Talk About Your Sky

This hits too close to home. I’m crying and covered in chills. “She wasn’t well enough to know how sick she was” is a 10 word summary of my life since 7th/8th grade. I started cutting and being suicidal in 8th. I had full intentions of killing myself in March 1997, at the ripe old age of 14. This didn’t come to me as an illness or symptom of an illness. This was: I’m a terrible person, everyone hates me, and it would be a favor to everyone if I just died. This carried forward til present: it still happens. I finally know symptom versus reality, but it has taken so much work to find that truth. I can’t even say medicine is how I found it. Therapy wasn’t either. It was finding myself, my true self, and seeing I was beautiful and worthy of love. Most especially from me.

People don’t understand that mental illness robs you of the capacity to experience love because it tells you no one loves you. It tells you how awful you are. People say always to “believe in yourself” but what if yourself says everyone hates you? You are evil? No one loves you. You don’t deserve love. God hates you? I believed until I finally learned my brain lies.

This is the analogy I use to explain bipolar. Imagine someone who sees the sky is pink. They call this sky blue, because everyone else says the sky is blue. You don’t know what blue looks like, because blue is pink for you. You don’t know to call it pink, you’ve never known it was a color other than blue. It’s always just been how you see your sky. How can you make someone understand their Sky could be a different color? How can I make you understand I don’t see your blue? How can we ever understand that I don’t have any capacity to understand other skies or that my sky is different? And even if my sky is different, it’s beautiful too.

Life changed when I realized my pink sky is the most beautiful one In the world because it’s mine. It’s me. My challenges made my strengths, and my pain made my beauty. This mother, lost to us forever, fought similar battles as me, and she lost, her husband lost, and her children lost. It’s stories like this that make me care for myself more, and speak louder. Everyone has different skies, none of us see the same blue, but that makes you beautiful not broken. Because all the broken parts of me are all the best parts of me too. My mind works differently. I am a genius, and I am also a person who suffers in her mind.

Bipolar affects every aspect of my life and my relationships. I have lost so many people because of this illness including the man who was my world. I can understand the pain Jon Davis in right now, because I remember the pain Evan and I have been in. Jon Davis and his wife divorced in 2016, and it’s so difficult to convey what it’s like to love someone who can’t love themselves. Medically and chemically can’t feel love. It’s like water in a holey bucket trying to get a drink when you’re dying of thirst.

Mental illness was what tore our marriage apart, and healing mental illness is what brought our marriage together. But not before I almost killed myself – either with my addictions or by my own hand. And Evan helped save my life. I hope Jon doesn’t feel the guilt that he couldn’t save hers. I could have left my kids motherless, even though saving them my pain was what started me realizing I was not well enough to realize how sick I was.

Rest In Peace Deven. You’re an angel who graced the world with beauty, until your broken wings took you home for peace and rest.

If these words resonate, start talking and don’t stop. Don’t keep this pain inside. The most beautiful part of you is everything you hide away, because the people who struggle are the people who are admired for overcoming. Talk, please. Share your story. Share your struggles. You will quickly see how many other pink skies there are. None of us are alone.

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Would Buddha Take Medication?

This has been a question I’ve been ruminating on for well over a year. I am curious if there are others in a similar spot: for me, my alphabet soup of diagnoses led me to spirituality as did working through various addictions. Yet, I’ve found myself in a conundrum of: can I be spiritual and take medicine? Would Buddha have popped pills?

I began studying Buddhism when I realized modern psychology is basically renamed Buddhism. I figured I’d just go to the source. Buddhism is not a religion; it is a philosophy. The focus is disciplining the mind.

When I started meditating, I lived in fear of my mind. It was noisy, chaotic, nasty, and full of should have/would have/could have. I had always felt there were at least 2 me’s in existence. The mask and the fucked up girl behind the mask. When I came to meditation, my life had become a confusing blur of lies. I didn’t know who I was anymore because I lost track of the lies and reality.

In this journey, I’ve flip flopped between believing I am seriously ill and in need of help and believing there is nothing wrong with me, it is society making me sick.

The psychosis I had over a year ago was the great leveler. In that, I am forced to accept both answers to every question. There are things I saw and experienced that are so real to me even today, I shudder at the memory. Yet, no one else saw or heard these things. No one saw melting faces, or had any reason to believe the weird weather was all my fault. I can’t find the things I read anymore, yet I swear I read them. It’s a case of accepting what is: I cannot explain this, but it happened all the same.

The harder thing to accept is this absolutely started with meditation. I experienced something that I can not describe in words, and from that point on, my life was turned upside down. I did believe I was God, so it could be full delusional grandeur and mania. I also believed I was here to help people, and that too could be mania. I don’t know. The problem and solution always is: I don’t know. I’ve researched it endlessly. Kundalini awakenings resonate with what happened to me. Jung’s concept of the shadow is almost a verbatim account of the 3 or so weeks I was in psychosis. Everything, and I mean everything I was afraid of, worried about, hiding away, etc. came into my reality. It was as if my life was a Stephen King novel.

I still struggle talking about this, because I couldn’t write out everything that happened in those weeks if I had a lifetime to type. If I can one day, it will give Mr. King a run for his money.

After begging to be taken to the mental hospital, knowing if I didn’t go, I was going to kill myself: I’m still left with fear. There’s still a part of me worried I was wrong. On bad days of depression, I can worry I should have killed myself then, because at the time, I was convinced someone was going to kill my kids if I didn’t kill myself. I’ve never been more terrified of my mind. Yet, I had two choices, I could either get back on good terms with myself, or spend the rest of my days terrified of me as I had been.

It took me a long time to come back to meditation. Buddhism obviously teaches meditation, but I learned in the mental hospital. No one told me about needing a guide or a teacher. No one told me what meditation could unlock. The experience I had is very similar to what has been described as Kundalini awakenings, and there are warnings abound that this should not be undertaken without serious inner work to clear your demons. Me? I was obsessed with meditating because it made me feel good. I didn’t really know chakras or anything spiritual then.

Was it spiritual? Was it psychological? Those questions have plagued me for so long.

In reality, the only thing that did happen is all my worst fears did come true, and all the things I repressed came to the surface. I was terrified I was crazy, so I went crazy. I lost my mind. It doesn’t matter what was real or not real, because in my world, it was all true. In others, it was not. For me, I created a self fulfilling prophecy. I believed I was crazy, so crazy is what I was.

This is the nature of life. My truth is something only I have. No one sees the sky the same way, and we have no way of proving or disproving it because we can’t describe blue. This leads me back to my question. The Buddha taught how to discipline the mind to alleviate suffering. I believe he used the complete power of his focus, by watching his thoughts and choosing where he gave his focus.

The Buddha believed all suffering exists in our minds. We cling to the past and reject change, we chase the future and lose the present. We create huge expectations to bring disappointment. We live in extremes and reject reality. I have to wonder, though, how would Buddha deal with now? Look at the world we are in. He’s long gone, and many follow his way, yet does it resonate now? Ancient wisdom is wise, but does it make sense in a culture so vastly different? Would he need Effexor and Latuda to stay centered?

The world is so obsessed with labels and words. Everything has to be specifically characterized and in a box – we’ve turned ourselves into nouns and forms of grammar instead of living breathing constantly changing verbs. God is now an iPhone, I think. It’s very different from a monastic lifestyle in India. In the present, I think suffering is caused by our obsession with the word “or”. My suffering with the puzzle of my psychosis is an easy example of this. The reality is “and” not “or”. That is to say, everything I experienced was completely real, completely caused by meditation, AND bipolar. Why must they be mutually exclusive? Does mania make it false? I used to believe mania made my happiness a lie, and I would use analysis to rob myself of joy with the fear of being crazy.

In reality, to me, bipolar is a description of a particular form of suffering: attachment versus non attachment. I flee the bad days and run for the good days. Medication has helped, meditation helped, yoga helped. I don’t fear my bad days, and I enjoy the good days as they last. Non attachment.

The psychosis is forcing me to accept “and” because it’s the only plausible answer. It’s all of the above. Yet, strikingly, this is precisely what the Buddha taught in non duality. Everything in this life is a process. Sadness is necessary so that happiness is experienced. Rainy days are needed to grow flowers in the sunshine. All of the cliches. But it is truly everything. All the mental anguish I go through attempting to pick a side can easily be avoided by accepting both and sticking to the middle. Any extreme is bad for our minds. Moderation is key in everything.

If you can think about the most painful situation in your life, I am willing to bet there is an “or” you are struggling with. “Did he cheat on me because I wasn’t good enough or is he a shitty person?” Both. It’s both. He believed you weren’t good enough and that does make him a shitty person. It can be everything because it’s all part of one unified process. It’s up to us to decide and move forward. Obsessing with the why, and trying to label it disconnects us from reality and keeps us in fear of the unknown. The reality is: it is all unknown and known. Every moment is exactly as it’s meant to be, and suffering comes from constant ruminating and questioning thoughts. The only reality is action.

The rising diagnoses seem to flag this problem. As we all attempt to force ourselves in one particular box at the loss of another, trying to encapsulate ourselves in neat words and labels, we are losing our minds. Our sanity. Our obsession with words and thinking is making us insane.

Isn’t it interesting that modern psychology and Buddhism are so closely aligned? Why is meditation so crucial? Why did meditation help me go crazy? I appreciate it now, because now I have the opposite – I know what it feels like to lose my mind. I no longer need to analyze myself for crazy indicators.

Meditation is the art of doing nothing, because we all do too much. It is rare we have that counter balance. Like pushing do not disturb on a cell phone, meditation can create the space for truth and reality to shine through. The truth that we always need both. We need activity and we need stillness. We cannot be healthy in any one or the other situation.

What is the truth? What is reality? I don’t know anymore. I think that’s the most truthful I can get. This journey started whether I wanted to or not, but I’ve been holding myself back by shifting my fear to medication. I finally connected I’ve been so stifled in everything because I’m terrified the medicine I am on is changing my brain.

When I started meditating, I saw colors. So many colors. It was like hanging out in a kaleidoscope. Now, I can tell you this is called a siddhi and means very little. Since I started the medicine, I stopped seeing colors. I’ve been worried about this for so long. Yet just last night, I asked that question: if Buddha was here now, would he take medicine to help with the journey?

The answer is: why do I care what Buddha would do? This is what I keep missing. At the end of the day, it’s only me that can move my feet on this path. Buddha may be a guide, Watts may be a guide, but I’m the only one who can choose. If I believe the medicine is hurting me, of course it will. Self fulfilling prophecies are reality. I take supplements and I take medicine. Why not both? Both help me. I have a stigma against myself with the medicine, and I’m tired of bullying me about it.

No sooner did I come to peace with this – after 1.5 years of struggling and fighting with this choice to medicate, I saw colors again. Brighter and more vivid then I remember before.

The Buddha taught me to stop fearing my mind by embracing the beauty of my mind. Meditation taught me how powerful all minds are. They can create beauty or suffering, depending on your focus. In each of us is this power to create or destroy our worlds. Most of us need to destroy before we learn to stop creating our destruction with the stories we tell ourselves.

Are you pondering similar questions? Let me know in comments, I’d love to pick some brains.

I Cannot Worry About The Future if I Am Experiencing My Present

Right now I’m reminding myself frequently: I cannot worry about the future if I am experiencing my present.

That does not mean I don’t have thoughts or worries about the future. It simply means I redirect my focus to the present. In the mental hospital, I was taught a grounding exercise: identify things through the five senses. What do I see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel?

Not surprisingly, there are many types of meditation that teach this presence and mindfulness is taught as a way to connect with now.

I also learned positive affirmations in the mental hospital and from my psychologist. This is very similar to a powerful invocation called the Sankalpa, or your heart’s desire. You meditate quietly for a few moments, then allow something you want to arise from a place that transcends your thinking mind.

In any of these practices: grounding, mantra, Sankalpa, mindfulness, meditation, etc. gratitude is fundamental to reaching these states. Gratitude is a place that transcends the ego, the anxiety, and the depression because it places power outside of your thinking mind. If a few moments are taken to see and appreciate everything – good and bad – by acknowledging everything has happened to bring this moment, the ego becomes quiet, confused, and powerless. Gratitude helps with acceptance too. In my journey, being thankful for being bipolar taught me to stop fighting being bipolar. In any situation, I guide my focus to gratitude. Even the worst situations, I can still be thankful I’m breathing.

Once gratitude helps center, I can “hear myself think” better. This is when positive affirmation or Sankalpa helps. It’s a statement in the present of something you wish to accomplish. My first Sankalpa was “I am peaceful, loving, trusting whenever I am confused or upset” this arose as a need for me to shift because as soon as my moods did what my moods do, or depression made me feel worthless, etc. I question every decision I’ve ever made, doubt myself, and worry about my entire journey.

Pretty quickly, I saw this shift. I couldn’t say how specifically, but I started listening to myself and trusting myself more. I recited the Sankalpa after connecting with gratitude and repeated it three times. I also recited it before meditating and bed.

Right now, my Sankalpa is “I am love”. This has led me to stop getting into my head about the future and experience the present instead. Love is action, not a noun. It’s a dynamic, ever changing energy. Love is not clinging or fear, so worrying about the future is the opposite of love.

If these practices are of interest, hop on YouTube. There are guided meditations to set a Sankalpa, to connect with mindfulness, and gratitude practices. I do general searches and just pick whatever I feel pulled to pick. This helps to connect with intuition too. If the spirituality side of things feels weird, check out positive affirmations and I Am statements, mindfulness exercises for depression or anxiety, and try journaling 3 gratitudes daily. It’s the same, just different words and more or less talk of God.

Do things that resonate with you and you alone. Never force a practice that doesn’t resonate or force yourself to do anything a certain way because someone else does it. All the self help books, guides and all this have good intentions, but each of us walks differently with different feet, shoes, and baggage. Meet yourself where you are at and with what you want, and find the resources that support and work for you. At the end of the day, being in your life and experiencing your life now is what is important. Not the past, not the future.

Don’t be a Slave to Should

5 years ago, I went to the hospital for bronchitis. Over the course of a week, my “normal” life was flipped upside down. The hospital cold turkey’d me off the lexapro I was taking, because I had finally accepted after decades of hell that the depression was more than “just being lazy” or “needing to stop being a baby”.

Lexapro withdrawal can be pretty severe. The hospital mistook my withdrawal symptoms for a worsening cold. They were giving me klonopan and finally asked me (as I’m laying in a hospital bed) why I wasn’t taking the lexapro. Things worsened. I started having panic attacks, I couldn’t walk myself to the bathroom from being so dizzy. The albuterol for breathing made me felt like I was on speed, and my cough was so bad, I burst blood vessels in my eye and started having migraines. Things came to a head when I called my mom at 5 am hysterical because I could no longer pee and had a catheter. After I got discharged, I was a wreck. I had never had a panic attack before that hospital stay.

When I was discharged, I had them constantly. I had no coping skills, I had never seen a therapist or psychiatrist. My panic attacks can make me twitch and stutter. This hospitalization led to my first stay in the mental hospital, because nothing could stop the panic attacks. Ativan, Xanax, Klonopan, nothing helped. I began hearing, what I described as, voices telling me to kill myself. Many years later, I’d learn these were intrusive thoughts, something I had deemed myself as crazy for since they started happening when I was a teenager.

5 years later, I am a walking DSM-V. I don’t take any shit from doctors, because I’ve been through too much to be talked down to. I advocate for myself by speaking intelligently about my symptoms. By referring to intrusive thoughts as “voices”, I was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder at the mental hospital. That is schizophrenia and bipolar combined. I was put on a cocktail of anti-psychotic medication and basically was so drugged, I practically drooled on myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared and convinced I was crazy as I was then.

Crazy is the word that I’ve run from my whole life. I think the biggest hurdle to treatment is not knowing that what you deal with on a daily basis doesn’t have to be that way. Imagine if you only ever saw the sky as green. How could anyone help you see or understand it’s actually blue? The way my brain works is how it works, and I blamed myself for all the faults and problems. This is how suicide can come to be. I’m nothing short of blessed that my suicidality never succeeded, and that went on until literally my last hospital stay in January 2017, as I was trying to strangle myself with my hoodie strings in the horsham clinic bathroom.

It’s difficult to convey what it’s actually like in my brain. Five years ago, I was forced to start talking. I didn’t tell the doctors about the constant bulimia combined with hours at the gym, because I was obsessed with not being fat. I didn’t talk about how I was working 80 hours a week, cleaning my house constantly because it had to be right, and in constant fights with my husband. I blamed it on the hospital stay. I didn’t tell the doctors how much I wished I was dead, or how most days I cried before I got out of bed, cried in the shower, and cried myself to sleep. I definitely didn’t tell them how afraid I was of being crazy because deep down I knew I wasn’t okay.

5 years later, none of this is my reality, and I am really glad that hospital stay fucked me up so badly. I don’t know how else I could have been forced to say the three words that can change your life: “I need help.”

We all like to think we can handle it all. Kids, jobs, home, life, society etc. but the truth is, we all need help. None of us can do it alone. Yoga has shown me just in the last few months how I still don’t like to ask for help – even from a brick wall, foam block, or a cloth strap. I don’t like to go to child’s pose. But Monday night, I was forced to child’s pose, because my body was done, like my mind had been done all those years before. I wasn’t beating myself up about it, I just knew I needed to listen to myself and take the help of the floor.

This must have been weighing on me this morning, because I had a panic attack first thing. No twitching, no stuttering, no two week hospital stay. 10 minutes of meditation with alternate nostril breathing every hour, yoga nidra, and letting the kids be lazy while I

Took care of myself, without guilt trips of

What we should or could be doing. I know what I need, and I know if I don’t listen, I can go to the hospital. There’s no more fighting through it for me. The kids will see me

Have bad days, and they will see me

Cope, and God willing, they’ll follow the example I set now. There is nothing like the self induced hell you create when you push yourself beyond your capacity while telling yourself it should be better. Some days you can barely be mom, let alone super mom. Some days, you do let the kids be lazy because you gotta be lazy.

Don’t be a slave to should. Honor yourself and ask for help. Even if it’s an iPhone or Thor ragnarok on a nice day. I need help is not weakness, it’s strength. Like a muscle, we all get torn and broken, but only with rest can we truly become strong.

Thanks for reading ❤️

Coping Skills vs. Life Skills

Just Me is one of my first blog friends, and I am very grateful for her friendship and kindness. Specific to this post, I was mulling over what I wanted to write. I had thought about beginning my journey on this blog talking about mental health and coping skills to start. I am a believer in synchronicity, so when JM put in her comment about lies being a “coping skill”, well, I see we have a post, don’t we?

I have been hospitalized 5 times for a variety of mental illnesses. My diagnoses change pretty frequently, as do my medications, so let’s not be bored with specifics, shall we? My symptoms are more relatable:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Swings/Mood Instability/Mood Lability
  • Poor Focus
  • Suicidality
  • Self Harm
  • Eating Disorders
  • Addiction
  • …And more!

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Most of my life was spent in complete and utter terror that I was crazy. How does one know that they are crazy, though? People say, “Crazy people do not know they are crazy, so if you are scared of being crazy, you are not crazy.” Fair point.

What does crazy even mean?

We all use such big words to hide reality. Currently, we say Mental Health and Mental Illness. It used to be Sane versus Insane. Normal versus Crazy.

Mental Health and Mental Illness are both euphemisms, though. They imply the versus as before, but they make it sound nicer. The presence of a diagnosis does not imply sickness. This, to me, is the crux of the mental health stigma, YET it is re-affirmed consistently through bad language and euphemisms. Part of the reason why I started this blog and named it as I did is to focus on the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell each other. The way we all handle “Mental Health” is an incredibly big one.

“I have depression” versus “I have a mental illness” versus “I have a mental health issue” versus “I am crazy” all make huge differences in self-talk and interactions with others. In all of my hospitalizations, throughout therapy, etc. I was taught tons of coping skills. The messaging I was not given, however, is I am being taught how to live a healthy life. I was being taught to be dependent, disempowered, and feel broken. I was told over and over that I am mentally ill. I will freely admit, I have had no end of bad doctors, etc., but I do not believe I am alone in my experiences.

Coping Skills, Mental illness: the language alone is dis-empowering. Inherently, we keep being given “less than” status.

Where does the ill part of my brain stop and the healthy part start?

Why am I broken?

Why do I need to learn how to cope with life?

Why is it that because of my brain misfiring chemicals, I am somehow inferior to the “normal” population?

Who, where, and what is normal, mentally healthy population?

What is the baseline?

Who are you comparing me to?

My coping skills are:

  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Writing
  • Music
  • …and more!

These are NOT coping skills. They are life skills. Any human being, regardless of the chemical state of their brain, trauma or lack thereof in their history, drug usage or lack thereof, can do these things. None of these has a damn thing to do with being crazy or not being crazy.

Frankly, some of them are gifts, talents, and passions. My illnesses were aggravated if not completely caused by me being disconnected to myself, disconnected to the things that cultivated passion, happiness, and joy, and focusing solely on things that cultivated all of the symptoms I listed above. It’s interesting, though, because the flip side I have found in all of this: I am deeply sensitive, caring, compassionate, intelligent, witty, funny, creative, shall I continue sniffing my own farts? Socrates said, “Know thyself.” When I began my journey, I began writing again. This is when I started to untangle my true self versus the persona I played in my marriage, to my children, my family, my career, and so forth.

The brain that I am being told is so ILL is the same brain that is typing this. I have been miserable attempting to understand how I am ill because I am not ill. This is the language we are all using, and being told by the people we trust, and we keep parroting it around attempting to break a stigma that we are reinforcing. Anyone who goes around saying they have a mental illness, or using this kind of language is akin to a battered wife walking around saying, “It’s domestic affection, and I will stand for it!” as she leaves?

I’m not saying I don’t struggle. My brain causes me some serious pain here. I suffer. I just refuse to ascribe to this type of healthy versus ill for something as complicated as the human mind. Frankly, if you want me to believe I am mentally ill, then I would like you to show me ONE mentally healthy person. With proof.

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Coping skills are used in times of crisis. My life was an unending crisis. My depression often leads to suicidal ideation and suicidal intrusive thoughts. As I say often, “It’s not so much that I will actually kill myself, I just genuinely wish I was dead.” My old coping skills were to drink, binge and purge, love/sex addiction, you get the drift? If anything, I used to be very normal. Show me a person who doesn’t escape their problems, and I’ll show you a very “healthy” individual. I said in my first post about lying? All of this occurred while I was smiling and saying everything was fine. I thought I had it under control until I was twitching, stuttering, and on my way to the mental hospital for the first time. I was then taught new coping skills.

Breathing exercises for panic attacks, as opposed to being used daily to elevate your mood and connect the body to the breath and so forth (pranayama). Journaling for mood tracking, as opposed to connecting with your inner self and seeing how much you lie to yourself and others on a daily basis. Meditation was taught to me in the mental hospital without any spiritual guidance. This is inherently unwise. You are giving someone a limited scope of a powerful transcendental tool – much like giving someone a gift card for 3 million dollars and telling them it’s worth $100 and only showing how to use it at one store, one way. Further, you are giving them no spiritual guidance, no spiritual anything, with a tool meant to help you go on a journey within to help you connect with yourself, the God of your understanding, and no worries, it will relieve your stress.

I know in today’s society, God is often looked at as a dirty word, but CG Jung, one of my personal heroes and a dead dude who I obsessively study and helped me understand my mind, said a healthy mind needs a connection to the divine.  He said many psychological conditions are manifestations of spiritual crises. I’m HEAVILY paraphrasing. Or, to put it another way, in order to have a healthy mind, one must have a purpose if the God thing really gripes at you. Look at AA and you’ll understand a lot of Jung’s psychology, as many of the 12 steps used his work. Am I saying everyone with depression needs to go to AA? No.

I am saying, however, there needs to be a bridge between psychology and philosophy and/or spirituality. You cannot look (in my case) your psychologist in the eye and say, “I think I just don’t know what I believe in, I feel like my soul is fucking dying, and I feel like there has to be more to life than going to work for 8 hours every day, and washing dishes.” and getting “Well, you can try joining a class or something?” That was the last time I saw my psychologist. Instead, I became that bridge.

There is too much focus on an illness that must be treated. This is not being viewed as a person needing education, guidance, and direction.  Are there crazy people? Yes, and let’s stop mixing words. I have seen some SHIT in the mental hospital. There are people who are not here on this plane of existence, my friends. There are people who get in full on arguments with their right shoulder.  Crazy means “mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.” I have seen that. We’ve all probably seen that. However, most of us think of crazy in terms of “not normal”. I think part of the stigma needs to be an allowance that there are crazy people. That doesn’t make them subhuman, but I think if we would drop the euphemisms and intelligently have a discourse about our actual states of mind, we’d find a lot of common ground.

I finally have shed that illusion and desire to be normal. Why would anyone want to be someone that is “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected”?? I have lived my life in a desperate search for something I would never want to be while being terrified of something I am not. This confusion, chaos, and suffering existed purely because of how we all discuss who we are, how we are, and how we feel.

My coping skills were fear, lying, shame, self-harm, various forms of addiction, abuse, and so on. I have an obsession with language. Coping is what you do to get through things. Cope – the root of this word – is to “blow with a fist” (kolaphos – Greek). Coping, to me, is fighting, struggling. It’s odd, as the definition says to deal with successfully. We say we “cope” with trauma. I cope with hard times. I do not cope with my life. If you want to say “mental illness” is a part of your life…

Do you want to cope with life?

Fuck. That. I want to LIVE my life. I LOVE my life.  

I am a firm believer in the power of words and self-talk. I genuinely believe in being selective in how I speak to and about myself, because if I don’t believe in myself…Who the hell will? When I started tearing apart how I spoke to myself, symptoms, diagnoses, etc. I started to see how disempowering this entire industry is. I say that word specifically too, as I did not start making significant improvement until I became an educated patient (human) regarding the diagnoses, medications, etc. Then, I started advocating & fighting for myself and saw that at the end of the day:

I am responsible for my welfare, wellbeing, and happiness (like everyone human on this planet). 

As I began studying spirituality, which then turned to philosophy, a reoccurring theme is disciplining the mind. Buddhism, Stoicism, Taoism, and on and on teaches you how to understand your mind, understand yourself, to alleviate most of the symptoms (suffering) listed above. The first thing I learned in the mental hospital was meditation and mindfulness – Buddhist practices.

Not to knock anyone’s anything, but why follow clinical, watered down, industrialized euphemistic stuff, when I can go to the 49 page Dhammapada and learn from the man himself? The Buddha’s wisdom is profound and simple.

“No man causes suffering like an undisciplined mind.” Buddha

I would never tell anyone how to heal, study, recover, etc. I will, however, strongly recommend vigilance in the language you use to describe yourself and how you are conducting your life. Are you coping or are you living?

 

Since JM requested new age… I don’t know what that is, but does this work? LOVE binaural beats