The world is my stage and life is my trick
A magician’s hat and a magic wand stick
The wave of my hand, blink of thee eyes
Then I appear in this perfect of disguise
Cannot see my true face or how I appear
Don’t want you to know what it is I fear
My life is a farce, nothing is as it seems
Nothing is perfect or existing in dreams
But curtain’s pulled back, I am exposed
Nightmare unleashed, everyone knows
Smoke, mirrors and sleight of hands too
But nothing covers what I am from you
I stand on the stage, acting out my feat
My audience observes, sees this deceit
Heckles and boos, tells me I’m a fraud
Reaffirming to me that I am so flawed
Cannot hide who I am or how I suffer
Depression is hard, know I’m tougher
Won’t play a part, I put down my cape
No chains keep me, I know I’ll escape
I call for volunteers, come to the stage
The first is patience to counteract rage
And second is humor, helps me to cope
Finally, love when I need to find hope©
May is Mental Illness Month.
If you or someone you know battles mental illness,
there are many great resources here.
Mental Illness May#1
Speaking The Language
Helping My Children
Life With Anxiety
After The Storm
Helping our children through the struggles of depression has been the hardest task that we as parents have ever encountered. Not only have we broached the most difficult of times, we have faced thee unthinkable. I never knew the true meaning of the word “helpless” until this journey began.
Some things that we have been using to help counteract this illness have been counseling, with cognitive therapy, and yes, even medicine. (Medicine was not our first choice, but was necessary in the end, to battle the chemical imbalances.) We have also been using exercise, healthy eating, vitamins, probiotics and even yoga. Studies prove the body and digestive system are closely tied to the brain and chemicals there.
It is also very important to have a “game plan” when the down times occur. Even I have talked about what I do here. It is really no different for my kids. We must have things in place that they can do to bring enjoyment into their days, if only for a moment. My oldest likes building electromagnets, weight lifting, crocheting and video games. My youngest prefers crafting, art and drawing, along with the outdoors and biking. This does not mean the struggles don’t still reek havoc, but these counter measures can and do help. Teaching coping skills is vital to surviving this disease!
The biggest commodity to me in this illness, however, has been my own personal experiences. I have said before, empathy is so much different from sympathy. Being able to connect with my two teens by understanding and relating, is priceless. We communicate frequently and they are usually quite open with me. Does it make things easier? Not always! But, it does help them to know they are not alone is this battle. And being able to knowledgeably advocate for them is a blessing.
May is Mental Illness Month. If you or someone you know battles mental illness, there are many great resources here. Also read my piece Speaking The Language which talks more about this journey with my family.
Mental Illness May #1
Life With Anxiety
After The Storm
Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m even speaking the same language as the rest of the world. Have you ever felt this? When you are saying something and people look at you with blank eyes, like you are speaking your own made up words. I feel like I am often in this fog that is pulling me deeper into its clutches. At times amazes me that anything I do or say forms any sort of cohesion, let alone that I accomplish daily tasks.
Mental illness has wreaked havoc on our family this year. Although I am unable to share details at this time, I can tell you that it has been a very hard five months! With myself, as well as two teenagers (add puberty and hormones) whom all have one form or another of mental illness, and voila you have mayhem. And hubby, well, he is just trying to stear this crazy train!
So, what do we do to get through this time in our lives? The best we can, I suppose. There is counseling and medicine, but also lots of listening and supporting. Learning coping skills and how to take care of mind, but also body. (Keep an eye out for a piece in the future on how we take care of our mind and body.) Some days we just chill (thank God for homeschool and flexibility) and other days we can only do our best to push through. Sometimes the sounding board for the kids and other times the warm embrace. There are nights when the four of us all sit on our queen size bed and just talk about how tough things are right now, other times no talking occurs and perhaps a tear or two is shed.
I never had to cope with my depression as a teenager. I didn’t begin my struggle until I was twenty. I cannot even imagine the difficulty of navigating an already stressful and confusing time of life, then adding depression and anxiety into the mix! But, I see the strength and determination that has taken root in my children’s lives. I believe in them and their abilities. And, at times I find myself thanking God for giving me depression, just so that I can be empathetic and understanding of my kids and the struggles they face. Ultimately, I know that we have got this!
May is Mental Illnes Month. If you or someone you know battles mental illness, there are many great resources here.
Life With Anxiety
After The Storm
Your prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “language.” #SoCS
Am I lost to all sanity? I turn around and nothing is familiar anymore
I search in this sky of wonder and mystery yet still there’s nothing there
Where have all the pretty things gone? I feel lost, forgotten and in ruin
It’s all a maze of the obscure, curious and foreign, where the mind breaks
Puzzle pieces with no color, edges gone, nothing fits together anymore©
May is Mental Illnes Month. If you or someone you know battles mental illness, there are many great resources here. And this is a piece on my perspective, Mental Illness May #1
I cannot face this thing
The darkness is too much
And the pain is too great
This heart was not meant
To feel an ache like this
My throat closes up tight
How can I still breathe?
You have stollen my air
Ripped out my very soul
I am completely exposed
The elements sting my skin
Beaten down to the ground
There are no more tears left
A cliff is ahead but I am blind
Just set me free from all of me
May is Mental Illness Awareness month.
Mental Illness May #1
I’d like to touch on the topic of anxiety. This is a mental health ‘issue’ that touches my family immensely. Between myself and one of my children, we have the market cornered on life with anxiety. It is a genetically inherit trait, along with depression, both running on my side of the family. Unfortunately, my two teenage children and I have depression as well.
My youngest also suffers with social anxiety. Influencing all facets of life, from the struggle to be at extended family events, making friends, ordering a meal or engaging with a cashier. As a teenager these are things most would consider fairly mundane parts of life and take for granite even, but this is not the case here. The anxieties at times can affect life for the whole family. Unannounced anxiety enduced nausea or panic attacks; these can interrupt family outings or keep us from even making it out the door. And, although my two teens are best friends and can engage each other with ease, I do worry what life as an adult for my child will look like. Cognitive therapy (CBT) is a useful tool that we do have, but anxiety will still always play a part in life.
My anxieties are a bit less apparent as I do not have trouble with interactions or engaging in public. My anxiety tends to be in the form of stressful situations. I can have panic attacks when my mind takes over a situation. Whether I begin to feel claustrophobic or I feel like I may be in a confrontational situation. These can send me, but not always, which is the disconcerting part. I find having a strong mind and being in control, keep me centered and away from the panic attacks. Relaxation, meditation and time to myself are great therapies for me, along with good support from my family.
Life with anxiety does not have to be all-consuming, but it can be. However, overall I believe our family has learned to cope with it and just go with the flow most of the time. Afterall this is really all we can do, as well as, being super supportive and understanding of one another. Strength as a family unit is certainly a key part of successful daily living with mental health struggles.© ~Mac
You come with hopes to destroy
Everything that I hold dear
Looking to take my joy
A struggle builds, my wall tatters
War injures without mercy
Until nothing matters
Shattered, broken and also maimed
I’m no longer of a sound mind
A victory you’ve claimed
My defenses you have torn asunder
Coming in you take your fill
My mind you plunder
Your tenticles reaching in, attack
Find the weakest parts of me
On them you’ll snack
Until I’m just a broken, empty vessel
Nothing but a worthless shell
With darkness I wrestle
Depression is a well trained opponent
This war continues for my mind
One day I hope to own it©