Sunday, 8 June 2014

Musical Boxes

So I've hinted before at my having depression.  I speak often of those damnable pills and the lies that both they and their pusher- my family doctor -told me for years.  Yes I was diagnosed by two white coats at the hospital, but I refuse to label myself with any of their terms.  I refuse to be placed in a box.  Any box.  I refuse to be categorized for easy anything.  I am individual.  I have my own box.  And so do you.

I would love to be able to influence the world to see mental illness differently.  I'm not educated on it in any way, other than that one true form of education:  experience.  I've lived with mental illness my whole life.  I've lived around and with mental illness.  I've been related to it, married to it, and best friend to it.  And I, like every one of those I mention, and many of you, jump from box to box to box throughout our lifetimes, our days, our months.  Some days I'm bipolar.  Other days I find myself answering my own mental chatter.  Uh-oh, is that the schizophrenia box?  I think I have also been manic a few times.  Not often, but once or twice. And finally, I've been majorly depressive.  I can't write about it unless I'm in it.  Because when I'm not, simply thinking about it can pull it back in, making me feel it again.

So ... logic lets you the reader in on a little secret.  I'm in it right now.  Thank Goddess I'm on the other side of the worst of it.  Almost through.  I can now express myself again, the dark parasite's claws coming finally loose.  I have flare-ups like many other diseases.  I'm not constantly depressed, I know this now.

What my 'purest form of education' has taught me is these boxes and categories are just a way for our Health agencies to simplify their paperwork.  It's a way for schools to aid placement in the school, put like near like. It's a way for the Pharmaceutical companies to cement more thoroughly the idea that you need to be labeled to get help.  And that when you're labeled, you must take their remedies.  It's what is done.  You must do it. It's the only way.  In fact, the desire of some of us to not take their remedies has become it's own box ironically enough.

So why do I hate the boxes so much?  If it can get someone the help they need, then how can it be a bad thing?  By that very statement, it's a bad thing.  Why should any of us have to be labeled to get help? So what ... no time for those without a label?  The whole thing reminds me of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" wherein all of society knew what they were.  Everyone knew what their role was.  Everyone knew and accepted their place.  It's a magical concept really, and one that I'm sure the 1% admire as they rub their big ... wallets.  But that's not Earth 2014.  Here, they flash all the "you could be's" at us from all sides.  We see it.  We hear it.  We're sold it.  We're advertised to about it.

But many of those ads no longer apply to you when you're labeled and placed in a box.  Some are, but not all.  Some  boxes narrow at the top so you can't get out.  Or at least that's how it feels.  I remember after I was finally diagnosed in 2007.  I felt relieved.  They told me the meds I was on were at a sub-clinical level~ not really doing me any good.  They upped the doses, and added another to help me sleep.  But I remember after that appointment, I was with my sister and my niece.  I felt wrote right off but relieved to know what my issue was.  My niece did something adorable and we all giggled and clapped.  And mid-laugh I caught myself thinking, "you fraud ... you have NO RIGHT to laugh or feel joy or feel happiness.  You have Major Depressive Disorder.  You are mentally ill.  Two Doctors said so.  You must accept this.  You will never be truly happy again, that's not in the cards for someone with MDD.  This is your life now.  Maybe the pills will help though.  God bless those pills, they're my only hope."

Can you see how they changed me?  Can you see how different I am now, clean for almost four years?

What's worse in my opinion, is the combination of multiple pharmaceuticals and the labeling system we allow. Because life is such that we all have moments of inspiration.  We all have bouts of joy.  But for me, the meds made it so that whenever I jumped up in a bout of inspiration, I'd hit my head on the lid of the box.  It happened a lot at first.  Until I learned not to do it anymore.  I just stayed down, accepting my cage.  I stopped thinking about my tomorrows and everyone else's tomorrows.  I just was emotionless.  And lets face it, no emotion is better than too much.  Or so it felt.

This is all just how I felt.  And how I feel sometimes still.  One person.  But what I see daily through my social media, is that WHAT I FEEL ... OTHERS FEEL TOO.  Life is not only a box of chocolates as Mama Gump taught us, but it's a freakin' roller coaster ride people!!  I sit now on my balcony writing, and I look over at the swanky building.  The one with the two-balcony units.  In my eyes, the more balconies, the more swank.  Truth is, every unit is filled with every day people who are just livin' the ride.  We all have drama.  We all have ups and downs.  We all have blue days and we all have up days.  Some of us even have manic days because let's face it, life requires 'manic days' sometimes!  For me, it's about managing every single day.  Trying to stop negative chatter when I notice it.  Trying to feel the one love and be grateful for the All.

I'm not medically trained at all so this is not in any way a suggestion that anyone change their medications.  But I think we'd all do well to realize that sedating us so that we don't feel the ups and downs makes for a boring life.  Boring lives are in my opinion, a dangerous thing on Earth 2014.  Maybe this is why the video games and horror movies are getting increasingly more gruesome, the amusement park rides ever more treacherous.  Because we're all just dying to feel SOMETHING!!!

A friend last week told me how sad she was feeling, and the only advice I gave her was to let herself feel it. I told her to let herself feel the sadness, cry the tears, until that aching urge stops.  And it will.  But if you don't let yourself FEEL, then your brain will bring it back on you ten fold like a boomerang.  When you're least prepared for it, you'll cry about it.  Anymore, I accept life and that it's the UPS that make the DOWNS livable.  It's knowing the sun will soon rise, that makes the darkness of the night bearable.

Change is our friend, and that's a welcoming thought for me.