It’s 1:33am and I’m still up. I’m on my second Monster Energy drink of the day. I’m dog sitting Lily because mom is in the hospital and has been for a few weeks. Dad goes to see her, I take Lily on the weekends. This weekend I’m working on computers for my job, partially because I am stressed, but mostly because it’s what I can control. That’s my coping mechanism when I’m up against something I can’t fight. I take something I think I can control and start wreaking havoc.
I’m also chatting with a friend of mine on Facebook. We talk daily. But with both our lives being a circus lately, we are catching up more frequently just to stay current. He’s been having medical issues, and I’ve been updating him on my mom and mother-in-law, both of which are fighting medical battles of their own.
He and I were going back and forth on whether or not he wanted to write an article regarding his newest hassle, and it got me thinking. There’s this movie that came out recently, The Meg. It will definitely get it’s own post, because I can’t love this cheesy movie enough. But for now, suffice to say it’s a new shark movie starring a carcharadon megladon, and in the spirit of both Deep Blue Sea and JAWS. Anyway, there’s this great scene where Li Bingbing and Jason Statham are having a moment. I don’t want to give anything away, but basically she judged his efficacy as a hero on an incident in the past that she heard second-hand. Based on a new incident, that she was actually present for, her whole opinion of him changes. Still with me? What’s great is the quiet moment where he looks at her and says something to the effect of, “It’s not easy. Being the one who survives.”
Arguably one of the better lines in the movie overall, but an unexpected truth. You see, I work as a hardware technician for a mental health and addictions counseling agency, and I’ve been very open lately about my own struggles with mental health. Talking about your own struggles tends to open other people up, with the effect that you wind up sharing battle scars and talking shop survival shop. One truth that I’ve found is that across the board people tend to say they’re different after their struggles. They evaluate their jobs, friendships, and relationships differently. For better or worse, it’s an eye opener.
“It’s not easy. Being the one who survives.” But damn, ain’t that the truth? I don’t think that we give enough credit to the people who survive every day with bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia. Depression. Anxiety. OCD. ADHD. PTSD. Those are a just a few of the various diagnoses. In fact, there’s a whole book just devoted to mental illnesses.
But part of the problem is that the conversation only seems to come to light when we lose a celebrity. When someone high profile loses their battle. But in the meantime the stigma and the shame remains.
It’s not easy…keeping your illness hidden and holding down a job.
It’s not easy…getting out of bed and facing the day.
It’s not easy…trying to keep it together when everything is falling apart.
It’s not easy…finding the correct medication/therapy/coping mechanism/doctor/hospital/shrink/counselor.
It’s not easy…being the one who survives.
But it’s always worth it.