Friday, June 23, 2017

10 Human Things Everyone has Experienced With or Without Mental Illness

A mental illness does not make you more or less than another person. How you utilize your thoughts and actions is what shows your value, who you are and who you can become regardless of where you began in life or where you are now.

Think about that for a moment... I play the statistical odds, I find it a statistical improbability that you've never once experienced at least one -- if not all -- of these at some point in your life. Never fear, you're definitely not alone. The following is a list of things that I've been thinking about through my years in therapy. There are human things that connect us all despite the feelings of "us and them," for some people.

1. "It Must Not Have Been Important"

You're at the grocery, stumbling about ,filling your basket and then it hits you. What did I forget? You wrack your brain, become frustrated with yourself and cannot, to save your life, recall what it was. You try to convince yourself, "it must not have been that important." For you--a person without a mental health struggle-- this is likely to occur any given day and you move on from it, but with anxiety, for example, it can ruin your day, week, and yes even have lasting impacts. We are all people and share similar experiences, but the aftermath is in large part, where we differ.

2. "But I Love It & Need It!"

Another biggie here ladies and gents. Spring cleaning time. You begin tidying up, maybe rotating your clothes--I do this twice a year when seasons change-- and there it is... the thing. That thing you forgot you had, but it brought you some form of peace, love and joy or maybe anguish, nevertheless it's your thing. You go round and round in your head with the standard options of, "keep, toss or donate," yet there it sits taunting you from the donate pile. Someone without a mental illness will likely forget about the thing, eventually, but if you do live with any variety of mental illnesses, then that thing may come back to you. Whether it be that same day or weeks later. You may even begin mentally psyching yourself up for that moment and tell yourself it's just a thing, but deep in the back of your mind you get stuck. Because it isn't "just a thing" it is THE Thing.

3. "I Do Not Care"

If you have a social media account or interacted with another human, ever in your life, then you've said this. At very least you've thought it. "I don't give a fuckin flying monkey's ass!" or the deemed less aggressive version "I don't care." Dear friend without mental illness, you're frustrated and you've been wronged in someway or of course the other option... You simply don't care because it isn't a big deal which restaurant you choose on this particular evening nor is the random bit of rudeness you just experienced. All people across the board have dealt this but with a mental illness these moments can make life a bit more difficult, at times.

Using myself as an example here... I have DID--shocking I know to find this on a blog about dissociation-- and when I say "I don't care" I generally mean it, BUT that is not to say that every-one part of me agrees. Something as simple as choosing a lipstick or restaurant can become an internal debate leading to an argument of "FUCK OFF!" proportions. You and I are very similar but the aftermath of these thoughts and statements differs greatly. We are not so different though. I need to consider a bit of tactical planning around my interactions and the outcomes of said interactions.

4. Enter... The Crush

A recent Twitter Chat brought this one up for me... So there stands a person. You've heard about them, perhaps seen them around a time or two and maybe even had conversations but... SHIT, duck!!! Whew, that was a close one. I mean they almost saw you standing there gazing at them in all their majestic glory! How mortifying. Mmhmmm, many people find this to be a terrifying experience.

Exhilarating as the anticipation, "chase" and fantasies may be it can be paralyzing to have a crush on someone. This is true-- as pointed out to me by the conversation I had-- for the majority of people. Something I, myself, hadn't ever realized before. Yes, I've several varied mental illnesses (you may have noticed) but the crush thing hasn't ever been an issue for me. I tend not to waste my time. By this I mean if I actually am intrigued by a person in some way I make this known.

That being said, one of my parts (DID-remember?) can become completely paralyzed with fear, dismay and embarrassment. While others don't get crushes, ever.

5. Me? Nooo, never.

I defer to a differential of differing identities. Chit chatting away with friend, family or foe and they set you up brilliantly for your favorite -- and much loved -- witty remark. Sarcasm can be an annoyance for many and at times it can go completely over ones head. It happens. Sarcasm is a fantastic flamboyant mask that many of us have become a devout follower. ME ME ME! I've personally relied on sarcasm throughout the majority of my life. While I comprehend it with ease I've never really understood it much. Though some of us find it quite the useful and under-utilized tool.

With most people you'll find this to be a tool of humor and also, deflection.

My Husband and I on our Wedding Day

6. Love

Despite my emotional shortcomings, yes, I am familiar with the emotions and things that can accompany love. Many love their relatives, significant other(s), and friends. For my parts, with some people, this is accomplished with relative ease and exuberance, but I, myself, do tend to struggle and make the decision to love someone. This does not mean I love them any less than you may be able too.

You likely, love your friends and relatives, you probably even have told them so countless times. Living with a mental illness, yes even Dissociative Identity Disorder, does not stop us from experiencing these life moments. My parts are very thoughtful and loving and kind. As I am, I simply have chosen that though. Same outcome.

7. Laughing Until You Hurt

We've definitely experienced this one...I'll use an example from our life. One of my parts was on the phone with a friend and she began to flip out about not being able to find her phone...I'll pause so you can laugh... She had the "ah ha" moment seconds later after realizing she was speaking to us on said phone. They were both in hysterics and it still induces a fit of laughter anytime this moment is brought up with her. Because it's friggin funny!

While laughter is not medication nor is it prescribed, it is said to be the "best medicine" for a reason. Sometimes you just need to laugh until you cannot breathe or your face hurts. With or without a mental illness you can experience this and get just as much out of it.

8. Crying Yourself to Sleep

Why you've done this I cannot say, but I know millions have. It's a statistical probability. While I, myself, have not experienced this, I know parts of me have and yep...They did indeed feel silly about it eventually. It's a human response and does not make you weak, crazy or insane to have that overflow and outpouring of emotion.

Emotional releases are healthy, from what I've seen, and I think it would be fascinating if I could experience them.

9. Raising a Family

Yeah, we do that. While our family, specifically, may look quite different from yours, it is still every bit a family. My husband and I care for and rescue ferrets. I cannot have children, but we have discussed adoption. Yes, even with a mental illness I want a child one day. We want to be able to give a child the gift of safety, consistency and actual love. Something I find many of my parts missed out on.

People meet. People date. People love. People spend their lives together, whatever that looks like for their individualized parameters and relationship. They start a family together, if they have children or not, furbabies or not, they live and grow together and enrich their lives as two or more. With or without a mental illness this is something that people choose to do every day around the world. We're very much the same in that respect.

10. The Simple Understated... We All Want a Life

Here we are, number 10. Engrained into most people is a will and powerful drive to survive...We've said it before, we're exhausted and over survival, now we want to live. Everyone may have different reasons, but eventually these many and immensely varied choices are made. They're made based on who you are and what you want out of life.

My life living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, PTSD, and the accompanying issues resembles most of your lives from day to day depending upon what's happening. Through therapy we're bettering these things, but simply put we have the same ambitions and drive you have. We also struggle and lose hope on rotten days. My life is lived in extremes at times, and you wonderful human living without a mental illness may not experience those specifics (I'm glad you don't) we are all people and baring chaotic uncertainties we've all experienced the many ups, downs and diagonals of life.

OCD or Bipolar, Diabetic or fighting Cancer, DID to Anxiety and Depression, yes even those lost in suicidal thoughts and self harm... The partners arguing about work schedules, the husband and wife fighting about finances, interracial couples, same sex couples, literally all humans of any age deal with so many of the same things I find choosing to separate them a disservice to all of us. Everyone can learn something from another and grow as individuals. All of our widely diverse experiences and struggles may cause different problems for each of us, but we all experience them... We simply handle it differently.


  1. I love this post! I completely agree with everything and found myself agreeing to pretty much all of these! You also now have me wanting a pet ferret!
    Robyn //

    1. Thanks Lovely! Haha, yeaaah ferrets are wonderful, maddening, little weirdos and we adore them!

  2. Gosh I agree with the spring cleaning part SO much - I just can't seem to let things go!

    Lizzie Bee // Hello Lizzie Bee

    1. It can be such a struggle letting go of items!

      The We In Me