On January 31st Canadians will come together to share their battles with mental health issues or to show their support for others. In today’s post I wanted to open up more about my own struggles. Bare with me as this isn’t easy and I’m trying to convince myself not to just highlight this whole thing and hit delete.
I’ve always thrown my support to others. I’m the one (and proudly so) that people come to when they need to talk, vent, laugh. However as I’ve been the support it’s not always easy to be the one to ask for help. I’ve tried counseling a few times but it was never the right fit. The last time I went the person said “well you seem really well adjusted” I didn’t disagree but that made me feel so much worse. I’m good at faking it until I make it, clearly so well that I fooled a professional. After that session I didn’t go back figured like everything else in my life I’d have to just suck it up and deal. And that’s what I’ve been doing. A few close friends I’ve confided in know some of the struggle I go through but like most people they got their own shit to deal with so I tend not to want to bother anyone.
I’m stubborn and most people who are close to me know I rarely will ask for help, I just figure out how to do something on my own or I just don’t do it and I’m always ok with that. For anything dealing with me I tend just not to care. For example, right now my hair could use a cut but going to hair dressers gives me anxiety so I don’t go. Friends have suggested people who would be awesome but I hate calling places and talking on the phone so I just don’t do it. I think I get this attitude from my mom who despite what people said about her was not that strong of a person as they thought. As soon as she could she gave up that control said “fuck it”and I was left to be the adult. This was many years before her stroke which again really enforced the role reversal.
The idea of mental health and well being is something I strive to understand. Is it a Nature vs. Nurture thing? Is it really all about brain chemistry or is it about genetics? I imagine it’s a combination of all of those things. How can I who has seen some shit, been constantly made to feel inferior by society able to continue putting one foot in front of the other yet someone who is loved by all has had no traumatic events suddenly not able to get of bed?
We all tend to handle stress differently. The fact that I have people depending on me is a huge motivator, it gets me out of the house and on to the dreaded city bus. Helping others is oddly satisfying, I’ve been volunteering for the past 15 years as it gives me a sense of purpose. Although I don’t have an actual service dog (yet) I can say that the three crazy pups I share my life with also help. Something I’ve been doing since childhood that unconsciously I think may help may also be something akin to self harm. Before I continue I’ve never ever before mentioned this to anyone. My sister knows because she lives with me and I know she wishes I would stop but I’m not sure how. Also before I continue it’s not as bad as you are imagining I don’t cut myself. What I have done and still do is pick, I pick at scabs, I pick at cuts, when those don’t exist I pick my nails, or the skin around my finger nails or mostly my toe nails cause it’s easier to hide. I tend to go until they bleed, my sister would ask if it hurts and oddly it’s a different kind of pain. I can’t really describe it, it does hurt but it’s not painful. Am I embarrassed that I just admitted this? Yep, but I’m keeping this in here because I believe I might be able to help someone else, someone else who may have found a creative self harm method that they feel ashamed of or that makes them feel less of a human being.
Below are two pictures which show an example of what I do. They aren’t really gross but viewer discretion is advised.
How do you manage your stress, how do you deal with the crazy, can’t ever unsee things you’ve been thrown? I’m really a “fake it until I make it” when it comes to those I care about I will give more than I have, but when it comes to myself I could care less.
As we look ahead to January 31st remember to be the shoulder someone’s needs or to reach out if you need help. January 31st I will be tweeting up a storm on Twitter so please follow me @PLoker or just say hi to someone, smile, do a random act of kindness.
There is so much darkness in the world be the light someone needs.