Crazy: Feelings about Mental Illness and Me
In order to tell you my weird rambling on being a nutcase and maybe a little mentally ill I need to preface this text with a ‘hi’.
My name is Kenna.
It’s nice to meet you.
So, now that we’re all acquainted let’s get on with this thing.
I’ve been turning over two words in my mind for a while now. They’re not particularly powerful or even interesting words. But they play over and over and over in my head on loop.
mental illness mental illness mental illness mental illness mental illness
Now that you have those words playing in your head, close your eyes. What do you see? I see a girl in a screaming white room. She’s a hospital bed. And the chains against her slashed scarlet wrists clank against the stainless steel railing of her bed.
A single scream tears through the room. And suddenly, she’s opened her mouth and begun gnashing her teeth onto the railing gasping for air as teeth fall one by one and blood spurts out christening the clean surface.
Doctors filter in. Swiftly they stab a needle into her arm and the gnashing halts and she crumples into a pile of flesh onto the bed.
It’s over for now. The voices receded into the shadows. But in the not too far future, they will return. A flurry of misfiring neurons will summon them and they will lurch out of the darkness hungry and ready to fight on another day.
That’s what I thought it meant to be mentally ill.
To me, the phrase could only refer to those institutionalized or hearing voices. But I was very very wrong.
I’m still formulating my thoughts on the subject. But here’s what I know as of right now:
The term ‘mental illness’ is something that refers to an array of ailments that afflict the brain. It’s not just one thing. It’s a variety of things. And one bad day a month is not a mental illness. Mental illness is when something is drastically interfering with the quality of your day to day life over a prolonged period of time. And I guess that’s kinda all I know.
But you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing all of this up.
Well, I guess I want to admit something to you.
I think I’m mentally ill.
A doctor heard me out, and diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.
What I really mean to say is I have a mental illness.
That’s a really weird thing to type for me. ‘I have a mental illness.’ Wowza. It feels unreal to see that on my computer screen. But it’s true. It’s my reality. I can’t escape it. I need to find a way to own it and accept it. I guess I’m hoping this can be first step to that. I want to accept it. I want to be okay with it. And know I’m not any less of a person because of it. I want to know that I don’t have to be a stereotypical nutcase to need help. I want to believe that I’m not self harming for attention. I want to feel like my feelings and ailment is valid. I want to accept that this is the truth. This is my truth. This my reality. This is my hell. And it’s real. The flames are licking at my feet and I’m not exaggerating. And that’s okay. I want to truly with all of my heart believe that it’s all okay. My feelings are real. My feelings are valid.
But I’m having a hard time.
I don’t want to accept that I’m ‘crazy’. I don’t want to accept that I feel crappy a lot of the time. I don’t want to accept that I’m suicidal, that I want to die.
And I really don’t want to accept this as my reality. I don’t want to accept that on any given day I’m going to fantasize about a car crashing into me, killing me in the blink of an eye. I don’t want to believe that I will continue to dream of a day when man mugs me at gunpoint and finishes me off for the fun of it. I wholeheartedly don’t want to accept that I will have to conscious thought of buying a gun and blowing my brains out without the fear of being found by my family.
Instead, I don’t want to accept anything. I want to not exist and escape without having touched a soul.
But that’s impossible.
So I guess I have to find a way to work towards accepting it. I’ll start by saying this:
I’m mentally ill.
I can’t cope alone anymore. I can’t trust my mind to handle itself. And altought I’m not the cookie cutter stereotype of a mentally ill person, I still cannot snap out of it. I still need help. I still need love. I still need acceptance.
I’m mentally ill. I don’t fit the stereotype. And I need help. And that’s okay.