A Look Back: The Mask We Wear in Mental Illness

This is an in-depth look at a chapter in my memoir. I wrote a short post about this subject and I extended the post to really explore the subject.

This is a look back at the top blog posts for The Bipolar Writer Blog which will end March 12, 2021.

An in Depth Look at my Masks in my Mental Illness Life

Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

The masks we wear in our mental illness hide the real people that we are inside. I have spent most of my life hiding behind the many different masks that I wore to protect myself from feeling my emotional pain in front of the world.

One of the most common themes in my life is the mask that I have had to wear throughout my diagnosis and even the masks before my diagnosis. The mask, or even masks, were the result of trying to hiding the demons that I was fighting internally both spiritually and within my own mind.

When I put on a mask it was to make it seem, if only for a moment, as if I was as normal as any person standing next to me. My mask was always a happy facade that people had to buy because I never let anyone inside see the real me.

The mask has changed over time, but it really just changed because of the situation that I found myself in. I think one of the issues that make men and women within the mental health community wear their masks is that there is such a harsh stigma about the people with mental illnesses.

Photo by Seif Ak on Unsplash

So much judgment goes with having a mental illness that it is just easier to hide who we really are to the outside world. I can remember people telling me, “well why can’t you just get better. The rest of the world has to get up and do things, why can’t you?” Often, when I would post on social media how I really felt, it would garner negative reactions which made me turn even more inward to hide behind my mask.

One of the worst things is when people say is, “why can’t you just be normal?”

Since my early teen years, I saw this stigma on mental illness on a daily basis. People around me made fun of “those people” with mental illnesses and it scared me. I did nothing about it in my own life of course, and I even went along with the teasing to try and fit in with the crowd. I just didn’t understand my own private suffering and failed to see that perpetuating the stereotype of mental illness was my own way of hiding.

As a teen, people who thought about suicide or self-harm were looked at as outsiders and I was one of them. At the time I didn’t believe that people could get depressed. I was that young, even though I was dealing with depression on the daily basis, I just didn’t understand. One of the first masks that I wore was that of a normal teenage kid.

This version of myself did what normal kids do, I had friends who were normal and I was as active as an introvert could be in school. I joined a group of teenagers called the Sheriff Explorers (an offshoot organization of the Boy Scouts that involved law enforcement) and I was active in the activities weekly because my parents wanted me to do something productive. I had to be normal on the outside but I was always a mess inside. My mask was very good at hiding the real me.

I was even good at becoming a part of the group, and I even became part of the leadership of this group moving through the ranks quickly and making the rank of captain of the organization by the time I was eighteen.

At times it came naturally to be this version and wear this mask, but for the most part, it was a front because there were so many days I felt not normal, so much on the outside.

So I pretended to be a part of the group. I made it seem as if everything was perfect in the outside world and it made me feel good that when people looked up to me they didn’t see the mask, but it was there. They saw what I wanted them to see.

When I aged out of explorers and lost the leadership position it was hard to let go of this mask. I think at some level I loved the power I had when people looked up to me. The way people talked about this great person I was even though inside I was screaming with emotional pain. I could be someone else for a time, something I often felt when I put on my mask. It hurt and it is no surprise when I lost this mask and I had to deal with my emotional pain my depression spiraled into my first suicide attempt.

The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with A.K. Wilson The Bipolar Writer Podcast

About A.K. My name is A.K. Wilson, or otherwise known as Angel. I am a mother, blogger, mental health, and domestic violence survivor advocate. I am a multi-genre author and writer.  I was born in New York, Raised in NJ, made a home in Kentucky. I live life to the fullest and cherish every moment. My links 🙂 http://www.twistedenchantedworld.com Contact James If you are looking for all things James Edgar Skye, you can find his social media visiting https://linqapp.com/james_skye Also support a life coach that has influenced me along my journey of self-reflection: https://www.groundsforclarity.com The Bipolar Writer Podcast is listener-supported, and for as little as $5 a month, you can help support the mental health advocacy that I do by visiting http://www.buymeacoffee.com/jamesedgarskye. Please help this podcast grow by sharing with friends or anyone that you think will benefit from the experiences of others and myself. You can also find me on the following websites. You can also find me on the following websites to book your interview, ask questions, and reach out to me. http://www.jamesedgarskye.me Purchase my books at: https://www.jamesedgarskye.me/jamesedgarskyebooks — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/jamesedgarskye22/support
  1. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with A.K. Wilson
  2. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Hunter
  3. Interview with Amy The Bipolar Writer Podcast
  4. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Norm
  5. The Bipolar Writer Podcast Interview with Kathleen

As an adult, I continued to wear masks. The hard worker mask was always my favorite mask. This version of me was always early to work and always worked hard. The praise I got from my bosses and co-workers only helped the mask become more defined. I could hide who I really was for eight hours a day, only to be consumed by darkness every night. I didn’t mind wearing this mask because it gave me the ability to leave my house and do things. I could go for long drives to clear my mind or go to the beach and watch the waves or the people living their lives. I often isolated myself as an adult, but I did things with people at least once a week like going to the movies to “feel something.”

When my life changed after my diagnosis my mask became a reason to lie to people. When I attempted to commit suicide for the first time I had to create a new mask. This version of myself told people “I am okay. It was a mistake.” I told that to my doctors, nurses, family members, and basically anyone who would listen. The mask helped me reconcile the fact that I was in so much emotional turmoil that I couldn’t let people in, and it became my shield against dealing with the pain.

In my mind, I was getting really good at hiding who I truly was to others and it showed in the fact that all three times that I tried to commit suicide in the first three years of my diagnosis it was a surprise to my family. It was less a surprise that I was capable of doing such unspeakable things, my family came to expect it from me, but the timing was always weird. It would be after spending time with my family as I lulled them into thinking that things were okay. I would go to my doctors’ appointments (which were always accompanied by my mother during this time) and talk about wanting to improve and get better. It was always a lie and yet another mask I would wear. I got really good at hiding my emotional turmoil in my mind.

I have talked about the years I lost with my depression cycles especially early on in my diagnosis. I even lost a year and a half between the last time I worked and my first suicide attempt. I think the only time I ever took off my mask was those moments where I could be alone. I found that role-playing games became a great place of solace for me because I could be someone else for a change. I could be the hero in the story where in my world I was the guy who was always depressed and liked to fail at committing suicide. The mask would come off in those hours and though my emotional pain was strong I could deal with my life for a time. It’s possible that this was just a different version of myself again because I never dealt with my issues until after my last suicide attempt, and even then it was years before I could write about my life.

I never imagined I would be a place in my life where I would be able to talk about my mental illness or the masks that I wore. One of my favorite masks, only because it was really tragic, was the boyfriend mask I wore in my relationships. The last relationship that I had been in the middle of one of the worst depression cycles in my life. I tried to be the good boyfriend. I bought her things and spent time with her. We had a good relationship, but when I was diagnosed the mask became heavy. Pieces of the real me starting to seep through the mask. My girlfriend saw some of the real me and I panicked. I ended the relationship with my girlfriend and closed myself off from letting people become a part of my life.

It is so hard for me now to even seek companionship now because I am afraid of showing all that I am. Even as I write my memoir, my relationships have always been the hardest to write about at this moment. I haven’t had a relationship in ten years because I am afraid— afraid of letting people into my life. I’d rather be alone where I am most comfortable. To the world, it’s another mask I wear.

I never wanted the world to see my weakness when it came to who I am when I get depressed or even manic. I can only speak for myself when I say that my masks were there to protect myself from the world seeing my emotional pain and that has been my best friend for most of my life. At my weakest moments, I hid from the world because it was a familiar feeling.

It was about three years after my last suicide attempt that things started to change in my life. It started small. When I came to the realization that suicide was never the answer to the issues I became more open to my psychiatrist. When I was finally able to get a therapist, I found that I could be open in a controlled environment. It was never easy, and even now almost three years into my time with my therapist I still keep things hidden from her. I have been willing to be more open and take off the many masks of my life. Just recently I talked to her about a friend who asked me to help her do something unspeakable and it was tough to talk about, but I found a way.

I have learned to be better and more open to the world about who I am with my family, my therapist, at times by many psychiatrists. The blog that I write, and of course with my memoir, has been my way of shedding my masks over the years. It took me years after my last suicide attempt to get to a place where I could open up.

I only started to get better when I removed the mask and let people in. In my mind, I still wear pieces of my many masks. In a way, it shattered when I finally opened up about my life. I can say the more that I write here and be open to my readers the more the pieces of the mask disappear. The more I can be effective the better I feel.

I know how wearing a mask in your mental illness can be a means to hide from the real world. The reason I decided to write about the masks that I wore in my life is so that those of us in the mental illness community can start to take their masks off and share their experiences with the world. I think the more open that we are with the world the better the stigma on mental illness can start to change. It gets tiring to hear mental illness only talked about when there is a tragic mass shooting and the people involved being “mentally ill.” It matters to me that this is how parts of the world see people with mental illnesses.

What I have learned in my experiences is that there are so many people hiding in silence behind the mask simply because it is better to not have people “fix them.”

For those who know people with a mental illness be understanding that it takes time to remove the masks that we wear. My people, those with a mental illness, are good people. I have met so many people willing to remove the mask but fear what that means in their lives. People tell me, “if only more people understood that I can’t just get better instantly” and I understand that feeling to want to hide behind a mask.

It became easier the more that I write about the masks that I have worn in my mental illness. It is liberating to no longer always have the mask on. There are still times where I feel the need to wear the mask but it is much thinner than it used to be. Someday it will be gone. Maybe when I have finished sharing my life in this memoir with the world.

Always Keep Fighting.

What is the worst that can happen?

James Edgar Skye

Visit my author website at http://www.jamesedgarskye.me

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. While it’s great there’s a month dedicated to this, it should be 365-day year awareness.

I understand suicide can be a touchy subject especially for those who have struggled with it themselves or have lost a loved one to it.

I wanted to share my personal story with suicide because that was something I struggled with for a long time.

I was 14 years old when I started getting suicidal thoughts. I was in high school and was completely miserable. I was living in an abusive household suffering abuse from my mom on a daily basis. It was physical, verbal, & psychological abuse. Living in such a toxic environment and experiencing that abuse on a regular basis caused me to go into a severe depression.

I would spend hours locked in my room crying myself to sleep. I would always question God asking him “why me?”

“Why was this happening to me?”

“Why did I have to get a mom who treated me so terribly?”

It wasn’t much longer when I started to get suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

My mom told me so many lies on a regular basis that it was hard for me to not believe them. She convinced me I was a burden to others & that I shouldn’t be on this earth. She told me things that no child or person should ever here. She told me she wished I were never born and that she wished she had me aborted when she had the chance. These are things I wish I could say never happened, but those were all lies she told me.

My thoughts started to become more negative and darker as the days went on. I started to lose feelings of happiness and forgot what happiness felt like. I started to feel numb & empty on the inside not feeling any emotions but sadness. I started to cope with self-harm when I was 14 years old. I believed it was the only way for me to feel something besides emptiness & sadness so I turned to self-harm.

That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to creep in and became more frequent. I started to believe the lies my mom and my depression told me. I believed I was a burden to others and that the world would be a better place without me in it. I wanted out of the world so bad that I came up with a plan when I was 15 years old to end my life. I had been prescribed pain medication from a dentist visit when I had to get a root canal and researched that medication and found that if I took all of the pills in the bottle I could never wake up again. That was my plan.

It was like playing tug o war in my mind though, there was that part of me that believed I was a burden and that I should just leave the world now, but there was another part of me that wanted to keep fighting. It told me to keep pushing through that those negative thoughts were lies and I could beat them.

I confided in my high school’s guidance counselor and he helped me push through the suicidal thoughts. I didn’t seek out treatment for my depression at the time even though I should have. Throughout high school I still struggled with depression and being active in sports helped me manage it.

After high school and when I went away to University the suicidal thoughts started to creep in again. I thought it was just homesickness since I was going to school on the other side of the country, but it was much deeper than that for me.

It was the summer of 2014 when I was home from University that I sought out treatment for my depression. I struggled with an alcohol addiction and one day when I had way too much to drink I couldn’t control the suicidal thoughts. I knew that if I didn’t seek out help that night, I would have harmed myself and may not be alive today. I had my best friend’s boyfriend drive me to the mental hospital and drop me off. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this and I told him yes I knew if I didn’t get help I was only going to get worse.

I spent three days in the crisis unit of the mental hospital. I was put on Zoloft and anxiety medication that helped ease my anxiety while I was there. I wish I could say going on Zoloft helped with my depression, but it actually made things worse for me. At the time I was diagnosed with depression and didn’t know I had bipolar disorder. When I was on Zoloft I felt like a zombie I was so out of it and numb, I hated it. I didn’t realize that for those who have bipolar disorder, anti-depressants could cause you to go into mania, which it did for me.

When I was back at University that semester I was a wreck. I was in and out of depressive episodes along with being in manic episodes. My alcohol problem was out of control and my behavior was reckless. I was failing all of my classes and was drinking on a daily basis. I started to struggle with self-harm again and the suicidal thoughts again. I knew that if I didn’t leave University and get myself out of that environment things were only going to get worse for me. That’s when I withdrew from University and moved back home to Florida.

I wish I could say everything got better for me when I got back home to Florida, but my depression grew worse. The psychiatrist I was seeing was no help at all to me and didn’t listen to my problems. He didn’t care to give me a proper psych evaluation and just wrote me a script for the next anti-depressant out there. I continued to struggle with self-harm and battled the suicidal thoughts daily.

I was empty & numb living in an endless cycle of my depression.

It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when I finally found a psychiatrist who gave me a proper psych evaluation and diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. Getting on the proper medication and changing my lifestyle to healthier habits, put an end to the suicidal thoughts. It was like the fog had finally been lifted and I could see clearly again. I started to see a therapist for a few months as well that helped me work through some of the issues from my past.

I’m happy to say that I am stable now and have not harmed myself in over three years now. I still find myself going into depressive episodes every now and then and will catch the suicidal thoughts creeping into my mind. I’ve become a lot stronger than I was three years ago and can fight off the thoughts much better than before.

I know living with a mental illness will be a life long battle for me. I’ve spent over ten years now fighting the demons and while it can be exhausting, I know I will survive the fight.

For those of you that have experienced something similar or going through a tough time please never hesitate to seek out help. There are so many resources available out there today and remember you are not a burden to others. Your life matters and you are never alone in this fight.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

My Healing Journey

At the beginning of the year my number one goal was for me to work on healing myself from the inside out. I had put my own inner healing on hold for a long time. I had pushed down the most painful memories of my childhood in hopes I would never have to think about them again. Over these last eight months more and more old wounds have been resurfacing. Old wounds that I forgot were even there were resurfacing. This was finally my time to work on healing myself.


I grew up in an abusive household facing abuse from my mother on a daily basis. I suffered from this abuse from a very young age up until my early adulthood. I suffered from physical, verbal, and psychological abuse. The most damaging towards me was the psychological abuse.


Growing up I always knew there was something “off” about my mom because of the way she treated me. I was the oldest child and I guess my mom figured she could take out all her aggression on me. My brother was extremely lucky because my mom treated him completely opposite of how she treated me.


A month ago I read a book about healing from Narcissistic abuse. It opened up my eyes to what narcissistic abuse is all about and it confirmed for me that it was the abuse I suffered from growing up. It confirmed my theory that my mom was a narcissist and the symptoms & actions described fit my mom perfectly.


My entire life I could never fully be myself. My mom was the one who called all of the shots during my childhood. It didn’t matter what I wanted to do, if she didn’t like it then I couldn’t do it. It was like my mom was trying to live out her life through me. I wanted to play piano and my mom hated that, she threw away my piano books because she didn’t want me to play it. I wanted to do gymnastics, but she told me no & convinced me that I was never good enough to do it in the first place. She hated me having friends and never let me hang out with my friends. This occurred throughout my entire childhood.


She terrorized me, manipulated me, and controlled me my entire life. This book opened up my eyes to how abusive a narcissist can be and how evil they can be.

My mom caused me immense pain growing up. She told me things no child or person should ever have to hear especially from your own mother. I was screamed at so many times. She told me lies like that she didn’t want me born, she wished she aborted me when she had the chance, no one in my family likes me, I’m a burden, I have no friends, I’m fat, I’m not pretty, and I’m not good enough. She RARELY told me she loved me & meant it.


Now that I’ve reached adulthood and have started my own healing, I feel like I’m starting to find myself all over again. My mom never let me express who I was so I was always fitting into the mold she wanted. I finally feel like I’m starting to find my own identity and who I truly am as a person.


At first I felt like I was going through an identity crisis because I didn’t know who I was as a person at first. It’s forced me to dig deep inwards to get in touch with my true authentic self. I’m still learning who I truly am on a daily basis. I’m starting to finally feel free again since I no longer have to conform to what she had led me to believe my entire life.

No Longer Hiding my Emotions

Over the years I’ve become extremely good at hiding my emotions from others.

I grew up with the belief that sadness & tears made me weak so I did my best to never cry in front of people.

I believed that my problems didn’t matter because out there in the world there was someone else with bigger problems than mine.

I believed that people wouldn’t care about what I was going through or that I would be considered a burden.

These beliefs have stayed with me up until this very day. While I’ve gotten more & more comfortable sharing my emotions & problems with others, it’s still something I struggle with today.

This has probably been one of the most difficult habits for myself to break because it’s become natural for me to just hide my emotions & bottle them up never sharing with anyone.

My entire life I’ve done my best to remain strong through all the difficult situations I faced up until now. I didn’t let others see or know the true pain I was in. There were periods where I would spend many nights crying myself to sleep at night. I didn’t want to dump my own problems on anyone else because I didn’t want to be a burden. I ended up not only carrying my own weight of problems, but the weight of those closest to me as well. I put off working through & healing my own issues, to help the ones I loved most.

It’s taken me up until now to realize that it’s important to take care of our own selves first. I neglected my own healing & stuffed my emotions deep down inside of me. In order to be of service & help to others in our lives, we must heal ourselves from within as well.

Because of the difficulties & pain I’ve faced, I never want others to feel alone or feel like they’re a burden. I am here for anyone and can be that shoulder for you to cry on. Never feel like you are a burden to others or that your problems don’t matter because they do! No matter how big or small the problem you’re faced with, it still matters.

Confronting Your Shadow Self

“There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.” – Carl Jung

This last month I stumbled upon something new called shadow work. It was something I’ve never heard of before and it intrigued me. Shadow work is when you take a closer look within yourself at the parts of yourself that you hide. The “dark side” of your personality; the negative parts you might be ashamed of, fearful around, or feel guilt around. It’s something we all have inside of ourselves, but it can be hard to acknowledge and address it.

The psychologist Carl Jung was the one who coined the term “personal shadow.” This is the part of the psyche a lot of people tend to neglect and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Even when you pretend it doesn’t exist your personal shadow can operate on it’s own without us being fully aware. It’s when the unconscious mind assumes control while our conscious self goes on autopilot. The longer you repress your shadow the more you start to see those qualities in the others around you.

At the beginning of the year, one of my resolutions was to work on my self-awareness and to heal myself from within. I spent the last three years focusing on my physical health; I didn’t spend as much time on my mental health and inner work as I should have. Something I’ve learned through my journey is that the mental transformation is just as powerful if not more powerful than a physical transformation.

Shadow work is for everyone, as humans we all have parts of ourselves we like to hide or feel embarrassed to share with others about. Throughout my childhood and early adulthood I’ve had to overcome numerous obstacles like the abuse my mom put me through for almost 18 years. All of those painful memories & experiences I had growing up, I pushed so far back in my head wanting to never think about them again.

When I stumbled upon shadow work it made me realize that I need to stop pretending that the memories don’t exist. Yes they are painful and I’m embarrassed about some of them, but they are going to resurface at some point in time so I can fully move on and continue my growth. Diving into the shadow work and committing to the process was a little scary for me. What scared me the most was fully addressing all those memories & allowing myself come to terms with them.

One of the first steps of shadow work is addressing the memories or emotions you’ve hid from for so long. You also must figure out and identify possible triggers that cause certain emotions with those memories. When you’ve identified the memories & triggers you can start to work on moving on from those to create new beliefs that will bring positive light into your life.

For me this is just the beginning of my own shadow work and bringing awareness to those dark parts so I can bring in new light. If this is something that does intrigue you I encourage you to look more into it as well. It’s something that everyone can benefit from and will only bring in more positivity in the long run.

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Reasons To Live

It is completely acceptable to stay alive for tiny reasons. Because you want to hear your favorite song one more time. Because your pet will miss you if you leave. The moon is just too pretty to never see. The beautiful sunsets are just too precious to never see again. Because you haven’t seen the next season of a really good TV show. Because you want to see the Christmas lights this year. If you are alive, you are doing enough.

So we push, to tear down the walls. Of the box that life has left us in to keep us away. And now we push to stay together. Know that nobody is going to save us from ourselves. The bad memories will knock us down. The good memories will lift us up. If you are surviving, just know that I am proud of you.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca.

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Why I’m Thankful for Hitting Rock Bottom

Four years ago was when I hit rock bottom. I was sexually assaulted and that experience broke me. I was drinking everyday not wanting to deal with life sober.

I was eating all the junk food I wanted because I didn’t want men to look at me anymore.

I stopped caring about myself and everything around me.


I allowed my depression to consume me.

I was cycling in and out of depressive episodes along with manic episodes.

I stopped taking my meds because they weren’t making me better.

Instead of seeking out help at that time, I turned to alcohol.


I drank to numb the pain and to take my mind off of what I was going through.

I didn’t want to deal with reality or that my life was crumbling around me.

I wanted to forget the pain I was dealing with.


I believed the negative thoughts my depression told me.

I believed I was a burden to others.

I was fighting every single day to survive.

I had lost my will to live and wanted out of the world so bad. I spent days in bed only leaving it to shower and eat. I was a total mess, but I didn’t want to accept that.

I was living in fear and denial. Food and alcohol was my comfort and best friend at the time.


During that low point of my life, I never thought I would feel happiness again or live a life where I was sober and successful. I was fully convinced that I was going to be miserable my entire life.


It wasn’t easy climbing out of that dark pit and getting back into the light again.

It was when I looked at myself in the mirror one day and didn’t recognize the person I was. It was when I got the courage to step on the scale for the first time in over a year when I saw how much weight I gained. It was when I promised myself change needed to happen.


I had no idea how I was going to do it. But something inside of me was saying to just try.

It told me to take baby steps everyday so I could make progress in the right direction.

To slowly climb my way out of that deep dark hole I was living in.


I look back now and while I was miserable then, I’m thankful for going through that.

I’m thankful for hitting rock bottom and going through some traumatic events.

I’m thankful because it made me strong. It challenged me to build up mental toughness.

It broke me, shattered me into a million pieces, leaving me to figure out how I was going to put myself together again.


I prayed and prayed to God to give me the strength and will to push forward.

Everyday got a little easier and I got stronger. It showed me what I’m truly capable of and that with enough will and determination I can get through anything. Sometimes you have to hit that low point in life to climb back to the top.

I Can Only Hope

I hope you finally get released from all the things that hold you bondage when it comes to receiving, and reciprocating, love – and the acts thereof. I hope your ears come to admire your favorite songs again – without the painful memories that the passing of time has attached to them. I hope you get to be comfortable with the parts of your body that were once held by the wrong hands. I pray that you finally get cleansed in the processing of washing yourself off other people’s stains. I hope you realize that you’re deserving of all the things you receive, even the ones you don’t ask for. I hope you finally get to release people you have held in your heart for longer than was necessary. I hope the weight of waiting doesn’t discourage you from trying. I hope you don’t fail at this healing thing, but if it happens that you do (which is probably most likely), I hope you find the will to try again. I hope all of this happens to you while you still have the advantage of age. If not, I hope you find solace in the reality that things work out for the better of us all when we breathe and try. I hope all of this for you, and for me.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca

The Silent Sands of Illness

This is a new rendition of a poem I wrote on my blog.

The Silent Sands of Illness

Spheres be fed the blackened beast,

For long to fill his gluttonous feast.

Not life itself could escape it’s grasp.

For death to all the plague they clasp.

Yet random the beast, it toyed it’s prey,

Amused with the game of chance to play.

Ally of time, it’s patient was astound.

Stomach growls the best around.

But who would have thought that the beast – himself,

Could make it’s prey place their hopes and aspirations into a shelf?

What will the prey be bound to do, to make it through?

The beast as it preys, acting as a bough,

A bough of illness.

Amused again by the game and a chance to play,

It’s patients were astound — astound,

by the growls of the beast’s stomach – the growls of the best around.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca.

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I have always been a giver, but how much of that is out of guilt? I made a lot of poor choices as a kid. Namely that I used to have quite the reputation as a thief. I’m talking anything from a small item to money. Always from people I knew. I don’t really get the urge to do that anymore. It was never done out of necessity. It was as if the desire would come over me and I just did it impulsively. I have come to learn that this could have been a sign of the bipolar at a young age, but I don’t tell my family that. I don’t like to talk about it with them. I think that they might see it as an excuse. If they come to the conclusion or correlation on their own then that is fine with me. I wish that I could tell them that it was the reason for things, but I really don’t know. All I know is that I don’t feel that way when I am taking my medicines.

The trouble is that I feel like I am forever trying to make up for the shit that I have done. I am trying to be the daughter, sister, and friend that I truly feel like I am. So I overcompensate. I put myself in debt to make sure that everyone has what they need and admittedly, things they don’t. I buy elaborately priced items that I know they would love, put off a bill of my own to make sure that I am doing everything in my power so that they don’t get that feeling I gave them. The feeling that they have lost control of things and I am off living my carefree life.

They shower me with words of gratitude and it doesn’t feel deserved. It feels like I should be doing these things because of the things I have done in the past. I feel like I owe them. Honestly, I don’t even feel like my mom would speak to me if I didn’t do these things because I feel like when she thinks or mentions my past she is disgusted with me. I am disgusted with me.

It’s disheartening when I really think about the reach and ripple effect that my mental illness has on my life. It has been about seven years (I think?) since I last stole something and yet the guilt feels like yesterday. Honestly, I don’t think I ever truly felt guilty about my acts when they happened. If anything, I felt guilty that I got caught. I felt bad for me. That is the one thing that makes me feel like my mental illness WAS the cause of the chaos. Yes, I made the choices. But the feeling that I was untouchable and didn’t care about the consequences? That isn’t me.

I think that everyone wants to explain away their faults and mistakes. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t take responsibility for their actions. I also don’t want to be the person that can’t move on. I changed my behavior, dug into the root cause, apologized, made amends, and yet now I am enabling more reckless behavior. I don’t know that the feeling of betrayal and anger will come rushing back to my family members should I stop helping and doing. I also don’t know if I am strong enough to just let them go should they decide that I still have making up to do.

I know deep down that if people are only okay when you are doing for them, then they are not people I need in my life. I just know that it wouldn’t be completely unfathomable for them to still harbor anger with me. Realistically, I don’t think that it would go as far as total disconnect from my family, but my conscious is a funny thing. The way I treated them is an ultimate betrayal and I just don’t know how to shake it.

I can see how this is a sort of self-punishment or form of coping, but I find myself wondering if anyone else has made such poor choices and also experiences mental illness? I feel like a criminal (honestly I was in the grand scheme of things) and a fraud.