Our greatest weapon against the stigma of mental illness is our #livedexperience .
Our greatest weapon against the stigma of mental illness is our #livedexperience .
We all know it. Elegant, seemingly simplistic yet deeply complex and controlled. Its ability to balance tremendous weight and withstand pressure is unlike any other. What is it that makes the scale of justice so potent, so powerful?
The truth lies in its literal and metaphorical relatability. Like the scale of justice, I have been given the extraordinary power of carrying the weight, energy, and burdens of others. I’ve spent years cowering in fear of this gift, completely misunderstanding its magnitude. I have been able to use this gift, share it with others, and carry them during times of their most dire need. The power, grace, and level-headedness I’m able to display during times of crisis are some of my specialties. Think- extreme financial hardship, estate planning, divorce, chronic illness, and death of loved ones.
My scale of justice is constructed differently than others. Foundationally, I am built to withstand an inordinate amount of pressure. I am able to find purpose, and meaning and create balance while upholding the mass that is and has been a life of heavy and traumatic moments. It is with this gift that I am able to provide a sanctuary for others. When they must be held or carried because their burdens have become so great, I am there instantly to shoulder that load. My scale then tips in one direction and is left strained, suspended to hover above the ground. It isn’t the enormity of the weight or choice to hold it in the first place.
It is, however, time under tension and the lack of understanding of how to release those burdens and rebalance the scale that has made this gift so debilitating.
When the friend, colleague, or loved one is ready to be ‘put down’ and walk on their own again, they are eager, grateful, and determined to forge a new path on the other side of their grief. They’re able to express their gratitude in such a way that doesn’t just show me I’ve changed their lives but draws me in to feel their release from the bonds of their trauma. Even with quaking legs, they’re ready to move forward. Their scales of justice are reset and they are free once again to move about their lives. I, however, am left under tension; worn and depleted like an overstretched bungee cord.
Sure, my loved one has moved on. Their burdens have been lifted and therefore I should be able to release the weight too. It is here, in these moments, that my gift became unbearable. I did not know how to counterbalance my own scale. I wasn’t able to relinquish the burden of their loads and slowly one side of my scale stretched further and further toward the ground.
Years upon years of trauma, tragedy, and heartache had piled up. I knew I was strong. I knew I was gifted, lucky. I shouldn’t complain. My feelings couldn’t possibly matter because I had witnessed what true struggle was through the eyes of my family and friends. Not only did I completely invalidate my feelings, but I also demonized and vilified myself for them. Who was I to be so weak under pressure? How could I call myself strong if I felt so broken? Trudging on lopsided and deteriorating little by little.
Fast forward through years of therapy, coaching, enlightenment, astrology readings, group classes, masterminds, breakthroughs, and breakdowns… Working 50+ hours a week in an unfulfilling job, marriage to someone in the throes of active addiction, childbirth, divorce, giving up everything I’d worked my whole life for, rebuilding as a single mother, finding love again quitting my career, and beginning my journey as an entrepreneur. I became completely incapable of holding the weight. The gift I had so proudly used had become my arch-nemesis. My bungee cord was so thin and unattended for so long that it finally snapped. An organ literally died inside my body. My tough and ironclad exterior was a mask for the decay that lay underneath. Not only was I no longer able to use my gift. I had become incapable of managing my burdens. The weight of my life had become too heavy.
The next year was a simultaneous whirlwind and torturous dragging. My health was deteriorating even more and I became so depressed and sad I no longer knew who was staring back at me in the mirror. Time marched on but I was stuck going through the motions. Until, one night, not long ago, I experienced the second complete breakdown of my entire life. Every single trauma, death, tragedy, legal, and financial hardship replayed in my mind like I was reliving every moment all over again.
In the wake of this breakdown, I had an epiphany. I had been stuffing down my own feelings, experiences, and traumas for so long. I buried them so deeply under the experiences of others. I had invalidated my feelings and stretched my scale so far that I thought it to be irreparable. The following morning, though dehydrated and swollen-faced, I noticed a difference in the way my body felt. I was able to breathe a little deeper and stand a little taller. The haze I had been living in was starting to dissipate. Every morning since that morning, I’ve felt lighter and freer. It wasn’t my gift that was the burden, it was my inability to relinquish control and release the collective experiences and feelings. I was not cursed to exist with an uneven scale. I was meant to bear the weight, mine and others just long enough to allow fresh breath and new perspectives to take over. My scale was slowly and steadily coming back into balance.
The bonds of suppressed emotion are relentless. The scales of justice can never be balanced if the burdens are not lifted. That is where freedom lies. That is where my freedom lies. The freedom is in the release.
#MentalHealth #release #selfrealization #energyexchange #balance #embracingyourgift #releasingtrauma #livedexperience
Hello my lovelies! After months trawling around reddit and google looking for affirmations, communities and answers, I didn’t realise The Mighty existed until a dear friend pointed me in your direction. I’m a freelance writer who has been misdiagnosed with Bipolar for a decade, despite explaining many of my symptoms to doctors that have NOTHING to do with chemical imablances and much more to do with trauma.
I am doing research on how people who struggle with undiagnosed or misdiagnosed mental health issues explain their perspective and daily experiences to family, friends, loved ones and medical professionals. I would love to know from you, what metaphors and analogies do you use to explain the world from your perspective?
The project focusses on the experience of ‘symptoms’ of mental health disorders, rather than experience of a ‘disorder’. So for example, if you think you experience Bipolar Disorder – I would love to know how you explain ‘mania’, ‘depression’ and ‘racing thoughts’. If you experience Schizophrenia, how do ‘delusions’ and ‘hallucinations’ feel… or with depression, how does ‘fatigue’ or ‘withdrawal’ feel. Misdiagnosis and misunderstandings are rife within psychiatry, as mental health conditions are
Living with a misdiagnosis or not understanding if a diagnosis is right for you can be crippling and many disorders have so much overlap it can be hard to know where to start, or where you fit in to the picture! I thought having a resource that spans across all of this would be so productive and useful.
I have created a group (although I'm very new to this and a bit discombobulated!), or you can let me know right here!
It’s great to meet you all and can't wait to hear your stories.
#Undiagnosed #Misdiagnosed #Writing #livedexperience #Depression #Anxiety #BipolarDisorder #DID #Schizophrenia
I have an idea to create a Lived Experience awareness ribbon 🎗
More about that here: Awareness ribbons for Lived Experience 🎗
But I want to run past you all my designs drawn in the photo, which do you like best, option 1, 2 or 3?
#options #MentalHealth #livedexperience #Awareness #awarenessribbon #newidea
My thought is to the mental health community, in particular, people with lived experience.
What do you think of adding a white stripe to the existing green mental health awareness ribbon to indicate LivedExperience of having a mental health issue/condition/problem.
As a mental health clinician with LE, I thought it would be helpful to people with mental health problems seeking help from a clinician to recognise this fact. #MentalHealth #awarenessribbons #livedexperience #raisingawareness #reducestigma
I'm sick of the NAMI moms.
You are not a peer.
My lived experience is first hand.
*This* is mental illness. #Schizophrenia #Psychosis #medicationmanagement #treatment #Support #SupportGroups #Vent #venting #Irritated #notBPD #Disability #peer #livedexperience #contrary #power #powerstruggles #Voice #genuine #authenticity #Autonomy #inourownvoice