Mental Illness

13 Reasons Why

brokenglass

Let me begin by acknowledging that I have no idea where this post is headed, but these ramblings come from the depths of my soul.

I just finished binge watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. My mind is racing and my emotions are overwhelming. That’s something maybe to know about me…when I feel, I feel with everything that I am. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl…hence my addiction to alcohol.

Back to the show…this show, this raw, real show based on a book, brought me to my knees. It addresses so many issues. Issues I’ve encountered or experienced myself. Two things in particular are really resonating with me right now, two things that are closely related in my mind.

The first is that we truly have have no idea what other people are dealing with. Fuck, even in our own home! We really have no idea how the things we say and do impact a person. One person may pay no mind or simply brush off a comment while another may find the same words to be heartbreaking and soul-crushing. My mind of course first jumps to my own experiences.  Just the other morning a friend noted that she’d heard that another mutual acquaintance avoids functions I attend because of my history with alcohol. (This friend even bringing this up is an entirely different blog post, I know.) On the morning this occurred, I happened to get into an argument with my ex….after I had already woken up feeling shame and guilt for choices I made while in active addiction which is something I’ve been silently struggling with recently.  Hearing this just hit extra hard on a day when I felt particularly weak to begin with.  I burst into tears. My friend was surprised to see such an emotional response from me as I tend to try to keep things bottled up inside (no surprise I’m an alcoholic, eh?).  I just couldn’t handle it that morning. The next few hours were brutal. I tried to work but I didn’t accomplish much because I put all my energy into not breaking down completely.  Not losing my shit in front of other people. Because everyone else has it all together, right?

Which leads me to the fact that my mind went right to my own experiences but what about everyone else? What about the things I’ve said, things I’ve done, that have hurt others? Because I’ve done that. Knowingly and unknowingly. I’ve done that. I’ve chipped away at people who probably don’t have much left to be chipped away. This is ironic to me because I “preach” a lot about the fact that everyone has a story and most of it we don’t know.  To be fair, when I keep that knowledge at the forefront of my mind (and I’m sober), I do try to re-frame what I’m thinking, saying, doing so as to not cause more damage. But I don’t always keep that at the forefront of my mind and I wasn’t always sober.

This. Breaks. Me.

This is my biggest current challenge and one that felt so raw as I watched 13 Reasons Why. How do I live with myself knowing what I’ve done? Said? Been?

How do I forgive myself? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. I pray that someday I will.

This leads me to the second issue that resonated – mental illness and suicide. First, let me be very clear:  I am NOT suicidal.

Mental illness, though, I do know a thing or two about. Through the years I’ve been diagnosed with PMDD, depression, anxiety and most recently, PTSD. Watching the character from the show, Hannah, spiral into her depression and finally end her life shook me to my core.  I have been there. I have felt the nothingness, the brokenness, the loneliness, the hopelessness, the wanting it to just STOP.  I didn’t kill myself because of it like Hannah, but it is why I drank. I stopped caring. Nothing mattered. I remember thinking at times while I drank that maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing if something happened to me.  So I was reckless and put myself in dangerous situations because I was so lost and empty. As it turns out, alcohol couldn’t fill me. In fact, I can see now how it made everything so much worse. Hind sight is 20/20.

I lost my religion awhile ago but I know that it is by the grace of God that I am still here, was able to get sober, and that I must still have work to do. I’m still lost, but at least in my sobriety I can see my map a little more clearly and I have hope I’ll be able to make the way back to myself. It hurts like hell sometimes to have to really FEEL everything.  To FEEL the shame, the guilt, the remorse…but I HAVE to. My recovery demands it. I have to go through it to get past it.  I’m grateful for stumbling upon 13 Reasons Why so that I could feel so much this weekend as uncomfortable as it may have been at times. I don’t think it was an accident or random that I happened to find it when I did and happened to have the time to binge watch it. The universe works in mysterious ways.

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