A few days ago on my personal page I posted a short emotion fueled rant about how Mother’s usually get the short end of the stick and how they lay down (willingly) their dreams for their families.
What surprised me is that I got several responses where it was assumed I was ungrateful. This was surprising because that thought never even had crossed my mind. My need to lay down my hobbies, my career goals, my education goals, my fitness goals… heck… my ability to poop alone and not trying to break any sort of speed pooping record had nothing to do with feeling ungrateful.
I purposefully did not respond and took the post down because I felt VERY misunderstood and angry.
I put my pajamas on, went to bed and just curled up into a ball for three hours. Laying there I muddled around my emotional response until I fell asleep. It’s been on my mind ever since and I think I have finally found the response that was formulating in my mind.
My post had 100% nothing to do with feeling ungrateful. In fact I am extremely grateful. There is not an hour that goes by where I don’t hug one of my kids, see my husband pull in from work, look around my house, look out into my backyard, ponder an aspect of my life, tear up a little bit and whisper a prayer of sweet gratitude to my Jesus.
People with mental illness are the most grateful people I have ever met. It just looks different. Because our brain’s motherboard and operating systems are different. Mac and PC baby.
It is out of your way of thinking that you assume that we are not grateful when the very act of putting clothes on, brushing our hair, getting out of bed, or making our kids dinner, or having sex with our spouses, or doing the laundry, or showing up, or simply just holding onto our lives ARE acts of gratefulness.
We with mental illness live in worlds that are so fragile and broken that we have a deep appreciation for life and the things in it that is incomparable. People who have experienced deep loss or tragedy can understand this. Suddenly the way you view the world changes, mortality seems imminent, you feel gratefulness more quickly and more deeply. So deeply it constantly brings you to tears at odd moments in your day.
I know those who responded did so out of pure love. Just like I tell my kids, “I wouldn’t yell at you if I didn’t love you.” I’m not writing this post to shame anyone or to tell you that you responded incorrectly. Well no, you did, but out of naivety and lack of information. But that’s why I felt it necessary to take my time to respond and inform. Because you did get it wrong, but only because our society is just now starting to talk about mental illness and people like me who have it are starting to share and teach about what it’s like to live in the Upside Down.
I am grateful for each and every one of my friends. I am so grateful people took time to respond because they saw a hurt. But my dissatisfaction with where I am in life is in no way connected to my gratefulness.
These are difficult conversations to have about mental illness, but they need to be had. Because we non-Nero-typicals spend our every waking moments trying to obtain being just like you normals. We are trying to work our way to reality from the Upside Down. We seek counseling, medications, medical help, read self help books, we cry into our pillows and in the shower…
But that’s not going to change society. Just like a marriage, it takes two. We need you to start coming our way. It’s dark, uncomfortable and there are monsters here, but if you can’t take steps toward understanding us, then we will be lost down here forever.
For those who made it to the end, I appreciate your willingness to listen. Don’t react. Don’t comment just yet. Please. Take time to process. I know it’s hard because a lot of what we experience rubs the wrong way on your grain of life. But watch. Below this there will be a line of comments from people like me with mental illness, addiction, trauma, grief etc who echo my sentiments.
With all due respect and love…
(“ Now remember I said with all due respect!” – Ron Burgandy)
– Your Mental Health Trauma Momma