By Monica C. Voskamp
Bell Let’s Talk Day.
The irony is I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to talk about the awful days, the dark days. Do people really want to know that? I’m sure it’d be an interesting read…but it’s more than that. Its my REALITY, and many others.
It’s a read for you for one day. It’s the struggle for me, for others with mental health struggles *every* day. We are being vulnerable, bearing our souls. For the “sane” group, they will for ONE day of a year of 365 days, they say will listen, they will advocate, they won’t judge, they won’t jest. They will give compassion, awareness, money pledges. They will give a full ear for one day.
I suppose one day is something.
But last year and the one before, I just couldn’t push past the dark curtains to write about mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day. It hurts. It’s bringing up a sh*tload of dark for just one day. One day…the people will listen, but will they read my, our stories and then judge the other 364 days of the year? It’s a huge risk and calls for crazy courage to be this vulnerable for one day.
One day we get to talk. So I can sit here frickin’ afraid, or I can open my story and hope in the day I do get, my story will make a difference.
Bell Let’s Talk…
Who wants to expose their soul?
Who wants to share their dark?
A dark this world can’t understand.
God I hear you world…I wouldn’t be able to understand either. I would probably judge. I would be scared if I saw me, the story of me. I would avoid me if I was you too. I would shake my head in disbelief…IF I was on the outside.
I hate that I’m not on the outside. 😥
I’m on the inside of this crazy mixed up distorted world. I try everything it takes to keep up a facade. The facade says I’m okay; I haven’t seen such dark days. I want you to believe I haven’t walked the haunted alleys of mania. depression. paranoia. anxiety. But I have.
My emotions grow cold, I want to shut down right now as I think of that part of me. Why would I want to talk about such a horrible thing? Do people really want to connect with someone like me??
Me whose been laughed at by paramedics, shrugged off by the nurses, wondering lost in the city, hallucinated blood dripping and spiders crawling on the ceiling, ripped my clothes to try strip naked. You really want to hear from me whose been locked up in a prison of a hospital room?
Do you really want to know this world? Would you look at me the same if you knew my story? Would nurses, paramedics, police officers and the every day people actually interact with more compassion if they heard my story, the stories of us mental health illness warriors?
I don’t know. My experience says not.
Why should I put my souls dark journey out there if nothing can be gained? And what if the little I have is lost?
But maybe these words are not for the outside world. Maybe these words are for you, fellow mental health sufferers. Maybe this is for the ones who know the demons. The ones who have seen demons..distorted faces..distorted images..heard voices from unseen faces..and been haunted relentlessly.
Maybe my talking is to assure you others on the inside, you aren’t the only one braving hell on earth. You aren’t the only one who has had to be drugged up, locked away. You aren’t the only one terrified of another day.
Connection. I like the Bell Let’s Talk Day notion.
Connection is what we humans desperately need.
But how do you outside connect with us people who are so alien to you? Do you really want to connect with us? My stomach tightens and churns. I think of all I have lost, all I have missed out, all the mistakes I’ve made because of this screwed up alien that lives in my blood. This alien blood has poisoned my DNA.
This tainted blood of mental illness.
It’s been called other things, like demon possession. But, I am a *human* people, not a demon. I may not be angelic ha. I may not get things right, but I’m not something to be laughed at when that alien blood breaks lose. It’s not my fault, it’s not my choice…it’s my deepest agony.
I can’t make the world understand. I really can’t. I shudder at the stories. I don’t want to recollect them…. Stories of not living in reality. Stories of hellishness. Stories I wish to forget.
Why does the earth want to hear these? I’m doing my best to pretend I have nothing to do with such bizarre. I’m doing my best to keep a pretty face. I’m doing my best to hope those demons never manifest again. But they could. They have. The medications didn’t stop them. The doctors didn’t understand. I’ve scared my family, my friends. I’ve ruined my reputation. Thank God, for now the alien is dormant again. But I never know when it will activate as much as I try watch for signs. It’s a unpredictable evil that way.
When alien blood of mental illness breaks loose, I’m alone. You’re alone. We are together in our alone-ness I suppose. We are in a world other than planet earth. This is the scariest thing I know.
Why, why do we get to experience hell on earth? I’m already terrified of the afterlife hell, but here, what are the odds I get to battle this fiery unseen but oh so real monster that terrifies me. It overtakes me for a time. Then mortifies me when it’s alien blood has resided. I’m left with the aftermath.
I wish I could get a blood transfusion and empty all that horror out.
I wish I could guarantee no one else will experience any more of mental agony. But I can’t.
I don’t’ like Bell Let’s Talk Day. It stirs up too much pain. It opens the door to let the ghosts of my past come alive again, when I want them to stay far away. It reminds me those ghosts can come back again. It reminds me those ghosts were very real.
It’s a nice notion, in the dead of winter, that someone decides to point out people suffer from mental health. But the dead of winter happens to be a pretty depressive time already. Why I’m even writing about this I don’t know….other than to prove one more thing won’t hold me down. I write because I want to prove to myself I can face my fears..I can face my fears while dead afraid.
World, you don’t know how agonizing this is. But I’ll say thank you.
*Thank you for attempting to understand.* To you who has lost a loved one because they couldn’t live the torture of mental illness, thank you for vocalizing your hurt. I don’t know that side, the outside. I don’t know watching someone you love hurt themselves, kill themselves, loose control of themselves and try navigate this road of hell in the realm of earth. Thank you for those of you who stuck about, even if your loved one choose the suicide route. Thank you for staying there till the last breathe.
Gosh, you got me crying now. Steady streams of tears. Because now I’m realizing, its not just for us who have mental health illnesses. It’s also for you who have walked alongside us. You didn’t walk out, even though you didn’t understand. You were someone who still loved us, even though we weren’t anything near lovable or reasonable. Thank you for never giving up, even though some of us on the inside do.
Please know we fight hard as the hell itself to stay here. To stay here with you. We do. We fight every single day of this 365 day year. And then we do it again.
And this one day, this day of January 30th, you get to mourn too. Openly you get to acknowledge your pain, your agony of loving someone who has this alien blood. You are my hero. You bring me a smile. Thank you…<3
I thought of suicide one too many times. But I have to remember the ones on planet earth who- though you don’t understand- you wish you could. You would move the stars to reach into our bottomless pit and pull us out. I know you can’t possible reach us here. I’d be asking the impossible. But thank you for trying, for wanting to try. That is more than commendable and takes a different kind of strength. Know it means the world that you do.
This Bell Let’s Talk Day is also for you. Please share your story. Please say how you have loved and lost. Because you deserve to be heard too. We have a distinctly different mind, yours isn’t broken and distorted. But you know the pain of seeing people you love break. You’ve watched them get sucked down a hellish pit.
I’m sorry I can’t assure you that our lives will end happily. The most I can do is say thank you. Thank you for every time you didn’t judge. Thank you for every time you respected our strange ramblings and dark shadowed days. Every time you treated us with dignity even when we weren’t clothed and seeing things untold, you choose connection, you choose to give us love.
You chose to see us, not the alien blood.
Thank you for still being there when we came back to planet earth’s reality. These tears are running warm. And I suppose that’s good. Tears are a healing thing right?
My words on this mental health day? Please never give up on me, on us. Believe beyond what we see. We need you to. Because the demons we face, the battles that rage are too much for us alone. We need you. And I’d like to think somehow you need us too.
God, I wish to think that’s true. Do you? Do you need us in this world? I can’t stop these sobs shaking me. I try hold them back. This is exactly what I didn’t want to raise, this buried tortured pain.
I may never get to do all the things I wish I could. I may never get to lead the life that’s beyond my realm. But I can request this, since it is Bell Let’s Talk Day. I can take advantage of this one day where the lines are clearly open.
You are listening. So hear me, hear us.
Please don’t walk away and forget.
Please try remember we are also human, we just have a little alien blood running through our veins. Please remember us. We come in many different shapes, ages, races, and various occupations.
In this twisted world, let us know so big you remember us. Even if we get one day, it is ONE whole day. It’s one day we are acknowledged.
Maybe on this day, you won’t stare at our alien blood, rather you’ll look into our equally human eyes.
Look into my pools of dutch-eyed blue that sparkle sunshine while hiding dark stories. Maybe today is when you look into our eyes and honestly say, I need, I want you in my life too.
Just one day, just today, show us 100%. Let us know you value the mental health warriors and carry a respect for them that runs deeper than the hell we face. If January 30th once a year is the chance we get to let the lines speak openly, then let’s.
Since you’re listening, I lower my mask and speak.
Always believe. Always hope. Always know love will be. ❤