‘Oh, does it hurt? I forgot to ask!’

A man resting on a chair

 

The story of Cinderella is a brilliant example, albeit a sad one, of how people ignore as well as shy away from raw reality.

When one reads or even thinks of the fairytale of a beautiful young lady, (Cinderella in this instance) – who finds her charming Prince, living in an ostentatious castle, (but it’s beautiful right?)  dressed in the finest garb, hair perfectly styled, absolutely she’s blonde (what else?), beaming with joy. That is what they love, and that is what they perceive. Only.

Let’s take the story of Cinderella;

Of course it’s only a fairytale, but if we’re to ‘enjoy’ the finer bits, the ‘feel good’ pieces of the story, then we should embrace the entire story.

The fact that Cinderella scrubbed floors all day on hands and knees with a brush, probably having cracked, dirty and broken fingernails as a result, including hard hands which, if you think about it, is very unflattering, does not enter into people’s minds. Cinderella had to sew her Step Mother and Step Sisters clothing by hand, which meant she’d suffered more than a few pricks from needles. Perhaps her hands often bled? Her clothes were tattered and torn, and I imagine, her hair wasn’t all that clean and definitely not styled. She had no friends, and was made to sleep in the attic.

Viewing Cinderella in this light, how do you now perceive her? Do these raw realities of a child being subject to pain, hard work, exhaustion, and perhaps eating only scraps, make you want to read the story of Cinderella, if no Prince was coming along, no fancy castle, just, broken fingernails, torn clothing and perhaps dirty hair, still have you  reading this story to your children at bedtime? Well, I imagine not. This is an example of  life’s realities, in their truest and rawest forms.

When people ask someone about how he or she lives with any sort of pain or disorder, more often than not, it is out of curiosity, not care. They want to see and hear about the hero in you. The juicy bits where you’re coping against all odds. They don’t want the raw reality of the suffering you endure. Oh God no, that would just be yucky, wouldn’t it? Ruin the entire illusion.

Another example is this; If you’ve suffered a horrific car accident, and end up in a wheelchair, paralysed from the waist down, needing a carer 24/7, including help with going to the toilet, do they really want to know these things? Your bedsores, the pus that seeps onto your bedsheets, because your carer has somehow forgotten to help you turn, the constant ghost feelings in your legs, which are driving you crazy, as well as depressing you, the poo bag you have strapped to your side, because you cannot feel the urge when it’s time for a number 2? Oh no! please no! Will they even enquire or want to hear you share your sorrow, fear and pain? 

No.

They want to know how it happened?  Who was involved? Is your car a write off? ‘I hope the accident fund pay you out well’ (silently wishing for you to give them a share of your loot), and what happened to the ‘other person, who was involved?’ did he or she die? and that’s about it. Perhaps they’ll ask about other juicy bits, like ‘were there witnesses? and ‘whose fault was it?’…..

They won’t ask you ‘where does it hurt?’ They won’t caringly enquire about bedsores in an effort to help,  and if you bring this up, they’ll quickly change the subject, trying to hide their uncomfortable feelings of disgust.  They certainly don’t want to hear about the bag strapped to your side, which if said carer doesn’t change, the content of your feces will spill onto your clothes, causing a horrific mess and smell. And God forbid this should happen when they visit!! They’ll run calling for the carer, and then make up an excuse to leave immediately.

Will they be interested in any pain, depression, sadness, you might be feeling? or the loss of loved one’s who’ve left because ‘they simply couldn’t take anymore of you crying at night’, I mean, seriously, ‘get over it’! You have a carer don’t you? You’re waited on hand and uh…foot! Shit happens man, just get a grip already!‘ they’ll yell.

If you mention wanting a manicure, I imagine the answer would be ‘why?’ they’re so expensive and you’re not going anywhere special are you?’  having lost sight that you’re still human. With feelings and a heart that beats, albeit to a different drum.

Yup. The raw realities. Who wants them? Let’s cut to the part where you miraculously heal, as spinal surgery has come a long way, and you’re the ‘lucky’ one, who was operated on successfully,  and to everyone’s delight, you have the use of your legs again! You don’t need the bag for feces strapped to your side anymore, and you certainly won’t suffer bedsores. What a beautiful ending! (but the ending began when you had the accident, something most couldn’t comprehend). oh wait, they’ll throw in a lot of ‘God is so good!‘ (um, ok, so why did I have the accident then? subject to shame and terror?’)

That’s the part that’ll have them proud to ‘be your friend’.  Your loved one will probably rush back home, especially once you’ve received a massive payout from the accident fund, citing how he/she was, at the time, suffering deep depression, and they’re so sorry they left, but missed you terribly. (oh, sorry they didn’t call, their phone was broken)….

Yep. The reality of life. If not for Prince Charming, poor old Cinderella’s story wouldn’t be in print.

 

 

Live and let Die.

2 days ago, my beloved Sister finally passed away, after battling to survive cancer for 2 years. She was 61 years of age, and before they found cancer in her breast, which signaled the beginning of the end, she was fit, healthy and strong. I loved her with all of my Being, but never got to her before she passed.

She had dedicated her entire life to ‘The Lord’. She worshiped a God that she had unwavering faith and trust in, and whom she loved with her heart and Soul. She used to go into the areas where people who are displaced lived in poverty, and make jams for them, not being able to give them money, as part of her belief, following the Bible’s talk, was to live ‘simply’. Like there was some glory in serving ‘God’ in poverty.

She dressed so modestly, she never ever even wore a pair of jeans. Only skirts or dresses. You get the picture. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She never gossiped about anyone, always tried to help whomever needed help, loved everyone, no matter where they came from, and loved life. She had 5 loving kids, who all adore her, and she was an incredibly loving Mother and Grandmother.

She desperately didn’t want to die. She kept crying ‘please Jesus, make this stop’, as the pain, despite the morphine, cannabis and every other concoction she could take, including chemo over and over again,  (after living a totally drug and alcohol free life, also never even smoked) – yet the cancer invaded her lungs, making her unable to breathe without an oxygen machine 24/7, but no ‘person’, no one, ever made it stop. She lived in unutterable agony, to her very last breath, always believing that she’d ‘beat it’, because, ‘God is good’, she’d text.

When she had the strength, she sent positive messages to the hundreds who loved her, saying ‘God is good. God will heal me’.  She clung onto life to her last breath, and died in a most horrific way. Her liver closed down overnight, and the next day, she was unable to speak, guttural sounds came from her throat, and her family were helpless, but to wait and watch until she breathed her last breath out in agony.

Then, I have a friend whose mentally ill. She’s been trying to commit suicide for years, to no avail. It’s not funny, but almost become a joke, as she tells me of her latest ‘plan’ to exit, finding the fact that every attempt she makes fails dismally, funny.

I just listen, respecting that it’s her life and that she’s batshit crazy, but in a kind, loving way, not mean, and that’s all I do. I respect her choices, because i have to, and I should. I believe we must respect others wishes. Besides, living with a severe mental illness, carries it’s own awful pain, which is why so many people who suffer with mental illness do, in fact manage to commit suicide. They are not selfish, they just want the ongoing pain to end. I can absolutely relate to, and understand this.

Point is this..she worships nothing. She eats whatever she likes, she smokes, she drinks when she wants a glass of wine or 2 (she’s not an alcoholic), she drinks it. She’s taken every psychedelic drug we know of, she’s tripped out of her tree on drugs, she’s tried to overdose 3 times, but never died, only ending up in I.C.U., she’s cut the crap out of her wrists, trying to die that way, it didn’t work, she’s jumped in front of buses, who’ve somehow managed to not drive her over, she’s jumped out of windows, only to end up with a broken leg and arm…and she’s never done any exercise, and so many other attempts, I won’t even mention them. She even bought a book on ‘how to end it’, or it’s called ‘how to exit’ or something like that. All the while, she laughs at how nothing will kill her, yet behind that laugh, is not a desperate wish to live, it’s a desperate wish to die.

So her latest ‘plan’ she tells me, is to wait for winter to hit the U.K. then she’ll go into the snow, get drunk and let hypothermia take her. Apparently you just fall asleep and that’s it. ( I’m not doling out suicide tips, I’m telling you an honest story).

Anyhow, I just responded, that it would be seriously sad, if someone found her before she died, and her brain had gotten damaged, and once again, she’d have alluded death, but could be in a kind of brain damaged state. That was just a thought of mine which I shared with her.

So you tell me…

What is life, and HOW or IS there some kind of good, right way to live it?

I totally think NOT! If I look at the contrast of these two Beings, which is a massive contrast, a few things are plain as can be to me;

It makes no difference what you eat, drink, smoke, do or don’t do while you’re alive, as long as whatever you partake in, doesn’t make you feel sick. Because that’s plain nasty, and then you suffer. No, we don’t do suffering I believe.

I believe that while we’re alive, we should truly LIVE, not just exist, because death is coming for all of us, but we definitely do NOT have a choice as to when it’ll take us. Some people who don’t want to die, trip on a pavement, bash their heads on the sidewalk and die of an aneurysm. There simply is not any ‘right’ way to live, to prolong your life, or make you ‘healthy’ ad nauseum…

To cling to life, is to lose it. We can always have hope, and if believing in an outside God is comforting for the believer, then that’s wonderful, but I personally do not believe in an ‘out there’ God, like some object. How can we, as mere humans ever understand, with our limited thinking,  what the bigger picture is?

The Native American Indians believe that we are all connected in Spirit, as a life force, to one another. That includes the animals, the trees, the water and the rocks. Everything on our planet is connected. To me, that makes more sense, in my limited human way of thinking.

In my search for meaning, when first diagnosed with mental illness/s, I found a Guru. Ok, many people find just that word weird, bullshit even. But here’s the thing…

Learning about the Eastern beliefs (not religions), and how they perceive life to be, which is largely the same as most indigenous people World over; set me free to discover WHO I am. Meaning, I’m not this human person, and neither is anyone else. I’m consciousness, or Spirit if you like, having a human experience. The Christians believe in the Soul that never dies, well so do the Eastern and Indigenous people. They just see it in a different way. The premise is the same, but the perception totally different. Excepting the worshiping an object we call ‘God’.

To me, it ‘fits’, that we ought to live our lives that we’ve chosen to live here, to the absolute max. To enjoy the Planet – or what’s left of it – to the max. To celebrate life, and yet, be patient in an absolute knowing that death will come for this body we inhabit, when it wants to! That’s ok, if you’re not begging and pleading and clinging to life, for some outside God to ‘help’ you. In fact, it’s better to just surrender to death, as best as you can, when it comes knocking; because if it’s your time, that’s it. You do not have a say in the matter. Ever.

I believe we return to Consciousness as the Spirit Beings we are when the body dies, and hopefully, we’ve made the best of our earthly life. For there is much joy and beauty here on Earth, we have to go and grab it, without excuses.

Love and care for your Children as best as you can, because the love you show and give freely allows them to LIVE. Love others as best as you can, if they’re not toxic to you. If they are, walk quietly away, and don’t engage in argument, because all argument does, is waste your precious time fighting with people. Every moment you fight with someone, you’ve killed a good moment in a horrible way. Mostly, go and live your life to the full. Do whatever your Spirit calls you to do, as long as you don’t harm others. If you feel a call to go to the Himalayas, go! Stop finding ‘reasons’ why you ‘can’t’, and find every reason why you ‘can’ and WILL.

The money I almost spent on flying out to see my dying Sister, which I was too late to do, I’ve rather spent on LIFE. I’ve just bought 2 tickets to Spain with my family, to spend 5 days in a house on the beach. No matter the ‘cost’ in terms of money, I do not give a stuff. I care about being with my precious children – and Grandchild – and having 5 glorious days of love, laughter and drinking in the beauty of the place we are going to. I will LIVE, whilst I am alive.

To demonstrate further on what I firmly believe in, and to which I’ve explained to you, please enjoy this awesome TEDX talk by a brain scientist who studied herself having a stroke. She woke up to Nirvana, the Truth, and one cannot argue with what she found. At least, I cannot and do not.

 

Dear Doctor,

Dear Dr. How can I help you?

because you are not helping me!

You are very aware that I am mentally ill. You are very aware that not only am I Bipolar, but I also suffer from Borderline personality disorder, as do thousands of others, just like me.

I’m not entirely sure what part of mental illness scares you, or what part  you struggle to really understand…

so I’m going to try and explain this to you, in the kindest way I can…

because, Dear Doctor, you continue to make my life an utter misery, driving me to depths of despair! I’m already in a space where my moods wobble.

I don’t need you to create an earthquake within me! ….thank you very much.

I realise that when you went to med school, you were taught about mental illness. I don’t know how they taught you, but I’d hazard a guess, that you were taught vaguely about the various kinds of mental illnesses.

How they present, what the dangers of mental illness to people who are ill are, and what medications are supposed to work for which illness.

I imagine you were taught how serious mental illness is or can be, and you possibly had to study suicide cases, reasons for suicides, addictions, self harm, child abuse, and much much more, all with regard to mental illness.

I’m also quite sure you studied hard, and you were amazed at what you read, or perhaps only mildly interested, until the lesson of THE HEART and how it works, came up!!  I imagine that was much more interesting than delving into the minds of mad people! (how boring for you)…..

Still,  you were interested, because lets face it, anything morbidly weird instantly grabs the human beings attention. In some of those medical journals, the most hideous pictures exist of people who are seriously insane. Not mentally ill.  Insane!! –

yes, there is a difference.

So you formed a picture of mental illness and the mentally ill. You put them all into a bubble, and decided they are all the same. This was easy to do, it required little work.

I mean, here you are, working in your little practice, feeling very important, which of course you are…………to some people…

then in comes me. A mentally ill person. A well dressed, clean, good looking woman whose only crime, is that she’s Bipolar and Borderline. 

The first thing you do, is give me your ‘careful’ look. You don’t know that I know this look. I’ve seen it on 1000 doctors faces, because, before you even met me, you looked at my file. You saw ‘Bipolar and Borderline’= MENTAL ILLNESS!

The bubble I’m in with all the other mentally ill you stuck me in with, has just burst popping one out, and I’m sitting right in front of you, and you have to see to me. Like it or not.

The first thing you ask is ‘how am I feeling’….

I answer ‘I’m not o.k.!’

The next think you ask is ‘how can I help you’…

I answer ‘I need some diazepam because I’m in deep distress, my sister is dying, and I’m not coping well. I feel as if I’m a glass that’s about to shatter, please help me!’ 

This is when you start to twitch. Everything you’ve been taught at med school tells you that I’m ‘one of them’ the ‘mentally ill’, the ‘suicide risk’, the ‘pill seeker’.…and you are not going to give me what I’m asking for. However, you need to find a ‘nice, gentle‘ way to tell me this.

You haven’t bothered to listen to one word I’ve said. Neither have you noticed the distress I’m in. The fact that I’m crying like a baby goes right over your head.

You’ve also totally ignored the very real fact, that I AM mentally ill, and a serious stressful situation like the one I’m in, COULD set one of my conditions off, and land me in hospital.

The intelligent thing to do, would be to prescribe me some of what I need, talk to me, and even if you don’t,  PRETEND you care.

 

All you see is ‘ooops, one slipped out the bubble…what do I do now?’

So you tell me a whole lot of rubbish about addiction, ask me if I’m suicidal, and basically, you ask the questions the book told you to ask.

You NEVER look at me… me,  the human being sitting in front of you, and talk about ME. 

So, dear Doctor, let me help you…

  • Addiction? I don’t smoke or drink doctor, how many of both do you consume a day? and if you don’t, how many of your patients are addicted to cigarettes or alcohol, and yet you do nothing about that do you?
  • Suicide? If I wanted to commit suicide, I wouldn’t ask you for a few lousy tranquillisers to get me through a severe stressful time you idiot. That wouldn’t kill me and I’d be far more creative to ensure it worked!
  • Pill Seeker? Let’s see…I could get hold of cocaine, crack, weed, heroin and oxy today, you short sighted moron! Do you really think that by asking for a few tranquillisers, I’m a possible pill seeker?

I could go on and on, but you are not worth it. You need to learn your profession. I’m here to help.

It is your job to see me as often as I deem fit.

I will make an appointment to see you every single week, for no reason, other than to stare at you, shuffle my feet, tell you boring stories about my life, and make you notice what the ones in your bubble look like!

That mentally ill people look JUST like YOU. perhaps nicer.

It is your job to ensure I take my meds. I will make it my life’s purpose to ensure I keep calling to urgently talk to you, as I’m having various ‘reactions’….this is to make you read up on mental illness a bit more. Methinks you need to learn some more. oh, I’ll also be ‘forgetting’ to take meds and need constant adjusting of them….

It is your job to be kind to me. I will make very sure that I see you every week, sit in your room and cry, loudly, for the entire time. I will tell you dreadful stories about my childhood that will upset you, that’ll make you wince..This is to help you learn empathy for the mentally ill.

It is your job to see me. I will insist on seeing only you every week when I make my appointment, stating that you are the only doctor I trust….this is to teach you that mentally ill people actually need a doctor they can trust, and who they feel actually care…you WILL learn to care…eventually..

I will teach you that you are not dealing with a pancreas, you are dealing with a brain.

I will make you understand, that by your cold ignorant indifference to a mentally ill person, you could be the cause of a beautiful person taking their life.

I’m mentally ill. What’s your excuse?

Love

Deborah x

Have a great Christmas everyone!