Tag: help

Invisible Scars (Escaping the Abuse)

I wonder…how many of us know what constitutes emotional abuse?

In a world of fine lines, what is too much and what is normal?  Normal is such a relative word and sometimes, I find myself making excuses for those crossing that oh so fine, near invisible, line – myself included.

I know what it is to be in an abusive relationship, even though it took me years to recognize it.  I know how easy it is to ignore the signs.  I know how hard it can be to overcome.  I know the damage it can cause.  The scars don’t just disappear and if you’re not careful, they will only grow deeper.

I am not a psychologist and I will not pretend to know more than I do. You may agree with what I say or you may not.  That choice is yours.

That being said, I would like to point out that abuse does not reside only in romantic relationships.  Friends, family, co-workers, and employers are all capable of emotional and mental abuse.  I won’t belittle any one relationship by saying that one is easier to leave than another.  Who am I to say that you should quit your job because your boss is abusive?  You may not be financially stable enough to give up the paycheck.  But keep looking for new work, you WILL find something with persistence!  Breaking up with a friend can be just as difficult, if not more devastating than losing a romantic partner.  If you feel couples therapy (yes, for a friendship too) is worth it, then go for it.  If you feel that confrontation is dangerous, by all means, please don’t put yourself in harm’s way!

Life is not easy.  Asking for help is not easy.  Confronting an abuser is not easy (and not always recommended).  My wish for those suffering is that you realize that you are WORTH IT and that you find the strength to do what it takes to help yourself.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.  YOU ARE SMART.  YOU ARE TALENTED.

YOU ARE WONDERFUL.

YOU ARE VALUED. 

If you think that you are in an abusive relationship (or if you recognize abusive qualities in yourself) and are having trouble , please seek help.  Please talk to a professional.  I know this is easier said than done but then again…what isn’t?

Check out the article here to review the signs of emotional abuse.  It may not leave the same scars as physical abuse, but the scars remain  just the same.

If you are suffering or know someone suffering from emotional abuse, please see these organizations below.  Both women AND men can be victims of abuse.

http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/types-of-violence/emotional-abuse.html

http://www.bandbacktogether.com/emotional-abuse-resources/

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm

http://www.people.com/article/california-moving-company-moves-domestic-violence-victism-free

Finally, A Note for Everyone- especially around the stressful holiday season- Remember to tell those you love that you love them.  Tell them what they mean to you.  Please don’t assume that they “just know.”  It is so important to TELL our loved ones how we feel.  You never know when you may lose that opportunity.

Take care of yourselves and those you love.  God bless.

❤ G

 

 

 

My Depression Has A Name (Bob, his name is Bob)

The hardest part about committing to publishing one blog per day, aside from the laziness factor, is coming up with a topic about which to write.

Luckily, I came across this comic this morning and it inspired me to share my own story.  As a writer, I would like to force myself to be more vulnerable.  Even though it’s just me and my 2 friends reading this blog, it’s a start.

I consider myself an artist (and if you consider artists to only create visual works then let’s just call me “artsy” instead).  That being said, I think many, if not most, artists tend to deal with depression and/or anxiety throughout their lives.  It is a blessing and a curse.  It is what makes us so wonderfully passionate, introspective, and open minded.  We are constantly thinking, about EVERYTHING- from “Why is the sky blue?” to “If we could love each other half as much as we love ourselves, maybe the world wouldn’t be such a bad place” to “I wonder how many slices of cake I can have before people will judge me.”  We tend to care a lot because we are hyper aware of emotions, our own and those of others.

The downside is- WE ARE HYPER AWARE OF EMOTIONS.  This means that we are also highly susceptible to the highs and lows of our own feelings.  When we are happy, we are over the moon excited! When we’re in love, we are head over heels in love with you- that can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of love (that brilliant metaphor was stolen from the Olsen Twins classic, “It Takes Two”).

And when we’re sad, we are miserable– often-times going to a very dark place, a place to which I would not banish my worst enemy. In my experience, having surrounded myself with a bounty of artsy friends, I have realized that we especially are prone to depression and anxiety.

Both of these mental illnesses have colored my outlook in life and they are immensely important to me.  I want to share my experience.  Who knows, maybe it will make someone else feel a little less alone.

First, I want to stop and take a moment to let you to know how painful it was to type the words, “mental illness.”  There is such a tremendous stigma attached to those words that even I still shutter at their mention.  The truth is, mental illness is no different than any other illness.

This is how it feels when I am told to “just snap out of it” or “just think about something happy” or “stop being so weak”:

mental health 2

Image taken from: What If People Treated Physical Illness Like Mental Illness?

Trust me, if I had figured out a way to flip the off switch on depression, I would have done so by now.  Instead, I continue to fight every day because it’s just not worth it to give up.  Giving up won’t help me and it won’t help those who love me.  I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy.  Some days are better than others.  In good times, MOST days are better than others.  Depression doesn’t have a constant hold on me.  I don’t want you to think that people struggling with this illness will be sad 24 hours a day, 365 days a year because that’s not the case.

Think of it this way, you are in a mine field of mosquitoes but you are armed with a circle of lit citronella candles- you’re safe and you will continue to be safe until one day the candles blow out.  You’re going to keep getting bitten until you can light the candles again.

I admit, I’m not the best at metaphors but I tried really hard on that one!  It makes sense in my head anyway.

You never know when that candle is going to blow out and it’s all we can do to make sure that we maintain our safety circle!

If you love someone with mental illness, you may not always understand what they are feeling and they don’t necessarily need you to.

We need you to be forgiving.  We know that it’s not easy being on the other end either.  It’s not easy to watch the ones you love, suffer.  It’s not easy to play the happy one all the time or tip toe on egg-shells.  We know.  We don’t want you to do that.  We just want you to love us despite our shortcomings.

To the friends (and boyfriends) who’ve helped me through my own struggles, thank you.  I know it wasn’t and isn’t easy but I am very grateful for you and your understanding.

On the bright side, I do feel that this illness gives me a bit more street cred as a “real artist.”  Now all I have to do is finish these screenplays…

crazy artist

From ‘Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me’ by Ellen Forney
Image found here: Suicide: Myths and Help-Seeking in the Creative Community

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, or mental illness please check out the resources at National Alliance on Mental Illness.  Try not to be ashamed or discouraged by society’s stigma.  I say try because I know that it’s not easy and even I am still coming to terms.  Please, seek help for yourself and those you love.

*You don’t have to be an “artist” to experience depression or anxiety.  That is not the intention of this post and is merely my personal experience.