The Ship Is Sinking And We're All Going To Die

For decades I didn’t realize how sick I was. I looked normal to everyone else. So why couldn’t I act normal? Life requires basic and reasonable decision making skills to survive. Many people who struggle with mental illness/depression don’t actually have the appropriate tools to function in normal, everyday situations. They make a lot of small, bad decisions that make their ability to cope even worse. And then they blame themselves. Stop it. Or at least consider something different.

The problem is not all you. The world was already screwed up before you came along. Pair this with that fact that you are living under a ridiculous cloud of shame for something you didn’t ask for and were probably never taught how to manage. The result can only be an epic fail. Imagine someone with diabetes being told that it’s in their head, never being taught how to manage their diet and never given any insulin. Not good.

My reactions to things on a scale of 1 to 10 are generally a -5 or a 12. If you are looking for someone to panic, I’m your girl. Recently I was hiking with my husband in Glacier National Park and we encountered a grizzly bear. I, of course, immediately began shouting and running. Right? Seriously though, I’m that lady. On a side note, I didn’t run because I’m bi-polar, I ran because I am a human being that did not want to become that bear’s dinner.

Thanks to my amazing therapist, who I’ve been seeing now for over 8 years, my “moth to a flame” tendencies were pointed out to me early on. In moments of crisis I am generally the girl yelling, “The ship is sinking and we’re all going to die.” I am also known, in the chaos, for throwing over the life jackets instead of bailing out incoming water. Counterproductive. Right here.

What’s worse is that you can bet your bottom dollar that everyone and their mom is pointing and staring. Many times it’s certain family or friends that have learned over time where and what your triggers are. You become an easy scapegoat. They press the button. You fly off the handle. Everything is your fault, because, well, you’re acting like a “crazy" person. Even when it’s not. In my life, those people have been ushered off my boat. I mean, I love them, and I don’t wish drowning on them, but just get off my boat, already. I don’t have time for those kind of games. And neither do you.

So stop it.

Stop thinking this is all completely out of your control.

That it’s all your fault.

That there’s nothing you can do.

It’s not going to be easy but you ARE actually capable of beginning a change in your situation. Your emotions don't always have to control you. It takes time, discipline, sometimes therapy, in some cases medication, and mostly a whole hell of a lot of grace for yourself. In the beginning you will fail more than you will get it right. But you will learn to celebrate each little win. Who knows, you might even come to find that your ship wasn’t even sinking to begin with.