Friday, February 1, 2013

Battle Wounds

So a good, very compassionate, friend & I were discussing a young person that we both care for very very deeply yesterday who has had a very difficult childhood, rather similar to mine as a matter of fact, and has some mental illness and a lot of issues. He said that "She has a screw loose". After he and I went back and forth a couple of times, he asked "Then what's wrong with her?". I said that she's damaged but was having a hard time articulating any explanation. Well, this morning, I was thinking about it again;
A way to describe mental illness. And then a picture entered my mind that I, personally, think is quite apt.

Living with mental illness, specifically my references of Bipolar, Depression, PTSD, Anxiety, and Borderline Personality, is like living life on a battlefield. In every direction there are unseen pits of unfathomable depth into which no light can enter and no escape seems possible. There are rows upon rows of razor sharp spikes ready to rip open both old and new wounds, hidden only until you're already upon them. Dense and dizzying smoke and darkness that can feel smothering and unending. Obstacles of every kind are scattered around waiting in ambush. There's uncertainty and fear and true despair even when, and sometimes especially when, the rare light shows through. You try to trust your instincts when all else has been robbed of you only to be burned by the illusion of light. The basic tactics that you were shown in the beginning "to guide you" lead you further and further into the darkness with less and less hope of ever making it to "the other side". The "normal" side.

I realize to many that this is an incredibly dark picture, especially if you know someone that has one of these, or other, diseases and has seemed/is functional.
I am here to assure you that each and every one of those people has had to maneuver this battlefield at some point, to some degree, and probably always will. Even while they're continuing on at school, work, or at home.
Sometimes the same battlefield is doused in light which is deceptive and blinding and just as painful and difficult.

Don't look at those who live with mental illness as being broken. Just realize that we are lost, trying to traverse a sometimes dark and painful minefield, all the while being told that it's "not that bad".
We have battle wounds...

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