My Misfit Brain

One sunny afternoon I went to a family and friends’ celebration, and I wanted the earth to swallow me whole. I’d that very week been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety; nobody there knew. Those at the gathering were celebrating religious and political beliefs that were virtually opposite to my markedly less conservative views. I was invited as a relative, and never knew if they really thought I shared their views or if it just didn’t matter. There was a lot of Bible reading, text interpreted to support favorite right-wing politicians. Many emotional speeches on the rightness and beauty of the group’s beliefs also implied that divergent views were stupid, evil or both. I wished I could disappear.

Mental health problems are inconvenient, messy, embarrassing. Incompatible philosophies and tastes, maybe even political or religious views, are sometimes socially acceptable as matters of personal leanings. But being exceedingly depressed or anxious? Lots of people would rather avoid or deny such things, and wish that mental-health patients, even functional ones like me, would keep quiet about it and get over ourselves.

Instead, I got help. I’m very lucky. I have terrific supporters, good doctors and meds. I’ve also recognized that I was already on the fringe before feeling so excluded at that long-ago party; that week’s personal crisis merely magnified it.

Feeling like such a misfit at the party simply exaggerated the real reasons I was miserable: severe depression and anxiety. Apparently I don’t have the balanced body chemistry that lets most people cope rather casually with everyday life. I think that every car on the road is about to crash into me; I have panic attacks in utterly benign situations; I believe everyone around me will reject me if they find out I’m so broken. My logic argues with my anxiety that this is all absolutely ridiculous, yet doesn’t always win.

The support and treatment have been great. I’m not ‘cured’ of being different this way, but for the most part I manage fine. Still, there will always be another odd-one-out party, another trial that seems gigantic though logic reminds me that being odd or upset is inconsequential.

What saved the day for me was to join the children. I discovered a wonderful kind of grace there: the littlest kids don’t care who believes what or who seems left out. While the adults bonded over joys I could never share, I wanted to escape to the car to nurse the emotional paralysis of my terrors in private. Instead, I slipped out to the front porch and sat on the swing in the safer company of kids, and we chattered aimlessly about how much cake and ice cream we all planned to eat. They didn’t care whether I seemed normal or grown-up, or not. Next party, I’ll be heading straight for the porch.

Kathryn at Art-Colored Glasses

 

68 thoughts on “My Misfit Brain

  1. Pingback: A Misfit? I Thnink Not. | A Simple, Village Undertaker

    • Thanks for re-posting, my friend, and I’m glad you grasp my thesis: that we all feel alone or imperfect in our ways, but that it’s worth the struggle to find the ways for coping and conquering. And, as in blogging, for sharing what we learn with others as best we can.

      I’m glad you found something worthy of comment here and look forward to visiting your blog, too!

      Peace,
      Kathryn

    • You’ve also reminded me of a book a friend (Stewart Govig) published years ago, ‘Strong at the Broken Places: Persons with Disabilities and the Church,’ in which he deals with this topic in much deeper ways. I would venture to say that disability of one kind or another is the norm. Yet, in community at its best, we find the strength to overcome or even celebrate our differences.

      Kathryn

  2. I find the company of children very comforting. The senseless chatter and carefree attitude does so much to my psyche in ways adult company never will. Maybe we should be more like children everyday; and Christ did say that was a desirable position. Kids are love personified….that’s exactly as the world should be.
    May I also add that I’ve come to realise that when we open ourselves to our conditions and embrace them, we are able to give others the chance to do the same for us too. No hurt, loneliness or pain there. We have been designed to be sympathetic and caring; give the people around you the opportunity to make your life a lot more colorful.
    Blessings Kathryn 🙂

    • You are so right–kids aren’t so immersed in the culture of judgement yet, and being “safe” as one is among them makes it easier to discover that we can indeed be ourselves and still be liked and loved. That, in turn (along with treatment) made me feel safe again being fully myself even with strangers. Blogging further expands that friendly community, to my joy. So glad to meet you here!

      Blessings,
      Kathryn

  3. I feel exactly the same way at family “parties.” I look forward to them, thinking this time they will be different, but it is always me who is different. I play with the “kids,” whether it is the teens or the toddlers; any age group is better than the one I was born into. They are so well “adjusted” with their conservative views, large bank accounts, health and mental health; and I am doing ok with my liberal views, enough money to get by, poor health and mental health supports. As long as I don’t “bother” them, we can all get along. I feel ya!

    • Thanks for sharing! Two days ago we were at another party, this time with a couple of longtime friends and a whole group of *their* friends whose English was less strong–and we’re both very limited and extremely rusty in our Swedish. Fortunately, it was a whole-family sort of party, so guess who I enjoyed the most! It didn’t hurt at all that the youngest, a tall toddler with few words, was the most eager to interact and wandered over to me for a nice big hug before we all left!! Talk about good medicine. 🙂
      Cheers,
      Kathryn

      • Were you aware that you would keep going to and attracting children at these gatherings on the heels of the party you wrote about or did the awareness come even more strongly in the writing?

      • Actually, I had ‘learned’ it long before either—when visiting my relatives in Europe for the first time, I discovered their little ones had infinite patience with interpreting my baby German, French, Italian and Norwegian, and with teaching me the proper words and phrases. They thought it a game, and probably liked having a Big Person to teach and look after anyhow. The problem for me was in not recognizing that I could extrapolate from those circumstances and use the wisdom and generosity of youth in other ways later. 🙂

  4. It is a very hard thing to deal with mental health and the stigma that attaches to it still is way behind the acceptance of other taboo subjects such as race, religion and gender. I find from personal experience that mental health issues can get me down because my mind tells myself i’m an intelligent guy. If this is the case then why can’t i deal with this aspect of life when so many others “appear to be” I think there are more of us out there than we know about, all because the stigma attached is keep shush about it. Immersed in a world of freedom like a child with no responsibilities, i’d much prefer to join that porch than talk about money, politics or religion. Thanks for the post Holistic.

    • I’m going to let Kathryn reply but to clarify, it was her guest post (as the byline and signature show). I am happy to host and share her story. Thanks for reading, Matt, and the appreciation.

      HW

      • Indeed Holistic, i should have made my reply a little clearer sorry 🙂

        It was a very interesting and courageous post in the first place. Just goes to show that even when battling through tough mental illnesses we can still dig in to find the courage for this and with that comes respect. A true fighter isn’t necessarily the one that always wins, but the one that gets back up when knocked down.

    • As I mentioned to our Village Undertaker friend above, I suspect that nearly all of us feel we’re outsiders or misfits in one or more ways, and we just cover up, cope and carry on as best we can, imagining that everyone else is doing fine and we are the only lost souls. I know from many previous Wayfarer posts here, her own and others’, that there are still many who suffer equally from the divide they sense over race, religion and gender, too, and I wonder if they don’ sometimes feel, if anything, *newly* isolated because, after all, those who don’t seem to feel stigmatized anymore must be “normal” and correct, right? That’s part of the problem with thinking I’m the oddity: if I don’t dare speak up, I won’t ever find out others are in the very same straits. The very condition of social fear and depression that frightens me into silence is the one that can keep me from discovering that there are so many like me, people who will understand quite well what I experience and not judge me for it at all.

      I very much hope you’ll find the same sort of relief, support and community and discover that you, too, have tremendous things to offer. And, by the way, that are indeed an intelligent person–your letter says that plainly enough for us all to see!

      Peace to you,
      Kathryn

  5. thank you for your honesty and a beautiful post. I am sure that there is a large percentage of people with drinking problems that also suffer with depression and/or anxiety. Drinking is a way to self-medicate, so we do this to cover up a lot of uncomfortable horrible symptoms we have, only to have it become a vicious cycle. I’ve always suffered with high anxiety and most recently have suffered panic attacks, with some depression trickled in there as well. I love the way you handled the party, instead of escaping (what I would want to do too!), you spent time with children. Isn’t that the truth, we will get acceptance and love from children every time! They hold the keys to fun, freedom, acceptance, love, and all that is good:)

    • I’ve come to think of mental health as a vast matrix of intersecting lines and points and us mortals occupying different points at very different intersections of them all, not only from each other, but over time ourselves—if that makes the slightest sense. We change, our circumstances change, our bodies change, and our experiences in turn change us. Kids are so much more flexible about that stuff than supposedly more mature people! We still have a lot to learn, don’t we. And yes, we choose to hide behind a wide assortment of masks, whether using chemical crutches of the drink and drug sort or creating false personae to avoid being ‘discovered’ or any number of other subterfuges that we think effectively hide the truth from others and even from ourselves. It really can ‘take a village’ to help any person out of such difficulties, too, so I’ve learned that the only thing I should really fear is *not* letting my true self be known, and *not* asking for help absolutely whenever I need it. May you find help, hope and peace all along your path, too!
      Kathryn

      • You’ve brought to the fore the critical aspect of success in the battle against anything: a network of support and understanding. For which we must make ourself vulnerable. As I mentioned in Part 2 of the Race, Asian cultures are big on saving face (Koreans unbeatable in this regard). This pride of emotional distance I see even in churches where there are a lot of Koreans or Korean-Americans. Talk about shame.

        I love how you sought and gOt help in person. Blogging as we do helps us do away with walls and share some of our deepest thoughts and needs. Actually asking for help takes courage and the beautiful strength of humility.

      • Spot on, Diana. The realization that my worst fear was of asking for help was of course the real breakthrough for me. Maddening that I still forget it and fear it at times, but that’s the way I roll (up into a fetal position and suck my virtual thumb!) too often. 😉

    • One thing I’m afraid I’ve always known about myself is that I have a very low tolerance for what I see as intolerance in others! 😉 So I don’t try to battle opposing views even in my best condition, let alone when I’m at my worst! I’d much rather let apolitical, open-minded little shrimps who haven’t much taste yet for condemnation and disapprobation be my guides than their biased elders, no matter *what* the bias. 😀

      Thanks for commenting!
      Kathryn

  6. “The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” – Mark Twain

    Thank you for your honest story, you are an inspiration.
    All the best, be happy.

    • Mark, you are so kind. Thanks for your generous comment. Your namesake Mr. “Twain” was no slouch in recognizing the best and worst and truest in human nature! 🙂
      Kathryn

  7. Family gathererings are tough. I learned throughout the years that people love their opinions and love to express them to justify their own existence. And that is all it is. Family members are people too. I keep quiet, smile and try not to interfere with their frame of minds. Ideals do change as we get older and sometimes we look back and say, “Wow, did I really use to believe that”?

    • Absolutely so! I fit into that same category myself, and since I abhor arguing and confrontation, I’ve generally opted not to have political, religious or any other sort of ‘controversial’ conversations any time I wasn’t forced into it anyway, for that very reason! So while I feel free to disagree vigorously with people on almost any topic, I will rarely do so outside of my own head, lest I be called upon to make any of those self-justifications. 😉

      Thanks for sharing!
      Kathryn

  8. Thanks for the post, Kathryn. I keep a magnet-saying on my refrigerator that states, “The only normal people are the people you don’t know very well.” It helps remind me that we are all different. I like being not normal but I also recognize that depression is in another league, having been there a few times in my life. But I haven’t had to live with it day in day out. It takes courage to share your story. –Curt

    • Thank you, Curt. What I’ve found out over the years is that what takes *real* courage, for me, is NOT to share my story—when I’m honest and real, it seems that support and friendship and wisdom and love are poured out around me beyond my imaginings. So ‘coming out’ as a perfectly average not-normal, depressed/anxious person is the most healing thing I’ve done since diagnosis. Go figure!

      All best,
      Kathryn

  9. My brokenness was painted onto me, layer by layer, as I grew from a child to an adult. To this day, I can’t answer the question of whether I would still have lived a life complicated by bipolar disorder, chronic depression, and dissociative disorder, had I not been severely abused growing up. Perhaps those conditions would have existed either way. The only malady I can specifically point to is PTSD, as those incidents are directly related to the abuse.

    Oddly enough, as I’ve grown and worked my way through finding a comfortable way to exist within the “odd one out” syndrome, I’m beginning to realize, more and more, that it doesn’t matter at all from whence it came, but rather, how I find my way through. I will never, no matter what or how far I travel, be able to erase what came before, but if I can spend some time quietly enjoying the company of children on the porch, then I can make it through another day.

    (posted duplicate comment over at Art-Colored Glasses)

    • Once again you’ve said it perfectly, my dear. Yours is a clear instance where there is some cause/effect in action, yet as you say, there’s no way to positively determine if *all* of the effects result directly from the childhood and youthful abuse or if those were contributing, exacerbating and/or catalytic factors. Regardless, your situation is yours alone, just as my far less complex one is mine, and we simply are who/what/where we are and have to find our way forward from that point each day. I admire all that you do in working toward that end. It will always be an uphill road for you, I know, but recognizing that you’re not alone even when you are unique is part of the survival skill set that has the best chance of success, I believe. You are beautiful. Be blessed!
      Kathryn

      • Key: the recognition and then acceptance that some things will remain an uphill journey for us. Then we can hurry and identify creative ways to adapt and gain support.

      • Absolutely. Would that we could wiggle our noses like TV magicians and POOF!, stay cured forever, but that isn’t the way life generally works. So we press on, with the help of a host of companions and advisors and other loving souls. Fortunately.

  10. Excellent post….I also find the company of children to be most enjoyable. Having suffered from anxiety up until the age of 40, I know how debilitating it can be. For the past 28 years I have lived a life free of anxiety, but still prefer the company of children or like minded people:) Thank you.x

    • See that? I think you sensed my childlike nature when we first met here in cyberspace! Only when we have escaped from the worst of anxiety do we ever get to understand exactly how that holds us prisoner (in a similar fashion, I suppose to the way that a blind-from-birth person can imagine something of what it is to see but until the surgery that grants sight cannot fully guess the impact of being a Sighted Person). We are fragile creatures! But in the broader community, despite our being genuinely unique, we have much in common as well, and that in itself is a comfort. I know that I value the companionship of sensible, sensitive, gracious souls like you tremendously in my daily journey, Janet!
      xo,
      Kathryn

  11. Kathryn, I empathize and identify so much with the hurt and pain here. I, too, was sidelined by my family for years. I used to hang out with my nephews, as they always made me laugh. Clinical depression is not easy to manage. There is still a stigma around that and other mental illness, particularly in “church,” where there should be the most compassion. There’s always the dilemma of who to trust.

    Thank you for your generous and honest words, and for trusting us with your story. Getting the right kind of help is so important in managing our illness. Having support lifts us up to a place of realizing we are not an illness, but have one.

    • It’s certainly perfectly stated when you say that illness is not who we are but what we have; odd, simply, that it can take so long for us to recognize it! And yes, being a preacher’s kid, I can verify your assertion that churches can be remarkably far from their ostensible center when it comes to showing understanding and compassion. I am fortunate that even when I’ve been in the midst of churches whose theology was far from my own I was never ostracized personally, but I’ve sure seen it in action many a time: easy to talk the talk of Faith but not so simple to walk the walk, eh! Only by admitting to our own weakness, perhaps, can we free not only ourselves from such bondage but others who might not have even known they needed permission and acceptance too.

      Thanks for your kind words!
      Kathryn

    • Much as having a depressive “crash” was my catalyst for discovering that I had lifelong anxiety and getting help and treatment for both, I discovered that in my case, the anxiety was more what ruled my life than the depression. Surprising! (Maybe not to a mental health professional or expert, but definitely to me.) In any event, I am glad beyond words that I essentially ‘fell into’ that discovery, and was motivated to be quite honest about it with anyone who asked.

      Since then I’ve shared with family, friends, students, colleagues, and a lot of otherwise complete strangers, and every single time something good and useful comes of the discussion, almost always an admission of need from my correspondent, and the ability to say that there can be hope even in seemingly solitary places and impenetrable depths. There are arms and hearts that seem able to reach anywhere, but we have to let them. I had to be so terrified, myself, of losing all ability to manage a plain daily life that I overcame my abhorrence of asking for help and sought counseling (and ultimately, accepted that my personal status required altering my body chemistry to enable functional healing, which was also extremely difficult to concede)—only such deep fear finally got me to come crawling for the rescue I so needed. But there it was, and is: not a self-help magical spell but a circle of human angels and wise professionals all coming together for the sole purpose of saving little old me.

      I wish for *you* such beauty and joy, as well. Blessings,
      Kathryn

      • Thanks so much for this nice comment. You had the courage to come out with your own story and now it is helping others. So congrats on that. I will def be back to your blog…

  12. Thank you Kathryn for your brave post and for sharing your story about a subject that is so often misunderstood. My 21 year old daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome (diagnosed when she was 18) which causes her severe social anxiety and crippling panic attacks, such that she can’t leave the house without me and hasn’t been able to do anything outside her immediate family circle for the past 3 years. Her entire life is online other than that. Such is her inability to go outside that she was recently diagnosed with a severe Vitamin D deficiency. She receives professional help and of course our love and support within a safe, happy home life, but I am very aware that there are others who don’t understand why she can’t just deal with things and be like other 21 year olds, going out, partying and working. She tried it all but it almost destroyed her. She feels permanently excluded from a society that doesn’t have much in common with her ‘thinking outside the box’ views, beliefs and feelings. Yet, she is wise, creative and beautiful, articulate, intelligent and soulful with so much to offer the world…
    Depression affects people in different ways and I don’t think a lot of people get that. As in…”But she can’t be depressed, she is always laughing at parties and the life and soul”. What they don’t see is that when ‘she’ is back home, she collapses with the sheer mental exhaustion of it all and can barely function for days afterwards…
    I’m so glad that you have the support you need to help you through a very difficult time Kathryn and that you were able to find a ‘way out’ at that party. Sometimes, the porch is the very best place to be…
    Hugs…Sherri

    • Sweet Sherri, I’m grateful for your kind words. And even more grateful to know that your beautiful daughter has the love, support and insight of such stalwart family. As many before me have said, it’s one thing to have a visible wound so that everybody believes in it and recognizes how much impact it has on you, but to have an internal wound, especially one that may leave you *apparently* functional if and when you have the will and strength to do so, is frequently seen as silly self-diagnosis, self-centered laziness, or simply imaginary. Just as we can’t prove anything else that’s invisible is real and powerful—say, Love, for example—we have to wave the banners of our faith in it, and even more so, of faith in our ability together to claim or conquer what’s needed.

      Healing, hope and joy to your daughter and all who love her!
      Kathryn

      • So beautifully put Kathryn and I thank you very much for your sweet, kind words for my daughter. Bless you for taking the time to leave such a heartfelt message and I would say the very same to you…for all the healing, hope and joy in restoration and every blessing. Hugs to you… 🙂

    • Ah, so you’re a tree-hugger too! Yes, all of your comforts are ones I find aid me on my sojourn as well. What great gifts we have in the natural world, if we have the strength and patience to embrace them! Many thanks for your good wishes! Peace to you as well, my friend.
      Kathryn

  13. Wonderfully articulate! In this post, you’ve expertly captured everything I always feel at ANY party or public get-together – – not just family events. I have never thought of hanging with kids but now it seems the ideal way to handle my anxiety. Except for those events that are adult only….hmmmmm, what to do then? I know! Since I’m single, the invites always include “escort.” I’ll just bring a friendly, non-judgmental neighborhood child with me! After all, they don’t specify how old my companion needs to be! Thank you for this!!

    • Miss M, I (oops) missed your comment earlier. But I think you would benefit from the same wonderful advice Mom gave me about those grownups-only events. I end up attending quite a few receptions, programs and such, where there’s ample opportunity for my social anxiety to peek out or even peak, and I might not be in such a good place emotionally today if my mother hadn’t given me a great tip from her similar experiences.

      When you get in that big, crowded, busy room and feel overwhelmed at the chaos and unfamiliarity and numbers and so forth, look around the perimeter for anyone who looks similarly petrified. It happens constantly. In fact, I find that many times I’m stunned by how *many* others visibly share my desire to disappear into the wallpaper. But now, I take Mom’s little trick of seeking out another anxiety sufferer quite seriously, and find that if I make comforting *that person* and helping him or her through the event my whole focus and goal, I don’t have the time and energy to spiral into my own pit of despair.

      Usually, all it takes is gently introducing myself and admitting that I’m out of my depth there, and we start talking, even if tentatively, about what we’d rather be doing or something similar, and usually the time passes a thousand times faster than it would have if I’d stayed huddled on the fringe, and sometimes I feel as if I’ve found a kindred spirit in the process. I put a post about it on my own blog some time ago. http://artcoloredglasses.com/2011/12/24/the-one-person-more-lost-than-me/

      If you don’t find it helpful, I hope you at least find it amusing. 😉

      My best to you,
      Kathryn

      • ahh, why didn’t I think of the Misery Loves Company tact? I usually volunteer to help the hostess but I end up really working much harder than I intended! Off to read this post of yours!
        Stephanie

      • I suspect the reason you didn’t think of it is the exact reason *I* didn’t either: why would people with social anxiety think of approaching total strangers as a possible road to relief!!! But the redirecting of focus from self and suffering to attempting to ease *another’s* suffering is the key, isn’t it!
        xo,
        K

  14. Hi Kathryn! Thank you for your openness and honesty in your post. It is very brave of you to publicly share your story. It struck me while reading that the exclusiveness of your family/friends’ discussions were pretty typical of those who are strongly religious. I have a great deal of faith in God, who is inclusive, but am very wary of religions which are typically exclusive. How the adherents justify this is beyond me. My thought is that if there were friends and/or relatives at the party who knew you, they should have been aware when you were uncomfortable or feeling excluded. It is typical of exclusionary thinking to be self-absorbed and promote/defend your own views and not take the time to see others either feelings or views. That exclusionary (religion, money, wealth, etc are all exclusionary ) perspective would acerbate your feelings of disconnectedness. Like some of the other commenters, I would not have had the wherewithall to stay and seek out the children. I congratulate you on your strength in finding a place of acceptance with in the party. And, indeed, children are naturally inclusionary. Their wonder and joy at the world is contagious. Oddly enough, they too will seek out adults who share those qualities. You’ve probably noticed that children and animals tend to gravitate towards you – they have an intrinsic ability to recognize this openness. Which says a great deal about your personality – a great deal positive.

    I’m glad that you are seeking help to “normalize” your reponses. It will likely give you some peace of mind and allow you to grow further.That too took strength to seek out that help. Thanks again for sharing with us – your strength is obvious.

    • So kind and generous of you, Paul! I know and am very glad and grateful that I have had a much easier path toward (I won’t say ‘to’—that sounds more permanent than life’s conditions of any kind usually are!) better health and balance. But as a person with a majority of relatives being quite different from me in my political, religious and social perspectives yet not courageous about expressing my differences, and also as a person who’s spent much time in various church settings seeing both the best and the worst of humanity expressed there, I can say that I sympathize strongly with your wonder at the urge to be exclusionary. I suppose we all fight it in one way or another, and probably from both sides of the equation at times, but I hope too that those of us who have ever felt like the outsider learn from it to be more sensitive to such things. You clearly have that insight, and I thank you for my part and any others’ you have aided in that way.

      Peace and comfort be *yours* as well, my friend!
      Kathryn

  15. Because of ever present and severe pain I have to confess to reaching a stage where I agreed to let the doctor treat me for depression. I found that the medications prescribed had side effects which were as hard to bear as constant pain. So I gave up on medication and determined to pull myself up by my boot straps and look for the positive in life. It’s not an easy thing to do and one needs to look for other ways to beat that black hole very diligently. Those who have to endure the ailment or the medications have my sympathies.

    • Dear Ian, I am so sorry that you have suffered the double curse. I am one of the very fortunate ones for whom there turned out, rather quickly, to be medication that helped me with only extremely minor and very livable side effects. My therapist and doctor were both exceedingly attentive and vigilant (and perhaps a bit lucky) and found medication that not only balanced my synaptic chemistry but did so in a way that was quite contrary to the horror stories I knew so well, from friends and strangers alike, in which the lost sense of self was so profound on meds that they preferred to suffer the worst of their depression unmedicated despite all risks and pain. I, on the other hand, discovered what it was to feel like my whole self for the first time in my life, at about the age of forty or so. It was quite astounding, to be honest. I fervently hope that at some point you, too, will find the particular kind of healing and comfort that you need and want.

      Peace, Friend.
      Kathryn

      • Thank you, I believe that given the right diet, exercise and sensible life style one can lessen the effects of illness. The mind has a powerful influence over the body so ignoring the mind and its health is unwise to say the least. I know of others who have gone the course with meds and it has helped them get back up on top of life. Fortunately those who seek treatment are in the majority of those who have come through their deep valley. But there are some who meds cause more distress than the ailment. lol. The pressure of our modern lifestyle has a huge impact on our health. I managed a large hospital prior to retirement and at that time depression was the third largest health issue in this country. It surprised me to learn that.

      • You clearly had an unusual window through which to see this particular perspective, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to learn that the phenomenon is even more extensive. So ingrained in human nature to hide what we think is bad and wrong about ourselves! So backwards, in the end. I hope for you that you’ll continue to find the ways that are best for you to move ever closer to your best health and joy, whatever it takes.
        K

    • Thank you, Bronwyn; your middle name is entirely apropos, I can tell, for your words bring joy. I can’t claim that any sort of brilliance of my own gave me such a solution, but am nonetheless grateful that it presented, and that it has proven useful more than once. As has the gift of strong and wise and kind community like what we find here at AHJ. Many thanks for being such a gift!
      Kathryn

  16. Thank you for your honesty, something which is rare and extremely difficult, even in the 21st century, when it comes to the reality of mental health. Your story and its continuing narrative will, I have no doubt, resonate with many who read it.

    • Thanks, Julia! While I do find it mystifying that anything so common as, well, *un*-common mental status should be in any way taboo, I have lost my own fear of discussing it quite openly, and the more I do, the more I find that each of us has inner parts that we fear aren’t normal or suitable or acceptable, at least at times. Everyone but the most deluded narcissist has moments of knowing herself the Outsider and imperfect, so it seems to me that it’s not only a good part of my therapy to talk freely with anyone who might offer insight and inspiration, sometimes I accidentally offer those things to *others* who thought themselves alone in the experience. It’s so much commoner than conversation would imply! And the more that I know I’m not alone, the more compelled I feel to share what hope I’ve found in acceptance—by others as well as by myself. I thank you for your kind words.
      Kathryn

  17. I congratulate you on your honesty and transparency. Our family has been dealing with the severe depression and bipolar disorder (and anxiety and addiction) of our daughter. There ARE those of us who believe putting it all “out there” is critical to coping. My prayers are with you.

    • Thank you, Kathy. What your daughter and family have as challenges are powerful and difficult ones, to be sure, but the very assertion that you don’t hide and whisper but openly work toward resolution and healing says that you will have the best chance of accomplishing those goals. God be with you at every step of the journey, my friend! My hopes and prayers will walk alongside you as well.
      Peace and joy,
      Kathryn

  18. Seems to me what you felt was pretty normal in that situation. It would have had me running for the door too. The black pit of depression is hard to climb out of but you’d be surprised how many of us do 🙂

  19. Bi-polar, still medicated, age 73. Falling off the wagon, or down into depression, is so easy to do. You have relayed what I have had or been exposed to for a long time. Then, finally, the family was able to understand. Thank you for sharing. I shall look forward to your writings.

    • James, I know that just getting *on* the wellness wagon is a tough accomplishment for anyone with depressive issues, for a number of very good reasons. So I’m impressed that you have made the effort and continue to ‘fight the good fight’ for your health and well being. It will never be easy, but the fact that you’re here and willing to admit to your struggles says that you have the best kind of chances of success in the long term. I wish you all good things in your ongoing work to find the right balance for your own peace and well-being. All best to you!
      Kathryn

My Two Gold Cents in the Holistic Treasury

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