As always I am going to as transparent as possible. You already know I am a huge fan of the show Being Mary Jane. This season’s episodes have really caused me to reflect on a lot of my own life’s situations and how the show to me, has provided a new perspective on how I handled these situations. So this episode has to deal with Lisa, Mary Jane’s BFF (best friend forever), dealing with her own mental demons and deciding to take her own life. Mary Jane is currently recovering from a car accident she was in, caused by a confession she overheard of Lisa having some sort of sexual encounter with the man Mary Jane has been on and off again with for years. If you didn’t see it go back and watch Season 3 Episode 3, have tissues ready.
Today I am ready to discuss my own situation in dealing with someone who suffers from a mental disorder. These are my own personal feelings about my own situation so judge if you must but they won’t change. As some know I was married many, many, many moons ago. What most don’t know is that I had been trying to get a divorce from this person since year 7, it took 6 long agonizing years to finally have those papers signed, sealed, and delivered. During this phase in my life some mental health issues arose. Now if you know me, you know I was raised in the church by a God-fearing family. Once those marriage vows were taken it was truly in sickness and health that you had to stick it out with a person. Little did I know that I would be eating those words somewhere down the line. I wanted out and I wanted out so badly I could taste it, breath it, feel it in my spirit, I mean there wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t plotting my escape. You may think I am a horrible person, but I could care less, let me tell you why.
When dealing with a person who has mental issues not only has their life changed drastically, but so does yours. You go from what people see as a happy couple to dreading the other person’s presence, at least this was my take. One minute everything was cool, medication was being taken, life looked up, and the disease was not going to win. The next, medication was no longer an option, all was lost and there was no hope for the world. It’s hard especially with children to live in such an unstable environment. Don’t get me wrong I did try. I tried therapy, all types, animal, yoga, breathing, I was at church every day on my knees looking for some relief. When you cannot find peace in your own home, you truly have a problem. Home should be your refuge, not the war zone. The place I thought I could relax became the last place I wanted to be. I’d gotten myself and the kids involved in so many activities that by the time we made it home it was time to shower and go to bed. On the outside I’m sure people thought I was just an active mom and I was in my community giving back. Honestly these activities were saving a life. I was going to need mental help myself if I didn’t do something soon.
One day during a therapy session, I was sitting listening in and the statement made hit me upside the head so hard, I could almost feel myself falling. “I don’t want to take my meds, I feel like if I am out of control, people should deal. I’m not changing so you all deal with it. (Imagine an aggressive tone)” Well damn! It was at that moment I woke up. Nothing was going to change. This person had made their decision that this is how they wanted to live their life. Constant confusion was okay for them, because when the days were good they were great, so what if they had bad days, we would need to learn to deal with them because this was life. NOT FOR ME and not for my babies. How could I accept this as life?! Let me be totally honest, living in anxiety is no place to call home. You are always on edge because you are waiting for the next thing to happen to disrupt your world. As with Mary Jane and Lisa, Mary Jane did not know when Lisa was going to attempt suicide (she’d tried before) or when she would appear at Mary Jane’s home making accusations against her. It’s a hard thing to help somebody that does not want help. At what point do you stop offering them help and help yourself. I had reached that point. I prayed day and night for God to reveal to me what I should do next. I know in my heart this was not the plan God had for our lives. I sought guidance and the same old sad song played, “Stand by your man”.
I took a day off from work to meditate on my next move. Then I started packing, I packed everything, everything that person would need to feel safe and secure and asked them to leave. I got the evil eye from so many people, friends, family, church members. I was hurt because I thought these were people who wanted the best for all of us and for me at least the best would be that person leaving. It took some encouragement from my sister circle and prayers from my mom, dad, and sister, but I stuck with my decision and never looked back. I was confident in my decision and why you might ask?! Well because as much as we are taught to stand by a person we have to consider ourselves someone we should stand by. There is a reason on flights that they tell you to place the mask across your own face first. If you pass out trying to help the other person then you both might end up dying, but if you can manage to get your mask on, secure yourself, you might be able to help yourself, the person next to you, behind you, and in front of you. We have to make sure we are okay. It’s not selfish to feel this way it should be human nature. If you are not okay then you can’t help others be okay. I had to be okay with me choosing to be okay. And I am……
I feel now that I am an advocate for those who are dealing with someone who suffers from mental issues. I don’t encourage people to run away, but I do encourage them to help themselves. Whatever their decisions they have to be okay with getting themselves right first. So there’s my truth. If you feel like you need help choosing yourself first or want some encouraging words or need information on how to get help when dealing with mental issues, leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”- Audre Lorde