A reflection on a few personal mental health things.
Happy Sunday! I woke up with these things on my mind, and before I head off to start my day I wanted to post this. I will be back later today to post more of my usual poetry. Don’t be shy, do leave a comment if you’d like! I’m ready for the real world again! I’ve got my shoes laced up and my mind is refreshed. I am ready!
Why so dramatic, Jess?
Well, I’ve always been a tad over the top. Just a sprinkle. But in reality I am very excited. About life. And the future. I’ve been working extremely hard. My mental and physical wellbeing, my faith, my writing goals, and my work goals. I have been working my ass off.
I always took pride in not being “normal,” but there were perks to that expectation of normal that I did seek: working full time again, organization (not in the home, my spaces are always organized and tidy, I am referring to organization within the mind), stepping out into normal spaces to do things that normal people do without being riddled with anxiety or overthinking every facet of normal everyday things and tasks. Oh, and feeling like a valuable asset to society and less of a stigma reiterating failure.
Please know that these are my personal feelings of myself, not how I view anyone else.
I have reached this space that I can only thank God for, and I know that it started with a choice to want to feel better. Longer than temporarily. There’s only so much mental wellness that can be faked. Also, if you’re faking it, then how well are you really?! I call that masking, well many people refer to this as masking, and it led to a frequent unraveling in me for sure.
Masking for me looked like:
- Fake it til you make it, Jess. Pretend that everything is fine.
- Downplay that moment, those moments to hide within the parameters of society’s “she’s a little off but she’ll be okay.”
Masking for me may have been caused by: embarrassment, shame, pride, ego, my own denial, and many other things.
Using Those Tools
Instead of sitting on the feelings of inadequacy, I started to find ways to guide me through my feelings of not measuring up. Therapy tools (especially DBT and my work with the PRRC), helped me tremendously. When I went through all of the steps to confirm my diagnosis of ADHD and began the proper care for this, it’s like the pieces of my life and my mind began to come together.
*DBT: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (link to article on this at the end of my post).
*PRRC: a program provided by the Veterans Affairs. I also included a link at the end that explains this program.
Stigma and Discrimination
While I work through the complexity of multiple diagnoses, I realize that it is about consistency and effort on my end. I see that I can work, I can organize my goals, I can write and publish again in the future. I can continue showing how to fight against stigma!
I have never enjoyed how many people approach people who have mental illnesses, or at least those who openly disclose such. But I also don’t enjoy reiterating any need to “proceed with caution” or in fear, or with a very dismissive or pessimistic view. I think that these approaches exist widely in society as well as within relationships, families, friendships, when renting apartments and homes, and in the workplace.
One of my biggest struggles along my journey has been when I share something that is either: dismissed, used against me, brought up purposely in an attempt to trigger me. In due time I will reach a place of not giving those things any energy. So far it has been pretty difficult for me. Maybe the reaction comes from trusting whomever I share things with, as even though my writing is pretty vulnerable it is actually harder for me to disclose things in person or within a close interpersonal interaction.
It’s so important to be able to know and own your triggers. I had to accept that my triggers are my responsibility. That was a tough one, too!
Three of mine look a little like this:
Reactive abuse tactics in relationships – when the person knows just what to do or say to show that you are just as crazy as they claim. For me this usually looked like a successful attempt to have me react out of intense emotion.
Anything related to where I live – I have moved around a lot and cannot live in a stressful environment. I know where this stems from, but I will save that for another reflection or poem.
Communication with family members when I feel massive shame, regret, or indifference. That is something I will always need to work on.
Stepping Back Out Into the “Real World” and What that Means to Me
It is really important to me that I am able to display a series of things from my journey and from my blog. Things can look a little muddled at times, but this human experience is one that we don’t have as much control over as we’d like. Working diligently and more proactively than ever before has opened this door for me. The door of possibilities that I once felt was closed. After years of being in my own way, I am excited that I have done the work to feel confident again. I’m returning to work in the field that brings me joy. In all things we all deserve peace and to live fulfilling lives.
Transparency and vulnerability have remained my biggest allies. I had better go now, but I will be back later to share more posts. Do comment, share, or view the links below! Have a great day!
These are external links to the sites of Very Well Mind and a public article form the Veterans Affairs.
This link explains DBT Therapy:
This link explains the VA’s PRRC program:
Jusjess Poetry – Writing My Way Into My Destiny
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