#wcw On Perseverance

I often blog about mental health issues because I have lived a life of great strife. Strife I self-inflict and strife cast against me.  It’s not just me that hurts me. I have been tremendously hurt and traumatized throughout my life by others.  My body hurts me: I suffer from chronic migraines, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and to top it off, I am bipolar.  I am an extrovert who often finds herself isolated and alone. Usually I am in self-imposed exile, but it’s not always physical exile.  Many times I feel socially exiled because my life looks and feels so different than those of my family and my friends or perhaps I am with them physically but doing my best to put on a brave face and appear “happy” or “normal.”

I have great friends.  True friends.  They love me and support me in spite of my mood swings, irritability, insecurities, and socio-economic status.  They are there for me if and when I am willing to reach out to them and let them help me.  I have great friends because I am a great friend whenever I am capable.  I am steadfast in my love and loyalty to them. They have earned it and so much more.

Today’s quote honors those friendships and the struggles that I know we all face, whether they are similar to mine or entirely different.  Everyone struggles. Everyone suffers. Everyone hurts sometimes.  And to get through the struggles we must endure it is essential that we never give up in our faith and trust in God — or the life process, karma, insert your belief system here — that things will get better.  Each struggle is independent of the rest. Some people do appear to live harder lives than others, but that is not because we are not all equally deserving. God offers blessings to us each day if we can crawl out of bed, put on our shoes, and live our life with our mind in the moment and our eyes on the lookout for blessings, which are there for us to find.

This quote is also chosen today because it is the holiday season which is commonly a very, very difficult time for people.  For some it is the additional costs associated with the holiday. For others it can be feelings of obligation to others we do not agree with. Even the fast pace of the clock ticking down to Christmas can add great stress to those who are otherwise happy.  The fact that it is Christmas (a typical family-oriented holiday) causes pain to those who are or think they are alone.  Social expectations that this is a happy, merry, time of cheer can cause additional pressure to those who struggle to maintain balance and stability with their moods (anxiety, depression, mania, etc.).

It is also an election year with a highly contentious and divided reflection on the outcome and future.  This is the third spire of why I have chosen wisdom from Winston Churchill.  I hope you will find it helpful in bringing to you strength and courage to persevere through your dark times, whatever the cause, even if only for a day or a moment.

#wcw On Perseverance | Memee's Musings

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

If you’d like to play Words Crush Wednesday along with me here are the details:

Cut/paste and follow these 3 simple rules:

(1) Always pingback to the site you discovered #wcw on with every Words Crush Wednesday post. In this case, that’s me: memeesmusings.com!

(2) In your post, use the badge they’ve created just for you – In this case, you’d use the Panda badge (size doesn’t matter), just grab it below.

(3) Tag your post #wcw so the Words Crush Wednesday community players can find you.

(4) Optional: When you are ready, create your own badge for those you inspire to play Words Crush Wednesday. If you do not create your own badge then your inspirees MUST use the badge from the blogger who inspired you — it’s on your post — so be sure to make it easy for them to find. (P.S. I create all of my graphics on Canva.)

If you wanna play #wcw with me, here's your badge!
If you wanna play #wcw with me, grab that panda badge!

* To see the badge I earned, visit my very first #WCW post.
And, here’s my pingback: Rebirth of Lisa

A Letter of Introduction – by Embeecee

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author: Embeecee

A letter of introduction | Letters to the MindI have been in therapy a good portion of my life and I don’t have a definitive diagnosis as such.  They keep changing it to suit the therapy group I’m participating with at the time.   I don’t know if they don’t know how to categorize people like me or if it’s ME, because part of my own complaint is the ability to morph into what I think the ‘person in charge’ wants to hear.

In the latest therapy effort, I’ve tried hard not to do that and to be as honest as I can about my problems.   I still feel pretty mixed up about it all though.   I do a group therapy session about once a week (it’s a long drive and our weather has been bad, plus I’ve been sick a lot this winter so far) so I don’t always make the group session.   In that group we deal with addictions of various kinds, of which I didn’t ever really think I had any, save food, and so I have been resistant to the process. Others deal with drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions and the usual type of stuff.  I’ve felt like an outsider.   I’m also a good deal older than most of the women who attend that group, and I’m further along (in my own estimation) in the healing/dealing process.

It’s been odd therefore to realize that in that group I’ve discovered some depths to my own mental illness that I hadn’t considered before.   The group is a trauma group, all of us in there have suffered some sort of traumatic event, whether it is childhood or spousal abuse, abandonment, physical abuse or whatever fits under the umbrella of “abuse.”

And again I’m worried that I over-identify with the ailments of the other patients. One has pretty severe OCD and through her sharing I’ve identified some traits of that in myself.   I always knew I had elements of OCD, but I thought they were pretty minor (I continue to think that), so I never thought I ‘had’ OCD.

I overthink things.  And this ‘letter of introduction’ if you want to call it such is getting too long.

My own problems include:

  • Chronic depression
  • Dysthymia (or major depression)
  • Insomnia
  • Possible bipolar II (depressive bipolar disorder)
  • Possible BPD (borderline personality disorder)
  • Very mild (to me) OCD
  • Agoraphobia (very mild)
  • Social phobia/anxiety
  • Slight paranoia

It sounds really stark and overwhelming listed out that way.   I don’t think if you met me IRL, you’d even suspect any of these.   I have learned over decades to hide them well.  Privately I know I have some issues and I’m not comfortable around people.   Someone recently told me I have a true introverted nature, which in psycho-speak means I draw energy from myself best, and I expend it when I have to be around other people.   Being in crowds exhausts me and I don’t do well if I’m forced to wait for things or if someone is holding up the progression.   I find that I’m becoming more vocal about it, and this leads me to want to stay home.   I’m embarrassed by being that way, but I’m finding it happens more and more.   People stare at you if you are grumbling to yourself about what an asshole the guy in front is being.   Or if you openly ask this asshole if they are EVER going to conclude their business and get the %$@# out of your way.   I have anger issues.

Well that’s enough about it for today.   Thanks for inviting me here and for listening.

Author’s note: I was invited to Letters of the Mind by B.L. Memee of Memee’s Musings, and I thank her for offering this chance to address mental illness in a safe venue.


About the author:

I’m Melanie. I have been diagnosed with major chronic depression.   I also deal with social phobia and anxiety.

I’m a 56 year old woman who was born and raised, and remains in Utah in the United States of America. I have degenerative bone disease (type undiagnosed), diabetes and the mental health issues [I’ve discussed], and therefore I am under disability and retired now. I am widowed (going on five years in February). I live alone and have one pet, and I prefer it this way. I am considered reserved. I am Mormon in faith, but I am not judgemental nor do I consider myself holier than thou or anything. I try to be open-minded and accepting of everyone. I TRY.  🙂

Blog: Sparks From a Combustible Mind

“Life Is Not Waiting for the Storm to Pass; It’s About Learning to Dance in the Rain.”

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

Submitted to Letters to the Mind by Embeecee Dec 2015
A Letter of Introduction post: © Embeecee (Author) & Letters to the Mind (Publisher) 2015-2017. All rights reserved.
A Letter of Introduction by Embeecee post © Memee’s Musings, 2016-2018. All rights reserved.

The Goblin Known as Anxiety and Stress – by Lewis Bull

via Letters to the Mind
Contributing Author Facebook: Lewis Bull ; Twitter: @lewisbull92

Art by Hababoon

Though I’ve had anxiety for most of my life it’s not until the past 7-8 years that I’ve really begun to really suffer from it.

Four years ago was when it all really started for me, it was within this time that I became ever more isolated with anxiety taking its full control, from things like job interviews to daily walks into town I began to figure this is me this is how I am.

Along with this stress crept in too, again I figured this was just me being me.

From being overly stressed anxious/nervous in public places or even at home, this is the way life went for me for what seemed a lifetime.

Then at the beginning of this year I couldn’t handle the pressure being put on me anymore I quit job hunting, and for those months of doing gloriously nothing, it re-surged in probably its worst way, I gave in and started taking medication to handle it and am now on my third course of CBT this time intensive CBT and I can feel it starting to help and I started to realize there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

In terms of perhaps not completely not getting rid of it but instead I picture myself facing the goblin with a shotgun and seriously wounding it (I look forward to this day and what a picture it will be!).

This is Lewis Bull saying I will not let this control the rest of my life!

© Lewis Bull 2015


About the author:

I’m 23 years old, as child I had a moderate learning difficulty and went to a school for those who suffer from moderate to severe learning disabilities.
As my anxiety worsened I stopped attending family occasions (though I thought it was perfectly natural but instead later realised it was my anxiety), never have I indulged in typical teenage behaviour e.g. drinking or even just hanging out with friends instead I remained in anxiety imposed solitude.
After I finished 3 years of college, the first immediate thought was to find work, there in started my long battle with stress and anxiety, though I’ve always suffered from stress and anxiety it was in my later teenage years that it really became relevant, It was in the middle of this year that things started to change from seeing family who understand and sympathise with my issues and finding new friends who themselves suffer from anxiety and stress.
Facebook: Lewis Bull
Twitter: @lewisbull92
“If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?” – Ronnie van Zant and Allen Collins of Lynyrd Skynyrd

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

Dear Anxiety – by Jenny Marie

via Letters to the Mind blog project
Contributing Author: Jenny Marie

Ian Schneider

Dear Anxiety,

When I first met you, I was just a child. You terrorized me with panic attacks and wouldn’t leave me alone. It was bad enough you entered my life. It was much worse when you visited my nine year old daughter. Picking on children. How dare you!

I think you got pleasure out of watching, as you overwhelmed us with the horrifying symptoms of panic.

Did you think it was funny to see our hands tremble and our bodies sweat, drenched in fear?

Did you get enjoyment out of making our hearts beat so hard and fast, it felt like they’d jump out of our chests?

Were you pleased when my doctor told me I had agoraphobia?

Did you laugh when I had to pull over to the side of the road because my vision was blacking out?

You probably thought it was hilarious when I nearly had to run out of a store because I couldn’t stop my racing heart and dizziness. Didn’t you?

Were you happy when my daughter had to miss three weeks of fourth grade because she was petrified she’d have a panic attack?

Did you want her friends to know how ashamed she was to be different?

Was it fun to see my little girl cry when she couldn’t make herself walk into the classroom, in fear of you?

What about when you saw me cry because I knew how terrified my daughter was?

You always wanted to be in control. And you were.

But not anymore!

I’m sure you were unhappy when I reached out for medical help, after twenty years of dealing with you.

I bet you were mad when I recognized my daughter’s symptoms and took her to the doctor.

I’m sure you weren’t thrilled when our medication worked. I wasn’t afraid to drive anymore. Or go to the grocery store, the mall, or the movies. My little girl went back to school. She was able to play basketball, be with her friends, and even go to sleepovers.

We learned how to get rid of you. Our doctors helped us develop ways to control you. We’re healthy and happy now. Our lives are full and productive.

We’re braver than you give us credit for.

Anxiety, thank you for empowering us.

We know we’re strong.

If we fought you off, we can do anything.

Sincerely, Jenny Marie

© Jenny Marie 2015


About the author:

My name is Jenny Marie. I’m writing to Anxiety.

I’ve had panic attacks since I was a child. I didn’t reach out for medical help until my early 30s. I was diagnosed with panic disorder and agoraphobia. I truly thought I was alone, and that no one else experienced the same scary symptoms that I did. I soon realized there are millions of others with anxiety. My daughter started showing signs of panic attacks when she was nine years old. She’s twenty now, and both of us are nearly panic free. I hope to motivate others who are dealing with anxiety and mental illness.

Blog: Peace from Panic

Facebook: Peace from Panic

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin to Pooh (A. A. Milne)

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

The wonderful photograph was taken by Ian Schneider and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!

Dear Mr. Anxiety – by MPH

via Letters to the Mind blog project
Contributing Author: MPH

Dear Mr. Anxiety | Letters to the Mind

 

Dear Mr. Anxiety,

Do you know how it feels to sit in the middle of a classroom, worried that everyone behind you gapes at your back instead of the board? Look at how she bends over the desk, like a hunchback, her stomach scrunching over her thighs. Do you know what it’s like to scurry through the hallways, a place where you’re supposed to be just another face in the crowd, but it feels like everyone is looking right at yours? Why is she in such a hurry, why’s her head bowed so far forward? Nerd, why’s she so eager to get to class? When speaking in front of a group, do you feel like a sculpture on display, like your audience studies your clothes, your movements, your expressions, more than what you have to share? What is she wearing, why are her knees shaking? Is she still droning on about this? Ha, her shirt’s so tight on her you can see her bra. Is your world a battlefield, strangers the soldiers and scrutiny their swords, slashing through you with their cold stares (or the sheer possibility of them)?

They’re going to look up, they’re going to see, ouch I just tripped, I can feel my heart in my stomach, pounding, pounding, they can hear it, they know they know that I’m afraid to say more than two words, they know how pathetic I am.

This string of thoughts, this parade of pain, doesn’t march through your mind. No, you live up in your skyscraper, high and mighty and unharmed. The world is more like a playground for you, swings sets and monkey bars constructed of innocent people’s insecurities and worries. You’re the unjustified bully in the sweatshirt, and I’m the girl with the pigtails, cowering under the slide, hoping and praying that you won’t attack her today.

You’re the puppet master of all of your victims. We live at your mercy, and bend to your will. You tug and pull at our strings, kick our hearts into unhealthy rhythms, cackle at us from behind the scenes.

But we aren’t your victims, are we? We shouldn’t be, at least. We shouldn’t feel abused by our own minds. We shouldn’t have to cower in the corner of the playground, too frightened to join the fun. You’re not half as brave as we are, you only pick and prod at the things we most fear. But it’s about time that we are able to come out into the open, and if not rid ourselves of our fears, then at least keep you from using them against our will. You may live in your skyscraper, but you are not untouchable, and when we make our way through the battlefield, we will make our way to you, too. Don’t think you’ve got us, me, under your thumb so easily. You are not unbeatable; it only takes the time and patience of a true warrior, like all of us.

© MPH 2015


About the author:

Since middle school, I have struggled with feelings of anxiety, especially social anxiety. For years, and on a daily basis, I blindly battled my anxiety, unaware that there were others experiencing the same thing. Though I now understand why I panic in social situations, it is still a challenge every day not to worry about the slightest glance or word thrown my way in public. Through writing and talking about it, I hold out hope that it will improve. I am an avid writer. I live at the mercy of my many dreams, including moving to a big city to be a publisher, moving to the Appalachian Mountains to become a hiker, and making a difference any way I can.

Blog: The Tarnished Mirror

“The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell.” It’s Time, Imagine Dragons

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Click here to Contribute.

☀ Memee

Dear Anxiety – by B.G.

via Letters to the Mind blog project
Contributing Author: B.G.

Dear Anxiety | Letters to the Mind

 

Dear Anxiety,

I shouldn’t even be spending my time, energy, and talent on you right now but it’s time we get something straight. You’ve been trying your hardest for a while now to drag me down, but as you can see, I’m not giving up. I’m kind, talented, loving, and worth a lot more than to be controlled by you. I want to be a writer, I want to help people, and I don’t want to be afraid to live my life. You’ve stopped me from enjoying doing certain things and even stopped me from doing things altogether, but NO MORE! I know that I won’t get cured overnight, but that’s not going to stop me from proving to myself that I’m stronger than you. Because you know what? I AM!

I’ve accomplished so much in my life, even with you trying to stop me. In high school, when you tried to get to me, I pulled through. I graduated and then I went to college. You followed me there, but I still didn’t give in. I graduated. Hell, I made the Dean’s list several times. You may have caused me to take some online classes instead of going on campus at times, BUT I GOT THROUGH IT!

My life is too important to be squandered away by you. I’ve been working harder, working stronger and I’m going to defeat you! I’ve already shown myself my strength and I’m not going to back down!

You’ve tried to make me think that I’m weak and even though I’ve felt like I was, I know better. You’re a liar and you get a kick out of making people miserable, but I don’t get a kick out of it and I’m not enjoying it. So I’m going to keep showing myself that I’m stronger than you and I’m not going to let you continue to control my life. I’ve seen the damage you can do, to me and to others. However, we’re stronger than you think and we’re tired. We’re tired of you trying to take over, tired of missing out on opportunities, tired of YOU. So don’t think that we’re going to let you win, because we’re stronger. MUCH STRONGER! We’re going to continue to practice on a consistent basis, working in small steps until we reach our goal: to be free of your restraints. Whether or not you’re ready to let go of us, we’re ready to let go of you! -B.G.

About the author:

My name is B.G. and I have been struggling with anxiety for several years. I created my blog Getting Through Anxiety in order to help both myself and others who deal with similar issues. I love to write, read, and watch TV. In college I majored in English and minored in writing. I also have written some posts for The Seeds 4 Life and Battle of Mind. I hope to one day be a fiction author.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” –Toni Morrison

© B.G. 2015

☀ ☀ ☀ ☀ ☀

Please, if your life is impacted by mental illness help spread awareness and understanding by writing to that illness and sharing it at Letters of the Mind blog project.

Contribute.

☀ Memee

Anxiety and me

Pressure by Kevin Dooley
Pressure by Kevin Dooley

There’s a classic phrase that we are all familiar with, which is spoken retrospectively, and I am going to use it now.

A few years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be in my third year of university contemplating a career in Journalism, whilst trying to establish myself as a writer by writing poetry on a WordPress blog and working on three novels, one of which would be my dissertation project, I wouldn’t have believed them.

I’ve found that life has a funny way of making you realise how far you’ve come, and how amazing you can be if you just try. At one point in my life, I didn’t try at all. Well, I did, but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything worthwhile. I hadn’t found my passion. There wasn’t a spark in my life that said, ‘Hey, you’re on the right path, you’re doing the right things.’ I felt like I was on the wrong path, doing things that I didn’t really want to do. This meant that I would believe I had to start all over again by taking a leap of faith. It turned out that when I leapt, I landed on the edge of the new path and it immediately felt wrong, and that’s when I realised I had to jump back.

I landed back onto the right path, which is the one I had been walking all along, without realising that I was heading towards the future meant for me.

So, where does anxiety fit into all this? My final year of college (which was in fact an extra year, because the year most people went to university, I wasn’t ready and I wanted to delay the inevitable) gave me so much stress that I got anxiety about what I was doing and where I was going. This, coupled with the fact that I thought I was a terrible friend, and then heightened by the grief I was suffering due to the loss of my Grandad, meant that I felt hollow. I was empty. I had nothing to give myself or anyone else. I was waking up miserable, wishing for a different life. I wished for change, I wanted to be a different person, a better version of myself, because who I was then didn’t feel like anyone at all. I wrote ‘I do not exist’ on a piece of paper and stuck it on my late Grandad’s corkboard.

It got to the point where I had to take a week off college to get my head around things. In my mind, I wanted to leave for good. It scares me to think where I would be if I had dropped out, but I’m grateful for the fact that I realised I needed help and I went straight to my GP and told her how I’d been feeling. Before I knew it, I was having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy over the phone. I’d studied CBT in Psychology in my first year of college and suffice to say I didn’t make it to a second year. Ironically, it was too much for my mind to handle.

Gradually, I started to feel better and began seeing the world differently. It was after my therapy ended that my coping techniques really kicked in, because at that point I was out on my own. I’d got through my exams, applied to university and was awaiting the results. I knew that this was the new chapter I had been aching after. I just needed to wait a little longer.

Results Day was surreal but massively overwhelming in a good way. It was official; I would be going to Nottingham Trent University to study English with Creative Writing. I was shocked, but relieved. Shocked because it felt like a complete accident (I don’t entirely remember selecting that course, or being aware of what course I had chosen) and relieved because I knew I had, somehow, chosen the right course. I realised that I had been lucky not to ruin everything for myself. I very nearly did, but it turned out that although the last few months of college had been some of the hardest, everything happened for a reason, and everything fell into place in a way that I could only have dreamed of.

However, just because I finally felt in the right place, it doesn’t mean that my anxiety disappeared. I was managing it then, and I’m managing it now, but it still creeps in once in a while to remind me that it’s there. Some problems don’t leave or get resolved no matter how hard you try, so you stop trying and it gets worse. Until you end up with nothing at all, and that in itself is a problem. But, change your way of thinking, and you can turn your problem into a solution. I still felt like a terrible friend, but then I realised that it didn’t matter, because I know that I am a good friend. I’m reluctant to write it, but I need to reassure myself that I am a good person and a good friend to the people that love me and appreciate me, those who understand my story, and believe in me and where I am going. I realised that if I was to defeat my anxiety, I needed to overcome the source of it, and this was a losing battle. A conflicting, confusing and, at times, terrifying battle that saw my self-esteem plummet back to square one. When you look at yourself through the eyes of someone who causes you intense anxiety (shaking, sickness, worry) you begin to think that you deserve to feel that way, and that you’re trapped in an endless cycle.

Break the cycle. It’s not a case of quitting while you’re ahead, because getting ahead might not be possible, it’s a case of realising that you’re losing, and the only way you’re going to come out a winner is to let yourself get out. Do it for you, not to get ahead, or to give up, but to stay happy. If you’re sad, something needs to change. If you’re anxious, something needs to change. Until you are happy, you need to look at yourself and ask: What do you want?

I matter, you matter, we all matter, albeit in different ways and in different circumstances. You need to find that point where you know you can be peaceful; smile despite the pain that you felt, or even caused, to get there. It’s not selfish; it’s simply looking out for yourself.

I write poetry to cope with my anxiety. I talk to my anxiety and try to understand it as well as deal with it. I don’t let it get to me anymore. I rise above the pain and try to create something I can be proud of. It has shaped me into the person I am today, and when I think of my lowest points I am thankful for them. I’m thankful for everything that went wrong, and everything that went right, because if they hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here, writing these words now.

I am a good person, I am a storyteller, I am a poet.

I have friends, I have words, I have anxiety.

I have mindfulness and clarity of thought; I have peace.

Right now, I am exactly where I am, and always was, meant to be.

Jade K. Moore

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hi, it’s Memee. Jade was offered the opportunity to guest blog on my site when she won the Love’n Hate Poetry Challenge I held last month. The challenge truly inspired her and out of it came An Open Letter which personified her anxiety allowing her to recognize the growth that her disorder has gifted her which inspired her even further, prompting her to create a project entitled, Letters to the Mind blog. A blog where every one can submit creative expressions of our mental health struggles and triumphs. I am proud to be affiliated with the project as an editor and contributor on the site. I hope you will join me in participating in this brand-new, much needed, project. So, please, help spread the news. Non-bloggers and family members impacted by mental illness are encouraged to participate as well!

To read, follow or join Letters to the Mind project click here.