My poor mom. Whenever I have a sensitive post, I try and warn her ahead of time so she’s not blindsided. It’s the least, and I mean the very least, I can do.
So she read it immediately as I knew she would and a flurry of texts ensued about her fears and questions and need for assurance.
I’m really, really sorry, mom.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to read these things about your daughter. I know my friends are concerned when I write things like this. I’ve been offered all kinds of help and I am so, so appreciative of the outpouring of love and support that I almost think I deserve it.
That’s a joke.
As hard as it is to read, it’s equally hard to write. Because even though some might deny it, it alters their view of me.
And that’s ok.
I’m no different than I have been my entire life, but this part has been kept secret for years.
As I told my mom, I understand why she’s upset and scared because it’s the first time she’s reading about these things, but as I assured her, it’s not the first time I’ve felt them.
I remember the first time wanting to cut myself, but it was more of a “he’ll be sorry” kind of thing. I took a steak knife in my room, sat on my bed with ugly sobs blurring my hands and thought about what would happen.
But I was scared. Of getting in trouble.
So I waited for the sobs to subside and put the steak knife back in the kitchen drawer.
But there’s more than one way to harm oneself.
Over the years I’ve picked my cuticles until they bled, pulled out eyelashes and eyebrows, worked out to collapsing exhaustion, eaten myself into oblivion, drunk myself into forgetfulness, and starved myself.
All ways to distract attention from what was causing pain on the inside.
Coping mechanisms, but destructive ones.
So I get it. I may not fit the profile of someone you think of when you think “mental illness.” My eyes aren’t wild, I’m not a loner, and I get out of bed. Well, most days.
But there are more of us than you might realize.
Erasing the stigma is a HUGE goal of mine. Helping people see that you CAN learn coping skills and have a functional life, a family that loves you and laugh and play and not just survive but truly live with mental illness.
And every time I’ve gotten punched by a new episode, I end up going to my corner, getting new strategies, new meds, more love and more support, and I have been able to win.
This is just another one of those times.
And I can win.