Introduction Blog by Elisa Escalante/ LMSW/ April 1st 2020

“You’d be surprised how painful it is to search for peace” – EaE

     As a human, therapist, writer, veteran, friend, fiancé, stepmother and mentally ill person functioning in a complicated society, I feel compelled to start this blog.  Every day we wake up, we do a variety of things in relation to confronting, deflecting or avoiding our mental health symptoms.  This includes Self-care activities, defense mechanisms, coping tools, forced activities, forced interactions, pushing ourselves mentally and physically through fatigue, ruminating on our past and questioning our futures, avoiding the temptation to have outbursts that will result in potential consequences and… so on.   

     Everyday the above is happening, and everyday we avoid talking about it.  Are we talking to walls or are we talking to the defense mechanisms of others?  Do people really “not understand” what we are talking about or do they not care?  Or are they in denial?  One theme that continues true through our sufferings is that the more we feel misunderstood, the more we shut down.  Forced into a life of suffering emotional issue’s in isolation.  Mainly because much of the feedback we are subjected to involves shaming, blaming, misunderstanding or a complete lack of empathy.  As lonely as it is to hold things in, most people recognize that sharing has its risks too. 

     I want this blog to be a source of truth.  I also hope it can be a go to place for those that are stigmatized and pressured to the point of acting “functional” while ill to please the ever-growing demands of society.  We may often find ourselves in a constant losing battle.  It is likely that the expectations thrust upon us through life accompanied with our adversities and traumatic griefs may create a common theme of shame, disappointment, depression, anxiety, anger, crying outbursts and so on. 

    Are we strong or are we weak?  Are we “ill” or are we “normal”?  Are we resilient or not?  How is this measurable without knowing someone’s story?  How can some people “function” and “thrive” while others seem to fall apart?  Does appearing “functional” mean we are functional?  Are feelings including crying outbursts even wrong?  Why are we hiding these things?  What is self-care and are we doing it right?  We know that happiness is not a permanent state and yet we desperately partake in quests to find it.  And if not happy, then maybe, at least an escape? 

    Some people have been officially diagnosed on paper with a mental illness.  Others have never been diagnosed but deep down they know they may need to get help and are contemplating it.  Others have not been diagnosed and struggle daily, but do not feel they have the time to start prioritizing their mental wellbeing due to XYZ.  Then, maybe some people are truly happy and feeling okay with no mental health conditions, however as a human it is inevitable that they will experience depressive symptoms, anxiety, grief, anger etc at some points in their lives.  No one is immune to emotional pain; however, we find it very difficult to talk about it. 

     Why is talking about it important? Why is processing pain vs suppressing it so crucial? We can think of emotional pain in the same way we are taught to see and process our physical pain.  Pain is pain, and it is meant to tell us something. Physical pain will alert us to the danger of what we are touching, or a physical injury we have been subjected to.  Emotional pain will also tell us something, but we must be willing to pay attention to it.  Emotions are never wrong, they are just often suppressed and misplaced to a point we may become unrecognizable to ourselves. 

     For me, I have learned that emotional expression isn’t about “whining” or “ruminating”, rather it is a healthy method that many of us should have learned a long time ago.  Instead, society has clung to the myth that trauma’s, griefs and emotional discomforts are better left unprocessed, not talked about, and “in the past where they belong”.  But, pay attention to our countries ever growing suicide rates and answer this question:  Do you believe we are oversharing or under sharing our emotions?  People need help that they are not getting, but even worse than that: they are too afraid to even ask for it.

     Many believe they have successfully accomplished the feat of “not letting things get to them” and maintaining stability despite all the odds stacked against them.  Many believe their suppressing/ deflecting methods work as they can remain “functional” meaning working full time, going to school, raising families, socializing and so on.  Functional by societies standards does not mean you are fine.  It is not about what a person can force themselves to do, it is about what it costs them to do it. 

     I am very excited to start this blog and hope to provide a different way of looking/ thinking about our mental health.  If you are a living/ breathing human being, this blog is for you, as we all experience a life of traumas, grief, emotional pain, emotional suppression, self-medicating and so on. 

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

2 thoughts on “Introduction Blog by Elisa Escalante/ LMSW/ April 1st 2020

  1. I love your insight on this subject. I especially like when you talk about how society views depression/anxiety. How many people do we know who are functioning alcoholics, but society is ok with that, but mention depression and you are told “move one”, “Get over it” or my favorite “you should be a pro at this by now”.
    I am 58 years of age. I suffer from depression and PTSD. Growing up it wasn’t lady like to air ones inner feelings. So like many others I kept my emotions and abuse deep inside.
    I hope your blog gets people to open up and talk, especially since they aren’t face to face with someone and feeling judged.

    Liked by 1 person

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