Pushing Forward

There are times when living with mental illness is easier than others are. Your meds are working well, you seem to be thinking clearly and sailing along in the belief that you too can live and exist like a normal person.

Then the crap hits the fan.

It could be anything from a trigger from your past that sets you off, a discord or break in a relationship that is valuable to you, a psychiatric med change, a health challenge; the myriad of possibilities on the Richter scale of setting someone with mental illness off track seems endless.

There is a lifestyle fantasy I believe we all hold in which the fantasy is that it will go away and not happen anymore. This is a fallacy created by our brain. We want it to be true; unfortunately, we must face the fact with radical acceptance that it will never be true.

Those around us who love us, care for us, live with us; want to believe that we will stay stabilized as well. Remember they are on the roller coaster with us. They feel helpless and hopeless as to what to do to make things better. They watch our struggle and respond in many different ways, but mostly in confusion and despair.

I have been on the phone with my mother or a friend in the morning and have been fine, only to be thrown into a tailspin later in the afternoon by the simplest thing. If they touch in with me again and see the difference in my demeanor, they find themselves rendered confused and bewildered as to what happened that changed me. So am I. They remind us that we were good this morning, what happened? As if, we wanted to bring about this change in our persona. A friend tells me she experiences this with her sister. She can talk with her sister where all is well and yet later, everything is total chaos. They have come to make a running joke of it to acknowledge that the problem occurred. It doesn’t matter whether it has been five minutes, or hours or days since they last spoke. The situations the sister finds herself in are not funny, however they use the five-minute joke to address simply that something has happened, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, so let’s get to finding a solution or acknowledging that things happen and move on.

This is where the push comes in. Those of us with mental disorders must learn how to push through the hard times. Sometimes it feels as though there is nothing to draw from deep inside of us. There is no source or foundation to resort to draw from.

Teaching ourselves to push through when we have nothing to draw from may seem impossible. We may resort to isolating, self-harming, self-medicating, choose your go-to. The push has to be healthy. It needs to be productive and somewhat soothing. We must learn better ways of coming out of the hell.

I am personally struggling with a lot of things right now that have sent me off into a downward spiral. I do not need to enumerate them, just trust they are there. I have to push on in a healthy way.

I force myself to do things like distract myself with refurbishing furniture, listening to music, picking flowers from our garden and making an arrangement. They are simple things yet they are distractions and they serve the purpose of helping to ease the pain and agony I am currently experiencing. I may cry when I do these things however, I let it out and I just keep going with the push.

I know how you feel. I know your pain. It feels like it will never end, but it will. I want to encourage you today to find your push through in a healthy way. In a way that will not take you to darker places, but will rather lead you back on track.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your loved ones. Learn the skill set that you need to help you help yourself. We cannot always rely on others to fix us. Sometimes it is just not possible.

I personally have a deep spiritual connection with God and I reach out to him with reading the Bible, listening to praise music and trying to redeem my mind and cleanse it. Maybe that is not your thing. I just want whatever it to be healthy for you. Find your push and use it.

With you on the journey, Alice

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