Lets Talk! Today is Bell Lets Talk Day. I absolutely love this campaign and what it does for ending stigma against mental illness. I myself suffer from a handful…or two of mental illnesses. I have found though years of suffering lots of people do not understand mental illness and are quick to judge.
For the longest time I let these judgments shape who I was, I did not see the beauty in my differences (yes though all the dark and the gloom there is beauty). The path to seeing the beauty was a long one. It started with my parents and my husband making me burn my diagnostic papers (I no longer needed them. I needed them to get a reader in school as one of my diagnoses was dyslexia). The bad thing was I was living by these papers, only seeing the bad, I would read them over and over and get down on myself. When I burned them it was scary at first, but it became freeing. Second step to being coming free of the stereotypes was when I was in Maui. A class mate blurted out you must be bi-polar (this cut me to the core because I am not (even if I was its not a bad thing) but also because I had been through so much testing it brought back the bad stigma). Now I know she meant no harm by it, in away she was trying to help and give advice. I did not see it like that. Jeana our Lomi teacher noticed I was upset and asked why. I told her and she calmly looked at me and said “it hurt you because you have been though all the testing, you have had a negative stigma against all of it and you feel judged. BUT know that these diagnoses are not a bad thing, western medicine has a different way of looking at these…here they are a gift its why you are here and why you are good at what you do.” From here I found my strength in my weakness. If I was not as emotional as I am I may not be as good as a therapist as I am, I couldn’t feel my clients the same way I do. I am not thankful for these differences I have.
I still suffer the odd panic attack and bouts of depression. Each wave is different and needs to be dealt with different and each wave is caused by a different force. For those who have never suffered a panic attack its very hard to know what the person is feeling. Imagine this if you can…Each panic attack feels like being pulled under by a rip tide. If you have not experienced this its truly frightening. With a rip tide it comes from under the water and pulls you back in to the ocean and just when you think you can surface and get out another one comes and pulls you right back. That is what a panic attack feels like…at least for me.
If you suffer from any mental illness know you are not alone, know that it’s nothing to be ashamed about because like me you will find a purpose for all of this. It may not come tomorrow or this year but you will figure it out. Talk to someone if you’re feeling down. If someone comes to you feeling down listen, a lot of the time all we need is an open ear and a warm hug.
I am not a therapist I cannot give advice but just know if you ever need to talk I have an open ear and I know how it feels! So chat my hear off during your massage!