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I’ve been trying for a couple days to write an entry for my blog.

I’m having trouble slowing down my brain enough to see what is actually going on in there.

We went to PA to visit family last week.  It was a grueling trip.  The floods in South Carolina made the driving really rough.  It took too long and it was incredibly difficult, especially on the way back as we passed through torrential rainstorms.  We had to cut the trip short to make sure we would be able to get back through SC as the stories of worsening floods made the national news.

Now, at home, my logical mind tells me that it’s time to be at ease.  The trip is over, I have recovered (sleep-wise anyway), and it’s time to settle back into homelife.

Except that homelife has been difficult for awhile now.  Here, triggers fly around like dust mites.  And it’s impossible to clean them all.

My husband finally took notice of the seriousness of one of MIL’s depression coping skills. I’ve been telling him this for months.  But, he works constantly, he’s exhausted, he was recently hurt, and he hasn’t been able to see what’s going on, or he’s too tired to notice.

I told him that he is going to have to talk to her.  I told him that I’d been mentioning it to her and to him for months and no one is listening to me.  I told him that it’s hard always being the one who is trying to fix this stuff and everyone is ignoring me.  I told him that I’m tired of being in the middle of the two of them. I told him that she uses him as a reason for some of her negative coping skills

It felt good to be able to unload some of that and have him listen.

Validation is an amazing thing.  One of the blogs I follow, Morgueticia’s, has also been talking about validation.

Those of us living with bipolar, and other mental conditions, can have a lot of trouble having our emotions recognized as valid by the people around us.

“Take a pill, you’re anxious”

“Take a pill, you’re just depressed”

“Take a pill, your bipolar is showing”

But, we actually do have legitimate emotions and opinions and concerns.  Just because the intensity of the emotion may be out of line with the severity of whatever is going on, doesn’t mean that the emotion itself is wrong.  And sometimes, wonder of wonders, the intensity is actually appropriate as well.

It’s when our reactions are appropriate that we seem to have the most trouble.  The road from the onset of our symptoms, to diagnosis, to appropriate treatment (assuming we get that far) can be a crazy roller coaster, not only for us, but also for those who love us.  When we get very anxious or angry or even happy, it’s so easy, even for us, to write that emotion off as part of the illness.  We question whether our meds are working, whether we’re sicker than we thought.  We become depressed and frustrated and angry because we aren’t taken seriously.  And because we can’t seem to have an emotion that we don’t question.

If someone has cancer and is throwing their guts up as a side effect of chemotherapy, no one questions that reaction.

Why is it different for those with mental illness?

The answer is simple.  It’s stigma.  It’s lack of education.  It’s lack of understanding.

The answer is also extremely difficult.  How do you fight stigma when you can barely get out of bed?  How do you educate when you can’t sit still and you can’t focus on any one task?  How do you make others understand when you barely understand yourself?

I want to fight.

I want to lead the charge against stigma.

I want to fight the Social Security Administration for making obtaining disability such a humiliating ordeal.

I don’t want to be anonymous any longer.

But, I’m stuck.

If I’m not anonymous, will the SSA deny my disability because I have the sense to string some pretty words together?

If I don’t get disability, my desire to go back to work, to contribute financially, will be overwhelming.

If I go back to work, 3 separate mental health professionals have promised that I will end up in the hospital again.

If I collapse to the point I need hospitalization again, I will not be able to string together enough pretty words to fight stigma.

Logically I know that it’s not hopeless.  But, often, my emotional mind refuses to get on board with my logical mind.  I probably spend half my time in therapy trying to coax the two together.

My thoughts have begun to race.  I’m talking myself in circles.  I don’t want to go into a third day trying to get this post finished.  The longer it waits, the easier it will be to walk away from it entirely and I don’t want to do that.

Sorry for the abrupt ending, but I’m out of pretty words for now.