I have been thinking a lot about mental health lately… There is SO much talk about it which I think is great, but I still believe some don’t get it. There was a post on Facebook recently and the person was writing about how the term mental illness is not broad enough and that we have been conditioned to ” Think Alive”, but not to ” Feel Alive”. I could not agree more with that statement. I started thinking about my life growing up, my mother for sure had some problems and struggles with mental health before she actually got sick with Lupus, she had at one point tried to take her own life, something I did not find out about till later on in life, and then there was my sister… She at the end could not get away from the demons and took her own life. I have always wondered why I am different than my whole family and to be honest I think it is because I always felt SO much, I always have processed things so much differently than they did. I look at my sister, we were raised the same way, parented the same, got everything equal, yet she always thought we had a bad life and would always tell me bad things about my parents. For quite sometime I wondered if I had blocked all these bad things out and questioned my childhood. I did counseling more times than I can count and always knew I was ok. That in reality, it was my sister’s way of thinking that was not. She was the type who always blamed someone or somebody for anything that she could. Never taking ownership for her own actions or doings. She was a great student, graduated from Gustavus with high honors and had a bright future ahead of her. She got married to a great guy who was becoming a doctor, had two kids and in the end, threw it all away…. She was in Hazelden twice while she was married and that still did nothing for her, she always had an excuse for everything. I never understood how she could NOT get over anything, why I was not like this and she was. She eventually was divorced and as he could not have the kids around all of this. She gave up the rights of her kids, something I think is imaginable and to this day still struggle with. She bounced around for so long, doing God knows what. At some point I completely cut ties with her. I had to, it was becoming unhealthy for me, believe me it was a hard day, my only sibling, but something I do not regret. The day I got the call from her daughter, my beautiful niece saying she had passed away and they believed it was by her own choice, was a sad day, but honestly I always knew this is how it would end for her.
Fast forward to my life… Like I said before I always knew I was different from my whole family and always wondered why there were so many grudges against others and why no one ever seemed happy. My mom stopped talking to her parents and her only sister and nothing seemed to change. I thought and viewed everything so differently than they did. I almost would say I felt like an outcast in my own family. BUT, the one thing I will always say and believe my parents did the best they could with the tools and up bringing they received. I realized and still realize today that it is the way you look and process things. If you are always thinking the worst of people, that is what you will see. If you believe the world is out to get you, well then it probably will. Do I believe mental illness is also a genetic thing? I guess, I have never really looked into it much, but that is one thing my sister used for a long time… Saying it ran in our family as each side had substance abuse and problems. Again, if you keep repeating a cycle there is NO way anything can or will ever change. Do I believe medicine is an answer, yes, in some instants. My older daughter has been on Prozac for about 8 months now and I do see a huge change in her, is it the meds? Or is it counseling? Or is it getting the right information to her, teaching her things and being real and open? Maybe a combination? I just have known since I was a mom that I wanted more and better for my kids, not because I don’t feel mine did a good job, but that I wanted the cycle to end! I share probably too much sometimes, but they will never move ahead in life ever saying my mom wasn’t real with me, my mom didn’t teach me to look at life in a different way. I now know today I did break the cycle in SO many ways. I know I have gone through everything for so many reasons, and really the biggest one is for my kids. They have seen me go through a lot of life, seen me cry countless times, break down, fall down, whatever, but they have seen a person go through all of this and still rise to being the best they can be. I feel alive, the only way I want to be. Life gives everyone so many different paths, it is feeling, truly feeling what is the best one. If you believe and feel anything is possible, well it is. Why would you ever want to think otherwise? I have said this many times, things don’t always go how you would like them too, we all get lonely, scared, mad, so many emotions, it is how you feel and think about them. I know why I didn’t end up like my family, because I chose to think and feel differently on so many things that happened to me. I am not saying I am right and an expert, I just know what has gotten me from point A to now, and really what has allowed me and continues to allow me to Feel Alive in life, grow, and love it all.