Depression vs One good day

Depression is a constant thing. It wraps around you like a cloak. It is an unwanted house guest that you cant get to leave. You are made constantly aware of it when you wake up in the morning and you never forget it when you lay down for the evening. It is not something that is gotten rid of because of a mood change.

Most people are surprised at finding out people that we thought were the happiest are actually depressed. Seeing people who are smiling the most or acting the happiest who suddenly have an episode shocks and scares people. One of the many problems facing people who are suffering from depression is the lack of recognition of the signs. Having someone who has to help everyone else through the hardest times because they know how hard it is to be going through.

Being depressed is not mood or attitude, it is a condition. Telling someone to be happy or to do something fun will not help the person in the long run. “Living life for you!” or any of the thousand pick me ups that can be said will not change the underlying issue that could be causing this bout of depression.

However, people who have depression can have good moments, days and even longer periods of time. It is odd or hard to see someone who goes through awful times and then manages to find happiness in a book they haven’t read in years. They can go to beach and have a wonderful day with many pleasant memories. They are allowed good days.

The ridicule from those good days often makes things worse.

In being told that we are not really depressed if we can have a good day illegitimatizes what is being experienced. This false narrative that we do not know what is happening in our own bodies and mind, teaches us that we do not know what we should feel and furthermore makes us fulled with guilt from being allowed a good day. Only imagine, after having found the energy to go and experience something happy and fun to be told we should never have felt bad in the first place and if we really were depressed, we should feel guilty about making others feel bad.

We wonder why we have a mental health crisis in today’s world.

You can be depressed and go to Disney world. You can have depression and enjoy food or movies. That doesn’t cure it but we are allowed to be happy. Helping people understand that instant cures do not exist and that just because we are smiling doesn’t mean we are not still hurting. Having a happy moment doesn’t stop the chemical imbalance that is present in our bodies and minds. Laughing with a puppy does not cure the years of mental and physical abuse that has been done to someone. Please stop judging people on one good day.

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Running scared.

I have spoken on opioid use before and how it is getting harder and harder to receive a prescribed prescription. The opioid crisis seems to be in the news in a lot of places from talk radio, to the nightly news, to even Congress. I personally have written how doctors have become more and more adverse in regards to allowing the prescriptions to continue even if the person has been on said opioid for 5+ years with no ill effects. I have also written on how pharmacists have the ability to deny a medication based on a visual diagnosis and can refuse to give you the required medicine that has been authorized to you.
In all of this information, or misinformation, that is flying around, we encounter yet another advisory in this “crisis”. The public eye. Friends, family, and even strangers who find out what medications we are taking and the judgment is immediate. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has story they heard. The response is overwhelming.
I heard a news story recently that told of a pro American football player who was removed due to violations to the NFL’s drug policy by smoking marijuana. He responded with a video of him, while smoking, that it helps with his pain and mental health. He then spoke on how it is better for him to smoke that instead of being addicted to opioids like he has seen.
My chronic illness is not your scapegoat.
On a more personal note, I have had people come forward with threats that I cannot be taken seriously because of my prescription. The use of opioids in my past, it has been over 2 years, has now given people a reason to judge me further and to disregard my opinion, my judgment, and almost anything because “We just don’t know or cannot see the effects of those evil drugs on you yet.”
This is madness. I, like so many chronic illness sufferers, have daily struggles to get to work, take care of ourselves, fight an illness, fight doctors and pharmacists, and the public image of what medications we take. In all of this, we then get told we do not matter because of the drugs we are supposed to take to live have affected us too much.
Where is our voice? Who will speak for the trees?
I experience the “common knowledge” from people who know all about how bad the opioid crisis is and how they know what is better for me than my doctor. It is now said with such surety that everyone knows the horrors and effects of how it devastates lives. How dare anyone speak up in defense of this terrible drug use!
I am. Someone has to say something. I am tired of being judged. I am tired of being put in a box and quantified. I am tired of being labeled and categorized because of my medication. Is this how we deserve to be treated? With judgment and scorn about our illness and our help? How should we then live? We have to stand up and speak out.
#standwithaplushie my friends

Special Abilities of Special People

Having a chronic illness is almost like having a few cool super powers. I have mentioned this before with past writings that our illness has made us almost hyper aware and sensitive to many sights, sounds, and smells. These abilities come at a cost of our illness but they are something that I hold on to as something that makes me special.

1. Hyper hearing – I have noticed that those of us with a chronic or mental illnesses can hear so much better than our healthy counterparts. We can walk around in the dark and hear our foot falls and know where we are in the room. We can pick up a pill bottle, shake, and know our medications by the sounds it makes. We can hear the pain in peoples voices that they are trying to hid. We can hear the stress, anxiety, and even sometimes someone lying to us. This comes at a cost of being hurt by loud noises, yelling, and other panic inducing sounds.

2. Super sight/awareness – We pick up on the little details. The person fidgeting in pain in the corner of the room. When someone being uncomfortable around so many people. The look in someone’s eyes as they fail to meet anyone’s gaze. We can feel the room and know the mood immediately. We pick up on the smallest changes in someone’s routine and are extremely observant to those we care about. The weakness to this is we often focus so much on other people we do not focus on ourselves as much. We also can be sensitive to light and awkward situations can cause physical pain.

3. Intelligence/wisdom – This one is a bit different. I know that brain fog can be our weakness but when we have a good day, our brains fire off like a super computer. We know we have to take advantage in those precious few hours of being able to think so we tend to work through all of the different areas of our lives. On the other side, when we cannot think or even move from the bed, we tend to stay quiet. This gives us time to think and mull over what is going on. By taking, or some cases forcing, time to slow down, we are able to thoroughly think through each situation. Besides the brain fog as being a weakness, you are also sometimes observed as “Not being sick” because you are too smart or have your life together. What they don’t realize is that we know we will forget things and we have a million reminders, post it notes, and other various systems in place to help us not forget things.

If you noticed, I put a weakness with each super ability. Just like all super heroes, we have our unique weaknesses. Those kryptonite are areas we should be aware of and knowing is half the battle.

These are just three different areas where we are super! I know there are others and please feel free to share those with me, I would love to read about them. I believe more knowledge is power in this regard and we need all the encouragement in world some days to make it through.

Now go and be super and remember, you are special just the way you are.

#hugaplushie everyone

Support day.

This year has turned into quite a roller-coaster for quite a few people, myself included. I , I feel as if we have had nine months of news stories in the span of only 60 days. I know I have had to look for the positive stories more than anything to remain hopeful. I have also worked hard to bring the fight for others like me who are suffering in the opioid crisis. During this time I have been dealing with a long run of fibromyalgia flare ups.

I am hurting, tired, and worn out.

This is a unique time of year. The darker, colder months of the year for the US and this leads to more depression. The break from holidays and the excitement of the new year has worn off for most people. It becomes harder to stay focused and to be able to focus on the positives.

It also happens to be my birthday time.

My birthday is in the beginning of March (actual date redacted). Birthdays were always an old day for me. I have been very blessed with a wife who goes and plans a wonderful day for me. She is quite a amazing at it. I quite grateful for all that she does. There can be one thing that holds me back.

My condition.

I have to take time every month and access my pain levels, what I can and cannot do physically, and more. It is difficult to look over the past month or two and see where I have declined, what I have done better, and general self care. In doing so, I have found myself in a rougher spot this time of year than most birthdays.

It is difficult to be in a happy time and be brought down by your illness. You struggle and fight to be happy and appreciative. Inside, you are trying your hardest, and want to shout out that it is all amazing. What can escape your lips is far less than what you want to say.

But still I fight. I know many who fight with me. I know many who fight for us.

I want to give a shout out to those who fight to be happy in the bad times. I am proud of you and I believe the world is a better place with you still in it. I want to give a huge shout out to those who help take care of us. You all go above and beyond with trying to show us how much we are loved and do amazing things. You make life worth living for so many of us. You are amazing and strong.

As always, a big shout out to all those who read and support me. I am humbled and honored that you choose to read what I write. You guys rock and make me feel like a rock star.

I ask all of you to give some love and gratitude to those who support you. Sometimes the best way to help yourself out of a hole is to help others. Showing love and compassion will return it back to you.

Thank you and I love you all.

#hugapony everyone.

My Triggered Moment

I have taught myself not to be triggered by anger about many things in my life. I feel that we all could use a bit of compassion to those who we disagree with. However, I came across a picture that is making it way across the social sites and my jaw fell open.

OK, wow. This is a very angry person. I understand they are wanting to be the tough love type. They are sadly misinformed and are quite judgmental.

You are telling a person who has “mental issues” and possibly other disabilities to go and do things without regards to what they are facing might be. You are telling someone to take a shower or eat something more than a cracker because they need to accept the responsibility of taking care of themselves. Does this person not realize that most of us want to do this but we cannot? That we struggle to find the energy to get of bed and make it to the bathroom? That we are not sulking teenagers who are just lazy and don’t want to clean our room?

This person is telling someone with mental issues to call friends and let them know that you are OK because they must be worried sick. Let that sink in for a second. You want a person who cannot make sound, mental healthy decisions to call someone for help. Not only do you want them to reach out, but you want them to apologize to others about how “I” don’t have the capacity or mental strength to do basic things in life. You want them to call and say that “I” need my space. Oxymoron much or is this going to be “crying for attention”?

I weep when I read things like this.

I understand self-care. I understand when it takes all you have to go and clean the kitchen and your body aches for the 2 hours it takes to get through it and you spend the next 2 trying to recover, but you do it because it needs to get done. Sometimes people need cute things to help them get the energy or confidence to take care of themselves. Sometimes we just need a security blanket to help us make it to the shower. Sometimes we need people to call US to check up on us and make sure we are OK.

Just because it may not work for you, why are you condemning it? I completely agree that making mental health issues cute is a terrible idea and does nothing to help the community. How is this person helping by belittling those who cannot take care of themselves BECAUSE THEIR BRAIN IS SICK!

Now I agree that responsibility is something that the community needs. Acknowledging what you have and what you need to do to take care of yourself is a tremendous step in living with a disability. Cute self-care works for some however, why would you take that away from them? Why are you forcing someone to fight through all the pain, mental stress, and more to pick up the phone and call you to let you know they are OK?

Tough love is a fine line. I feel this person missed it. By a wide margin. If you have someone that is like this in your life, please reconsider their role in your mental health recovery. You can find better people. I know they are out there.

#hugapony my friends

 

Our daily choice.

I read an article that had something that struck a cord with me. I have heard the saying “just be happy and you will be happy” or “why don’t you just feel happy” or my favorite “you are choosing to be depressed”. I read the following and I was taken back. It fits so well.

If I told someone who was happy right now to be sad, they would likely have a hard time doing so. The opposite is quite true. 

I do want to give credit to the writer. The rest of the article is here.

https://themighty.com/2016/04/happiness-as-a-choice-meme-feeds-stigma-around-mental-illness/
I think we need to shout this out more for the people in the back to hear.

#hugapony my friends