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A Movie: A day in the life of someone with Mental Illness. By Jen

"If only you knew...." In order to understand some one's walk through mental illness, you must be willing to let go of judgements, stereotypes, stigma and immerse yourself. How do you do that? Think about a favorite movie of yours; one that made you laugh and cry, cheer and fight for the underdog and hope for victory and happy endings. I love movies, I love letting all my stuff go and for 2 hours become a part of someone's else's world.

Navigating life can be hard for a mentally ill person. Imagine loud, scary, relentless noise in your head that you can't shake off; afraid of every corner you can't see around. bracing yourself for whatever comes next, and battling the exhaustion that comes from the constant fighting back against the parts that plaque your mind and hit your soul right in the middle, taking your breathe away. You can never let your guard down, afraid of the fallout. You want to fit in but you feel like you are trying to put a circle peg in a square hole. You try to blend into society but in so many ways you stand out. Constant thoughts, chatters and visuals swirl around you, emotions shoot from every corner, you can't just turn it off so you just try to manage them in the best ways you know how. You sometimes feel, even in good moments, when everything feels right, that at any time, the rug can be pulled out from under you and you either fall on your face and stay down or you find the courage to stand back up, even if it takes everything you've got to stand up one more time. It can be a dark and scary world, worse than your favorite horror movie or it can be your favorite "feel good" one; maybe its not your choice which movie scene you are living in at any given time and sometimes the only thing we can do is hold on, stay close to our support people, go where it feels right, take the medications, follow the plan. I have had days where the complexity and sometimes grave situations that I have been in, threaten to rob me of my sanity and take everything I work so hard for every single day and throw it all away. I stay close to the people close to me and sometimes, like in a scary movie, you close your eyes and squeeze the hand of the person next to you, until the scary part ends and you remember that sometimes, even scary movies can have a happy ending.


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