Only the Strong Survive

I’m trying to come up with something that doesn’t sound like I’m making excuses for myself and that doesn’t come across as “woe is me”, because the chaos that has surrounded my life for the last ten plus years seems to have no end in sight. Of course there are really wonderful days, weeks, sometimes even months, but the slew of bad luck even when I’m doing everything right has got me yearning for a cabin in the woods with very little outside communication. Being in your 20’s nowadays is just a strange purgatory where you think you know what you want, but there’s no guarantee you’re going to get it our if you do get it you’re going to have to trudge through miles of shit. Add a mental illness, some poverty, and extreme nihilism and boom you’ve got yourself a 20 something.

I’m lucky though. My circle has closed significantly, but those that are left, well there aren’t really accurate words to describe how much they mean to me. No matter how sad or what kind of mood swing my brain has decided to gift me on the rare occasions the medication isn’t doing it’s job, I know that there are people out there that care deeply and are willing to listen. One of my biggest fears is that I’m a burden on those people, I do the best I can to listen as much as I talk, but for those of you who know me I like to talk, especially if I can get away with distracting from what I really need to discuss.

I joke with my other mentally ill friends that only the strong survive being close with us. We are exhausting. I am the first to admit that, no one likes being around a sad person or an irrational person or a very impulsive person. This is a fact that took me years and years to accept, and years and years more to mourn and resent the friends that could not handle it; I do not resent them anymore. The strong survive though. They bring you to the movies after your grandmother passes. They tell you they love you and you believe it. They force you out of your house in pajamas to bring you to McDonalds because you haven’t eaten. They make a secret facebook group to discuss an issue that you can’t handle and invite you after they’ve brainstormed solutions. They treat you to lunch and reassuring conversation even though they can tell you don’t 100% buy into the future that they are painting you. They know when you need human touch. They know when you absolutely do not need human touch. They speak from experience and hope.

The most terrifying thing about having a mental illness now is that the future was always uncertain, there’s not a zero sum chance that I won’t end my life, or end up hospitalized long term. I do not want to now, and I have not truly wanted to in a very long time. I like living. I’m about 70% stable and that’s pretty fucking great (if you knew me before you would understand), but illness is unpredictable. On top of that uncertain future we are also dealing with an uncertain future on this planet.

But I have my people. When my mind twists and turns like it has been for weeks now, I still have my people. Maybe they give me a joke, maybe some reassurance, and maybe some real understanding. They are the strong, they have survived this particular storm.