This has been a hard week for me mental health wise.
One of the ways my mental illness manifests itself is shame. I’ll be walking or driving or sitting or thinking or whatever and suddenly I’ll remember something I did wrong or not enough or something I said that was mean or hurtful or inappropriate or maybe it was something I did that was so or… And maybe it happened just a few moments ago or yesterday or last week but more likely way in the past like last year or maybe ten years or twenty years ago and that’s the trigger. I cringe or curse myself under my breath or, increasingly, out loud to anyone nearby or no one and it feels like I imagine Tourette syndrome must feel because I can’t seem to help or stop just yelling out “No!” or “Damn it!” or “Fuck!” or “Argh!”as the shame wells up and grips me. It may sound crazy because it is, or at least feels that way. The Piggyback Guy has been sitting on me for weeks now.
And lately, it seems, I’ve just been unintentionally adding to that pile of shame. Things I’ve said, done, or even thought or even the now near constant fear and paranoia of what people I care about or even strangers think about me whether accurate or not. I feel deeply shameful almost constantly these days and I keep having fantasies of a freak illness or accident rendering me mute as that would have the dual result of both stopping the involuntary vocalization of my shame but also one of the primary engines of it’s creation.
Trust me, there is nothing anyone can say to hurt me more than what I hear in my own head dozens, perhaps hundreds, of times a day. Who needs enemies when I’ve got me?
So, if you ask me if I’m OK, I am not. I’m not OK. And I need to say that. I need to say that because I’m a mental illness survivor and I believe by being open and honest about not being OK it might help others be open and honest too. I know that the moment I stop letting people know I’m not OK I will be even more not OK. Saying I’m not OK is one step I know I can take to being more OK.
Yes, I’m working on it – I really am. Yes, I’m trying to keep it all together and tell myself nice things and remember (believe) the things I do right and the people that love me despite my numerous faults and the good things I know I do and say. It’s just more difficult these days.
But I’ve lived through days and weeks and months of not being OK and I know that I will continue to do so as long as I focus on trying to be as OK as I am for just one day more. I know where to get help when I need it. I know I’m not alone in this. I know that there are thousands and thousands of people right now who are also not OK. We may be not OK for different reasons or in different ways but that’s OK. We just need to find a way to be a little more OK today. We need to know it’s OK if we don’t. We need to feel OK in being OK as we are.
So, I’m not OK but that’s OK.