People move in and out of ages as a routine of living. Some milestones are achieved and reached with a yawn or pedestrian agenda. This is not to project a stereotype on humanity. A simple turning of the head while stepping into the world, reminds us that most do not live surrounded by beds of roses. There are those who claw and scrape their way through the desert of survival; not one day, not for a season, but for their entire existence. The honest yet brutal recognition inundates them with the need for endless energy reserves and emotional tanks which presumably never run dry....but they do. The older you become, the more daunting the journey. The energy and time you devoted in the beginning stages of your illness, are the resources needed now. But one must engage or utilize the resources early on or one never reaches the pinnacle or summit of their personal quest. The quest? To survive a severe mental illness diagnosis.
The early days are spent deciphering, navigating and without guarantees, understanding yourself and the illness. This is a life task many never accomplish. The pressures and stress rise exponentially when spouses and children are added to the equation. The channels of communication are challenged as more personalities means added responsibility. The potential for misunderstandings through overload or a lack of focus or just plain being overwhelmed, is greater. The complexities of the work world, if in fact one is not disabled, completes the stress and anxiety pool the survivor must stay afloat in. The work scenario is often fraught with misunderstanding as supervisors show little tolerance for the patience and understanding necessary for persons with mental illness to thrive. The constant pressure to keep your job while you advocate for yourself and the illness, is immeasurable. It may not show up in its entirety the day (s) of your advocating; but eventually it will. It shows up when you are in your 50's and desperately want to defend a position related to mental health, but there's nothing there. The anger sets in as your platform of perceived weakness strangles you until screaming "unfair" is the argument or hoping for compassion is futile..... I just breathe and exclaim, it's good to just be alive.
I can't fret about the acquiescence I just participated in. I recognize how tired and worn out I am from flailing at the ears and heart of the system. I have nothing left of which to fight. My will and spirit are not wounded. However, the repeated running of the water against the rock has worn away the energy components of my soul. I feel like a Ferrari , while full of the potential to reach 60 in 3 sec's, I can't reach 100 in 20 sec's.
Management of all kinds is vital to be a successful survivor. This includes your energy and how much is given or reserved for another season. Our lives may seem to be monitored a bit more closely than others, but the appreciation for being alive can be joyously celebrated. This in itself must be enough!