it's been hard for so long, I wouldn't know anything but hard.
As I sit here writing this, I think about the last 7 years since I got married. I look back to all the struggle my husband and I have been through, including the onset of my mental health condition and the development of my husband's anxiety disorder. We have had multiple addresses, multiple jobs, lot's of barely getting by, somehow. We went through a miscarriage, my first pregnancy, a year and a half ago, that was emotionally trying. I was overjoyed to finally be a mother, only to have it taken from me two months into the joy. It was hard, it's still hard.
I look back to all of the dreams we had when we met 9 years ago. All of the things we thought we could achieve. All of the things we thought we could do. Nearly every single thing we worked towards in the last decade has fallen to pieces at our feet. It hurts. I cry. I ask why. I stumble. I fall. I wonder if I'm cursed. I wonder what I did wrong? Who did upset? God? Is this punishment for moving away from my step-sons? Maybe? Does God punish in that way? Am I somehow asking for all of this. Or is it karma? But what did I do? I don't know.
So, life is hard. I could go on and on. I haven't made the best decisions in life, but I think I've done the best with what I have. And now, rereading this, I have the urge to delete it all. Or sugar coat it. Or somehow make it sound like it wasn't as bad or as hard as it was. But for today, this blog is about theraputic acceptance of the reality of what I've been through in my life.
Much of what I have seen and dealt with in the last decade has dramatically shaped the way I see myself, or saw myself for a very long time. I felt defeated, like I lost out on life, pulled the losing lotto card. I felt that everyone who came into contact with me saw all of my flaws instantly, especially my obese, uncoordinated body, and thought poorly of me. I felt that I deserved to be looked down upon, because I had failed myself, failed my health, failed at life. I became everything I was afraid of. Unsuccessful, poor, unhealthy, uneducated in an area I could excel in, unmotivated, sad, depressed, sick, nearly disabled, medicated, fueled by poor nutrition, and completely lacking healthy outlets like exercise, art, or community involvement. I was unhappily unfertile, and unable to support a child in the way I wanted to if I was capable of concieving. I had become a shell of a person. Nothing I'd ever imagined I'd be. I felt a failure to my family, friends, husband and myself. I felt this for years, and in some small way still do.
All of this is my life after high school in 1998, and prior to finding SP in Sept. of 2011. Somehow, finding SP changed something, sparked some inner hope that was buried so deep inside I didn't know it existed. My first year on SP was spent sparking, not sparking, believing I could succeed, thinking there was no way I could, back and forth. Binge eating, exercising like mad, eating well, eating poorly. And beating myself up, and blogging all along the way. It's only been since my second year on SP that I've truly begun to see a light at the end of this tunnel. And an ability to truly sort through what I've been through, and somehow make sense of it without feeling completely consumed with guilt, depression and an overwhelming sense of failure. Since Sept. of 2012, things have grown steadily better. With constant prayer, scriptual guidance and the unending love and support from my spark friends that I love so much, I now feel that there is real hope, real light, and that keeps me going.
I know we all deal with things. Everyone. Some worse than others. And as of today, I choose love, healing, moving forward, health, strength, compassion, and understanding of myself and others. 90 +% of the time I am positive and greatful for what I do have. But, as I said, for today, I needed to just reflect and accept what I have been through. The road of life has been trecharous at times, so much so that I wanted to give up. But, somehow, someway I didn't. And here I am. Getting healthier everyday. Working those fit mins, drinking that water, taking those nature walks and capturing the beauty around me in my constant photo taking. Life is hard, for all of us. We hurt, we cry, we may even want to give up, often. But each day holds new ways to accept, love, appreciate life and move forward. One step at a time.
So when I look on the last ten years, and get depressed about my weight, or my finances, or my tiny apartment, or my profession, or lack of education, or lack of retirement plans, or a savings account, or regular vistis with my step-son, or lack of quality time with my husband, or lack of energy to prepare a decent meal, or whatever it is I beat myself up about, I must remember the road I've survived already. It has been a rough, uphill, dust in my face, hard, hard, hard road. But I'm alive. And I choose to smile. And help others. And love myself, and others, and be the best wife I can, and the best friend to myself and others that I know how to be.
Life is hard. No one ever told me it would be easy. I didn't dream it would be this hard. But somehow, I feel, we are all in this together. Each person, each friend, each family member, each co-worker, all over my town, state, country and the world. We can somehow show eachother how to live, by living ourselves and being real, honest, unaplogetic, and sincere in living, speaking, breathing and being our own truth.
So when tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever my next blog comes, and I'm full of happy smiles, and joyous tales of whatever adventure my day held, I know that for today, I remembered and accepted where I've been, who I am, and the fact that life is hard, for me, my family, and I believe in some way, for everyone. And just becuase life is hard, doesn't mean in anyway, that it is any less beautiful, any less joyous, or any less worth the struggle. Because all of my trials have born strength, insight and compassion that I never knew I was capable of.
For anyone who stuck through this blog till now, thank you for reading my ramble. It feels really good to be a little honest about what life feels like to be me.
So, I don't think I'll need to get this deep, down and dirty for awhile. But it was an exercise in theraputic retrospection, and it worked. I do feel better.
Cheers to health, acceptance, and moving forward, even though life is hard.