mental health awareness month

in addition to the flowers, may brings many things to our conscious’ surface…

may day, may the fourth be with you (for star wars geeks such as myself), cinco de mayo, mother’s day, v-e day, armed forces day and memorial day, of course… and then there are the more unusual designations of lumpy rug day (the third), no socks day (the eighth), lost sock memorial day (the ninth) (apparently we need two days for honoring socks), clean up your room day (also the ninth), limerick day (the twelfth), frog jumping day (the thirteenth) and dance like a chicken day (the fourteenth).
there’s weeks dedicated to nurses and police and emergency medical services. it’s a month dedicated to foster care, barbecue, bicycles, hamburgers, blood pressure and salad… among other things. according to this site and the ever-reliable wikipedia.

it’s also mental health awareness month.

i question the need for such a thing. of course, my mental health isn’t the soundest. anxiety and depression association of america made a list of facts and statistics regarding the most common types of mental disorders.

i’ve been seeing this therapist, and i love her. she is amazing. but she can only do much to help me. she can only offer so much counsel… can only hear so much of my story… can only contribute so much to an attempt at recovery.

if i’m not willing to make the effort… to do the homework she’s assigned, tasks that are not difficult things, yall… read a pamphlet. walk for twenty minutes one day a week… write little notes to myself of positive affirmations… recognize when my thoughts are tanking and change their course… if i’m too reluctant or too disinterested in doing the work… then what good does visiting with her do? i’m wasting her time. i’m wasting mine.

i’ve told her the ugliest stuff… things i’ve never told anyone… and she still thinks i’m awesome, which i love. but my thoughts have been circling around the knowledge that i’m not learning from my mistakes. that i’m still making the wrong choices, even though i know better.

my brain is categorizing all the ways my mind is damaged. wikipedia’s got a comprehensive list of all the mental disorders, and i’m sure were i to read the symptoms of each, i could say i’m plagued by the majority of them. the mental anguish from which i suffer could be caused by a genetic predisposition. it could be because i incurred trauma during birth, resulting in that mild case of cerebral palsy which has necessitated a handful of medical procedures and treatments and disrupted, to a minimal degree, my brain’s ability to command my thoughts and actions.

but i honestly believe the bulk of it is that i’ve spent too much time by myself… from the time i was to eight to now. i never really learned how to interact with others. i never learned how to get out of my head… because that was the only place i had to go in my childhood and adolescence, and whenever i try to venture out of it, i’m awkward and clumsy, and so like the hermit, i scurry back inside.

what i want to say… what i really, really want to say is we’re all a little bit crazy in our own ways. and dedicating a month to recognizing the crazy in hopes that the recognition could inspire others to care… designating a month to all the ways a person can be classified as crazy… how does that help a person cope? because i promise you, the last thing i need to be doing is looking at information about histrionic, narcissistic and dependent personality disorders.

the last thing i want ANYONE doing is finding ways to label someone. part of the reason my mind is what it is is because too many people labeled me too many things in my childhood, and so often. i can’t peel them off. they’re tattooes.

sometimes i think i’m a lot less messed up than i feel like i am (like when i am visiting with her or spending time with my friends). and others, i feel like i’m too messed up to be a part of this world (like today). but i also think everybody has days where they might feel like that, even if it’s just for a second. EVERYBODY.

i’m not trying to sound like i’m belittling the importance of this. i swear i’m not. there are most assuredly people in need of the help specialists can provide. it’s just that i’d rather focus on the flowers and the fun. because ultimately, that’s how you cope with this shit. thinking about it doesn’t do any good. distracting me with things like frog jumping and dancing like a chicken… laughter really is the best medicine, yall. that and the good times friends can provide… like when you’re celebrating may the fourth be with you and cinco de mayo. just be good to each other, dammit. i feel like if we were to do that, if we focused on the GOOD in people rather than in what makes them BAD, the world would be a much better place.

2 responses to “mental health awareness month”

  1. I love the fun holidays you mentioned! I had no idea. This post is spot on. As a nurse, I deal on the daily with some of the most beautiful people. Some of them are just having an ugly time. It is all about perspective and help to bring out good rather than bad.

  2. As I read this, I thought of a documentary I watched last night. Yesterday was ANZAC day here. It is a day that is similar to the USA's Memorial Day but it is specifically tied to a particular battle and the lives lost for Australian and New Zealand soldiers in 1915. I watched a documentary interviewing the "Last Anzacs", about 8 men who were around 100 years old (when interviewed) talking about their experiences. One particular one said he did not enjoy the celebrations of Anzac Day. That he detests the war and doesn't like that his memories are brought up for the public eye each and every year.
    I found that sentiment interesting. We, as a public, feel we are honoring the soldiers. Yes, we are celebrating that the ones who came home, did just that, came home. We feel better for acknowledging them and their sacrifices. But, a couple of these soldiers themselves said they aren't interested in that.

    So, I see your point. I feel that a month (or day or whatever) of "awareness" is good. I think due to awareness more services are offered, more people are speaking up. But, is it solving anything? no.

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