by Laura Leary
Mental health, then and now.
|I smash my face into the pillow, grabbing at my husband's pillow to cover my head and ease the mental pain with the distraction of physical pain. My head sandwiched between two pillows, the bottom one catching my sobs.
“No, not today, I don't have time for this,” my sobs go unheard by everyone but me. The thoughts continue to bluster through my mind. Exactly how does one tie an effective noose? Who will find me? Would they care? Medication, where is my medication?
Welcome to the world of bipolar, coupled with severe anxiety. This is my world, the world I love and hate all at once. It was passed down to me by my ancestor's, whom chose to self-medicate with copious amounts of alcohol and other illegal substances.
In their time of living the choices were simple, be the town drunk, or be in an asylum. I choke and sputter on my tears, imagining life without proper mental health treatment; and I realize this very state that I hate so much is what it would feel like at the end of a noose. My body swinging in the breeze as my mind does daily.
If only my forefathers had understood, could they have gotten the appropriate help? Could their actions have saved me from this Hell that I live? Probably not.
I pull myself from my bed, my body weighted with exhaustion. I rifle through the filing cabinet for the newspaper articles I have carefully collected from the Internet. Possession of marijuana, corrupting the morals of a minor, attempted robbery, drunk driving, and assault, just a few of the charges logged against the family members that came before me.
And then there is me—a law abiding citizen that suffers daily. What makes me different? What makes me the same?
My father is the answer, he fought a long hard battle of being clean, of being the sailor that defied the “drunken sailor” stereotype. The man that brought me up to understand others, to treat others well. The legend that still, at 88 years old, tells me he loves me, tells me he's proud, and loves me unconditionally. He is the teacher of all the lessons that keep me around, for him, for my husband, children, and yes, even for me, because I deserve a life worth living.
I fight daily, to live the life that I deserve, knowing that one day I will attain a better understanding of who I am and what I am here for. Never giving in, never tying the noose, just getting by in loving memory of those that have suffered before me, and teaching those that come after me, what mental health is really about, the person and the heart within each of us.