Mental Health Cafe

Good morning heartache, except it feels like a brand new song today, yes.. this is a different kind of a heartache. This must be the growing kind, the changing kind. I feel terrified of the unknown and ready for it all at once. Quick… someone bring me my red high heels!

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Over the last few months, I have been working through A LOT. You may have caught that in some of the poetry that has become the new foundation of Living Out Loud. I know, it’s a little dark. It’s uncomfortable. It’s real. It happened.. and hey if you like that kinda thing, there’s a poetry book on the way that I’ll talk about more in the next post!

Imagine with me for a moment… (if you have to), that you are sitting quietly in the mental health cafe. You already have depression on the regular menu right below anxiety as an appetizer, and self loathing if you happen to be in the mood for dessert. Now imagine the door to that cafe blows open with a strong and sudden wind. The chair you are sitting in is your comfort zone, the one thing giving you a sense of control over which item you order today, and that chair is ripped right out from under you right along with the floor, and suddenly you are falling fast until you land in a room with no light, no hope, and no sound. It’s where everything you haven’t dealt with yet is stored and it’s covering up all the windows and blocking what air is left. You can’t move and you can’t breathe, and the only way to make it out is to do the work. Move the boxes, consolidate, get rid of excess baggage.

Well, well, well… hello darkness, my old friend. This has been where I was at for the last few months, and somehow by the grace of God and love, I have made it back out alive! Please try to understand that when a person suffers from any of the things on that menu, any kind of loss or major life change will trigger those items and make it all 10x worse. I am telling you this because it’s important to understand that if you have friends or family with mental health issues, they are not being selfish, but just trying to survive. It is exhausting. I have often described depression for me as having a horse on my back. Not a baby horse, not a cute stuffed pony – a full grown, cattle ranch roaming horse. Yet, just like everyone else, I have to get up and go to work every day, do my best. Smile, say “I’m fine, I’m just tired”, and wait until you get home or in a bathroom to sob uncontrollably. Why? Because life is heavy, and some of us carry it differently.

What I have realized once again in my life, is that the very moment I put myself first, I will lose people not meant for me. People that I have been friends with for years that have treated my life like it was a fucking joke. And I used to laugh with them, have a few shots of something and treat my life that way too. Except it’s not a joke… and it’s not okay for anyone to make you feel that way. We are all going through something, friends should be there to help you get through whatever that is, whether or not they feel like you deserve it. That’s what friends do.

I’m also lucky enough to have made some new friends. People that have listened to me rant and cry until the sun comes up and then asked if I need anything. People that I have cancelled plans on because I can’t get out of bed that have just said “No worries”, and meant it. People that I have ignored for daysssss, because I just couldn’t talk to anyone that have said “hey that’s ok.. I am glad you are alright”. People that work with my anxiety and ease me into planned adventures instead of forcing me to commit even if they don’t understand why that’s so difficult. When everything around you is falling apart, you need people that will help pull you out of the rubble… not stand there with their arms folded asking what about me? I hope those people know I would still sit with them in the dark if they needed me to. Not because they deserve it, but because I have been there.

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As a result of taking care of myself, I have lost 16 lbs. I have almost finished a book that I have been trying to complete for 5 years. I have actually made time to read other books and take classes on poetic form and all kinds of other things that are so much of what I like to do, instead of what other people like me to do. I am a true literary nerd at heart. I’m perfectly content for hours with a good cup of coffee and a book. I actually enjoy being alone, and that doesn’t make me flawed or selfish. It makes me strong. That’s easy to forget when I get caught up giving so much of myself to other relationships.

I know this won’t be the last time I end up in that darkness, but I at least know by now that I always come out of it. It’s always going to be work, but it’s always so much more worth it than I thought it would be.

I hope you are in the light today, and if not, keep on going. I know it hurts, I know its heavy, and I know you got this.

xoxo

P.S. I am so happy you are here.