A relative of mine sent me this quote via Facebook: “Don’t bother walking a mile in my shoes, that would be boring. Spend 30 seconds in my head, that’ll freak you right out.” Oh, how true this is!
If you haven’t figured it out by now, living with mental illness is scary! FYI, if you remember the image above is from the classic 1996 film Scream! (If you don’t then look it up! And watch it if you dare!) In the third film of the Scream series, Sydney asked the same question (What’s your favorite scary movie?) to the detective and he said: “The movie in my mind.”
That’s the truth! You wouldn’t want to spend one second in the one’s shoes let alone the head of anyone living in darkness. Day after day, we struggle to function, to survive, to try to live a normal life. But it’s hard. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Spend 30 seconds inside my mother’s majorly depressed and schizophrenic mind and you’ll scream so loud it will make your head spin (Think of Linda Blair!). Try stepping into that head when she experiences hallucinations, delusions, and suicidal tendencies. Or step into my head during panic and anxiety moments and irrational thoughts fill up my head faster than I can say BOO!
I never thought this way until I broke down to my lowest point. My body had enough. I needed help and had to admit to myself that I needed the help first. From that moment on to recovery and living with it on a daily basis for many years, I do feel like I’m living in a nightmare. Think about all of the classic (not the crappy remakes that exist now) original horror films made like The Shining, Carrie, Amityville Horror, The Omen, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Scream and so on. I won’t even mention Linda Blair’s horror film. I’ve seen that once and will never watch it again. Imagine that horror movie playing like a broken record over again in your mind! That’s how terrifying it is having mental illness, especially if you become very violent. When Jack Nicholson lost his mind in The Shining, I was freaked out. I get cabin fever too in the winter time and that could easily be me.
You know the game “If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be?” I wouldn’t trade places with no one. You don’t want my life even for a day or a split second. And I wouldn’t want anyone else’s life either. Granted, it would be nice to be rich for a day and travel all over the world. However, I rather earn my money the old-fashioned way.
Every day in my life is different. Some days, I feel so depressed and don’t feel like doing anything at all. I’d rather sleep the day away. Other days, I feel a little less depressed and have the energy to do something. I’ve experienced a lot of great ups and horrible downs in my life. Who doesn’t? Sometimes those “downs” affect me right away and sometimes affect me later. My body reacts differently than others. When my grandfather died, I was numb. It didn’t sink in until his funeral and the military gave him a 21 gun salute. Every time a shot was fired, his death became more real for me. I had to run after that to my car and catch my breath. His death wasn’t unexpected because he had health problems, but still was heartbreaking. When I witnessed a brutal crime in April, I felt the impact immediately after that happened. Every night since then, the movie gets played over and over again in my head. I will wake up in a sweat, my heart races faster than a racehorse, and sometimes the movie will portray me as the victim, and not the innocent bystander like I was in real life.
If you think that’s creepy, try living with “Retail Nightmares” on a daily basis. Another recurring dream that I have is from all of the times that I’ve encountered so many rude people screaming and cursing me out. Try to picture a customer yelling every obscenity known to man at you and trying your best to stay professional without becoming violent and retaliate. That’s very hard. I don’t tolerate behavior like that at all. If you piss off a person with mental illness, then you’re messing with the wrong person. For all you know, I could probably unleash a unholy terror on you. But I don’t. I exercise self-control and remind myself that I’m in control and I’m on the job working for a living. I need to stay professional. Anyone who works in corporate will never understand what us retailers go through unless they spend some time in store. They need to spend the week there and see what we see!
If you haven’t run away screaming yet, how about stepping into my mom’s head. When she’s experiencing a relapse, she becomes very violent, her mood is also terrifying, and she becomes a completely different person. Imagine stepping into Linda Blair’s shoes! That’s what my mom looks and acts like when she experiences relapses. Because her condition is very serious, my dad and I immediately take her to the hospital. We keep any and all things that can be construed as a weapon so she doesn’t harm herself or someone else. I’ve seen her tried to escape from the mental hospital on many occasions. I’ve seen here strapped to the bed. I’ve seen her curse and talk in a way that I’ve never seen her do before. She never curses at all. I’ve seen her hurl objects across the room like they were weightless objects. Inside her head, you can’t imagine those thoughts such as “Just end it all”, “Go ahead, it won’t hurt anyone” and so forth.
If you’re not curled up into a ball and trembling uncontrollably by now, then there is something wrong with you. Living with this day by day is challenging. Some people can handle it and others can’t. Why should we be afraid? Why can’t we talk about this and cure the stigma? Would you be ashamed if you were a diabetic, or a cancer patient, or had any other disease? No! Why do people think it’s funny because people living with mental illness? It’s not funny, it’s a nightmare. As a society, we need to be more educated on mental health and lose the judgment and the stigma on us sufferers. I refuse to let people talk negative about us mental health sufferers and I will fight tooth and nail for respect. Remember, don’t judge what you don’t know!