The Things We Carry

Yesterday Andrea posted about how one is responsible for ones crazy, and I want to dig into that a little more today.

Owning up to our shit, and owning up to our pasts is an important part of the process of living with a mental illness. It takes time, and yes, it takes a lot of energy, but it is something we can all do. We are not helpless slaves to the parts of our brains which would like to dictate our every move and experience.

Here’s the thing, it took me YEARS to cope with the fact that I have PTSD and an anxiety disorder. I knew it was there, but I figured I could handle it on my own. It was too hard to try and go to therapy, it was too scary to try and find drugs again, the whole concept of it just made me quake in my boots. And it didn’t help that my fear of doctors is pretty epic. Finally about a year ago I got fed up. I was tired of fighting with my own brain when it came to doing simple things like cooking. I was tired of the sleepless nights, and I was tired of the anxiety attacks which had no rhyme or reason attached to them. They just WERE.

So I took some fucking responsibility.

I started going to therapy, I started taking medication, I started trying to learn how to manage myself without help. Guess what? It improved my life, but it also improved my husband’s experience with me.

The fact is, our ability to take responsibility for the things we carry within us is not just about US, it’s about the people we interact with, it is about our partners, and yes, it is about our very own well being.

Not taking responsibility for these things that reside within us, not taking responsibility for our natures, well, that’s just bullshit.

You do have control. You CAN take control. Maybe medication isn’t the solution for you, but if it is, don’t reject it just because it’s scary.

For those of us who are batshit crazy on the inside, we have to care for ourselves.

For those of us with disabilities, we have to take responsibility and manage our needs. I refused to wear a hearing aid for about a third of my life. I finally got one over a year ago. The magic of hearing is something I had never appreciated. I went and saw a production of Les Miserables a few weeks ago, and I sobbed through the whole show. Not because of the story, but because for the first time in my life, I could hear all the words, I could hear all the melodies merging into one, and the grandness and the beauty of it suddenly made SENSE.

I’m not saying that the Deaf should join the hearing world, because the beauty of Deaf culture is not lost on me. I’m not saying the crazies should just try to be normal. I’m not saying the crips should try to be as normal as possible.

What I’m saying is that the things we carry with us, whether they be hearing loss, terrifying memories, physical trauma, we can manage them. We can’t conquer them, sometimes. We can’t make them go away, necessarily.

But we can manage. We can manage to not be assholes to each other. We can manage to interact with the world in a positive way.

We can. Because we want to.

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