“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
Those words are so true, and I feel honored that someone read those words and thought about me. It made my day when I got a text from a friend that came across that quote and sent it to me. But as much as I feel those words I resent them too. I’m tired of being strong, I’m tired of the fight. I want to scream mercy, I want to tap out, I want to throw in the towel. I want a break and I kind of feel like I deserve one. I’ve been the good mom, good wife, warrior mom, spouse advocate. I want the life we all want with money and vacations good health and good friends. I want to buy organic produce and grass fed meat and not worry about the expense. I want a gym membership and a body that hasn’t been ravaged with the effect of carrying children to birth. A manicure and pedicure and a monthly massage and time to myself to actually do those kinds of things. Most of all I just want a little bit of normal.
I’ve always thrived on chaos I’ve always felt I functioned better that way, until now, because all of the sudden the chaos turned to crazy and I can’t seem to get out of the way of it. I used to welcome the chaos, the excitement, and adventure of tackling whatever little thing the day brought, the accomplished feeling of tackling a problem and simply fixing it. I did feel strong then, I felt like I could concur the world on my terms like there was something special about my character that made me different. The chaos isn’t so attractive anymore. I’ve been fighting a battle I can’t win, I am swinging and fighting and kicking against this big hurdle except it doesn’t move and I find myself worn down, scarred beaten and dirty. You don’t win with mental illness. You can’t fight against it. You will lose. I have lost this battle.
The definition of surrender according to Merriam-Webster is: To agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting because you know that you will not win or succeed. I realize I’ve been fighting from the wrong angle, the wrong side. I know a great deal about mental illness, I’ve read more articles and books and blogs and watched countless documentaries about the workings of the mind than probably most people that don’t actually have a mental illness. I pour over those books looking for something, an answer a solution to the mess that the minds of the people I love so dearly make. It’s the food, it’s the toxins in the air, it’s vitamin deficiencies, at the end of the day I’ve come to this conclusion. You can’t fight it, you can only accept it. Within my head knowledge of mental illness, I am still dumb. I still fight the urge to want to fix it. I’ve said every stupid thing that your not supposed to say to a depressed person.
“Why can’t you just get up?” If it was that easy to shake he would just get up. Depression is that debilitating the weight of it is so deep it keeps him immobile
“laying in bed all day isn’t going to help” of course he’s not laying in bed because he thinks it’s going to make him feel better, he doesn’t have the physical will to actually get out of bed
“your not even trying” he is trying, he’s trying just to stay alive
I know all these things and yet I still fight the tricks my own mind plays on me that I can somehow just make it better. If I say the right thing, if I’m convincing enough. If I do or say just the right thing it will motivate him enough to just come out of the darkness, but it’s not about motivation or self-will, depression is part of the disease just as much as mania is. When you throw things into the darkness, you miss the target, you can inflict pain unwillingly you can do more damage than good. So I’m putting my sword away and calling a truce.
Mental illness we can be allies but we can’t be friends. I’ll work with you and not against you. You’ve made it clear that your not going anywhere
I surrender to the fight for the life I feel I deserve, no one deserves this. I do deserve better, but so does my husband and my daughters and my boys. We all deserve so much more than this crummy disease has robbed us of. It’s okay to feel angry about that, it’s a grieving process of sorts accepting that the life you pictured is only a childhood dream. No one gets there happy ever after, it just doesn’t exist. What we get is a life with twists and turns, up and downs and sometimes it’s just not that beautiful. But we can’t grieve forever there has to be a coming to terms with it, Anger and resentment don’t take it way, bitterness is a hard pill to swallow it doesn’t go down easy it gets caught in your throat and chokes out the joy.
This is the life we have, it’s not the life we’ve chosen but It’s ours we can make it something better to the best of our ability or we can let it destroy us. It’s destroying me, from the inside out when you’ve been reduced down to merely a shell of a person, eventually, the holes start to wear through no matter how much makeup or what clothes you put on. Once the cracks start to show through what is exposed isn’t always pretty, this disease has brought out the ugly in me. My compassion and patience have worn out, I have misplaced anger, I have rage. Those emotions are foreign to me but they’ve crept into my veins and careen through my blood and out my mouth. I’m mad at the world, I’m mad at myself for not asserting my own needs.
I’m not giving up entirely or maybe it is, there’s still a little fight in me. But I”m done with fighting against things I can’t change I’m fighting for mental illness, for the resources to help the people I love so we can all get some reliefI’m fighting for today for my own happiness in all the chaos. because that’s all I can handle and the rest is so uncertainI’m fighting for my voice for asserting my needs and taking what I need for my own sanity
I’m fighting for mental wellness because the mental illness will always be there but the fight is for mental wellness to find that path and to stay on it. Not just for my daughter and my husband but for our whole household to be well and to live well no matter what.