Fighting your Madness

Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 4-25-2021

“All those things that once felt routine, or even easy, we now have to fight ourselves in order to do them. And that is where the frustration and helplessness start to come in. Like, why in the world is this stuff so hard for me now?” -EaE

What are you fighting through to get through the day? Pessimism? Depression? Rage? Anxiety? Intrusive thoughts? Mood swings? Insecurities? Shame? Suicidal thoughts? What does it cost you do this? Time? Work performance? A social life? Intimate relationships? Your peace of mind? Some can relate, some cannot. These wounds, cognitions and struggles are invisible, and therefore rarely talked about. For some, it is hard to fathom how the mind can literally cripple us from living in reality; cripple us from even moving sometimes. It can bring us to long-term ‘stuck points’ that feel nonsensical to many. Whether we like it or not, our mind runs us, but we do not always run our minds. We may lose control. Especially when life is on auto pilot and we are running through the motions of that cemented daily routine we may or may not even like. It is the damage of what happened to us combined with the lack of motivation due to what we must go through to sustain ourselves that could break even the ‘strongest’ of humans. The most important thing first? Validation, period. Everyone needs to know that they are not wrong just because they fell into a vicious cycle of mental madness.

        If you find that it is getting harder to regulate your emotions/ symptoms, your body and mind are trying to tell you that whatever you are in, whatever lifestyle you are sustaining, whoever you are around perhaps, is not good for you. Then the common response is: “I do not have a choice. Life requires me to have this horrible job. Life requires me to raise my kids. Life requires me to do my chores. Society requires me to keep ‘leveling up’ or I will fall behind.” Humans tend to stubbornly keep up at what is slowly eroding their mental health, even when they know it. Why? Common reasons: Habit, routine, fear of failure, heightened sense of obligation/ responsibility, vanity, learned coping and more. Here is the big issue with all of this: We rob ourselves of our holistic health when our ‘survival programs’ and social pressures interfere with our ability to take care of ourselves. The reality is, if you care about anything more than you care about your mental and physical being, you were taught wrong.

     Fight the Madness: 

Depression tells us: Do not move, do not get up. Give into the lethargy, lay around. You are tired, feel sorry for yourself. Withdraw, go inward. Fuck the present moment. Ruminate, over and over again. Reflect on that past that hurt you, hate life for it. Hate the people around you for it. Get into a vacuum of fun/ highs to escape this feeling. Overcompensate, hurt yourself. Give up, give in. Stop trying. It is rarely worth it. Why am I even here? 

Fighting depression looks like: Painfully forcing yourself up, struggling through the first 20-30 min of that workout. Forcing yourself through low self esteem to do things that will surely embarrass you. Fighting those addictive coping mechanisms that will usually give you instant relief. Consistently feeling disconnected from those around you. Forcing smiles, engaging in talk you do not want. Forcing solitude activities in a social world.  Packing the schedule (but hopefully not to a point of burnout). 

Anxiety Tells us: You will fail, do not try. This will most likely happen, assume the worst, do not risk it. Forget the future, you might not get through this day. What is going to happen to me? What is going to happen to those I love most? Are we safe enough? Are we protected? When is the next panic? When is the next bad thing happening? Will I be prepared? Is everyone else okay too? Why is no one talking to me? Am I driving everyone crazy? Why am I like this?

Fighting Anxiety looks like: Putting yourself into situations you fear. Taking risks despite your mind telling you otherwise. Risking public ‘embarrassment’ anytime you go out. Constantly questioning if you are doing the right thing on a daily basis. Dealing with too much adrenaline followed by adrenaline dumps. Putting your equilibrium at risk, fighting severe physiological symptoms. Avoiding the temptation to drown out symptoms with a downer.  

Anger tells us: It is that person/ systems fault. Everything happens to me. I hate people. Here we go again! More stupidity. Why is everything like this?! I’d rather be alone than deal with all the bulls*&t. You cannot trust anyone or anything. You need to lash out now to protect yourself from the threat. You need to scare the threat, make people fear you. You are not going to deal with x/y/z ever again. You will do what needs to be done to stop it from happening. 

Fighting anger looks like: Giving people/ places/ things chances despite the urge to not want to. Forcing yourself to take pauses/ breathers so that you do not react inappropriately. Fighting urges to lash out & protect yourself post triggers. Requiring the exploration of substitute activities to channel the pent-up frustration. Resisting the urge to use substances or compulsive behaviors to numb out the rage.  Forcing yourself through meditative activities to unwind. 

Conclusion- Stop Running: 

Everyone tries to run from their mental illness at first. That is the wrong answer, it turns out. You NEED to get to know your mental illness. You must face it, confront it, learn about it. You need to learn what it does to you, how it contributes to your thoughts, the symptoms it gives you, the things it robs you of everyday. You must know what it is in order to know how to fight it. When an individual gets to know themselves, and the trauma’s that haunt/ follow them as well as the crafty ways they must fight that every day, they will be able to find a life while functionally ill. We must gain acceptance of the fact that we have limitations to work around vs having guilt/ shame and self-pity that cause us to stay in a vicious cycle of denial and destructive behaviors. If we can learn to fight the madness in a constructive and emotionally mature way, not only will we heal a bit, but we will also self-empower. Mental illness does not have to end your life, rather it requires you to find a new one, a healthier one.

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

4 thoughts on “Fighting your Madness

  1. I entirely agree with what you have written. I lived most of my life in a cycle of ruminating over the past and, subsequently, in a state of self-pity. Dreadful habits to get out of, but well worth the work put in to do so. I think too, that sometimes we have to seek proper medication, as chemical imbalances in the brain can be at the bottom of dangerous ways of thinking.
    Thank you for the inspiration and motivation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading / commenting I always appreciate feedback.
      I always say medication is a cost benefit analysis only the individual can make for themselves. If the benefit outweighs the cost and you’re comfortable with it, absolutely. The mind needs medication sometimes too

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve tried several times to come off the medication I’m on without success, mainly because of pressure by some doctors, then I met one who said if a medication improves the quality of someone’s life it can only be a good thing. That settled it for me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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