A couple quick thoughts on mental illness

Just want to put this out there, in the wake of the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain: you can be famous, accomplished, rich, good-looking…and none of that matters when mental illness is taking hold. I know from personal experience that your brain will tell you things that you KNOW aren’t true, and it will wear you down until you start to believe them.

All over this country, and this planet, mental illness is affecting people who can’t or won’t talk about it. And yes, suicide can happen to anyone, even someone who’s getting help. Someone who seems “better”. Someone you never knew was feeling like they couldn’t go on with their life, or someone who was open about their struggles.

Mental illness and suicidal ideation aren’t always obvious. And they don’t discriminate: rich or poor, doctorate or high-school dropout, famous or obscure, surrounded by a supportive family or struggling all alone–anyone can be mentally ill, and anyone can seriously consider suicide. Someone can have an incredible life and still want to end it.

I know, I’ve been there.

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Chewed up and spit out

Today was one of those days where I just wanted to be able to pick up the phone and call my Meem, because she understood the way a few well-aimed blows can absolutely demolish my confidence when I’m at my lowest, and for so many years she knew just what to say to help me start rebuilding.

Things have not been going well lately for me. At work, I’m constantly being told my best isn’t good enough and being treated like any efforts or skills I bring to the table are worthless. People have straight-up lied and claimed I said this or did that when I didn’t, and people who should know me better than that by now have come to me to lay the blame at my feet for things I wasn’t involved in. I jump in wherever I’ll be a help, not a hindrance, and I look out for the people around me, especially the people I’m theoretically supervising. With very few exceptions, it seems my efforts go unappreciated.

I’m not looking for praise or a pat on the head. I just want to be treated like, I don’t know, my contributions are making some sort of difference? Like I matter in some way? Like I’m a human being doing the best I can in an environment where I’m being put down and treated like garbage pretty much daily by a lot of those around me, ranging from people I’ve never seen before in my life to people who have worked with me day in and day out for months? Because honestly, that’s getting really old, and I don’t know how much more of it I can handle.

It’s bled over into the rest of my life. I don’t sleep, don’t feel much like eating, cry so much I run out of tears, and think about how much I’d like to just not exist. Every rejection letter I get reinforces the point that I’m stuck and that this is my life now, until I become so worthless that even retail won’t want me anymore. I want to believe that’s not true, but every day, every week, it gets harder to convince myself.

I used to be able to call my Meem and she understood it. Understood me and the way my brain works. Understood that it’s very easy to break my heart and completely destroy my self-esteem. She understood me better than I’ll ever understand myself, and even after almost two years without her, the pain I feel on days like today is still horribly raw.