Striving For Normalcy

The Mental Illness Rollercoaster


April 1, 2014


What is normal for those with mental illness?

Now there’s a question that’s difficult to answer.

In the dictionary ‘normal’ is defined as: 1) average, 2) standard, 3) common, 4) sane1. In the world of a mentally ill person, there is no such thing as normal. Each of us are unique.

Striving For Normalcy will show you how to take life one step at a time and make your way to the top of the ‘proverbial’ ladder of good health with a taste of humor. It’s either laugh or cry. I laugh when I want to cry, and cry when I when I want to laugh. Everything has a balance point.

You may ask if I’m truly ‘there’ or back to good health yet, and I’m close to that, but reality strikes deep when occasionally I tip over the edge. There are moments when I’m unable to battle it out, and others when I simply sleep until it passes.

I refer to a rollercoaster in this book because that’s what being BPII is like with its ups and downs. It seems that just when you feel up, you reach the top of the next rise and ‘poof!’ down you go again into the doldrums. What a journey! It’s one I dislike intensely but I’ve learned that I have to take it with a huge block of salt, not simply a grain of it.

When people see you’re down, many try to ‘cheer you up’, but it’s not as straightforward as that. In my case, I tend to imagine the worst trials in life, and wallow in a poor self-image, especially when I stare into a mirror. Yuck! People assure me that I’m a beautiful woman; however, I feel far from it and view my reflection in the looking glass with serious doubt.

Not everyone can use mind over matter to live a healthy, happy life. When unable to speak properly after a severe breakdown in 2002, I wondered why news anchors on television could continue to talk with a smooth, unbroken flow of words when I only spouted gibberish.

The only help for it is either herbal remedies, if they work, or seeing a doctor and being on prescriptions of pills indefinitely. The other option is to focus on positives and talk yourself into becoming well. It’s a catch-22 situation. If you don’t take your prescribed pills, you suffer the consequences by rebounding back into the hole of depression, yet if you do take them, you become stuck on the curves of the rollercoaster with a lifetime of legal medications.

Some people who suffer from a depression setback can take anti-depressants for a short time to get past the worst of it then go on to live the normal life I always wish for.

This book was created to help others who face similar issues and want to talk, read, and have someone believe in them when they are ill with the understanding that it’s not all in their minds or their fault.

Within each of the chapters are first-hand experiences with mental illness which are meant to be a guide for those with this ‘DIS-EASE’. Support systems are very important. Family and friends who want to understand and help their loved ones are imperative, highlighted with personal experiences.

There is also a great deal of humor in this book to soften the way to good health. People with mental illness suffer in many ways, but those who live with them, are related to them, or are close friends, suffer as much as the ill person. In short, depression affects everyone!

I may not ever be completely free of the dark, but I've learned a lot about myself and others like me since I had that first breakdown that I'd like to share with you. Come join me on the rollercoaster and perhaps you too can find a positive, supportive place where it's not so gloomy. There are many people in the same boat. When you want to be well again, check out the many mental health websites, speak with crisis councilors, and even go to chat room where you too can find the light to guide you home.

 © by Frances R. Armstrong
All Rights Reserved 2013