- Mental Health
This little light of mine, doesn't shine, please let it shine!
“Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” ~Chinese Proverb~
I remember a time when my little light sure did shine. But now I think it is hiding under a bushel. The years have taken their toll, and I am wondering how to get that shine back into my light. Many might think this a defeatist attitude but if you think about it, it really is not. It is going to show me how to get back on track, and learn how to heal, to learn how to put that shine back into my light. I am bound and determined to learn how to put that shine back into my light. I remember when I was a young lady and I had the world at my feet, I was adventurous and thought there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I told myself I was going to travel and see all the many wonderful sights this life had to offer. I was going to make my own path and have some type of impact and help change the world, or at least make my imprints. And now I sit here and wonder what happened, how did that change?
Let’s go back in history for a moment. My history when my light did indeed shine. I was carefree, wild as a gypsy, I loved to laugh and dance and live all life had to offer. I never truly felt the burdens of life, well not in the way I do now. Was my life perfect, far from it, but it was mine. I started to feel periods of emotional stress here and there, always being somewhat of a high-strung person. It seemed easy enough to overcome. I suffered bouts of anorexia, not for the normal reasons though, but for phobias. I hated food, and hated the thought of what it would do to me. Not meaning gaining weight, but that it might upset my digestion system. I had ulcers on and off since the 3rd grade. I have bouts of not wanting to leave the house for fear, and truly unsure where those fears stemmed from. Then one day it turned into something else. One day my life changed so dramatic that it has never been the same since.
This is a self-discovery while trying to figure it all out, trying to figure out if hormones have a play in this, or environmental, hereditary, or whatever it may be, perhaps a combination of all. It started to change after I had a partial hysterectomy, and was recovering from the surgery. The Doctors told me that things would not return to normal for quite some time, but that seemed to be alright. It was only removal of a uterus after all; nothing major, and the pain had seemed to stop. I was also living with an abusive husband, and he was not very supportive. Okay, he wasn’t supportive at all. But with children to take care of and being far away from my family at the time, I knew that I had to take charge and hurry with my recovery.
Then my life changed, drastically. It seemed like it changed in one blinking of my light being blown out. Or perhaps someone poured water over it, I do not know what happened, all I do know is it changed. I was standing in line at a grocery store in New Mexico with a friend and my three-year-old son and he told her he had to go potty. I was having a hard time with walking about so soon after surgery, and she told me to stand in line with the cart and she would hurry, and be right back. All of a sudden this hot flash came over me, and I started to feel as if the place was spinning. This overwhelming panic swelled up inside me like I had to escape the store! My heartbeat was raging and at the same time I felt as if I could not catch my breath. I felt as if I was going crazy, and all I wanted to do was get out of there as fast as I could. I leaned against the counter and the clerk asked me if I was feeling all right. I couldn’t speak.
My friend came back and I was slumped over the counter, and she quickly saw the pallor of my skin and hurried and paid for the groceries and whisked my son and I to the car. She asked if I needed to go to the emergency room and I pleaded with her, NO! I was not going back to that place again, I felt that it was just a delayed reaction to my surgery and perhaps I did not have enough time to heal. After arriving home, I found a cool wet washcloth and put it over my forehead, and that stopped some of the hot flash, but the panic refused to leave. I lay there on the couch for what seemed like hours, trembling and shaking, praying that whatever it was would just go away. That was in 1996. And since then I have been diagnosed with panic disorder, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), Cued Panic Attacks, Situational Predisposed Panic Attacks, Spontaneous Panic Attacks, generalized panic disorder, Agoraphobia, OCD (Obsessive–compulsive disorder) and other mental health disorders relating to panic and PTSD.
I have been to therapy, counseling, groups, doctors, and have been put through paces, tests, trials and tribulations. I have tried self-help, group-help and just about every possible kind of therapy there is. I have been hospitalized for this illness, I have been put on just about every type of anti-anxiety medicines that exist. And nothing. There have been periods of my life that have been better, and there have been parts of my life that have not. I live in a darkness at times with only a flickering light that barely shines from time to time. I live on quotes that seem to be uplifting and I live on quotes that speak reality.
“We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light.” ~Earl Nightingale~
And try to find meaning in each one of them, just as life, learning from the experiences, learning from the mistakes, learning from the joys. But now I must learn to live in the light, or should I say, get back in that light. Just as that ditty from my childhood states, this little light of mine, I’m gonna make it shine, make it shine, make it shine.” I believe it is a journey of self-discovery, lighting our lights to get us to that place we need to be. Lighting our path to show us the way. Charting our course to get us out of that darkness and back into the light.
It sounds simple, even though at times it is not; it is as complex as can be. It is now 2010, and I still suffer in the battle. But I can’t give up I have to shine again. I am not looking for a cure; I am looking to have a shining light again. I have to have that hope that only the light can bring. Darkness of mental illness is a frightening experience, you feel all alone, and void at times, a void so immense that it is engulfing and discouraging. You feel as if your light shall never come back, that you are crashing against the brutal shoreline of life, bruised, battered and broken. You feel as if ice-cold water has been splashed over your light, and nothing shall ever dry it out. I speak in metaphors yes, but I also live in this planet called reality. I will never stop looking for those matches that shall strike my light back on.
It is all about a positive approach, and so much more. It is about learning to re-light and find those answers that are elusive and escape sometimes right out of grasp. And some days there is none there is only negativity, and wondering when shall it ever end. The pain, the darkness, the debilitating realities that this is all there is. But I know better, there has to be something out there that will change and make those imprints in my own life. That will shine, that will beam bright and end this darkness.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna make it shine, make it shine, make it shine.
“Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light.” ~Jean Giraudoux~
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