Tag Archives: #mentalillness

Seasons Change

I keep going back to the turning points in my life. I turn a corner and I realize there’s yet another corner to turn! I build my momentum and excitement to get to the next corner. Sometimes there’s a huge celebration, other times, I’m thinking, “why did I bother?” Every time I think I’m enlightened, I realize there’s more enlightenment or levels of awareness. Lol. Then I realize, I know nothing about enlightenment!

I’m just very excited. I’m excited about all the twists and turns my life has taken. I’m excited because I was stuck in a downward spiral and now I’m just constantly going upward and just when I think I can’t go any higher, I’m lifted even higher! I seem to be constantly gauging my reactions to the stimuli that life presents to me. I wonder if I’m over reacting, overly excitement, or if I’m not excited enough. I’m naturally analytical and introspective mostly towards myself and the things I’m engaging with in my life.

There have been some very defining moments in my life when everything changed. I’m talking about changing from someone who took numerous psychotropics to none; someone who was very depressed, psychotic, and suffering with post traumatic stress disorder. I have recently discovered that most of the changes in my life, although they came about from a specific catalyst, the biggest factor that took me to a mentally healthier version of me, was letting go of fears. I let go of the fears of the unknown. I stopped worrying about what others would think. I stopped worrying about being judged. I stopped wondering what if something went wrong and instead dreamed about things going right. I stopped the fearful thoughts that swirled around and around in my head. They certainly weren’t working for me!

I also decided to believe change is possible. I decided to bet on me. I decided to try anything and everything to radically switch the direction of my life instead of going with the same old status quo. There really are seasons of our lives. It’s important to recognize what season I’m in, in order to switch between seasons with grace and ease, and fearlessly. It’s nice to add a bit of inquisitiveness. What is around the corner? What is just around the river bend? Where is the bend in the road leading me to? Can I just peek a little bit as I hurry over there? I’m not afraid, simply because I’ve turned so many corners, despite sometimes not even knowing what to expect (although I did expect something good, at least).

The biggest factor which effected the direction I took, as the seasons changed, was questioning my fears, my self talk, and fear mongering. I especially like to question when someone else tries to tell me what is best for me. I definitely question prolific fear mongering in all of it’s forms. Pretty soon here, I’m going to start a rant about fear mongering. The biggest fear mongering that annoys me is the fear of judgement. I will be the first to admit that I used to be very fearful of judgement, especially judgment from God. However, I don’t live with this fear anymore. It was a very long season of my life, in which I feared judgement from God. However, the season has changed. I am happier and freer since I let go of this fear and many other fears. Every now and then, someone will do a little bit of fear mongering to suck me back into it, by telling me that God’s going to come judge me, but I don’t buy into it.

The final indication of the season changing is that I’m willing to write and talk about letting go of fears! I no longer fear what people will say about my changing my mind about fears. I changed my mind about God’s judgment. It’s a brand new season! This is a huge step because it’s sort of the precursor to another book I’ve been writing. The message here, right now, is that people change their minds about things, their beliefs and their ideas, and it’s totally okay! It’s okay to question my beliefs. It’s okay to say, “That sounds like bullshit!” I used to be afraid to question things, and I loathed myself.  Now, I love myself and I allow myself to have different beliefs than others. It’s about being true to me and what works for me. I live from the heart. I ask myself, “what would love to do?” I do this because I personally believe, love is the answer.   Seasons change.

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Everybody’s Crazy

Many years ago, I was very depressed and taking numerous medications for my condition. It was complicated by personality disorders and PTSD. One time, my sister called me around my birthday and asked me what I wanted. I told her, “what I want, you can’t buy.” She asked, “what is it?” I told her I wanted a right mind. She said to me, “Oh, Sophie, everybody’s crazy!” I quietly cried feeling very misunderstood. She didn’t know how bad I was feeling. She didn’t know I just wanted to die. About 20 years later, I finally understood what she meant! This is about how long it took for me to get myself together, too, in order to start making changes in my life so I could heal. I started to realize everyone was crazy so I wondered, What the hell am I trippin’ on???

There is a difference between someone who is going through a chemical imbalance of some sort and the normal everyday crazy.  However, many people don’t understand this. They don’t understand a person who feels they are not in their right mind feels crazy, out of control, like something has taken over, as if they are lost without a body, just wandering around like a lost soul. So many people throw around phrases like, “that’s so crazy” without understanding how it effects people who think they might be crazy. I used to just go “crazy” when people used phrases like, “that’s so schizophrenic” or would cavalierly call something crazy. It would embroil me and get me all worked up. I try not to use the word “hate” ever because it’s a serious word and I hardly truly hate anything or anyone, but I do hate the “crazy” word. Although, sometimes, I’m known to sing, “boom boom, ain’t it great to be crazy!”

Once I woke up to the reality of everyone’s general craziness, it wasn’t so bad. I could relax and not try so hard to be “normal” whatever the hell is normal! Lol. Relaxing, I’m able to be a bit more objective, understanding and compassionate towards myself instead of constantly striving to be something or someone else to fit in.

Today, many people strive to be themselves, start their own trends, wear whatever colors they want, do what they want, without checking to see if it’s the current fad or craze, nor seeking anyone’s approval. Everyone is not striving to fit into some category or box. There is a bit of chaos and craziness involved! However, in my mind, trying to look like others or fit in, is a bit of craziness, too! There’s just no other explanation. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be outspoken or quiet. It’s okay to be upbeat or sad. There’s nothing wrong with being human! There’s nothing wrong with feeling your emotions deeply. There’s nothing wrong with not feeling your emotions. Why must we constantly look at someone and judge whether or not they are behaving normally? Normal simply doesn’t exist. I realize there may be some signs that someone’s life is off balance and maybe they need assistance with it, or not.

What I know is that many people suffer in silence out of shame or guilt. They don’t want to be pointed out, don’t want to be judged, don’t want to be called, “crazy” or “insane” so they keep their own opinions and preferences to themselves. I know I did. Starting from when I was little, someone would ask me what I want, I’d say, “I don’t care.” I was afraid to make a choice or to state my preference for many reasons, but that was my general answer. Mainly because I had seen others teased for liking something different. I’d seen people ridiculed, laughed at or picked on for wearing different clothes, liking other music, choosing other foods, etc…

Nowadays, the “c” word doesn’t bother me so much, but back when I was struggling with my mental illness, it was very disheartening. People who are different are not crazy. People with different perceptions of reality are not crazy. People who choose to live their lives on their own terms are not crazy. People who dance to the beat of their own drum, even if you can’t hear the drum beat, are not crazy. People who are sensitive, delicate, or don’t fit into a boxed category are not crazy. People with a mental illness are not crazy. Oh, yet, everybody’s crazy!

Live, Breathe, & Laugh!

Opening up myself to spend time with other people, naturally, I learned of different practices to further grow myself. One person I met is a laughter leader, Joan. She talked about the benefits of laughter. I was immediately in love with the idea! I didn’t know how to laugh much, I was so serious all of the time. I was serious about improving my health, and overcoming my past, not realizing the seriousness was hindering the healing! Lol. I had been clinically depressed for so long, I had to learn a new way of being! I no longer identified as “mentally ill” and definitely didn’t like labels of any sort. Yet, I didn’t know another way.

So, I went to laughter club to check it out. At laughter club, we sit around and just laugh! Hahaha. We do fun stuff. One of the laughter leaders call it “kindergarten for adults!” We just learn to play and be lighthearted again like little children.  It really does cut down on the stress and helps to change my perspective. It’s just being in the moment. Does it solve all the issues I might be dealing with? No, but it helps to clear my mind and thoughts so I can make better decisions from an empowering position rather than fear or worry.   Laughter is a form of releasing like tears.  You release what is weighing you down.   It raises your energy!  Laughter is good medicine!

Shortly after I joined the laughter club, I heard about World Laughter Day. All the laughter clubs around the world do something to celebrate it. Ours rode the lite rail, sharing brochures, laughing with others and doing some of our laughter exercises. At the time, I was still very shy. I worried I wouldn’t be able to laugh or smile at others in the general public. However, I knew I would not be happy if I was not fully into it. So I decided I would be fully into it. I let go of my fear of people and let myself be happy around others. It was the most wonderful and fulfilling time of my life. Just sharing the gift of smile or laughter with others!

I was also in the process of publishing my first book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself! I had written it, had it professionally edited, formatted it and had the sample copy in hand. It was ready! But I was so afraid to press that button to go live! After my day of riding the lite rails, being open and free with the public, I had nothing left to fear! Nothing at all! I went home and courageously went live with my book. It was one of the most exhilarating and freeing moments of my life (next to giving birth to my children!) Hehehe. Ho ho ha ha ha!

There will be sad days days but I have learned to laugh at the absurdity of life. I don’t think it’s meant to be so serious. We are meant to play and have fun as we go about our days. Little moments of sadness, is just that, little moments and not meant to go on for years. It took me many years to learn to lighten up! I experience all the feelings and emotions of life with the understanding that, “this too shall pass.” It helps to let out a whopping belly laugh! Hehehe. No, I’m not positive all of the time, I just don’t let sad times define or color my whole life. Life has many arrangements of experiences.  Live, breathe, and laugh!!!  Boohoohahahaha!!!

Gift to Readers

amazon.com/author/sophiasimo

I’ve got the “f” word on my mind!  F is for family, friends, fans, and most importantly free!  This holiday season, the kindle version of my book, Dear Sophia, Love Yourself! is free to download from December 23-26 on amazon.   My  book is full of short stories about dealing with mental illness, and healing.  I had depression with psychotic features.   It’s my commentary of the mental health system, friends, and family who helped me through a dark period in my life.  It’s inspirational and a primer to think differently about mental health issues.

From the back cover:  Since I was a teenager, and for much of my adult life, I have been in and out of the mental health system, and have had various physical conditions for which I needed assistance.  This book is a compilation of stories about what I have overcome and how I did it.  These stories are my commentary on the help, or non-help, I received and various life experiences from which I learned valuable lessons that I want to share with the world.   I hope to inspire others who feel like there is no way out of a seemingly hopeless situation, or who just want to take positive steps to change the direction of their life.

Enjoy!