May Is National Mental Health Awareness Month
This Barry Manillo song, Just One Voice, has always been a favorite of mine. I cried the first time I heard it many years ago by BYU’s Showtime and Company. Never would I realize the impact the song would have on me 10-15 years later. I cry harder now as my voice is added to other voices singing in the darkness.
Mental health conditions, though taboo in society, are nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. The weight firmly rests on our shoulders, those with these conditions and our family members, to educate others. Both of my parents deal with mental health conditions, both were hospitalized during my childhood. They are the best parents in the world, thankfully, but sometimes they found it hard to deal with life. That was extremely terrifying for a child. Leaving your Mother behind locked doors, asking if she would be able to come home this week, and getting same answer “no” week after week. Not being able to talk to your Mother when you are used to having her there day in and day out. It was rough, but she was doing what she needed to do be healthy. This was in the 1985, I was 12. It was just explained that she was sick. The last person I knew that was sick and in the hospital was my Granddaddy, and he died. In 1991, my senior year, my Daddy enterred those same locked doors. Those same questions. When will Daddy be home? He had gotten addicted to Xanax the doctor prescribed for his anxiety. Both continue to be on medication, both continue to be the best parents in the world.
While all of this was going my own demons raised their heads. After recieving a double dose of clinical depression, coupled with my situational depression, days can get awful dark. One of the darkest nights, I took the blade out of a razer, and tried to cut my wrist. I wanted so badly for the pain to end. I did not know where the pain came from, but I even failed at trying to kill myself. The blade would not cut. (I look at that as a blessing now.) I remember other times kneeling in my room at my bed praying that Heavenly Father would stop me from walking into the kitchen and taking everything in sight, please make the pain stop. With my depression, there is not always something to trigger me. I recognize that now, only in the last two weeks that is partly because of my chemical depression, partly because of the PTSD I face from my childhood oral rape.
The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place. My fear of the dentist. I recall one time trying to run away from the dentist office. I told them I had to go to the bathroom, I was going to make a run for it. The hygentist was waiting outside the bathroom door for me. I hated going to the dentist. I still have anxiety about going and do not go unless there is a problem.
Fear and discomfort with certain touches. Anxiety out of nowhere. I once remember calling my Aunt, she was the only one that I could reach. I sat on my bed, terrified. I was at home alone, looking at my closet door, paralyzed with fear. I had no reason to fear my closet door, but this fear was real as any fear that can ever be experienced. If I hear a siren, my hand immediately goes to the phone to call my loved ones to make sure they are ok. If I cannot reach them, I panic until I do. My heart racing, palms sweating. Fear and dread.
This blog is my first time admitting the term, my family will probably will probably agree with me as I type. I begin to shake as I type it. Many, if not most of my relationships have been codependent. I have often stayed in relationships to avoid being alone or avoid feeling abandoned. I am always scared to be abandoned. I take responsibility for the actions of whoever I am with, apologizing way too much. I have often been told that I have the lost puppy syndrome and often mistake that for love. I do not trust myself or whoever I am with. I could go on and on with these symptoms of unhealthy relationships that I have often taken on myself. Relationships doomed to fail, because of my fears. Relationships borderline abusive. Diving out of the way of a wretch thrown in anger because I laughed when he was working on my brother’s bike. Feeling worthless because I was never good enough. Never thin enough. Never pretty enough. The cycle repeating again and again.
I love the musical Les Miserables. There is a line in one of the songs that I sing quite often…
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living,
So different now from what it seemed…
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed…
I add my voice to those whose dreams are hidden or killed behind their mental conditions. My voice is added to those who want to find a new dream. As we sing and let our chorus be heard, may we be healed and strenghtened, and NEVER ashamed or embarrased of our conditions…