Writing can be scary, at least for me. I’m usually nervous about what people think…yep, still trying to get through that awful feeling. I’m really learning how to put out in black and white how my mind works. I know that itself may be dangerous. I mean once you open yourself up to the world, you never know what kind of response the universe will throw back your way. And to tell you the truth, that can be quite frightening when you expect the worse response. Case in point, I started writing a small piece a month ago. I wanted to stop after typing the words , “I’m struggling.” Fearful on what someone would say or fearful that someone thought I may need saving which the only thing I wanted to do was just write and have a fist fight with my thoughts. So I stopped typing because what you think (not you really) of me was unfortunately winning. Then I received a note from a friend telling me she had not seen anything I wrote lately, like what happened??! Where did you go? I just got scared to share. But hearing the news of the suicide of Kate Spade (I have these adorable Kate Spade eyewear) and Anthony Bourdain (love this guy) I really should not care what response the universe gives me. This is my healing, not yours (of course I’m not talking to you in an embarrassing voice) so here goes. This is what I started to type a month and 6 days ago.
“I’m struggling. No. Not with an illness. Not in my marriage. Not with finances. Not in a way that I need for friends and family to drop whatever they are doing to come see about me. I’m just struggling. It’s not a serious matter, of course, though what is serious to one person can be detrimental to another. But I assure you, I’m just struggling. Can’t really explain it. Things don’t come as clear to me as they do for other people, I’m guessing. I exist. I get up. I try. I know I’ve been called to do more than just exist. And there lies the issue. That’s it! I’m not struggling! I’m not living!”
I was in a funk. I found so many reasons to pick an argument with myself. Why did I gain so much weight? I was doing so well! Why is my hair still thinning, I’m taking my Vitamin D! Damn!!! Why am I still at this freaking job for 36 years?? You know the feeling sorry for yourself that you can’t even see your worth. But I just realized something in vomiting my mess and insecurities. I was living! I was actually living!
Doing life involves all of this, days when the sunshine is so bright you don’t ever want it to end and days when the clouds consume you, you scratch to get out. I was scratching to get out from under the clouds…if I didn’t scratch to get out, then life, living does not happen. Experiencing the pain was living! Getting out from under dark clouds mean that I scream, kick, pray and sometimes even curse. Those actions and sounds are visible and loud. I didn’t need to hide getting out in fear or others, I scratch to get out because of others! My husband, my children, my friends, myself. Because I’m worth living, even when life can be painful. I’m worth living all of it. I’m worth living the happiness and I’m worth living the pain.
If you find yourself in a funk and someone tells you not to be there, don’t listen! If you’re struggling and afraid to even say the words, “I’m struggling”, say it anyway. And say it proudly! It is not a moment to be prideful on what people will think, or how people will assume that you are not grateful that God is blessing you and you should be continuously happy! There is a scripture that comes to mind, “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 NRSV). You have permission to scratch through the dark clouds, permission to cry, permission to scream, permission to live.
I’ve learned that I never stay in the struggle. I go through, but I don’t stay! Tomorrow is a new day! You have a new day! But if you want to scream today…. go ahead!!!
Mental illness is not a crime! Mental illness is not a sin!!! If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255.