Monday, March 20, 2017

So, I did a thing awesome, incredible, great, horribly painful, terribly sad, emotionally-disastrous thing.

I addressed my demons.

I opened the closet door, dragged out my mental health skeletons and purposely shoved them into the spotlight. Had this been at the behest of a therapist, I'd have kicked and manipulated things so that door was never opened again. Honestly, I'd been getting along really well and felt that I was managing my mental health pretty well. My medication was working, I had very few crying fits that hadn't been brought on by an episode of This is Us, and overall, I felt good. So why dredge up the past and exhume the decaying corpse of depression, you ask? To save a life. Possibly, to save many. 

A couple months ago, I auditioned for a non-profit event called "This is My Brave." It's an organization that was created by a couple of women who felt that sharing their stories of mental illness could benefit others - that storytelling saves lives. I saw the post about auditions on Facebook and thought very carefully before doing anything, but my inner superhero had a pocketful of Kryptonite for my sense of self-preservation and I threw caution to the wind. Initially, I didn't even think of how I would be affected by what I had to share; I just thought, "maybe someone can relate to what I've been throughand they won't feel alone." 

Holy. Shit. Y'all.

People warn you not to practice channeling the evil on Ouija boards, don't open paint cans in an enclosed space, and don't drive drunk. But they don't warn you about digging up old ghosts of mental illness without a therapist on stand-by. It caught me off guard, knocked the wind out of me, and I have been flailing like a turtle on its back ever since. I thought I'd dealt with this stuff and tucked the remnants in convenient, little spaces in my brain. The organized apothecary of memories has since been obliterated. There are slivers of wood and shards of glass everywhere - which is kind of ironic considering I don't really even trust myself around sharp objects at this point. (Kidding. Sort of.)

I feel like the Red Cross should be here in a tent set up outside my house with the aftermath this thing has left. Don't get me wrong - I am incredibly proud to be part of the show and I hope that my story reaches someone -- many of someones, if possible. This experience has been nothing short of amazing and I expect the compilation of all our stories will be a powerful catalyst for those who suffer from mental illness. For that, I am so grateful and I am humbled to be a part of it. I'd do it again and again if it means touching just one more person. That being said, if I'm distant and quiet, or possibly quick-tempered and edgy - this is why. I am still trying to pick up the shreds. I'm searching for stronger bottles, thicker cabinet doors, and a less combustible space to store these emotions of mine.

I will be okay. Not today. Not tomorrow. Probably not even next week, but at some point, the dust will settle, the smoke will clear and the light will sparkle in my eyes again. Until then, don't walk around here barefoot; the Red Cross hasn't returned my call yet, so you're on your own for first aid.

*Author's note: I am not suicidal. I am not a danger to myself or others. I have felt very much like not being alive, but I don't want to kill myself. Please don't freak out and call the authorities for a welfare check.

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