The tragedy of Mental Illness

SSGI lead a good life.

I have all my needs covered. I have a roof over my head. I have food. I have clothes.

I have the perfect job for me. One that has allowed me to avoid the hell that is fighting the disability board.

It allows me to work from home -on my PJs, mostly playing on social networks. If I’m too tired (not your normal tired but the chronic fatigue kind of tired), I can take a two hour nap in the middle of the day to recharge.

And when I do have to leave my place, I get to wear pretty vintage-inspired dresses to go teach people how to dance. I also get to play vintage Jazz music at many dances in my city and other cities as well. Sharing my music with others dancers and hear them say how much they enjoy my sets is always nice.

By teaching swing dancing and by deejaying at swing dances, I get to put smiles on a lot of people faces. You should see them, how happy they are when they are dancing.

And that makes me happy too.

I have two wonderful children. They are beautiful (aren’t all children beautiful in their parents’ eyes?), smart, talented and very accomplished. They have good hearts and are honest, hard-working young adults. They give back to the community and dream of leaving the world a better place than they were given.

I have dear friends. The ones that last a life-time. My only complain is that none of them are here with me. But their friendship isn’t any more real or strong because of that. Their love carry me through life.

I have a loving family too. Truly. The kind I couldn’t wait for it to be Sunday so I could go see. Or Christmas, or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Or that cousin’s birthday. Even though we’re now a continent away, their love surrounds me every day.

I have two beautiful cats that bring continuous joy to my life. I live in the country of my dreams.

I’m smart, fit and fairly good looking.

I’m reasonably healthy too – chronic pain/chronic fatigue aside. By which I mean, yes, I am in pain all the time but I am not attached to an oxygen tank and I am not bed-ridden.  I can walk, I can sing, I can see, I can hear (with some difficulty), I can dance.

I’m able to find joy in the little things. A bird singing. A chipmunk running around, looking for food. A pretty flower. Rain fall. A good meal. A conversation over Facebook with a long distance friend.

All those things make me smile.

Furthermore, I never stop being grateful for the things I have.

So, why is it then that sometimes I walk in such darkness? I feel such emptiness? I lose all hope? And the nightmares that won’t stop making this otherwise nice little world of mine, a very scary place at night, only make matters worse.

Yes, I lead a good life. Yes, I have everything I need.

And yet, I can’t help but hate this life.

That – my friends, of mental illness, the tragedy is.

© Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Summer Solstice Girl and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


42 thoughts on “The tragedy of Mental Illness

  1. I read this and hear myself speak. For me my chronic anxiety associated with BPD is what stops me from having the life I want. I was lucky that in Australia, I was granted disability and ALL the perks that come with that, and yet, I still find it hard to leave my bedroom. It takes EVERYTHING in me to do that some days. To look at me, and a good day, to speak to me, you would have no idea anything is wrong. I am so good at the acting game. So good and yet I cannot keep a relationship to save myself, or sometimes even feed myself … My anxiety cripples me. Like today I would have gone to the football, but at the moment there are life changes happening and if I were to go today I would have had a full blown anxiety attack, I knew this so I never went. For my own safety and my friends who would have been with me.

    And yet I am lucky in a way, because I am alive and breathing, and at times, ok it is shitty as hell, this is the life I have. And I try as best as I can and that is ALL anyone can ask of me.

    Anytime … I wish you well xx

    • I am very good at the acting game as well. But sometimes I don’t know if that has an even worse impact in my life. Perhaps if I weren’t so good at it, people would expect less of me. I don’t know. Perhaps people don’t even expect anything from me and it’s all in my head. I wish I could stay in bed all day, with my eyes closed and not having to talk to anyone.

      I wish you well too

  2. Thank you for sharing, if by some random chan e of fate we should ever be in the same town I would ask you to dance. 🙂
    Ex-swing King 😉 pre PD chronic pain/fatigue

  3. As always I fail to be able to say anything useful other than to say I sympathise, agree with everything you say and finally shout WOW you love vintage Jazz! Me too! 🙂

    • Isn’t vintage Jazz great? It’s funny cause I very much all the technology we have available now and yet, for fashion and music, I always feel more comfortable in the past. Give me Sidney Bechet. Give me Jelly Roll Morton. Give me Fats Waller. That’s where I belong

      • I have quite eclectic music tastes but I made myself study Jazz when at university as I knew nothing about it and a huge love affair began. While I adore Miles Davis, Coltrane et al, there is such a wonderful feel-good factor to all those wonderful guys (and gals!) from the beginnings of Jazz. In one of our local towns in the UK where I live – Keswick – they have a Jazz festival every year dedicated to Ragtime and trad/New Orleans Jazz. Every pub you wander into has a live band playing just as though you’d walked into a speakeasy and I half expect Satchmo himself to pick up that cornet and blow…Oh. My…

        • oooooooh nice! I love Satchmo. Especially early/ Pre-WWII Satchmo.

          Vancouver has a very nice Trad Jazz festival but there is nothing of the sort in Ottawa. I can’t wait to go to New Orleans. If things go according to plan, I’ll be there in October! 🙂

  4. Ahhhh… does sting: the long, long list of loves, and the one dash of cold water in the face. I used to know when I was depressed in the springtime, when the birds were singing and the flowers blooming and beautiful fragrances floating on the air….and I was crying. Why? Because I wanted to die. It’s a cruel thing. But I do love to swingdance!

  5. I love this. It’s what I needed to read today, to be grateful for the good and try to put the pain to the side. It can stil be there (if it must) but it doesn’t have to rule. Thanks. 😀

  6. I wish you had, or mentioned if you have, a loving partner and loving friends… they make a big difference.
    Also, some faith in someone stronger than all of us doesn’t hurt, don’t you think?

  7. I am in pain most of the times, in absolute mental agony. And I fake sanity for others always. I am perceived as logical, practical and very funny. Its takes all the strength I have to get out of bed, to not be down and out. It takes it all to get thru’ another day. Sometime I give in, Sometimes I give up, and sometimes I fight. I know I am worth it. So I try to live my life as much as I can. I have everything I want and need. But I still feel hopeless and lonely.

    So I know how you feel, Hugs

  8. A tragedy indeed.
    I too have so many things in my life that others would envy and that I wish others could share the joy of experiencing also. Yet there is that one thing I would gladly give away – no wait – destroy, since I would not wish it on anyone else. It has the ability to take so much joy away from those things we have been given to enjoy.
    A well considered piece and weighted perfectly in my view. All that love and joy (and you sure have a lot!) … then that one little bloody downer comes along to interrupt what could be a blissful life.

  9. I once thought that reflecting on all that I am grateful for when I am depressed or struggling would help things but honestly I think it can often make situations worse. Sometimes you just have to sit with what is – if that makes sense. Best to you:)

      • Yes it does. I think its okay to just let yourself be in that place even if it’s uncomfortable. If you make it worse by adding guilt on top of that because your gratitude list isn’t making you feel better…well that’s just torture.

  10. Wow. Along with the others here, I can so relate to this, especially when you mentioned dancing and music. Those are some of my joys in life as well although it is amazing how much pain they can bring me at the same time. Such a complicated love affair…

  11. I so understand! There have been many days when I felt bad because I have such a good life and it just doesn’t feel like enough. It’s better than it’s ever been, but it’s not good. It clearly should be enough to make me stay happy, but it’s just not. And I hate that I feel bad about it, too.

    It’s a whole mess of layered nasty. It makes me see truth in the notion that desire is the root of all suffering. I always want something more, even though I usually don’t know what that is, or what I think I want isn’t actually what I want or it doesn’t actually make anything any better. Maybe that sense of “not enough” is just wanting not to hurt.

  12. I could write a comment that would be a blog post in itself, as much as I have to say – but I’ll save that for another time. What you and DeeDee said just there is spot on. It’s a stupid, frustrating, consuming, vicious circle. Sigh. But! For what it’s worth, SSG, you’re not alone. You – are not alone.

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