‘I’ve Got Out At Last!’

A subject I have always been curious about was demon possession. Growing up, I did believe that it was a real thing, and that terrified me. The fear worsened when I started dealing with mental illness. If you google search ‘demon possession and mental illness’ you get a mass of information from religious establishments trying to prove that possession is real. Or they have a laundry list of how to tell the difference between demon possession and mental illness.

It’s scary because just up until recently we have acknowledged that mental illness is a problem that needs to be taken seriously. Could you imagine living with bipolar disorder or Schizophrenia in the 19th century? You would lead a very difficult life. I reflect on this because it absolutely terrifies me. It’s one of the few irrational fears that I have. If I lived with the mental illness that I have during the 19th century, I could have been put into a mental institution, and went through horrible ‘treatments’.

My mind goes back to ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This short story was written in 1892, and is worth your time. It is reflects on the perspective of women at that time; especially when it comes to mental health. The woman in the story is, obviously, dealing with a mental illness and her husband insists on bed rest. The woman’s state of mind is worsened by having to stay in this room during the summer. Could you imagine? Being made to lay in bed for months at a time?

I know with my depression, I have to keep busy. If I don’t, my mind will stray. This is dangerous because I can easily start thinking about everything that is wrong with me, how I’m a ‘failure’, how I’m ‘worthless’,etc. Then I spiral down the hole that is depression. This can lead to suicidal thoughts, mood swings, or even the will to live. On my worst days, I can’t get out of bed; I literally can’t do anything.

We can’t fall into these times again. We need to keep battling this stigma on mental illness. We can’t blame it on ‘demon possession’ or it’s a ‘woman’s issue’. We have to be rational thinkers. We can’t blame what we don’t understand on something supernatural. We can’t blame it on one of the minorities of our society. I hope we never back track this far. I hope we never grasp for ignorance instead of rationality again.

 

-E.

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Side Effects Include…

Switching medication didn’t seem like a big deal to me, at first. There is no miracle pill for depression/anxiety. You may find one medication that works great for your mood swings, but you can’t sleep, for example. You are constantly weighing your options. You make this pros and cons list of what you are willing to deal with.

I didn’t think it would be this… complicated. I always minimize my burdens. I feel like I don’t suffer that much. I always feel like it’s just life, and I have to deal with what totally throws at me. I feel like I need to stop doing this. Not necessarily I need to start putting myself, but realize that I’m going through alot right now. I’m dealing with weight loss and gain (currently gaining) my sex drive is either non-existent or I’m like a cat in heat. I can’t sleep worth shit, my face continues to break out, I’m getting these lovely body pains especially in my shins (it hurts so much I limp). However, my mood swings, my suicidal thoughts are under control. So, is it worth dealing with all of the other shit if my depression seems to be interesting control?

I can’t imagine what some people go through with these medications. The side effects are a spectrum; one in particular lowers your seizure threshold. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen to me, but it scares me. So, now I’m having to reevaluate my lifestyle. Do I eat less? Do I switch to a stricter die? Do I need to try different sleep hygiene techniques? Or do I just try new medicine altogether?

It’s a hard decision to make. I know my symptoms are more of an inconvenience than anything, but is it worth inconveniences stacking on top of each other making me miserable in a new way?
-E.

A Bit of Ramble. 

I’m treating this post as two. I’m going to do an update on my latest video game finds, and do a mental health mini post. I have been stupid busy, per usual. 

Part One: more amiibos!

I have a problem when it comes to Zelda. It’s embarrassing…almost. When Breath of The Wild came out, I sunk over 100 hours into it in two weeks. I bought all the 30th anniversary amiibos, and slowly been picking up the BotW amiibos. I was able to finally pick up the guardian amiibo:

And the Champion amiibos just released. I found my favorite: 


Urbosa!

I haven’t been able to get the rare armor drops unfortunately. Hopefully, it will drop soon. We will see! This month I have been playing Mario Odyssey for the most part. I’m over 200 moons in, and it’s alot of fun. It’s an absolute must for a Switch owner. I think my next pick up will be Wolfenstein on PS4. 

Part Two: PTSD 

I don’t have PTSD, nor am I going to claim to be an expert. I got inspired to write about it, because it’s another facet of mental health that is ignored. 

I listened to the latest episode of the Moth Radio Hour (https://themoth.org/radio-hour), and it was about people who survived Vietnam. It was absolutely tragic listening to these people. They experienced death all around them, and saw the darkest side of human nature. It really made think of my grandfather. 

My grandfather is a Vietnam veteran. It’s something he hardly speaks about. When he does, everyone gets really quiet, and listens. I can only recall a handful of times that he has talked about, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you what his real experience was. I feel like if he experienced anything really horrendous we will never know because of the stigma that we put on mental health. We see soliders as the ultimate symbol of patriotism in our country. They are supposed to be strong, brave, and unwavering. Showing emotion is the incorrect way to be a soliders. Emotion shows weakness, irrationality, and empathy. We must have objective, logical, clear-minded people make decisions on the battlefield.

 That is understandable. What isn’t understandable is pushing this kind of responsibility on people without giving them the proper support they need.

We can’t expect people to be okay after they see their friends die. We can’t expect them to be okay after killing other people. We can’t expect them to be okay after they see civilians die in a fight they weren’t involved in. We want to put our veterans on a pedestal, but we only want the heroic side to show. 

We need these stories from watching to show what it does to someone, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. 
-E.

That Old Time Religion

I have been really holding back on writing anything really extensive on my spirituality. Well, or lack there of. I feel so compelled to write about it, because the past three years have drastically changed the way I see things. Religion used to be like this undertone in my life. Like it was embedded, it was like a heavenly elephant in the room. For the longest time, I identified as Christian, and I was expected to. Even at 26 years old, I’m expected to be Christian.

Let me be clear: I’m not. The best way to describe me is agnostic, on a good day. If you are Christian, I don’t mean to offend. But this is my life, and my blog. I’m calling it like I see it here. This is my experience, and one may ask what my experience has to do with mental health?

It has everything to do with mental health.

Growing up, I went to church most Sundays. I couldn’t choose to opt out; I had to go to church. Even at an early age, I remember questioning what exactly Christianity was. I was part of a Pentecostal church. If you google that, one of the first images is someone handling a snake. We were a step down from that, but yes, those churches exist in Kentucky.

What a shock.

Anyway.

It was a ‘holy-roller’ church: people would scream, shake, run, throw themselves on the floor, etc. At the least, church was exciting for 5 year old Amber. I was terrified and curious at the same time. My loved ones were screaming and ‘speaking’ in tongues, and when I say speaking I mean speaking complete nonsense.

Seriously. I had a family member who would ‘speak’ every Sunday, and it was the same nonsensical words every time. The pastor would interpret the words and each time they would mean something different. I say this is nonsense, because I have ‘spoken’ in tongues before. I was absolutely convinced and pressured to do so when I was 7 years old.

I was at church camp, and people started to tell their testimonies, then someone started really getting the ‘holy spirit’. When I say ‘holy spirit’ I mean they look like they are having a seizure on the floor, and screaming. Lots of screaming.

They started ‘speaking’, then someone else felt compelled to do the same, and so on. I was one of the last ones to do it, and it was because I thought I wasn’t chosen. So, I faked it. I stuttered whatever nonsense I could think of. When I say  I thought I wasn’t chosen, I mean I didn’t feel this over whelming joy I was supposed to feel. I was expecting God to actually speak to me, I was expecting, you know, a hint. This didn’t shake my faith, I just thought I was a bad person.

Looking back, I realize that it was me just being logical. I was a very logically thinking kid, and rationalizing something that can’t be proven was beyond me. As an adult, I still think the same way, and that’s why I gave up on the Christian faith. It took me a long time to reach this because it was embedded in my head that I was going to burn in hell for all eternity if I breathed wrong. I didn’t realize how ridiculous this way of life was until I moved. This isn’t when I made my decision to change my views, but this helped put me at peace. This was because I realized I’m not alone.

If I was to say I was agnostic back home, I would be shunned in some way. At the very least, I would be told I would be going to hell. To be more specific, that the devil was working in my life. This is the part that has to do with mental health. 

I have been told my entire life that whatever problem I have is the devil. The devil was blamed on health problems, losing a job, friendships dissolving, etc. So my depression is this invisible creature trying to claw its way into my mind, and make me feel like shit. I used to believe this. I used to think I was unworthy of God, and that the devil had taken over my life.

This is the danger religion spreads. Yes, it can do good, but it does more harm than anything. My mental illness is a problem, but it is because of a chemical imbalance in my brain. It’s not because my spirit is flawed, or because I’m not a Christian. It’s because I have a physical problem. I think it’s important for me to show what I went through, because there are people who live in this type of environment who have no way out. They probably feel like I did: alone, unwanted, scared. I want anyone who has lived through this kind of religious nonsense to know that there is nothing wrong with you. Be strong.

If you are dealing with mental illness, please go to a doctor. There is professional, medical help that will work. Thoughts and prayers are nice, but they don’t cure anything.

 

-E.