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Posts Tagged ‘Depression’

I have spent a lot of time over the past couple of years considering writing this and due to the realities of our world I don’t. I feel the fear that comes with the stigmatization of mental health. I started fighting that fear a few years ago. I finally accepted my own anxiety issues and began admitting them not only to the outside world but more importantly to myself.
You see for a large part of my life as I was growing up my dad tried to get me to admit and seek help. This always caused a battle between us, as my words often offended him as his offended and scared me. He’d label me as depressed, or manic, or he didn’t know what but he saw the struggles. He saw his child who hid from people in a large setting, saw his child who was up and down emotionally, who had a temper that was explosive and got her in trouble. I don’t think he saw the child who was just hurting because of the words she heard from the people in her world.
He didn’t see the child who was effected negatively by always being the new kid. By being the one who didn’t fit in and who was teased mercilessly by the other kids. Whose own friends occasionally got in on the action because that’s the life of a teenager.
As I was growing I heard, accepted, and internalized the wicked and hurtful things that were said to and about me. Those voices, those words became my internal voice. Nearly two decades after those evil words have mostly stopped I still hear them. I hear them in every unanswered text or message. I hear them in the seemingly ignored posts. I hear them when spending time with friends…thinking thinking thinking, second guessing everything I say and do. Wondering if they really want me around or if they’re just pitying me.
Even when being told that I am amazing, that I am loved…I hear the voices telling me this can’t be true. That those saying that just want something from me. A part knows that’s not true but the voices from the past can be so much louder than the ones in the present.
Those voice cause me to be anxious in a crowd. They cause me to be anxious whenever doing anything new. They make me afraid of new people, and old friends, afraid of what they are truly thinking.
They cause issues of depression. They cause me to think that I am worthless and unloved. They cause me to feel like everyone would be better off with out me (a piece of my brain always kicks in right here screaming that the voices lie, it’s quite a battle between the heart and the head). When I make mistakes it’s like I’ve ruined everything and made things 100 times worse than even humanly possible.
I am learning to love myself, I am learning to ignore the voices of my past, the voices that LIE to me. I know that in the moments that the voices are screaming myself doubt becomes trying, but know that I am trying. I am fighting it with all that I have and am and I will win.

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The following started as an e-mail explaining ‘Always Keep Fighting’ to someone I love and in reviewing it I realized that it’s a good explanation to all who’ve asked the question of me as well.  So as a step in helping to remove some of my own fear of the stigma surrounding my own mental health issues and to educate those in my life here goes.  Some of me open to the world…be kind!

I’m writing this in hopes of helping you understand the ‘Always Keep Fighting’ stuff and why it’s so important to me. First, I know that many of my friends and family don’t understand my enjoyment and fascination with the show Supernatural and that’s ok but my interest in “Always Keep Fighting” has nothing to do with my interest in Supernatural. AKF just happens to have been started by one of the stars of the show and was therefore put in my purview. I do find it interesting that my resurgence of interest in the show and entrance into Fandom happened just as the campaign started, I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. But again, the two have nothing to do with each other, other than SPN bringing AKF to light for me.

So what is ‘Always Keep Fighting’ really about? It’s about bringing awareness, and acceptance to the reality of mental health issues, removing the stigma that makes people hide in the corner and not seek help. It’s also become about creating a support network for people who live each day with these battles. Where the campaign started to raise awareness and funding for charity it has turned into a support group and a family of sorts.

As for why it’s important to me… all my life I’ve been told that I was depressed, or manic, or whatever and all my life I’ve fought the people who’ve told me that for so many reasons that I can’t really explain anymore. Long about the time that this campaign began I began to realize that Yes, I do have some issues. At this time I also started to do some true soul searching as to who I am. I am, at my worst, an anxiety ridden mess who can see the worst in any situation. An introvert, who’s shy and extremely unsure of herself, and who has severe social anxiety just to round out the ‘I don’t like people” (not literally) trifecta. Meeting others in this crazy fandom and through the Always Keep Fighting campaign, the AKF Family as it’s lovingly referred, has helped me to accept my own issues and realize that I need to fight through them. It’s also helped me to realize that I am far from alone in these struggles.  And for me that’s not only fighting with the anxiety and mild depression that comes with the Meniere’s, but the Meniere’s itself, and all my other quirks. I’m worth fighting for! When I was little my Dad would strive to comfort my self-hatred by telling me that ‘God don’t make Junk’ and this ‘thing’, this support network, this family had helped me to start believing those words for myself.  They’re there when I’m scared, sad, or panicing necessarily  and unnecessarily.  They help me to remember that I am not alone, I am enough, and to always keep fighting.

If you’re part of my family or my friends and you really don’t understand it that’s fine but please don’t poke fun and please try to accept the AKF idea, because for me as it’s something that is helping me to accept myself, faults and all.  I would also encourage you to ask me more about it, this ‘campaign’ has quickly become and important and formative part of who I am and my work to become a better and more confident version of me.

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As of late I have found myself explaining, defending, not sure what word I want to use here, a growing interest in the show Supernatural and its fandom. I’ve been a ‘closet’ fan of the show since it first aired ten year ago. I instantly fell in love with Sam and Dean, not just because they are insanely hot, but because of their desire to do the right thing even when it truly sucked to do so. After Angels and God came into the show in a disagreeable manner to many Christians I continued to watch the show but spent much time explaining to my Father, a priest, why it was a good show and why I liked it. After a few seasons of this I watched in seclusion enjoying my fictional fix of insanity, hunkyness :-), and most of all the continued struggle to do what is right in the face of harrowing odds.

About a month ago I came across a convention video for the show that intrigued me, then an interview with Misha Collins about his not for profit Random Acts (http://randomacts.org) and GISHWHES – Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen (https://gishwhes.com) and was amazed by the heart this man has and how he strives to do something so good and kind in the messy screwy world we live in. Not long after this I started joining fanpages and the two main actors on the show Jensen Ackles and Jarred Padalecki joined facebook, as any blithery ‘fangirl’ might, I quickly followed them. Curious not only about the characters I had come to love but the men who portrayed them. Throughout the fandom they are represented as kind, down to earth, and genuinely grateful and caring of their fanbase. (From all that I’ve seen thus far, this is true)

As I found myself more and more entrenched in the fandom and more and more intrigued by the men behind the characters, Jared launched a campaign (https://represent.com/jared) to raise awareness for depression and mental issues. Striving to not only raise monies for a worthy charity but also to remove some of the stigma that surrounds those who are depressed or any of the myriad of other mental issues that are stigmatized. As someone who has dealt with anxiety issues most of my life, unadmitted to all but my nearest and dearest until this moment, I felt drawn to the campaign. I have known many who fought depression, cutting, and suicidal thoughts in my life. People who like me hid what was happening to them, afraid of what others would think, do, or say in response to them not being ‘bug free’ as my Dad often put it in his fight to have me acknowledge my own issues. Recently Jensen joined Jarred in this endeavor (https://represent.com/jaredjensen) and I am again awed and inspired by what these men are doing with their fame and the fandom that rocks and rules over all others.

Throughout all this I’ve become even more entrenched in the Supernatural fandom, a group of practical strangers with one definitive thing in common, the love of Lucifer and the King of Hell and the understanding that some Angels are Dicks. (It’s a show people not reality, no I don’t literally love Lucifer, nor do I believe that God is actually a bad writer named Chuck, my faith hasn’t changed, my beliefs haven’t change due to the enjoyment of a wonderful and entertaining work of fiction). As I watched Con footage I was intrigued by the constant referral to the Supernatural fanbase as a family. One of the tenants of the show is that “family doesn’t end with blood”. I’ve been floored, touched, and astonished by the support of these people, these strangers, as they strive to support one another, lift each other up when they are down, and now like the actors that they love to watch, encourage each other to Always Keep Fighting!

Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, & Misha Collins

This show, this fandom, and these men, Misha included even though he’s talked about the least here, have reminded me of the importance of fighting for life. Fighting to see the good and the kindness in our world. They’ve reminded me that even though life may not be perfect and blissful at all times it is always worth fighting for. There are truly amazing, kind, and loving people throughout this world and your life can be enriched by them if you just take off the blinders and look around. In many ways I am at one of the best places in my life, mentally and emotionally, because of the realizations that came from a TV show, it’s inspiring stars, and wonderful fandom.

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