Trigger Warning: The topic discussed in this post may be triggering for some viewers. Suicide and mental illnesses are mentioned. If you are going through a difficult time; please reach for help in your community.
United States: http://www.suicidology.org/Resources/Crisis-Centers
In the wake of Kate Spade’s passing; we find ourselves wondering:
What happened? How could this have been prevented?
We are reminded cruelly reminded that you can seem to have it all; a happily ever after. Yet no matter how loved, successful or rich you are, at the end of the day, you are alone to fight your demons. Kate Spade let her mind chaos take over.
But we are also reminded that we are alive. That we still have a fighting chance. That no matter how painful, loud and overwhelming our demons are; it’s not too late.
I have the very bad and damaging habit to compare myself. I am X and I should have this and that because others have them. This person is better than me because they have X. This has been a powerful wake up call for me. That people are not what they seem to be. That we wear masks to protect ourselves and others from our true nature. But the masks are heavy and sometimes we can’t find ourselves anymore. That we were not all born with the same privileges and opportunities. That some of us lose ourselves in work to shut down their voices; but as Terry Crews said in a powerful speech; “Success is the warmest place to hide.”
Talking about suicide is always delicate. We need to be mindful of the words we use, the approach we adopt. We can’t romanticize it. There is nothing noble and brave in suicide. People who choose to take their lives have their own reasons and I am not here to judge them. But as long as you are breathing; please stay with us. There is hope. Even in the thickest fog, search for the dimmest light; it is out there.
I have to admit that I never feel inspired by “mental health survivors” testimonies. Mostly because I don’t relate to them. I don’t think I will ever “heal” from my mental illnesses or cure it. It will always be there. I have to learn how to live with it and perhaps one day I will manage it better. I still let bad days win; where the weight of the world falls on my shoulders and I fail to see how I will ever get better. I stumble; I trip; I fall.
Some days; most days I struggle to find the words to express this mind chaos. I drape myself in my suffering and traumas. But then I wonder if taking this as part of my identity dooms me to never get better. To wear this label and throw myself pity-parties while never truly facing myself. Wearing a mask and not recognizing my face in the mirror. And this is the most daunting part.
Suicide never fails to remind us of the delicate balance of life. How in a second; it could all be over. That instead of being your best friend; you’ve always been your worst enemy and I wouldn’t wish it to anyone else. Spending most of your waking energy to manage your feelings is exhausting. Listening to the lies inside your head; hating who you are; wishing you were different. All of these things outside of our control. Finding peace in this chaos is more than a challenge at times. Tuning out the voices are not always possible. But we don’t have to let them define us. We don’t have to listen or act on those lies. Some days, staying still and waiting for the storm to pass is the best strategies.
Mental health is not linear. Living with mental illnesses is a hard and rough process. One that is truly humbling. Where at some point you have to choose between living in the past and worrying about the future; or enjoying the little pleasures and victories. I say this as I preach to the masses while struggling to get to this state myself. Perhaps if I say it enough, it will happen to me one day. I wish I had my shit together by now but it only seems to be the beginning of the journey.
Being transparent; bringing the light on your inner self is terrifying sometimes, but what lurks in the shadow is bound to be found for us to get better.
We are both light and shadow. Black and White. Happiness is somewhere in the middle. To break the cycle takes hard work and harsh truths. But you are not alone. You are not bad. You are you, and it is enough. Your shadows are not as bad as they make you believe to be.
Don’t wait for your happily ever after. Be happy today. Be happy with what you have whether it is health; privileges; friends. Define what happiness means to you. Don’t let the shadow wins. Fight for your birth giving right; life.
Stop feeling guilty all the time. If you don’t have a good day; if you are unable to function; if you are not productive in the capitalist sense. Your life is still worth it. You do not owe your happiness; your health; your choices to anybody else than yourself. Take your spoons and call it a day.
Be proud of yourself. Living with mental illnesses is an invisible challenge but it doesn’t make it any less real.
If you ever find yourself struggling; please seek help. There are many local organizations who are ready to support and help you on your journey. It’s not over yet.
Until next time; Take care.
Catherine the Cynical Mermaid.