Day 55 of 100 intentional reflective steps.
Today a friend sent up an S.O.S. on a private Facebook page that is inhabited by patients from the hospital. She sounds sad, lonely, and distressed. Immediately there were messages from our friends of encouragement and solidarity.
Yesterday I talked with a friend who was also recently diagnosed with PTSD, with its weird physical manifestations and symptoms. She was recently discharged from the hospital and trying to figure out what life is like now on the “outside”. We commiserated about symptoms, physical limitations and frustrations. It felt like we were speaking a special code language that only the the two of use could understand. Private language like twins speak, with insider references and non-verbal understandings.
Mental illness can be so isolating! There are no bandages or braces to indicate that something is broken. Individuals with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. don’t have anything to signify we are ill except for an occasional emotional breakdown and/or physical symptoms that are invisible because they are internall. I don’t walk with a cane or limp and yet I want compassion even though I don’t appear infirm.
To add to the complication, mental health is not an exact science. There are few accurate measurements to indicate whether one is in good mental health or not. It is a relative science filled with opinion, conjuncture and circumstance. Physical, mental, medicinal, hormonal, emotional, and spiritual factors, with their ever changing needs, create a giant game of internal Jenga. One never knows when one of those factors will become unsteady and topple the whole tower.
In spite of it all, we want to not be judged as being over sensitive, dramatic, or making (a symptom) something up. We just want a chance to be honest about where we are in our quest for health and balance and hope to find grace from those who love us.