There are far too many people suffering in silence from the beast that is mental illness. They remain behind closed doors that should be open. They are imprisoned in their own minds. Their loved ones worry about them and often feel helpless because there is so much they are trying to understand that can't be understood; unless experiencing it oneself.
We all experience crisis in our lifetimes. Some of us fall and get back up while those with mental illness often struggle and are unable to find their grounding.
This post is a shout out for love, understanding and support.
This is about erasing the stigma that brings shame and secrecy to an illness that is misunderstood and under funded.
Those suffering can only rise to their feet if those surrounding them are willing to join them hand in hand and take a step forward - far too many steps have been taken backward.
What happens when the ground you stand upon falls out from underneath you? Is an ambulance sent to the scene? Is there a trauma team on call waiting for you in an operating room? Are your loved ones contacted and gathered together? Are you able to express what is happening and why? Is there news coverage of your story at 6pm? Does the whole world stop and pray for you?
What does happen in no particular order is you slowly but surely lose your mind, your perspective, your understanding of the world around you. You are not able to express or communicate to anyone exactly what has taken place. You want to find a dark corner in a deep cave to crawl into and wrap your arms around yourself while you shiver and shake.
The side effects from the meds cause you to gain weight, walk around stoned half the day, forget simple things like your phone number, the street you live on, the name of your dog.
Then there is the anxiety that often displays itself in convulsions that rock your mind; shaking, twisting every muscle in your body. You become afraid of leaving your home, of being in noisy places - you take cover and isolate in order to self-preserve.
There is an aura you feel before a panic attack and those attacks are crippling. The ground shakes and falls apart. It's a feeling that something awful is going to happen and there isn't a thing you can do about it. No one - not your friends, family can prevent this from happening or catch you as you fall through the deep crevice.
Once you fall - there is nowhere to go. You are stuck; the teeth are clenching your soul, your being. There is no going up, no going down, no going anywhere. There are no search and rescue teams shouting at you from the top, there are no heroes rappelling their way down. There is no light only dark and it's uncomfortably cold.
You know you cannot survive this predicament for long. You try to think of ways to save yourself but your mind is in fragments of colours like a Picasso painting and you can't make sense of what is left of you on the canvass.
You're sweating and turning in every direction but there is no way out of the maze. Your loved ones search for you frantically and as a last ditch effort they scrape a message across the sky:
"We love you - we will never give up on you so please don't give up on yourself."
You sway back and forth in the stillness, in the fog; in a place you've returned to with each haunting episode.
Somehow you find the strength to take one great leap forward and you exit the maze.
There just past the finish line, your loved ones wait for you - their hearts splashing in puddles of love, support and compassion.
You fall into their open arms and they close around you.
They hope that one day you will be able to stop running from the illness that continues to chase you.
Mental illness is a mighty storm, it blows your life apart along with all of those around you.
It strikes like lightning and is always followed by thunder.
Share this post - for awareness - for support - for change. Thanks.