There's been so much going on recently that now with all the hype winding down, so am I. I'm the type of person that feels, feels very deeply. In the last week alone we had the anniversary of my grandmother's death, the draft & my brother getting drafted by the MLB, celebrating that with all sides of the family, my cousin's high school graduation, & today a year ago we buried my grandmother and today my brother left four Houston to start his professional baseball career. It may sound like a lot, or not much at all, but the emotion was a lot. I am officially depleted of all range of emotion from joy to anxiety and sadness and devastation to happiness all over again.
I have so many words, thoughts, and feelings that I really do not know which direction to take this. Do I honor my grandma and speak of the pain and heartbreak I still feel everyday? Do I continue to celebrate my brother and praise him? Do I selfishly acknowledge my notice of feeling as if the entire world is turning around me and all these things are happening for everyone else as I stand firm, being left behind. While all at the same time, I could speak of how inspired I am at the same time by all of the things taking place. I think instead I will keep it short and simple.
To my grandma, I cannot comprehend how this earth has taken an entire trip round the sun without you but also felt like it hasn't moved for a second. To you, I love you, I miss you, & I just can't believe you aren't here for all of it. I could write a million words to tell you all you've missed, but instead I'll believe you got to witness it all.
To my brother, thanks to you I've gotten to witness one of the most rare, yet everyday moments in a lifetime. A dream come true. Live it, own it, and keep dreaming. You inspire me to re-focus and hone in on my dreams. Nothing is out of reach, even on the days it feels as if a dream is impossible. To my brother, I am so proud of the man you've become and are becoming. Your greatness speaks for itself.
To myself, stop comparing. Simply put yet arguably one of the hardest things. To myself, you are not failing though it feels that way. To myself, you are not too late, too old, too young, too little, or too much. You will find where you belong eventually. You will heal and you will rise again. In due time, in due time.
To time, slow down but also speed up. Let us savor the moment but bring us to the next one. Help us find a balance, a middle ground, and take off in the next year. To time, I am also so so grateful to have you. It's a process.
Morgan Rae Brown here. I've been quiet on here for awhile now, and those reasons are my own, but I decided it was fitting to speak before Mental Health Awareness Month ended. I've kept a form of transparency in the written word world, I promised to always be honest with my readers, my following, but firstly I needed to be honest with myself. Which is why I don't think I could write. I was trying to fool myself.
See, mental health has a stigma. We know it. We see it. And many of us feel it firsthand. I hold shame. I hold a lot of it actually. So much so that it began to crush me into the ground. I know now that it was never mine to carry, but if you've felt it, you know that that part is irrelevant. Reality after reality forced me to take a step back in utter devastation and confusion of what my life was, my way of thinking, & this waiting place I was forced into by choosing to do what felt right at the time. After life-altering loss in both the literal and figurative, blows kept on coming similarly to when those giant waves come full force and just as soon as you are about to catch your breath, you get hit with another and the wind is knocked right out of you once again. On the outside, for a chunk of time at least, I held it together. I got a "normal" job, was investing in a relationship, and dedicating time to myself. Rebuilding friendships, even thriving. In reality, however, what we had done was stick a band-aid onto a gigantic, seeping, infected, gaping wound.
I began walking around in a zombie-like state. I got up, went to work, came home, went to bed, repeat. Throw in trying to better myself and give time to another human being and there just wasn't a way to balance it all. So I slowly began to shut off. Shut down and out. With specific events making me question every thought that came into my brain, that alone left me exhausted. With an exhausted mind I really did feel like a zombie trudging through a fog only growing thicker. But I was still doing all that was asked of me. In my recovery, with my health, job, I was soaring. But I felt dead inside. Nothing made me feel alive anymore and eventually I stopped caring to seek things that did. This is when flags started to raise to those that I still allowed inside. But I shut them down and then cut those people out as well.
Concern arose and I ignored it after trying my best to "feel". I went into every day with the intention of finding my way back, bit by bit. But it seemed the more I tried the more I felt I was failing. Failing to thrive, failing to even survive, I was barely even existing. My depression was bad, and with all the things I talk of, the depression holds a different place in that box of struggles. It's always had a different feel and a different shame, a different, silent story. The depression and all that feeds it; I keep to myself. Here's the mental health awareness plug. The stigma and shame feeds it too, and I wonder if I felt I could candidly talk about it, if things would've been different.
I fought and fought and fought. But after looking around at my life and all it entailed combined with my feelings, I decided this world just was not for me. I very surely exited this world. Except I didn't. I was intervened and one day soon I hope to say thankfully. (I am being careful not to romanticize any sort of depression or being suicidal or say a word too triggering.) I woke up in the ICU and with nothing different other than the awareness others had gained. They don't talk enough about the aftermath of failing. The added anxiety, the additional medical problems, the overpowering feeling of suffocation. They don't tell you you might not even feel guilty for having tried, but others will make you feel like you ought to. I was told repeatedly, "You are far too beautiful and blonde to be this unhappy." "You are way too pretty for this." As if looks and hair color could magically change your life or that it was a sign of all is well. So I cut it off and dyed it. Hoping maybe the new start would make people see me for me. (Sounded like a good plan, I am fully aware that that does nothing) But I write these things because I can. Because I am still here and able to. Because I left my depression to be implied, never talked about. And that was the problem.
I will continue to write, to try to find my emotions and my voice again. I will continue to sift through the thoughts and the actions. I'm not "better" but I'm on the path, and in due time, I will rise.I can safely say I have no idea who I am right now, and though that is a scary realization, I have the time to figure it out. Right now mental illness and new beginnings for me looks like having chopped off and destroyed my bright blonde hair, stepping away into the expectations and into the passions, doing anything that causes feelings to arise. It looks like anger and sadness, but sometimes plastering on a smile. Sometimes self-care looks like having your most visibly productive day, and others it's being in bed and watching grey's anatomy all day. The point is that it is all different for everyone. It's so individualized it's hard to see; which is why we struggle with it. But I'll say this. Check in on your people, reach out to someone who you've seen a shift in. Talk about what's going on inside to someone who will listen, and don't stop trying until you find that. It's mental health awareness month, I struggle with mental health every day lately. But I am here. Let's keep talking, it's a process.
Exhausting, isn’t it? Holding up that mask we so intently wear. Until it becomes second nature. Wearing the mask, that is, not the exhaustion. We don’t get used to that, the exhaustion. We just begin to wonder why we are “suddenly” so tired. Though it hasn’t been sudden at all, has it?
Here’s the thing. What if we took that mask off? What if taking that mask off wasn’t what we were promised it would be. Freeing, burden-lifting, lighter. What happens when we take off the mask and our heart is still bruised and broken. Our mind is still defeated. Our spirit still destroyed. Nobody talks about what it feels like when we take that mask off unless it feels great.
But what if? What if our mask was hiding the pain, the turmoil, the weaknesses. That’s hard to deal with. All of a sudden we are exposed. A fraud. They don’t tell us about this. The additional feelings built up over the ones underneath the mask. That damn mask. I don’t think it’s a defense mechanism at all. I believe it is an aide in sabotage. If we are not hiding happiness, joy, and all that fluffy stuff beneath our mask, why the hell take it off unless we have help to keep us from drowning. Drowning. That’s exactly it. We drown in the overflow of the mask. Now teach us to move onward. They cannot. This is up to us. We learn as we go. But what if we do not survive.