It’s funny to me how people always talk about the long road to recovery from mental issues. They describe it as a long, drawn out, painful, seemingly impossible feat. It doesn’t matter what they are recovering from really – addiction, abuse, depression, obsessive disorders, etc. What they talk about is very true don’t get me wrong – but I rarely hear them talk about the road to the actual thing they had to recover from. Most people don’t wake up one day and think, “Man – my life is great – I think I’ll go ahead and get addicted to Meth – who needs teeth” or “I’m so happy all the time – great childhood, great life – let’s change it up..I’m going to be really depressed today – so back to bed!” No – it doesn’t happen that way (usually – there may be that odd ball statistic out there that says otherwise – but I’m going with my gut on this one.) Typically – as it was with me – it is a very long road to what I lovingly call “crazy”.
Crazy is what I claim. I know – there are all kinds of people out there really trying to get rid of that word because they believe it is too derogatory. Well guess what – I’m going to print a t-shirt that says – I’M CRAZY BUT I TAKE ZOLOFT SO I’M COOL. Do you have any idea where that comes from? My defiance to bottling it in some “pretty” label? It comes from the fact that I am so very NOT ashamed of my mental issues. I have no problem with the fact that I had a nervous breakdown, that I struggled with severe anxiety and obsessive thoughts since I was 6 years old, that it took me years to finally find the right equation to fit my life to equal sanity (or my definition of sanity). Why you ask? Because mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of – but it is something to face head on – take seriously – not hide – and something we must actively work on so to keep our minds as healthy as they can be. You see – shame doesn’t help anyone to be healed or deal with their issues. Actually it’s just a tool to keep people down. Shame sucks. So I threw it out the door – screaming.
My “road to crazy” started when I was born. I was born into a family where both my father and mother’s family histories were wrought with stories of severe mental illness, addiction, abuse, suicide, depression, etc. Now I’m not going to argue whether or not it is inherited completely. I’m not a doctor. However as much as my parents tried to shelter me from all of the issues of our family and their own issues – the “crazy” crept up on me – slowly. The earliest thing I remember was trying to count to 8 before the refrigerator door closed – and if I made it to 8 – then the rest of the day was going to be ok. Most could brush that off as a silly thing a little 6 year old girl might do for fun – I did it every day for quite a while – but at that age I didn’t know that I should probably let someone know that this was the way I would get through my day. 8 comforted me I think because I loved music and singing – so counting in “4’s” seemed natural. Crazy right?
Flash forward 15 years when horrible, unwanted thoughts were crowding my head. It was like a cloud of Hell over my head and in my soul. The “real me” was there – fighting and exhausted. I withdrew from the ones I loved for fear of hurting them. From morning to night I had the same, awful, intrusive thoughts over and over and over. I stopped caring for my 3 year old daughter when it happened so my parents had to take over. They didn’t understand why I couldn’t just “snap out of it”. However I didn’t tell them how vivid and terrifying fears had become. How I couldn’t even imagine giving the little girl that I loved so much a hug because in my mind my hands and arms became razor blades. So even imagining being near her was terrifying. I drank to make my mind slow – had sex to numb my body. All I really wanted was to be the mother I was before I broke completely.
Now from 6 years old to 21 years old – I didn’t live this perfect, untarnished life. It was my road to crazy – a very long one. One that I will share bits at a time. My recovery however was a leap onto the highest mountain – screw long roads – sometimes you just gotta take a bull by the horns.xoxo Angela