- Mental Health
Random Ramblings; Mental and Emotional Imbalance
There are many ways to change the world. Allowing yourself to be changed is one of them.
Once again, I feel the need to add a disclaimer to my words. These are my thoughts and feelings; they have developed over the course of a lifetime and are based on my personal experiences and beliefs. They are a conglomeration of what I have seen, heard and experienced myself. Sharing them is meant to provoke thought, not dictate action.
Here is a topic that must be addressed properly, and soon. We see it in the news, every day. Emotional and mental imbalances that are ignored; eventually they manifest with multiple deaths and a suicide, creating lots of bewildering pain and loss, and absolutely no resolution. None.
When we think of the ripple effect – what we can do to effect society today, and how the little things we do create ripples that will eventually become waves, we have to wonder at this analogy; because if the ripples aren’t continued, they will fade, and diminish, and disappear back into still waters. So throwing one little stone and thinking you have accomplished something wonderful for the long term is not a very realistic belief.
We see this thing happen, over and over again, far too many times. A person whose internal pain is so intense that it has to be released in a violent purge of blood; this ends generally with their own deaths as well. We call the person selfish, and truly, they are, but not in the way you would think. The person can think of nothing but himself, because the pain is that intense. Some people who break a leg aren’t really concerned with the condition of others around them at the time – the pain is too intense. You will find, though, that most folks when they are injured will still think through a haze of pain. They will ask – where is my husband? Are the kids okay?
Most ordinary people are capable of suppressing physical pain long enough to react and handle serious situations, but there are a few people who feel pain so intensely that all they can do is obsess about it. They are aware of nothing else.
Emotional, mental pain can also be that intense. For folks who don’t suffer from a chemical imbalance, the idea of it seems absolutely ridiculous. People should be able to control themselves, and not stomp around crying. They should be able to hide their tears until they are alone – put up a good front. They most certainly shouldn’t scream and act out. Childish. Attention seeking. Selfish. Disruptive. It’s embarrassing.
When a horrible occurrence happens, like a school shooting, the public reaction is instant, but worthless. It always swings to extremes and is never balanced. We argue, left and right. It becomes political.
"Compassion is what is needed for these people," some will say. "they cannot help themselves."
"No. Life in prison is what is needed for these people, or a death sentence. These people don’t deserve to live."
Ironically, while these points are being argued, they are frequently moot. Most of the time, the people being discussed are already dead. If they aren’t, it’s still too late. You can put the person in prison, or you can put the person to death. You can put the person in a mental hospital and have them treated. But for this person, and the lives of the people that were killed, and the families that were involved, this intervention is too late.
The oddest thing of all; the uproar and ripples from this incident quickly disperse. There is continued sadness for the losses, and remembrances held, but otherwise, it’s all over. The waters become still and smooth.
This is what has been happening. Over and over and over again, we see incidents occur, and over time, people see it happen, say the words spoken in the argument above, then shrug and shake their heads. The stones, created and thrown by the extreme pain of the perpetrator and by the bullets and violence that end the lives of innocent, bewildered kids, should create waves in our society, not ripples. But the more often they occur, the weaker the ripples become until there is barely a movement on the surface of the water when they strike.
It seems we have become somewhat desensitized. And why is that? Because are purpose isn't focused where it should be. We all have our own agendas, and don't realize that we were put here for a reason.
What we all need to do is remember what it is we are, and what it is we are here for in the first place. If we all knew and remembered that from the start, if we taught our children to remember from the beginning, then even those who suffer from extreme mental and emotional pain would have a life raft they can cling to when the pain becomes severe. That’s one thing every single one of us needs; a life raft. A purpose. When we know what it is we are, every one of us will have that firmly in our grasp. No one, not a soul, will be able to take that away from us.
That thing we need is a purpose; a real purpose. Not to simply go back and forth to work every day to make money. Not to simply eat, drink, sleep, and survive. We all need a real purpose, and to have that, we simply need to remember what it is we are. We are here to make this world a better place and constantly, constantly, constantly, improve the situation for all life.
No more can we look awkwardly away, or pretend these issues with humanity don’t exist. People are killing each other and themselves. People are addicted to drugs, or lying in a puddle of urine on the streets, reeking of alcohol. Why do people do this to themselves? Why do they overeat? Why do they allow themselves to be beaten? Why do they beat and abuse?
Some believe they deserve their fate. Some are trying to fill a hollowness inside themselves that physically hurts. They are trying to stop the pain; the mental, emotional pain.
Those who have never experienced it cannot possibly understand. Mental and emotional pain has no physical wound but can make you create them. Mental and emotional pain can be alleviated by burning oneself with cigarettes, or slicing one’s arms and legs with a razor blade. Causing this physical pain takes attention away from the emotional pain. It can take the edge off, much the same as a beer, a cigarette, a pain pill, or a donut.
These are coping mechanisms. They help to relieve the symptoms, but they don’t cure the illness, in fact they can only make the situation worse. When we see these methods being put to use, we need to respond to them in the same fashion that we would if we see someone hurt or ill. We need to react with compassion and concern, not embarrassment, contempt or derision.
For most people who experience emotional pain, a little something diverting is enough to help them relax. But for others...
For others there is something wrong with their physical makeup. Their mind and body chemistry is out of balance. It’s not grief or depression or a horrible traumatic experience that makes them feel this way, it’s a crossed wire somewhere within the inner workings of their own body. Grief, depression, and trauma can add to it and make it worse, but the truth is, these people can have a very comfortable life style and still be completely hopeless and miserable.
This is something we have to stop turning away from. It’s something we have to address. There can be no stigma, there can be no embarrassment, and there can be no hiding of the horrible family secret. We have to remember what it is we are! We are here to tweak. We are here to correct these things. We’ve been given the tools and the ability to do so. We need to offer ourselves up and be willing to sacrifice our own time and materials to at least try to help cure this condition.
We need to evolve past this. It's what we are here for: to make the world a better place to live for all of us, not just some of us. We aren’t supposed to sweep the bad parts of human nature under the rug. We aren’t supposed to put politically correct covers over the things that we find unpleasant about our human condition. We can't pretend they aren't there - they are. Our job, if we choose to accept it, is to ferret them out, expose them, and proudly allow ourselves and own flaws to be exposed as well. Why? So we can study them ourselves, and allow the study of them by others. So that we, as a whole, can heal and remove these issues forever.
We all need to participate in the doing of it.
I myself understand the pain of emotional and mental angst. I know what it feels like to have what feels like a hot or cold metal rod shoved down my throat and buried in the pit of my stomach, so that I curl into a fetal position and lay on the floor wishing I would just die and be done with it. I understand the relief physical pain can have to help you feel something – anything – else. Or how alcohol can help take the edge off. Or pills. Or food. I understand, because I’ve experienced it myself, and know that it exists.
The loss of a loved one isn’t necessary to make you feel this badly. You don’t have to commit some horrible hideous wrong to make you feel this badly. Your body just blithely squirts the wrong chemicals into your system at the wrong time, triggered by absolutely nothing at all. You can spend hours trying to figure out why you feel this way – is it your kids? Is it your spouse? Money? No… it must be the job. Or where you live. You can’t really put your finger on it, but it has to be something, or you wouldn’t feel this bad. So you get divorced, you change jobs, you move completely out of town; but no, it’s still there. Why won’t it go away?
It won’t go away, because you won’t go away. It’s caused by nothing outside of you. It’s all on the inside. And no matter where you go, what job you have, what stressors you have, who you are dating, there is one thing that never changes, and that’s the fact that you are still a part of the equation.
The only way to get away from yourself is an endless drug induced sleep... or to die.
People who have this kind of pain often scream their pain at the sky – they emote loudly and openly, and their families are beyond embarrassed. Not only are they embarrassed; they are scared. What are the neighbors going to think? Everyone is going to think my husband, sister, daughter, nephew is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. And if they think that about them, what are they going to think of me? Nobody can see this! Nobody can know!
And in the world we live in today, they are absolutely right. Nobody can know. People will look at them, and judge, and point fingers, and lay blame. It’s what people do.
It’s not what people are supposed to do, though. People who remember what they are would not react in such a manner. People who remember would look, and see, and think, “Ah. That needs to be tweaked.”
Imagine a world where everyone looked at everyone else and found the opportunity to help. Imagine a world where everyone also looked at themselves and allowed themselves to be helped. That is over simplified, of course – we don’t want the neighbor’s wife rearranging our whole house because she thinks she can do it better than we can, or the government telling us we can’t eat cheese because it’s bad for our health. But… if we remembered our real purpose for existing, we would be more open to it. Much more open to it. Yes, it’s true. I am disorganized; thank you for the advice. Yes. My cholesterol is too high. I do need to alter my diet.
With mental and emotional disorders, you can’t expect people to react in a rational fashion. They don’t want help. They don’t need help. They find coping mechanisms, and those mechanisms become addictions, and for some, there is no freeing them from it. They come to actually enjoy and savor them. Some people even enjoy the pain and the drama of it, and will look to cause problems where none exist. Anyone who has an addictive family member knows the frustration of trying to help them. There is no helping them. They trick you into giving them what they need so they can go buy another drink, or another pill. They will lie, cheat and steal, and they will kill, some of them, to get what they need. They definitely don’t remember what they are, and if they did, they wouldn’t care. If a person will not let you help them, you can’t. For them, it is too late.
There are some who are mentally unstable that end up destroying more than just themselves. They drive their car through a crowd of people before running it off a cliff. They spray bullets in a circle around them before turning the gun on themselves. People are very quick to blame this on the medications they receive, but more likely it’s the medications they have stopped receiving.
Medicine today is about money, not about helping people. No one explains to anyone why they are taking the medications, or what it is the medications do. At the same time, no one bothers to listen to the important precautions they are being told, nor do they take the time to learn how the medications work.
People take the medication, they feel better, and they quit. That’s what you do with most medications. Once the aspirin starts working, the headache goes away. You don’t need to take more, unless the headache comes back.
Normal depression is like a headache; but people who have an imbalance need to understand that this condition will always come back, and sometimes it comes back worse than it was before. People with an imbalance don’t have a headache. They have diabetes. This is a chronic issue that’s not going to go away.
Why does it come back worse than it was before? I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons, but personal experience tells me that with the help of medications, I no longer have a need for the other methods I used to control an emotional attack, and over the years have forgotten how to control them.
When I was younger, and didn’t even know there was such a thing as bi-polar depression, I read a lot of self help books, practiced meditation, tried different diets, avoided what I thought were the triggers, and simply got used to the pain. I went to school or work with the feeling that a heavy metal rod had punched through my stomach and was crammed up against the base of my tongue, and I just learned to deal with it as best I could. And when I couldn’t, I used my coping mechanisms. I found places where I could hide for a while until I was able to control the tears.
Having seen what addiction does to people, I abhorred drugs and refused to try them. For some reason, I never became addicted to anything. I never smoked. I drank to take the edge off and to have some rip wild weekends. (Manic – the other side of bi-polar. That’s a whole other story.) But mostly, I curled up someplace dark and quiet and cried until I was numb of all feeling.
Eventually it became so bad that I would burst into tears in front of clients and customers, or start to laugh hysterically in such a way that I couldn't stop. I had panic attacks that prevented me from going places. When you become so unpredictable, even to yourself, it becomes a serious threat to your job. At this point, I finally did turn to medication. Prescribed medication.
It was amazing. I felt so much better. After several months, I felt I no longer needed the medications - I felt wonderful. So I stopped taking them. I was fine, for a week or so, and then it all came back, worse than before; I think, because I had let down my guard and shed all my protective armor. It hurt worse, because I didn't have my old coping defenses in place. I realized, then, that my illness wasn't just a headache that would go away. It was a chronic, lifetime condition that would keep coming back.
Those who know how I feel about drug abuse will see the irony. Karma came around and slapped me, hard, right across the face. Luckily, I am a person who will swallow my pride and admit when I am wrong. I think that’s because I know what it is I am. Just because I’m aware doesn’t mean I’m never wrong. Actually, being aware that you actually have a purpose changes nothing but your perception of the world around you. But it does make you more willing to allow others to help you, because when they help you, and you participate whole-heartedly, without cheating, you become part of the solution. What we learn from participating will help evolve the future of all life down the road. It really is a big deal, allowing yourself to be helped, because it’s really not about you at all. It’s about the evolution of all life.
So for those of us who were born with this disorder, this chemical imbalance, we have to remember what it is we are. And when we are sitting in an unprescribed, drugged-out stupor, thinking about how worthless we are, we should realize that we don’t have to be. By allowing others to help bring us back to normal, to be able to participate once again among other people without depression, panic attacks, uncontrollable anger issues, self destructive behavior, irrational fears, we have helped evolve the human race towards something better. Simply by improving ourselves, we change the course of the future. We’re learning how to tweak what nature wasn’t able to adjust on it’s own.
Does this make any sense at all? Because it’s a very important aspect of all my ramblings and blatherings, the fact that we try to cover things over, brush them under the rug, and forget them. Over the past year, we have seen some horrible things happening in our schools, at public functions, extreme behavior, destructive behavior; namely, murder and suicide. We see it, and there is a huge outcry, and we think, this isn’t a ripple, this is a wave, and we will never forget this. But within a week, within a month, we do. We forget about it and simply continue going on with our own inward focused lives. When 9/11 happened, it wasn’t a ripple. It wasn’t a wave. It was a tsunami. And yet, within a half a year, the majority of humanity was focused once again on the me and not the we.
We don’t want things like this to happen, and when they do, they are ugly. We don’t want to see them, and so we sweep them under the rug and hope they won’t happen again. But they do happen again. And the oddest bit about it, is that the ripples around these instances smooth out quickly, become still and don’t seem to have any long term effect, but under the surface of the water the turmoil is there. The cancer is there. We’ve just covered it up nice and neat and don’t look at it.
We need to look at it, and not in a reactive way, after the fact. We need to react to it in a proactive way, and stop seeing mental illness as a threat, a stigma, a label, a weakness, a skeleton in the closet that should never be revealed. We need to simply say, yes, our family has issues, and we need help, and we accept your help, and we will participate whole heartedly because now we understand – this is what we were born to do. This is what we are here for. This is our purpose in life. Not to shy away and hide, but to change and tweak and evolve and make better. The things we must do are not always going to be easy or painless, but they will pave the way for our future. Look, how our ancestors lived, painful lives full of diseases that are now cured and physical labor that technology has now made easier; they, we, paved the way for our own future. That is our purpose. That has always been our purpose.
If you are ever in pain and struggling, and find yourself wanting to look up at the sky and scream, “WHY ME?!” remember. This is why.
Why do horrible things happen to good people? Why is there still starvation, disease, war? It’s because we haven’t addressed those issues yet; not the way we are supposed to address them. We’re working on it, a little, but only if there is some profit in it; something in it for me. We would blunder along a lot less if we would all get on the same page.
You can believe anything you want to believe, embrace any faith you want to, but we need to open our eyes to our responsibilities. With great power comes great responsibility, and we have great power. We are the ethereal in physical form, and we are here to use our intelligence and creative abilities to constantly - CONSTANTLY - make the world a better place for all life.
Punishing yourself for the past isn't helping anything. Making life better for yourself, and allowing people to help you make it better for yourself serves a higher purpose. It is part of making it better for all.
So for those of us who are going through the DT’s, and shivering, and vomiting, and wishing we would die, and wishing we could just take one more of whatever it is we were taking, we need to remember that this too, will pass, and the place we are headed holds so much more hope, for ourselves and for the future of all life. Our struggle has a purpose. Going backward leads to nothing. Going forward is a learning experience. We feel agony, illness, pain, but then we feel better, and then… then the possibilities are all there for you to choose. Especially when you remember what it is you are. Just as our ancestors built for us the world we have today, so we are building the world for the future, and all the anguish we experience overcoming today's addictions promises to us that, someday, we will reach a state of freedom from substance abuse and all mental illnesses.
As for the rest of us, who are bewildered by this invisible pain we have never really experienced ourselves, we need to intervene early, and stop rolling our eyes at these people who are so weak and have no will-power of their own. We need to stop beating them into submission and telling them to shut up and behave. We need to stop being embarrassed by them, and stop trying to hide them away from the public
By covering a blemish and hiding it, We are hiding a cancer cell within the body of all life. We need to reveal it; we all need to look at it, to see it for what it is, and we need to address the issue.
Most of all, those who suffer need to realize they have a greater purpose; they exist because the issue needs to be addressed. You have the power to aid in the eradication of these issues by being a part of it, and taking on the responsibility of improving it by facing the issue, whatever it may be, and using yourself as the guinea pig to pave the way, to find the cure.
No one can make you do it. But if you need a purpose for your existence, well. There it is.