When It's All or Nothing.

When I started Horribly Human, my primary motivation was to try to connect myself with the mental health community so that, I don’t know, we could all learn how to live our crazy, complicated, utterly outrageous lives together. Because if you’ve got a mental illness then you know how fucking hard it is to find people who understand and appreciate the struggle that is you. I know, you’re nodding your head. So am I! 

Throughout my life I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some seriously spectacular people in and out of the mental health community. I know really, really excellent folks who are rockstars of awesome in their own ways and I know a small handful of not-so-great people who have contributed to the ball of crazy that is my mental illness.

One thing I’ve learned throughout this process is that people - no matter how well you think you may know them - are who they are for a reason and sometimes figuring that out can send you into a hellish tailspin of crap that feels impossible to climb out of.

My mother died in early November and that sent my mind into a mental health crisis that, I’m sorry to say, has been the worst I’ve ever experienced. A deeply private person, my mother lived two entirely separate lives and, sadly, raised me to do the same. Some things our parents give us are gifts - like being able to live a public life on the internet while also being a deeply private person. And other things, like the inability to see value in myself even when everyone around me can, are less than awesome. 

Although I’ve had mental illness for close to 17 years, (though, let’s face it, probably since birth), I’ve always been a smart, capable person, but in order to be that I need to be well. That’s why recognizing the difference between mentally well and unwell is so important for people like me, you, hell, fucking all of us.

When we’re not well, we make poor choices, plain and simple. But when we’re walkin’ our way to wellness we’re capable of recovering in a fuller, honest, more productive way.

Though my mother had her share of demons, I felt that she was the only person who really knew exactly who I was. We spoke nearly every day of our lives and I’m personally responsible for just about every grey hair that woman ever tried in vain to pluck out of her head. When she died, it felt like the truest form of myself I ever was died right along with her and y’all, I’ve been in a fucked up shame spiral ever since. 

There are many things about me that I never wanted anyone to know. Secret things. Private things that belong to me as a person that I don’t want to let out into the universe because, frankly, my business is not your business and your business is not mine either. Self-judgement is a struggle I live with daily and dealing with myself has always been remarkably difficult.

I’ve held onto a lot of secret feelings over the years and, if there’s anything I know, it’s that secrets keep us sick, but sometimes we need our secrets to remain our own in order to get well.

Part of my recovery from this current mental health crisis is dealing, privately, with some of the monsters in my closet. Some people deserve my derision, others don’t deserve it at all, and for the most part I’d say negative self-talk is the reason I’m the kinda gal that bruises easily in my soul when someone significantly harms my self-esteem. 

There’s a few things I’m good at and forgiveness, one of my most important values, is also my most hard-won. I’ve never been the kind of lady to just shrug something off, give it up to the sky, and move my life forward. For me, it takes actual hard work, healing, and self-care so strong it means I gotta move mountains even when my arms and legs are so sore from anxiety that I can hardly stand up straight.

Doing the right thing for my mental health has never been easy, but folks, I’m here to tell you, that when you refuse to do what’s right in order to keep everyone else happy, you’ll never find happiness for yourself.

This particular mental health crisis has led me down a road that makes me feel a bit like Dorothy discovering yellow bricks at her feet. Uhm, hi, hello, I’m a fuckin’ disaster and guess what? Somewhere along the way I stopped worrying what everyone else thought of me and finally figured out that holy crap, it’s okay to not be okay!

I love Horribly Human. I’ve had a ton of support from a ton of people in my life that has allowed me to make it, maintain it, and keep it going. But I gotta be real y’all - right now is not the right time for me to be workin’ it. Self-trust is always hard when your body is recovering from crisis mode and whenever I write a blog post or prepare a tweet I’m straight up terrified to the point where I’m buggin’ family and friends to read every single line to make sure they don’t sound crazy.

And you know what’s crazy? Not wanting to sound crazy when crazy is exactly what you are.

So for now, I’m going to take a step back and let Horribly Human sit for awhile. I don’t know if I’ll want to pick it back up or if I’ll want to leave it in the dust. All or nothing thinking is a common symptom of depressive disorders and since my grief is intermingled with the complicated ball of fun that I already am, I still find myself torn between choices when I have to make them. 

But today, for the first time in a really long time, I started to see a light and realized that though I may be sick, I’m still the same me that my mother always knew and that I kept quietly hidden away from just about everyone in my life. Now it’s my time to work on myself, to deal with my demons, and most of all to take time to rest and allow my body the space it needs in order to get well. 

So with that said I’d like to tell every last one of you that I love you, adore you, but I gotta do me for awhile so that my writing gets to a healthier place. Because the last thing this community needs is some deeply depressing crap sprinkled all over everyone. Sick people leading sick people creates sick people and y’all, the only thing that matters now is getting well. So I’m going dark for now and maybe, with a miracle, I’ll climb out into the light when I’m ready. 

Alicia GibsonComment