Thursday, February 5, 2015

AM~Erica Wants to Describe the Pain

So anyway...

If you have kept up with me the last couple of years, or a little longer, you will know I speak up about my mental health, as well as advocate for treatments, preventions, and hopefully cures.  (reminders HERE) And, even though I am better most of the time, I still have my moments. Sometimes the moments are triggered, sometimes they seem to come out of no where...

Full disclosure at this moment: I'm having one of my days. Not one of my deep dark ones, but I feel my insides feel like I'm dangling my feet over the deep, dark abyss. Trying very hard to stay on top of it. I promise. I recognize it. I want you to know that it's a good thing.

It's a day a feel bad about myself. Like I've done something really wrong. I haven't...but there's the days, the moments, you suddenly feel like the worst person on Earth. It could be stress, not sure. But I know it's there...creeping. It's uncomfortable while making it's presence known. And it's very real.

I want to make that very clear. These feelings are real & exist. And I hate it!

So, I'm putting it out there, today, for a couple of reasons:

1. I have found when I find ways to talk about it, I can keep this thing at bay. So, I'm "talking" about it.

2. This is a good opportunity to explain this invisible illness in yet another way.

Not only do I suffer from depression, but I also get migraines. Ugh. Like a lot of women, as a matter of fact. It bums me out that I'm such a statistic. But I gotta deal with it as these things come.

With my migraines, I try to catch them as early as I can. Because if one of my headaches get rolling & I don't have the chance to try to put on the brakes...the atrocious pain levels become excruciating! Every sound hurts. Every light hurts. Every thought hurts.
Sleep certainly helps in the long run. And I have to hope my nausea doesn't come to fruition...because I will be camped out on the bathroom floor with a rice pack &/or a bag of frozen veggies for my head &/or neck as I try to get comfortable enough.
You can see it in my eyes when one hits. And, when they are bad enough, the thoughts get dark...

...I want help. But not the appropriate help. I get the "suicidal migraines." These are headaches that hurt so much, and you feel you cannot bear it any longer...
For me, I will have the thought, "If I only had a gun to forcefully put a hole in my head, I might be able to relieve the pressure."
Oh man...just putting that out there is breaking my heart. But that's how great the pain can be with my migraines! And? No one doubts when I have one.

No one tells me to think more positively to get rid of it. No one tells me it's a sin that I'm suffering with a migraine.

Here's my point: I liken my migraine pain to my depression pain & beyond.

Even though my suicidal migraine thoughts are actually separate & different than my typical (I promise I'm using the word "typical" loosely), they run quite parallel.

When I have a migraine, no one questions. People want to help. People want it to go away & want to go out of their way to help with what they can. People will leave me alone when they know I need to be alone. But when the pain is so great, and I cannot think clearly any longer, any thought that already hurts can actually become harmful in thought. But I'm so wiped, I would not & could not act upon it.

When I am having a down & empty day, a day when I'm feeling sad & worthless, no one should question. The pain can become so great, I cannot think clearly any longer...and there are the times when I think there is no other way out of the abyss than thoughts of great harm...I want to relieve the pressure. Since the pain is in a different place, it could be very easy for me to act upon it.

My thoughts in my depressive & suicidal states become different. I know how I would want to relieve the pressure. But it's those factors that cannot be around within my grasp. In my lack of logic, and in a state of an off reality (because that off reality is still my reality in that moment), I want to relieve the pressure of a pain that is so great. But...sometimes I can sleep it off. Note: SOMEtimes...

I want to make it clear that not all of my episodes of either state are like this...but...they have been known to get there. Also...I am never "committed" to that! EVER! I DO NOT CHOOSE that kind of state to be in. So the fact I want out of it should say a whole lot.

This goes for anyone else who has been, or is, in that position. They are so ill, they are in a lot of pain. They want out of it. They cannot seem to find another way out. Tomorrow doesn't feel like it will help. And that's where the promise of tomorrow from supportive people come into play.

When someone is feeling so ill, how do you treat them?
If someone comes to you saying they have cancer, do you doubt them? Do you doubt their pain? Do you think it's something they choose? Or do you want to help them anyway you possibly can knowing they want it out of their body?

This week, the Senate actually got along. There was a vote for a bill, called the Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Act, that went up for vote. It passed, overwhelmingly, 99-0. There was one vote absent, but they were a co-sponsor of the bill. You realize this was a unanimous vote...from ALL sides...right? This means so much...but it also means every person in that room understood the magnitude of this. They were affected in someway (i.e. whether losing someone they love, they know someone who suffers, they may suffer themselves). And it begins with the ones who sacrifice so much of themselves for our own freedoms...many of them suffer. The ones we owe so much to, for our freedoms being defended so fiercely, are finally getting the help they may need recognized.

(Read about it HERE)

It's a huge & important step toward the fight for suicide prevention...and mental illness. And I'm so proud of the Senate for allowing it to start there.

The Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Act is now on it's way to the White House. And it's exciting! And moving. We have to start why not with our veterans? At least! But I think it should grow from here. And we are on the way to diminishing this ugly thing of mental illness using suicide to take lives.

It is still a touchy subject for many. I have had several come to me, in absolute confidence, about their situation: whether for themselves or about a loved one. I will never breach that trust. It's hard to talk about. But it shouldn't be.

I'm not ashamed when I have a migraine. Why should I be ashamed when I am having an episode of depression...and maybe even thoughts of life escape? It means I'm ill.

Are you ashamed when you have a cold? Allergies? Sinus flair up? The flu? Announcing we have strep throat? When your child has chicken pox?
We put it all out there on social media & in our why can't we talk about the mental illness with the same amount of ease?

So I'm trying. Today I'm feeling under the weather. I'm down. I have an illness kicking up. And I'm talking about it. Because I know it's one of the remedies that works...for me.

And I will be OK.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica


  1. Praying for you to have many more good days (and no more migraines -- yikes!) and I'm so proud of you for writing this and speaking out about it.

    1. Thank you so much, my friend. Keepin' on, keepin' on...a day at a time. I got this. And I've got God with me.
      And I will keep speaking out as much as I can. I appreciate the comment so much.

  2. I agree with you. Talking about it really does help. Very few people understand the pain of mental illness. Thank you for doing so much to advocate for change.

    1. It's what I'm called to do, Rudy. Apparently you are, too. Thank you for all you are doing for mental health! Keep talking!