Picture of Mental Health
One in four...
Many never quite understood why I feared or have the fears that I had/have. Many of my friends are not aware or do not comprehend the vast differences in our cultures, or our ideals, mind-sets, our experiences, in as much as, how they live/have lived vs. how I do and have had to. I have always had a fear of doctors, police, and ‘civil authority.’ CPS (child protective services, for those that do not know or have knowledge of services by letters), LAPD, LACDC, LACDMH, therapists, psychologists, social workers, anything, or anyone, that is or was capable of separating me, from my family, absolutely terrified me.
As a child, I feared if I had told someone about the abuse I was being subjected to, that he or she would separate and destroy my family. I feared being locked up or taken or kept away from the people I loved, I fear that still-it is what kept me from killing the man/men that abused me…that, and my fear of going to hell. Fearing I was going to go to hell, because I struggled with forgiveness, or might not be able or capable of forgiving, and fearing I was crazy because I struggled with the act of ‘sucking it up,’ ‘getting over it’, and or ‘moving on’, are just a few reasons I decided to seek therapy, outside of my church, in lieu of what my church offered-seeking therapy within my church only further added to my feelings of guilt and shame.
I was raised to believe therapy/psychology was for ‘crazy’ people, and if I said the ‘wrong’ thing to the ‘wrong’ person/people, I could/would/might, be locked up, or put away, and or committed. I feared/fear going to ‘hell’ should I say or do something that would or could be deemed not ‘Christian,’ or contrary to what my religion and religious leaders would have me do. It seemed my religious upbringing conflicted/conflict with my own ideologies and beliefs, as well as many of my family member’s beliefs and or ideas. The ‘acceptance’ I so desperately sought from my religious family as well as my blood family, was not forthcoming, and left me to question my mental health as well as my spiritual health.
My therapist tells me I am not ‘weak’ because I cannot ‘get over it,’ or move on, she is empathetic, understanding, and she ‘validates’ my experiences and feelings. She allows me to openly cry and express myself, without feeling judged, guilty, or ashamed. When I leave, I feel relieved, I have clarity, and I have peace. Talking to someone about trauma or abuse doesn’t make you crazy; it’s what keeps you from going crazy. Why had I waited so long to seek therapy? Perhaps I am not as ‘crazy’ as I feared?
Still, when I recommended to a friend that maybe she should see a therapist, she replied, “I’m a effin mess, but I’m not that big of a effin mess”.
“Ah,” I say, with a shrug of my shoulders. “But I am?”
“I didn’t mean to say that…I wasn’t, I didn’t mean to imply…” She was stammering apologetically.
“It’s okay,” I said with a laugh. “I get that a lot. Therapy isn’t for everyone, and I realize it is viewed by many as ‘taboo’ or as a sign of weakness, but for me, it has been and is what allows me to keep going, that, and my faith.”
According to mentalhealthamerica.net 1 in 4 American adults lives with a treatable mental health condition-I may be the 1 in 4 or I may be just one of the four that lives with one-perhaps to some, an untreatable one...
I am no longer religious, I am however still spiritual. I still believe in God, and in His son, my brother, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, I just don’t believe in certain aspects/precepts, ideals, and or perceptions, that others may or may not. I respect others and their rights, beliefs, ideals, and choices. I may not agree or believe as they do, but I expect, suspect, the same could and or can be said for many others-or maybe not.
I have convictions, but without feelings or fear of condemnation, I have rights without rites, I have faith that will not falter-I have learned to forgive and will continue to forgive all those that have harmed me, seek to harm me, condemn me, judge me, ridicule, and mock me. I am a sinner and I sought therapy, which in my mind, and in my life, gave me clarity, and crazy or not crazy, I finally feel sane.
I may be deemed ‘crazy’ or weak because I needed to see a therapist to help me through and get me through, and this may mean that my faith is not as strong as others, whose faith in God alone gets them through, but that does not mean I am still not a ‘believer’ in Christ and or His teachings. I still like to believe I am 'Christian', I just don’t believe it is ‘Christian’ to judge others/anyone if they don’t happen to live, believe, or think as I do. I don’t understand or believe that it is ‘Christian’ to use Christ’ teachings as a means to hate, condemn, judge, and or harm another person. I don’t believe that by citing passages in the bible or using ones interpretation of the bible, entitles me, or gives me the right to condemn anyone for how they live, what they believe or think, what they do, or with whom they do it with. This is precisely the reasoning behind my avoidance of ‘religion,’ and or sects, this is the same reasoning for why I avoid politics. I cannot be the only one that sees the irony in the word politics-poly/poli, means many, and tics; they suck the life and blood out of any and all living beings. These are my beliefs, ideals, feeling, opinions, experiences…I have no desire to convince or influence anyone else into believing as I do or doing as I do or have done-I am merely expressing my own.
Trauma affects and alters the brain, and it influences the way in which we believe, think, live…our experiences, our cultures, the way in which we were raised, our environments, all of these things, coupled with our own feelings, ideals, values, morals, traditions, and beliefs, play a factor, and can determine, influence, and change, what we become and or do with our lives. Some value life as a ‘gift,’ and some do not, some value ‘religion,’ some don’t. There are many variables, too many, that factor in and must be factored in, when it comes to human behavior and the minds of our fellow man.
The point is, we all have our own ways and way with which we live and cope with whatever this life has to offer. We all have our own ideas and means that we overcome, endure, and deal with lifes trials, hardships, and tragedies. How we choose and the choices we make, vary and will vary, no two of us are the same-thus, no one of us should be surprised, when we do not agree with or ‘condone’ the actions, ideals, beliefs, and convictions of others. I’m not, and I suspect others are not and will not be surprised or should not be surprised; not everyone is tolerant or respectful of this however. I am all for live and let live…so long as what we say and or do is not at the expense of another.
I value life and all living things, more than I value being ‘right’ or having to be ‘right,’ or ‘proven’ right, or dis-proven-for I am wrong more often than I am right. This is my ‘truth,’ these are my ‘truths’ as I see them, as I interpret, feel, and or experienced them. Right, wrong, or indifferent, I make no excuses for who I am, what I do, or have done, nor for my feelings, convictions, faith, values, or beliefs-I am not proud of everything I have done or did, I just own it. I cannot change the past, what is done and has been done, cannot be un-done. I can only ask for forgiveness if something/anything I have done or do, causes or has caused harm or pain to anyone-as to whether they choose to, can, will, do not, cannot, forgive me, is another story entirely.
© 2012 Raquel L Pierson