Mental Health

I Talk



‪In 2014, three years ago today, I publically announced that my censorship was teetering due to entering a manic episode. It’s well known in my family that May, June, July is a triggered time of the year for me. It’s that time of year now, and happening again. This is hard. It’s scary and surreal to know I was feeling this same intense incongruity three years ago ‘on this day’ to have a manic episode exactly three years apart, to the month, if not the day, what if the hour? Who can know? But I documented it excruciatingly well. I am in turmoil, embarrassed & euphoric all at once. Fuck me.

Countless therapists speculate as to why, but no one knows for sure. Personally, I believe it’s due to being born late in May. My mom endured trauma during pregnancy, she says I screamed from the moment I was born, throughout my infancy. We were unable to bond until I was an adult. I believe this is because of the trauma she experienced while I was in utero, I didn’t feel safe enough to form a bond. My mom and therapist believe I was born with PTSD and so do I. To me, it makes sense that being born could be traumatic enough to leave lifelong emotional scars. My childhood was wrought with abuse, and some think something happened to me as a child for these months to have imprinted on me in such a negative way, but things happened to me in all months from child through adulthood. This is why I believe being born was the most traumatic thing to have happened to me in my entire life, and I’ve been molested, raped, beaten, brainwashed, witnessed abuse, and been abused. I have five psychological conditions because of my genes and environmental circumstances, and I won’t hide, or stop talking about what I deal with, and I make no apologies. I spent enough of my life shying away from telling people the truth about myself, and it’s only ever hurt me, and enabled other people to feel ashamed for the things they deal with behind closed doors. Note: I often entertain other topics of conversation, time and place matters.


Silence contributes to stigma. This isn’t to guilt anyone, it is what it is.


When I talk about my mental health issues, openly, it helps me take thoughts and feelings that, when left to myself, unspoken, fester, and build into irrational delusions. Saying or writing things out helps me frame things with a new perspective so I can figure out how to rationally deal with my delusions, negative, or injurious moods and behaviors. More importantly, talking openly about genuine emotions enables others to talk openly about theirs too. The more of us who speak honestly and openly about our mental health, the more human the face of mental illness becomes. 

I don’t think everyone realizes, certainly not people who don’t live with MI, but stigma, denial, and ignorance is *still* very real, and damaging. Stigma shames people into secrecy and keeps many from seeking help for what can be life threatinging issues. I hear so many people say how much better it is now than in the 80’s. Well, damn, then we should be fucking ashamed, because I’m still the only person I know irl who openly talks about my mental health. It took some practice, and I have cried myself to sleep at night in worry after talking publically about specific issues, but all in all, I regret nothing, and have had countless people confide in me, their personal struggles. They shouldn’t have to feel they need to whisper in my ear, but that is the stigma. 


I realize that coming out about MI may jeopardize some people’s career’s, even temp jobs, shame on us for that too, because that’s stigma telling employers that everyone living with mental illness can’t be capable, and that’s absolutely untrue. Don’t tell me it’s not stigmatized to the point of job loss, of inability to get a loan, rent an apartment, college admission, down to finding a significant other. So I realize why people don’t talk, but I’m in a position where I have nothing to lose, I’ve already lost it. All I have left is my ability to talk, about what or why it went wrong, what I need to function, how I can prevent myself from getting worse, and how I can encourage others to get the help they need before they lose it too. ~Davs

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Mental Health, Thoughts

Sober Hallucination

Talking About Mental illness | DavsArt

I’ve hallucinated a few times in my life, most of those experiences were drug induced. I was a wild kid. But later in life I experienced a sober hallucination. I am not schizophrenic, I have bipolar and PTSD. I will never be sure what caused this experience. I was told it was a result of PTSD, I was under a lot of stress at the time that I did not know how to cope with. But in the interest of opening up about mental illness I thought this story might shed some light on what it may be like to hallucinate. That quote by Pablo Picasso ‘Everything You Can Imagine Is Real’ rings true to me. Reality is subjective. I know from the story below there may not have been an alien under that car, but it was, for that time, my reality. The feelings were real, I was wholly convinced. For me this is a glimpse into what it may be like to hallucinate on a daily basis. My friends who experience auditory, tactile, and visual hallucinations have explained to me that they have adapted, and most of the time have learned to recognize what is a hallucination and what is real. I don’t know anyone who does not take medication to help manage it. I think my hallucination may have been a bit more intense than that of someone who is well versed in sober hallucinating. But I don’t really know that for sure.

If you think this is too much information, it’s because people are still too afraid to be open about mental illness, and that’s a shame.  Here is my story. This event happened in 2006.

I get out of the cab, it’s dark, the parking lot is full. I walk softly toward my apartment. Streetlight glowing. I look down and catch a glimpse of otherworldly eyes peering at me from beneath a car. I see an inhuman body crouching. Dread floods through me, adrenaline pumping, I have this un-shaking, paralyzing fear. Irrational thoughts grow like mutant tree roots throughout my brain. What lies beneath that car is unnatural, a villainous creature come to suck out my very last breath. I have no doubt that if I look again it will come for me. My heart races. Each step is a gamble. I must walk by that car. Every move deepens and intensifies the moment. The slow motion horror. But I can’t stop, there is no where else to go. It’s past 3am. I make it passed the car and slowly walk down the steps to my apartment believing that if I acknowledge what is behind me I will die. Inside now. The door is bolted shut. I sit against the door listening, trying not to breath, too afraid to move.

~Sarah Davenport 2014

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Mental Health

Anxiety is Real

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I see those inspirational quotes all over the place, you know the ‘Happiness is a Choice‘ memes. I think it’s true, in a sense, positive thinking is really helpful *if* you’re in a place mentally where you are capable of it. But I also feel extremely annoyed by the idea that people think anyone can just decide to be ok, and be ok. Hormonal and chemical imbalances are real and if you really believe that one can just decide to be happy and it will magically happen, consider yourself lucky to have never known mental illness. Maybe think about how making statements like that is discounting millions of people with real disorders that are fighting everyday just to get out of bed in the morning. Would you tell a person with cancer to just think it away? I doubt it.

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Books

Saving The World With Books

 

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 Too right! I have some books I’ve felt this way about. Of course, I haven’t read every book in the universe so I’m sure I’m missing some but here’s a few that I feel could possibly save the world.

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Still Alice by Lisa Genova. You’ll never look at Alzheimer’s the same way again.

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Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden. I feel uncomfortable pairing this book with fiction, maybe it deserves a post of it’s own. But it definitely falls under the category of books that could save the world.

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If you ever wanted a real glimpse into what it’s like to have PTSD The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers is it. It’s brutal, intense, honest and beautifully written.

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Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison. As a parent of a child with autsim this book gave me invaluable insight into some of what my child is going through. It didn’t quite give me the chills, but I think it’s important to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and Robison does that for us very well.

Roots by Alex Haley. This book captivated me. A horrifying look into American slavery. Talk about putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, this book walks you through what it would’ve been like from the beginning to the end. I think there’s some controversy about Alex Haley and possible plagiarism, which killed me after I learned about it. But it’s still an important book.

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Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. If you want to get mad about religion and how it’s changed and broken traditions and ways of life and destroyed whole communities and put people against each other, this is the book that will do it. Another important read.

Teddy is a must read short story in this collection by J.D. Salinger. Every time I read it I feel like a light bulb explodes in my head all over again. Gives me the chills every time.

So that’s about it, there are a few others, Angela’s Ashes, Teacher Man, and ‘Tis by Frank McCourt and The Tortilla Curtain T.C. Boyle come to mind. But it’s been so long since I’ve read them that I couldn’t quite sum up the reason why they could be world saving.

Are you with me? Do you know what I’m talking about? John Green does. Have you read a book that could save the world?

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