It’s been as futile as talking to a wall.
Why is mental illness so difficult to empathize with? We don’t condemn those with cancer or heart conditions for taking their medicines. We ask what the doctor has done for the person, we sympathize, we move on. We thank God we are not in their situation. We wish there were more that we could do, more that anyone could do. We pray for an elusive cure.
Chronic illness sufferers, especially when the disability or illness is “invisible,” get a bad rap. We are seen as lazy whiners. Because our maladies are masked, we get the dumbest questions and unsolicited advice imaginable. We are told that the answer is there, we are just too stupid to see it.
It’s too bad I can’t carry my brain outside of my body in a wheelchair. Then maybe people would see, oh, hey yeah. There it is. Instead, I can only try to explain what goes on in that brain. Some of it is too disturbing to share. A lot of it involves self-hatred for being weak or disabled. A lot of it, as an OCD sufferer, revolves around guilt.
I recently blocked a few folks on social media for making ignorant comments about my seemingly needless dependence on drugs. Let me tell you, it upset me. Because at least one of the people has read this blog. I thought there was a level of understanding there. Turns out if I just exercised and ate right, I wouldn’t need the drugs.
Oh gee. You mean the answer has been in front of me all along and I just didn’t see it? No. I tried everything to alleviate my symptoms including strictly regulating my diet and exercise because mamma didn’t raise no fool. Did it help? Not really. It drove me into erotomania, which believe me, is as fun as it sounds. It’s a particular type of delusion. I guess I can’t blame the exercise directly for what my errant brain decided to do. But it is proof that my particular mix of brain disorders does not improve with exercise.
I tried a lot of other things too, just about everything save illicit drugs. I figured my brain was already screwed up enough and I didn’t need added delusions or hallucinations on top of it.
And what do I get for taking my prescribed drugs like a good patient? Criticism. Why the hell are you obsessing when you could be jogging? Or going to the gym. Etc. Trust me, folks, I tried everything from practicing music to studying to exercise. I couldn’t control the intrusive thoughts or the obsessions on my own. It took a nervous breakdown to get me on some appropriate medications and I came close to dying by my own hand. My stupid brain put up an immense amount of resistance.
And what do I find now? My brain can rest. I can focus on things like getting out of bed and hygiene. Just because I may not look like I’m still suffering even with the drugs does not mean that I am cured. These diseases, these disorders, have no known cure. Have a little respect.
I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I’ve tried everything short of CrossFit. Come on people, even my crazy has its limits.
And to the folks I blocked, I say this–thanks for your opinions. Ignorance is bliss. Must be nice to live in such refined reality. My reality, unfortunately or not, will always be much different. But I am happy for you. You can be normal, you can be immensely successful. You can probably achieve a greatness that I can’t, in some ways. After all, you’re not down in the trenches or even attempting to take down your own walls.
Go ahead and be ordinary. Consider yourself fortunate that the path you carve has been a charmed one and you have not experienced a literal hell on earth due to the clamoring of your brain. I know we all struggle but come on, people. Could we not be total jerks to people with disabilities who are trying to educate others?
And thank you. Thank you for convincing me that no matter how “off” and obstinate an un-coachable I am, that being myself and not some cookie-cutter version of reality will always be better.