Today is #BellLetsTalkDay, and I've been looking forward to joining the conversation on destigmatizing mental illness. My plan was to do one of my favorite things...to use humour and storytelling to share my personal experience of mental illness. But today is a hard day. A hard brain injury day....a hard mental health day. I'm tuckered out and struggling with my world. Part of the challenge that anyone with a mental illness faces is that the very organ that helps you perceive the world around you....the one that is essential in making sense of your own experience, is the very thing that is impaired. Today I woke up and the "emotional regulation" part of my brain just went on hiatus.
It has been happening on and off since Bertha, my head injury, came to live with me. I'm usually very careful to avoid getting to this place if possible....but you can't control everything. So today all Anger feels like #HulkSmash, Sadness feels like my soul is being torn asunder and Frustration feels like the world is ending. It is terrifying to feel your emotions spiralling out of control when the rational part of you knows they are out of proportion to the trigger.
This is what it feels like to have your brain fail on you....just as deadly serious as when your heart, kidney, liver or lungs fail on you. So next time someone tells you they are struggling with mental illness....or you see someone talking to a hallucination that you can't see....or they burst into tears for what seems like no good reason to you....they aren't crazy...their brain is glitching and failing and they are struggling with trying to understand what perceptions are real or false neurochemical glitches.
So in the spirit of honesty, this is what today's hard day was like for me...I woke up close to 2 PM today..I wore PJs all day...I cussed out an email because I was misunderstood....I burst into tears because of the impotence of being frustrated...BUT....I also acknowledged my limitations and asked my husband for help...I advocated for myself...I kissed my puppies 5000 times...I took a shower and... I drew this orchids..All this to say, good things & beauty still happen on hard days.