“Eighteen months is a lot of routine” is my favorite line from a movie. Cameron, in “Infinitely Polar Bear,” exclaims this to his estranged wife when asked to take care of their children while she attends business school. The thought of insuring the kids brush their teeth twice a day, attend school, and do their homework sends the protagonist into a panic. The first time I saw the scene, I thought, “Dude, I can relate.” I immediately bought the movie. If you are looking for a film that does a decent job of explaining the highs and lows of going in and out of depression, this movie resonates with me.
I recently told several friends I was glad I did not follow the socially acceptable path in life. The track ingrained in young girls that involves snagging a husband in college and moving to the suburbs by your late twenties. I am convinced I would be the same crap everyday, neutral clothes-wearing, wine drinking, pill addicted, suburban living, minivan-driving, suicidal mom. I thank the universe every day that I am not. I am just not wired to live in that much daily grind.
I rarely do anything the same way twice. Because of this quirk along with the possibly miswired synapses, I have often locked keys in cars more than average, left laptops at home more than average, and actually caused physical harm to myself more than average. Think about it. We all often run on autopilot. However, if you have not programmed the repeatable code into your brain...accidents can and do happen.
I know that I have the tendency to appear a tad eccentric. It does not help that I am continually looking for something new to keep my brain occupied to stave off depression. My saved Kindle list it an excellent example of my obsessions over the years. There was the time I downloaded every classic book I could find based off a list I saved from the eleventh grade, I had an era of wanting to improve my Spanish by reading primary grade books, and a brief span of studying everything written about World War II double agents. My current obsession is, for those that follow along, is quite apparent, stargazing and Greek mythology associated.
Unfortunately, depression and obsessions can get a little out of control. Sometimes the compulsions spin-off into bouts of paranoia. One winter, I was unable to touch doorknobs to the point that I would stand there until someone else opened the door. When our crazies get the best of us and impact our lives, we have to seek help, whether something as simple as some talk therapy, diet changes, exercise, or the dreaded medication.
I firmly believe in you should be a GLORIOUS you, but when our place in the world, or our reaction to society, put ourselves and others at risk, we must consider professional help. Many people do not seek additional care due to the stigma associated with mental illness. I am at the point in my life where I do not care what you think about the fact that I have depression or maybe get a little too happy. There are worse things in life to be. I am one of the most empathetic, kind, warm, and intelligent people you could possibly meet. Your issues with me are generally not my problem.
On the opposite end, but adding to the mental illness stigma is this need to diagnose someone who is not what people now refer to as “neurotypical.” I hate labels. My healthcare friends assure me that names are used for proper diagnosis and support. I just get concerned that sometimes folks want a label to be unique. Believe me. We are all special in our own way. If a person can function and contribute to society. Let’s all just agree to let them be their quirky self.
I really hope this year for Mental Health awareness we all just focus on accepting people for who they are regardless of if they are neurotypical or neurodivergent. We are all unique and deserving of acceptance. However, when you do see someone not entirely functioning in society, please lend an ear and offer support.
Published to http://kristiasher.blogspot.com