When someone writes a blog where they are open about having mental illness it would seem difficult to imagine that having mental illness isn’t something they identify themselves with. I don’t say “Hi I’m Shann and I have bipolar disease“. I am not my disease. My identity is in Christ and the beautiful creation God made me and I hope that I live a life pleasing to Him and as an example of His grace and love for me to others first and foremost. It just so happens that I also live with this ridiculous brain disease where at times, some more than others, I have to deal with unexpected meltdowns and episodes. Yesterday at the Mexican grocery store was one of those days.
On our way there the husband and I had a brief conversation about how we got NOTHING done this weekend that we would have normally completed in order to move on to the next week. The mountain of dirty laundry on the floor of our bedroom and the empty linen closet were a constant reminder of that truth and it became more and more frustrating when going to shower and having to use a beach towel because it was the only thing clean. I also remembered that a womens bible study I fearfully signed up for was beginning on Wednesday evening and I hadn’t done ANY of the reading I planned on doing at the shotgun tournament on Saturday because I’m sorry, but it’s kinda hard for me to concentrate on ANYTHING with gunshots going off for 7 hours straight, even with ear plugs.
When we walked into the busy store with it’s loud mariachi music I immediately felt a rush of anxiety come over me, one that I hadn’t felt 5 seconds before. I wanted to barricade myself into a corner of the store with my basket and wait for him to finish all the shopping so we can leave. Everyone was talking too loudly and the white people at the meat counter were exponentially ignorant and almost mocking the guy serving them, I saw myself going up to them, yanking them back by their hair and demanding they treat him respectfully. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find what I thought I needed and couldn’t remember what it was I even wanted in the first place. I let the husband know I was having a meltdown, parked myself in the corner of the refrigerator section and waited for him to gather the rest of the items we needed to complete our meal plans for the week. I was very impressed with his NOT trying to fix me but instead just stepped up and took care of what we needed to finish shopping and get the heck out of cinco de mayo celebration.
“Episodes” aren’t new to me but at the same time, I don’t recall ever being so mindful at the precise moment I was in the middle of one either. I even texted a friend of mine telling her “I am having a meltdown in the middle of Vallarta” like, I KNEW it was happening, so much in fact I almost felt like I was on the outside of myself. It was bizarre. All that to say, once I got home and put everything away and was able to just breathe through the rest of the anxiety while I ate a delicious piece of tres leche espresso cake while watching the Walking Dead in my pj’s, it occurred to me,
“that is what having mental illness feels like”.
It also occurred to me that I really don’t, regardless of how much I speak about it or how open and honest I am about it, I don’t attribute my identity to this illness. That it is at those dark moments when I realize Ohh yeah.. I have mental illness THAT’S why I flipped out so bad in there.I spent many many years beating myself up for the stupid things I’ve said and done because I never understood WHY I would do or say such STUPID things. It’s nice to be at a place, nearly 42 years into my life, where I finally can make some sense of the way my brain works and to have someone on my team every day, who has finally after nearly 15 years of putting up with it, understands how to walk me through those moments.
I really should go email him and thank him for handling that like a boss. I am a very blessed crazy woman