#zombies #mentalillness #beacons #emotions
Today is one of those days so I thought I would write about it.
Because there are not to many people out there who know what it’s like to be in a body and head like mine and maybe, just maybe, if I share a small snippet of it someone out there might understand, or connect with it in a way that makes them feel less alone.
So I’m angry. Bitterly destructive and repulsively angry. At EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.
I am angry at the people I have been trying to build and support. I am angry at the people who have stolen my ideas and claimed them as their own achievements and innovations. I am angry at friends who are not friends. I am angry at family. I am angry at my kids and I am angry at my husband. Actually, there probably isn’t anyone in the world at the moment that I am not angry at.
And I feel completely betrayed. Yep, I’m the bitter victim. Unforgivably soul murdered.
I feel like someone has stretched out their greasy disgusting self absorbed hands, tore into the exposed and bleeding flesh of my heart, and ripped it out in the most painful and agonising way for their own self gain. And everyone around has laughed and sniggered as they spit “what’s the big deal? It’s just a heart and soul… It happens to everyone. It was nothing important so just get over it… We will.”
And IF you dare ask me, right now, I am completely justified and full of destain. All of these people have wronged me in some way that it’s ok I am so pissed. They have all used my tolerance and generosity, and taken advantage of it for their own gain. Everyone is against me and only looking out for themselves so I rightfully deserve retribution.
In my mind anyway.
Well not just in my mind, but in every fibre of my being. It bleeds through my veins and floods every muscle and tendon with passion and hell fire. With every breathe the intensity of emotion is not only ignited but fanned into an all encompassing and ferocious bushfire. Like a bear tearing through flesh with its bare teeth dripping with blood.
It’s ok. You are probably thinking “ummmm ewwww….this is not rational. Completely not normal. I think she needs help.” And to some degree you are right. This isn’t rational, not for me anyway. Usually I am relatively calm, caring, considering things very rationally and with tolerance. Balanced and understanding. But not when I am like this.
Let me emphasise not normal.
Like in the movie Maggie. Have you seen Maggie? Maggie is a girl infected with this zombie virus and as she sniffs and inhales the scent mere centremeters from his face, she is constantly fighting the agonising inner urges of her body to avoid the tantalising enjoyment of dripping blood on her teeth from ripping out her fathers brains.
Now you are cringing! Yes sick I know, but I am trying to help you to visualise and experience the shear intensity and overwhelming compultions of “normal” emotions that invade individuals with a mental illness such as the one I live with on a regular basis.
And what happens next? She gently and so deliberately leans forward ever so slowly and kisses him on the forehead and walks away. Ultimate self-control.
So for one moment you to gain some flicker of understanding to the immense self control involved to be able to live a “normal” full and meaningful life.
No. We people who live with mental illness are not virus ridden zombies ready to rip people’s brains out, or “crazy psycho murders” for that fact. Actually those labels and terms are hideously stigmatising and do not in any way help me or any individual move into a position of wellness or empowerment. Actually these experiences are so painful and torturous that if you must link us to zombies, perhaps think about how many lives of people living with mental illness end up the way Maggies did. I can attest that these experiences are nightmarish for those who have lived and endured them.
But what I am trying to say is that I have come through my Illness enough years now to know that these thoughts and overwhelming feelings that are trying to devour my life… Are for me, irrational. Like a zombie virus eating at who I am.
And in the past I have needed help. I’ve needed help from professionals to identify where this isn’t normal for me. Where it came from, how it effects my functioning, and what I can do to put structures in place to create and live the life I want. I have needed help from family to be patient and support me in my learning about my illness and myself. I have needed help by good friends and peers to support and understand at times when I am all but alienating them from my life.
But not normal??? On the contrary….for many many years, this has been very “normal”. And when I ignored it, it was as destructive and terminal as a rogue zombie virus would be in someone’s life. And Actually, for quite a few people, this is their normal.
And it’s not just irrational short periods of “zombie” anger and frustration. It’s also those grave dark days where all I can think about is how to harm myself, how to disappear, how to escape and finally end this constant torment that will not shut up. How to end the black and white/ on and off thinking. How to stop hurting others with my impulsiveness. It’s the days where I am so wired I cannot get my head to stop and all I can do is write and write and write every new idea and creation that comes into my head and never get rest. Or the days where I am so petrified to socialise, leave the house, talk to anyone. And the days where negative and unhelpful thoughts fill my head about how much people hate me, and are “thinking” nasty things about me and how all these things are true. That I am alone and rejected and abandoned. And the days when I am hypersexual, over eating, starving, drinking, spending….. THOSE DAYS when the inner zombie is in control.
Oh and did I tell you that can all be one day?
Sounds exhausting huh? It is!
….even though I can’t “see” that my mind is blinding me in this moment, over time I have created signals for myself to help me regain composure and silence this thing. When I so quickly slip into these periods of time that my ship starts to run off course, I can recognise the beacons and alarms that I have personally set to remind me who I am ( not a zombie!) and to guide me back to the safe path I want to travel so I can continue to build the life I want to live.
Like bumpers on a bowling ally they push me back down the right direction on that ally way to hit those pins. I hit the side and suddenly think “checklist” and more times than not I find there is a box unchecked.
I bet you are wondering if there were boxes unchecked when I hit that bumper zombie episode this time?
YES! Of course! Hindsight is beautiful isn’t it!
I can clearly remember hearing the alarms screaming at me in the background of my tunnel vision. I couldn’t see them in my blindness them but I could hear them. Lucky I set those extra alarms. I had forgotten a couple of my routine wellness tasks.
THAT COULD HAVE ENDED ALOT WORSE! Thank goodness for beacons.
And over time what I have learnt is that everyone has these beacons…. Yes…EVERYONE.
Everyone has a boundary that stands between living well and living unwell. It might not incorporate a mental illness, maybe unwell is diabetes or cancer? Either way, the unfortunate thing is not everyone knows about them, nor have they trained themselves or others to recognise them.
The trick is to work out what YOUR beacons and bumpers look like because they WILL be different to mine. And they will help you and those around you to live a quality life with value and meaning together regardless of the circumstances.
I know this because this zombie story is only one piece of the jigsaw that makes the tapestry of my life and I have had to set beacons all over the place to help me to manage every area to make sure I (any everyone else) stay afloat. I’m sure your life must be much the same.
So maybe your life can be a little (or a lot) like my situation above? Maybe you are loving and walking with someone who has gone a little (or a lot) off course? If you are one of these people I am writing this for you.
I am not suggesting you call me, yourself or anyone you know with a mental illness a zombie. This is just a personal descriptive word that “today” I feel portrays how I feel in these moments. Next time it might be something different and I may dispise being called a zombie. Each to their own and in their own time.
I’m telling you this so you know someone else feels how you do. There are others like me who feel out of control at times and hate the way they behave, think and feel. None of those things change who we are. And if we talk about it (even the scary, embarrassing bits) maybe we can all start to be little light houses that help someone else (just one person) find their beacons and avoid those rocks. Maybe together we can set some beacons that helps our ships stay on course and maybe we can enjoy the cruise together. 💕💕
*all photo credit to Unsplash.com