Y’all Are Crazy, and That’s Okay

Having a mental illness is a lonely thing.

Like most people, we want at least someone with whom we can talk. We want a friend to cry with, or even laugh with. We need a deep connection with another human, to feel loved and validated.

Unfortunately, we have a few things that get in the way of socializing.

Many of us are scared. We have trust issues. When we feel hurt, we feel very deeply and wish to avoid feeling that way again. Often, we’ve had a bad experience of someone breaking a promise or shying away when we shared how we think. Heck, a lot of us have a bonafide diagnosis from a doctor that we have social anxieties.

Besides the hurt and fear, we avoid people for their own benefit. We tell ourselves that we are flawed and unsafe. We justify our anti-social behavior with statements like, “I know I’m a downer,” “No ones talks to me at parties. They can see, in my face, that I’m no fun,” and “If they really wanted to be around me, they’d talk to me.”

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Those reasons and that voice are hard to work with, but our health and mental stability need to fight against them. I mean, did you know that human connections were rated the most important thing in a happy life?

So stop beating yourself up. Seriously. I’ll tell you why:

  • Most people are some level of crazy. They may not be certified, but they have issues. I can’t tell you how many people I talk with who have experienced some angle of what I have, if not the whole enchilada.
  • Even though you are crazy, what are you gonna do about it? I’ve tried starting over, but the person that is me always shines through. I am what I have to work with and I accept that.
  • Crazy people have options, like crazy-people doctors and crazy-people medications and crazy-people blogs. There are even …crazy people groups that meet and talk crazy together. It’s a blast.
  • You are you, and are a work in progress. Just think: are you still crawling around and stuffing car keys in your mouth? NO! You did that as a baby, silly. Now you are older and know better. You are knowing better every day.
  • The future will be better. The future will be even betterer if you keep moving forward -even if all you can manage is a shuffle.
  • If all else fails, there is chocolate.
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I have a few friends. Of those, a few have mental health challenges. Some struggle with depression and social anxiety like I do. One has panic attacks. Another is schizophrenic. A mutual acquaintance is bipolar.

Sometimes when I try to plan a get-together, a friend flakes and doesn’t show up. Sometimes I have a terrible week and have to cancel on one of them. Since we are all in this not-sea-worthy-at-all boat together, however, we get it. If not, we talk about it. We hug. We pull out the chocolate.

I need people. I need understanding. I need connection. So do you. Plus, your challenges and perspectives mean that you are more understanding and empathetic than other people.

I mean, we may all be crazy, but that’s okay. We’re as human as the next person and our needs are just as valid.

You are worth it. I promise.

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Photo Credits:
Sayo Garcia
Ethan Sykes
Anita Austvika

5 Ways to Keep Shining Your Light When the Odds are Against You

What dims your light? Is it not being supported by friends, family, or loved ones? Or is it taking two steps toward your dreams, only to be pushed ten steps back? When the odds stack up against you, do you keep pushing back or do you allow the metaphorical water to rise above your head and carry you away?

I get swept away daily, like a piece of timber caught up in a torrent. But with each storm, I’ve started to create my own sunshine; and it has made a world’s difference. It can for you, too.

  1. “Right now, it’s like this” – I first heard these words at a Wanderlustyoga event led by the mesmerizing Chelsey Korus. We were in a challenging pose, our muscles burning and screaming out in protest. And in the middle of stifled breaths and pissed off egos, she gently said – right now, it’s like this. This moment and this struggle feels crippling now, like you can’t go on, like you are fighting a ghost. Own the matter of fact that is this moment, because you cannot change it. And the longer you fight it to become something else, the more it will kick you down; until you learn that, right now, it’s like this. But it won’t always be. The pain and challenge and darkness will shift, change, and manifest into something else to show you that nothing is permanent, and you are far stronger than you think.
  2. Become your own advocate – Support will come in many ways: a hug, a handshake, a pat on the back, a gentle “I’m proud of you.” Until it runs out. Until your great feats are left waiting by the door with no one to notice. In these moments, it’s easy to discard our gifts and talents, and simply fall in line with mundane living and thinking. Don’t. Become your biggest supporter and your loudest cheerleader. Shine your light, even if you’re standing in the dark alone; because your purpose does not grow in the hands of the few who approve it or push it aside. It’s a part of you. Own it.
  3. Fake it ’till you make it – Negative thoughts will come after you like a rabid dog; that’s a fact. Some days, standing in your truth and moving toward your dreams will feel like a crippled crawl, and all you’ll want to do is quit. There is no secret affirmation or practice that will erase the negativity that stands behind every courageous push. That’s not how it works. You’ll feel like throwing in the towel more times than you can count, and believe me – the guilt behind those defeating thoughts is nauseating. Keep going. Through every punch and hit, grit your teeth and push on. Through the tears and the fear, slap on a smile and say – you hit like a bitch. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. You are the light. And nothing in your dreams will get easier. But if you keep going, you will get stronger than ANYTHING putting you down.
  4. Ten steps back is a chance to rest and go again – We keep expecting this hill of ours to end, until we hit a plateau and it’s a breezy walk to the finish. But I’ve learned that anything that gives us a purpose in life will be the hardest challenge we’ve yet to face. Thankfully, it will also be the worthiest challenge. Comedian Kevin Hart repeats this mantra before every show – everyone wants to be famous, but no one wants to put the work in. Whether or not you want to be famous or pleasantly known, you want something. In order to get it and keep having it in your life as a drive forward, you have to keep taking steps up. And when that challenge rears its head and knocks you down a peg, as it will, you have the option of quitting or pausing. In those moments of pause is where you have the gift of gaining perspective, inspiration, and re-focus of what you’re after. Take it. And then get up and continue, renewed.
  5. Remember why you started – Your light is what guides you to your Highest Good. It won’t be easy, it won’t be short, and it won’t be linear. But you started your journey for a reason, and you keep coming back to it, even when you’re worn, beat down, and alone. As you walk your path, remember why you started in the first place. Allow the purity of it to become your strength and courage, and repeat it to yourself when the darkness closes in or the steps become too steep. Push back against the negativity that looms overhead, with every intention and bough of faith; because this is your light, and you’re shining it like a star!

I’ve been on my path of writing and sharing my story for years. Some days, I want to burn every page I ever wrote in my journal. I believe in the odds stacked up against me because I believe I can overcome them. They are not my end – they’re simply my reminder. I am here to shine my light, in the cold and in the dark. And so are you.

Keep going.

 

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