Tuesday, October 27, 2015

mental illness and lies

Both my parents are mentally ill and they would probably be very frustrated to have me announcing this to the world.

When I was very young, I didn't think it was unusual. I thought everybody had to go to the psychiatrist. I thought everyone took medicine. I thought everyone had a father with severe depression and a mother with schizophrenia.

I suppose growing up under those conditions has created some strange reactions in me. My mother, for instance, tried to kill herself in my presence more than once. Besides the initial trauma, my view of death is skewed. I am not terrified of it on that basic human intrinsic level. However, I have a fundamental love for having the opportunity for life. But, my teachers and school therapist were certainly concerned when I would say, "The only sure thing in life is death." That seems to send up red flags.

There was nothing wrong with being pragmatic. I know that now. At the time, those words would send me into a tail spin of self doubt. I would state the truth and be told that was wrong. Confused, I started to lie.

It became easier to exist in the world shielded by these lies. Not because I felt I had to use them for me, but for other people. It took a lot of work and time to get out of this habit. 

It's scary to me that the world has become a place were we are less concerned about truth and more concerned about how other people perceive us. We don't speak our truths and then wonder why we feel so alienated. We wonder why other people cannot understand us. We grow into a mass of repressed and mentally ill people who are hiding it from other people. We fear the truth as much as we fear being flawed.

I'm flawed. 

I'm not mentally ill. Not in the sense that I take medicine or have a diagnoses. However, I am mentally ill in the sense that a have a list of phobias. I have a few minor compulsions. I am neurotic. At times, I can have some very magical thinking. There are deep wounds in my psyche that will never heal. But none of that makes me less of a person. 

I have read that 1 in 6 people have mental illness. Whereas I believe that 6 in 6 people have mental illness and I feel like we are lying to ourselves if we think otherwise.

I always loop back to acceptance.  If we lived in a society that did not categorize and marginalize people for "needing help" or"expressing themselves", we'd be in a much happier place. Literally.

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