24 Jun Jody’s Recovery Story
For those of you who don’t know me on a personal level, I have a mental illness. For those of you that do know me, well you know my mental illness, it explains a lot.
With that being said, my mental illness is not the same as Jim’s or Suzie’s mental illness. Just because your friend/family member has a mental illness does not mean it is the same as mine. There is no book that is called “Jody’s Mental Illness 101″ for those who come into contact with me that explains each and every facet of my mental illness and all the nuances that come with it.
It is all part of being an individual, to be treated as an individual.
I was told this weekend just because my mental illness causes me to do or say some things that it doesn’t excuse me from either a) getting into trouble or b) not hurting another person.
You see mental illness is not an excuse, just like cancer is not an excuse, asthma is not an excuse and if we are being honest, stupidity is not an excuse. It is my mental illness and I need to own it, no matter what owning it may or may not look like.
Just because your mental illness is different than mine doesn’t mean that you are any better or worse than I am. For example, on top of having an everyday mental illness I am also dealing with some physical ailments. When I say “my head hurts”, it isn’t just a phrase, it really hurts. I get to a point each night where talking, listening to anything and light just makes my head hurt. I generally do not talk on the phone after 9:00 pm and I find that text or email conversations are hard too.
This doesn’t make me special nor does it mean I deserve preferential treatment, but I do advocate on my behalf so that I am not put into a position that is uncomfortable or difficult.
As my friend, colleague, or family member, you should know that this is my mental illness, not yours. It is not your place to ask me if I am taking my medication (no matter how much you wonder) and it is not your place to ask me if I have seen my doctor. What you can do is see if I am okay, if I need to talk or just say hello and let me know you care. Those things are more important than you realize. In return I will be honest with you about how I feel, what is happening in my life and let you know if or when I do need help.
I am learning the art of self-care when it comes to coping mechanisms. Sometimes that means sleep, walks, cooking, mani/pedi, a massage, eating certain foods, calling friends, watching TV or just doing nothing.
I imagine that some of these things are similar for other individuals with mental illness, but I can’t believe that they are the same.
At the end of the day, don’t judge my mental illness, don’t compare mine to yours and don’t act like the way my mental illness manifests is any better or worse than yours and I promise to do the same.
Remember just like it is your physical or mental health and it is personal to you, it is my mental and physical health that are personal to me.