Don’t Let Your Illness Take Away What You Love!

dont quit

Sometimes, things happen that don’t make a lick of sense. Sometimes, when we’re walking down the road, minding our own business, we end up in weird places without realising it and it can cause a lot of damage. This happened to me quite recently.

Sunday morning, right before I went to bed, the mental hellhounds came sniffing about and brought friends. Huge, ugly, snarling friends that started stirring up trouble. A lot of trouble. I went to bed, unable to really sleep, but kept my hand on my Rosary and my worry cross I keep under my pillow. It’s a comfort thing for me, and it does help. I didn’t feel right when I got
up, but I did attend Mass and did the best I could to get through the day.

Due to the terrible insomnia and only being able to take catnaps these last few weeks, it’s made me hypersensitive to a lot. Largely, my interactions with people have left me in a crumpled heap on the floor in the corner, begging for an adult. Things got so bad Monday night, I came super close to walking away from everything and just go into hiding completely. Whether well-intended or not, things were said that I took to heart and the hellhounds exacerbated a lot of it, making me feel even worse than I had Sunday. Thanks a heap, brain!

I went to bed early Monday night, was actually able to get some decent sleep, and I got up yesterday morning before my alarm and thought, ‘Hm. Interesting night… Let’s see how the day goes.’ Now, as a person who has severe mental illness struggles, I have discovered taking things a second at a time makes life a lot easier to navigate, tackling the little things that
are within my control, and trying – though not always successfully – to ask for help on the bigger, tougher situations. I’ve got at least one person I can trust wholly with everything – and I mean everything – that I’ve been through, I can go to this person and talk to them about what’s bothering me and they can help me sort things out and I’m okay again. I’m reminded
that I’m not alone, but not in a silly Hallmark sentiment kind of way. I have a couple other friends – in total, I have four people who know me pretty well – that I can talk to about things and trust that they’re not going to make me feel worse, but they don’t quite have the training to be able to sit me down and say, ‘No, this is this, this is not that over there.’ Not like one
of them does. It’s not an easy thing to get me to trust you, and these individuals have proven that they can be trusted with things that I don’t share with just anyone. I have a tendency to keep everyone at a distance, guess you could say.

Monday night, I came dangerously close to walking away from 39 years of one of the only things I have that keeps me grounded. One of my ‘core four’ as it were reminded me to accept the grace God’s offering me, too, for myself. That’s…not easy to do for someone like me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always happy to pray for others, but when it comes to praying for something for myself, that doesn’t come easy, because I feel like I’m being selfish or something.

It’s hard to explain.

So, anyway, I’m sitting here, and someone reaches out to me to share something big with me about something I’d written. I was blown away. Happy tears came, and all I could do was thank my Beloved Jesus for His intervention. For answering that frustration and nearly running away from something special He’d given me. Right here, this is what I needed to realize that I am meant to be a writer, and I am meant to keep sharing my Beloved Jesus with people. Sure, my writing might not be for everyone, and not everyone’s going to read it. And that’s okay. There are still people out there who want to see my words, who are interested in what I have to share. And that means a lot to me. Even if only one person, or even one post is read, I feel like a bestselling author. I don’t get comments on my stuff, and that’s okay, too. Low readership doesn’t necessarily mean no readership. I still have at least someone out there who does read and is curious, and that means more to me than I can express.

As I write this, I keep looking over at a tile that my closest friend gave me last summer. It says, Words are the voice of the heart. I can’t help but remember the day it was brought over, and the conversation we had. As my friend left, we were saying our ‘see ya later’ to each other, and I said, ‘Thank you!’ My friend replied, ‘Keep writing, you!’ I’ve got a lot of respect for this person, and I am grateful for their friendship. They are direct enough with me if I’m writing something that sounds ‘phoned in’ or not me, to tell me. They are someone whose opinion I value a great deal, and their friendship means a lot to me, because I know how much of a handful I try so hard not to be. God bless them for putting up with me, despite how frustrating I’m certain I am.

So, as of right now, I’m staying put. I’m not going to stop being a writer just because it doesn’t seem I’m getting anywhere. Stephen King had his wife to encourage him. What those conversations I had Monday night as well as yesterday did for me was encourage me to keep going. I need to keep going.

I’m not going to allow my illness to defeat me.

©2020, T. Rea Okerberg

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