‘Armed With Skill And It’s Frustration. And Grace, Too…’ The Hip

It might look a lot like weakness to the outside world

Maybe even to inner circles

But there is nothing weak about the daily struggles that it takes to survive through a mental illness

I repeat

There is nothing weak about it

There is nothing weak about me

Yeah I get it

Maybe you see someone who is fragile

Someone who is broken

Maybe you see someone who is crazy

Fuck

I don’t know who or what you see

I know what I see

Every single time I pass my reflection in a mirror or window

I see a fighter

Someone who has spent their entire life fighting

Fighting to live

Fighting to find happiness

Fighting to find peace

What an oxymoron

I read somewhere once that,

Fighting for peace,

Is like fucking for virginity

I get it

But its the truth

I fight tooth and nail

I dig in my heels

I scratch

I claw

Anything

To make my way back from the war that is constantly waging in my own brain

If you’ve never been there

You’re blessed

Truly lucky

That you’ll never understand how totally terrifying it is to not feel safe with just you and your own thoughts

You’re lucky that you don’t have to wonder when it will all come crashing down around you

Again…

I’ll never be grateful for having mental illness

I won’t lie and pander about how its taught me so much about myself

About the world

Trust me

There are things I’d never wanted to learn

Like what Paxil withdrawal can do to your once functioning brain

Like how food can cease being appealing to a die-hard ‘foodie’l

Like what the inside of a single room at a crisis centre looks like

I could have happily gone through two lifetimes not caring to know any of those things

It hasn’t made me wiser

Or kinder

So I can’t find it in myself to express gratitude towards something that has stolen so much from my life

From my family

From my father

From me

What I can unequivocally state

Without any doubt in my mind

Is that anyone surviving with a mental illness

Must want to be alive a whole hell of a lot

To be persist

To continue

To just keep going

To anyone who doubts it

You have no fucking clue

The strength and determination it takes to do it all over again

Tomorrow

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‘When the sun goes down, the stars come out’

It’s a common misconception that what leads people to take their own lives

Is the way they feel at the present time

But it’s not

It’s not even the unbearable sadness

Or the deep emptiness

It’s not the sluggish way they go through life

Instead

It’s the belief that it won’t get any better

That it will never get any better

That it will always be that way

That sad

That empty

That sluggish

It’s the fear that life will never be good again

That you will always be stuck in that halfway world of depression

Where you’re not really dead

But certainly not alive either

The absence of hope for a better life

Causes people to make drastic desperate decisions

It clouds their judgement

Of the possibilities and the what if’s

It is that moment in time of clouded judgement

That becomes the leading factor in making a decision

That will end one life

And leave so many others upended

There is something very natural about the desire to look forward

And most people have the ability to do so

To look towards something

To see the light at the end of the tunnel

But there are people in this world

Walking beside us

Talking with us

Laughing with us

Who are stuck at the middle point of a tunnel

Which for them

Has no end in sight

I’m not saying that I’m one of them

I’m not saying I can’t see the end of the tunnel

I’m just saying

It just gets real fucking dim sometimes

Looking California but feeling Minnesota 

I was a huge Nirvana fan when I was a youngster. It was the first time I’d connected to the music that was being made, instead of just enjoying the beat. 

And it was fucking life changing. I had no clue that there were people out there in the world who thought like me and said things I wanted to say and screamed how I wanted to. Not just people, but adults. I would think ‘that’s how I’m gonna be when I grow up’. I felt reassured in knowing that these people who I both looked up to and thought I was  like, were successful and had each made it out of their struggles, alive.

But as we all know, that’s not how the story ended.Kurt Cobain didn’t make it out alive. It was unsurprising and also a total shock when he was found dead. He screamed and wailed and sang his way through his life but in the end he couldn’t defeat his demons.

Chris Cornell always seemed to be different from the rest of the Seattle scene. Where the others seemed uncomfortable with their fame, Chris seemed to just go with it. I don’t know what it was about him. But he oozed an energy. And that’s not to say he didn’t have his fair share of battles. He stated that he struggled with mental health and addiction issues but it seemed that he had come out on the other side of it.

He made it. 

He slayed the beast, quieted the demons. Did what he had to do, in order to survive.
But at 52 years of age, his life ended. I was saddened when I learned of his passing. Whether the Ativan contributed to his demise or if it was the depression that had plagued him throughout his life, it doesn’t matter. He wasn’t selfish, stupid or ungrateful for his success. I’ve read so many comments in which people mock him for being a rock star with money and belittle his struggles. He was a human being in pain. A person in a state of pain can only exist for so long. Synonyms for ‘pain’ include: suffering, agony, torture, torment, discomfort. I don’t know about to but each of those words incite thoughts of wanting whatever it is causing that pain, to just stop…to end.

After his last concert, he took his life by suicide.

Because at the end of the day, when the lights go out, the people fade away and night creeps in; we are left alone with just the thoughts in our heads.

We cannot escape the words, taunts, memories or harsh reminders.

And if you can’t be safe and alone, with only your thoughts to keep you company…well in the words of Soundgarden:

Words you say never seem to live up 

To the ones inside your head

The lives we make

Never seem to get us anywhere 

But dead.
-Angela xo