Can I get an Amen for quote above? Shout out if this is you! Only with me, it’s not just one demon that likes to mess with me. It’s multiple demons on my back.
If your depression or mental illness were a Hallmark Card, what would yours say? To be honest, I don’t know where a card like that would be classified under. When you shop in store or online, they always have seasonal cards, birthday cards, wedding and engagement cards, graduation cards, new baby cards, and get well cards and sympathy cards. Personally, I wouldn’t want my card next to a sympathy card or a get well card at all. I don’t need people to feel sorry for me, I just need people to understand what it’s like to live this way. On any given day, my cards would represent the following images above and below.
Maybe if we all had the chance to write our own Hallmark cards, then we would able to send the message loud and clear that mental illness is no joke. Not every moment in your life resembles a Hallmark card. Sure, I’ve graduated from college and high school but that was years ago. I’ve never been engaged or married nor have kids, yet. I have experienced times when I’ve been sick or badly injured and or suffered the loss of a loved one and someone gave me a card. That was nice. But have I ever gotten a card for living with depression? That’s a big HELL NO. Please don’t send me a get well card or a sympathy card. This doesn’t help the situation at all. Not experiencing what happens everyday to me and other sufferers can’t be bought with a card like that.
A card is a nice gesture and some what of a social obligation. When someone gets married, or has kids, or graduates, you get them a card congratulating them. But do you get a card for surviving each day through the many storms of depression and sadness? Again, HELL NO. Do you get a card for completing your stay in a rehab or mental health facility? NOPE. Typically, a “I hope you feel better” quote is what you’ll get from the staff after your stay. “I hope you feel better”. Really, am I going to remember that if I relapse and fall off the wagon again? NO.
It’s a daily struggle to survive and trying to live a normal life in a loving and cruel world. Not everyone knows how it feels. Not everyone is well versed in the subject matter. Maybe some just don’t care and say “That won’t happen to me, why should I care?” Don’t be naive. You’ll be surprised as to how life can really bite you in the ass. Those images above are relatable to me to a certain extent. It is rather brave of me to continue when I want for this to end. I do say “I’m fine” a lot even though the writing is clearly on the wall across my face.
Mine would say: “Mental Health SUCKS! Spend a moment inside my mind and see how much fun it is.” Maybe then someone will get an inkling of what it’s like. A picture as well to caption the moment wouldn’t hurt to help sell it. When you put my card out on the shelves, don’t put me under “Get Well” or “Sympathy” because us sufferers don’t want that card. Don’t categorize us in any box or place any stigma on us. Put us out on the front display so that people can see that there’s more to life than these happy moments. Have you ever noticed that people only take photos when they’re happy? Have you ever looked at your photos very closely? They’re mostly from weddings, engagements, reunions, parties, birthdays, holidays, and other joyous moments. Have you ever took a photo of yourself when you’re sad or going through a rough time? Most people don’t. But did you know that in order to enjoy let alone have these moments, you must experience some bad things in your life.
These bad times are tough but make the best lessons learned in your life. It helps you prepare and enjoy the good times that you have. Think about it! Life is always going to be a rollercoaster ride and forever will be. What you do with your life is up to you. And how you define success is different from everyone. My greatest accomplishment thus far is surviving 25 years of depression, anxiety and panic disorder even when I wanted it to be over. I survived. I seen the good, the bad, and the very (gruesome) ugly parts of life.
The bad times have changed me into the person that I am today: a fighter and true champion. Funny, the good times did make me laugh a lot, but not strong like I am during the bad times. The bad times put everything into perspective for me. For the first time, I’m looking more confident and more stronger as each day passes. Good luck finding a card that exemplifies the journey that I’ve been for the past 35 years and will be on for many more years to come! Caption that!
Like Ali, this is what I do fight those inner demons in my life on a daily basis.
Heed the advice of the late legend:
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.