mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

Do you feel completely alone and misunderstood?

I think one of the biggest challenges with having a mental illness is that we keep so much locked away. We worry that if we share what’s inside people will ostracize us and quite often, it’s true. I think all of us have had an experience where we’ve had a friend tell us ‘you can tell me anything’ and when we give them a glimpse of what’s going on underneath, they pull away or it overwhelms them.

The fact of it is, if you haven’t been through similar experiences with mental illness, it does freak people out. It does overwhelm people, and it’s not their fault, people want to be good friends and want to know us well because that’s how people bond, but when we have an experience where we put ourselves out there and share with someone who hasn’t necessarily experienced something similar, and it ends up pushing them away, it makes us build walls around us.

I’ve had a few experiences where i’ve had a ‘good’ friend who has sensed something was wrong and has asked me to open up and share, only to back away when i’ve done so. It hurts so much to bear your soul only to feel rejected, and it’s only with a bit of age and experience that i’ve learned that it’s not their fault, people do generally have good intentions but it just isn’t something a person can understand without experiencing it.

My husband doesn’t suffer any manner of mental illness, he’s felt ‘blue’ on occasion, he has mood swings within the ‘normal’ realm of human behaviour, but as far as mental health goes he’s a picture of wellness. He’s quiet, deals with things as they come and doesn’t really have any kind of inner turmoil. It’s taken over ten years for him to understand what goes on with me. he’s the only ‘non mental’ person i trust to tell what’s really going on with me but like i said, it took years for us to get to a place where he really understood my mental illness.

The problem with keeping all of our issues and turmoil locked away is that we never truly deal with it, we convince ourselves that we are ‘too crazy’ or crazier than everyone else and that sharing what’s going on would only alienate us from others and compound our problems. After being burnt from sharing my issues, I spent many years locking it all away and refusing to let anyone know what was going on beneath the surface, convinced it would just end badly and end friendships. The truth of it is, when we share with others who have had similar experiences, when we relate to others and feel understood by others, it helps more than I can express. We can start to gain the strength to confront our issues when we feel less alone in our pain, and it’s only by confronting our issues and our past and shining a light into all of those dark hidden places, that we will ever gain any kind of true peace. We can take meds and have good patches but when your mental illness is due to or in conjunction with past issues and trauma, you will never be able to move forward without dealing with these issues, and it’s almost impossible to deal with them alone.

So, for anyone feeling alone right now, like no one understands or just that you’re scared to share because you don’t want to be rejected, I urge you to find the ‘right’ person, not necessarily your best friend, not necessarily your neighbour, but you can find someone on wordpress who has been through what you have been through, not exactly perhaps, but something similar enough to gain understanding.

I started this blog a couple of months ago and the progress I have made with my own past and struggles has been more than I’ve made in the past 15 years. It’s amazing to me, I opened up and started being as honest as I could be, decided to put it all out there and literally in two months I have healed more than I have in the past 15 years. It’s all because I’ve been able to connect with others who are like minded and have suffered similar shit to me.

I have received training as a counselor, so if you want an ear and the anonymity of a relative stranger, feel free to email me at mckarliebear@gmail.com – i will reply to any emails i get. If you want advice or just to tell your story, I’m happy to listen and be there for you. It doesn’t have to be me, just find someone who has been through something similar to you and try to share, I can’t tell you how much it will help.

A lot of us think we will never be free of our burdens, but only we can heal ourselves, and it takes hard work and effort and we need to be brave. But the first step is opening up, knocking down some of those walls that we’ve built around ourselves to keep it all out, but by keeping the world out we also keep ourselves locked in, and we wont get anywhere that way. 

So many suicides could have been avoided if people didn’t feel so alone and hopeless in their lives, if they could have had someone say ‘i know exactly how you feel’ and related to them. I am bipolar, only diagnosed a year and a bit ago, until then I was told I suffered depression and anxiety. I was sexually abused as a child, then physically abused by my Mother’s second husband, I was then abandoned by my Mother and spent years abusing alcohol and drugs and partaking in dysfunctional sexual relationships. So if you want to share or talk, then please feel free.

Peace

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