Archive for May, 2017

I never saved anything for the swim back….

Posted in Articles on May 1, 2017 by oldcountrystrong

So I haven’t written in awhile, I hate that I haven’t. But we all lead busy lives, mine has just decided to busier then usual.

There have been a couple things as of late that have really struck home with a thing that I have decided to do with my life. And that thing I decided was to become a Mental Health Advocate. And no, I didn’t just wake up one morning and say to myself, “Yup, today’s the day I speak out.”

No, it was process that started 16 years ago and finally involved me looking at what I was becoming and seeking out help. After more then a few failed attempts, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder. After treatment started, I realized what a long road I had ahead of me. I also realized how many others were in the same place I was.

This is nothing new that I’m writing about, but if you’re reading an article of mine for the first time I’m just giving a small background on myself so this all makes sense.

The title of this article is from Gattica: “I never saved anything for the swim back.”

My whole life was based on saving nothing for the swim back. I don’t say that as metaphor for being strong, it was the exact opposite. I knew I was living a life with the wrong outcome in mind. I was gonna swim until I swam so far from shore that would be it and the end of my story.

The character that spoke those words wasn’t perfect in the eyes of the world he lived in. And he said it more so as an act of defiance. He could swim out past the odds. What I am going to do now is label that water as stigma and against the odds swim back in against it.

Mental Illness is real, it destroys lives and takes people we love away from us. My own diagnosis gave me peace of mind at first. I knew something was wrong, and I had swam out as far I could. Now maybe it was time to swim back in.

Well life doesn’t end at diagnosis. Learning something has a name doesn’t change who you are. And it doesn’t change those you swam beyond in their struggles or beliefs to get out as far as you did.

You can’t simply turn around and swim back past them. You can’t let them sink beneath the water believing they’re alone or that you’re something less then perfect because of a diagnosis. You’ll find all kinds of people out in that water, and you can’t turn your back on them. No, you have to reach out and grab their hand and bring them back with you to the shore. In that act, maybe they’ll have a better understanding that you haven’t given up on yourself and you haven’t given up on them no matter what they think or who they are.

And when you reach the shore, you may turn around and see others out in the water. Those that didn’t make the choice to swim out, but nonetheless have gotten swept out by the tide. They may not be like me, they may not be ready to be open, they may not be ready to swim back in yet. Or they may be the opposite and simply not understand where their beliefs have taken them.

So what do you do? You go back out in the water and pull in each person you see, open- or closed-minded, “Sick” or “Healthy,” back to the shore where hopefully they find that they’re not alone or that maybe they were wrong to think the way they did about those they saw less then perfect.

We’ve all been told a drowning person will take you down with you them. If you’re battling something and believe you’ll bring others down with you because you feel different, don’t believe it. If you think those out in the water going under are choosing that because you don’t understand what’s wrong with them, don’t believe it.

Swim out to them. It can be scary, but a hand reaching down and pulling you back up and back to shore can make all the difference in the world.

I’m trying to keep this short, but the truth is we all can find ourselves deep in the water. You may be on the side of stigma, you may believe someone can’t be helped. Or you may be that person that needs that help but can’t or won’t find it and is starting to go under.

I keep having breakthroughs and I also have setbacks in my own personal recovery. But I won’t stop swimming. I’m not saving anything for the swim back, but I know I’m strong enough to turn around and make that swim when I need too. I have before and I can again, it’s a battle but that can be life with mental illness some if not most times. And when I swim back I’m going to grab as many hands as I can while I do. And why? Because no one should be alone in this and no should be left to their beliefs, no matter how closed-minded.

You don’t have to be the one swimming in and out, but don’t be afraid when that hand grabs your hand. It could change your opinion or it could save a life.

Don’t save anything for the swim back and when the time come to turn around or bring someone back with you to shore, know this. You’re strong enough to do it.

Close the Loop, LiveForward, find help or open your mind to others that may need it. Don’t give up on people or yourself, there’s always someone willing to make the swim even when it may seem impossible. That’s support, thats what people need, don’t shy away from it.

LiveForward, we’re all Stronger than Stigma and we all need each other in this.

Posted by: Z

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