Why is Everything so Heavy?

Chester Bennington died by suicide yesterday, July 20. It was the birthday of his friend Chris Cornell who died by suicide two months ago.

I knew nothing about either of these men but like them, I and many others struggle with mental illness. This news weighs heavy on my heart. It reminds me that my mental health is a precarious balance between health and madness.

While taking part in a mental health outpatient program at the Oakville-Trafalgar Hospital I was assigned a counsellor to whom I reported at least once a week. Early on my counsellor mentioned something that has stayed with me over the years.

Mental illness is the only disease where your mind will try to kill you.

Betrayal usually comes from outside ourselves not from the core of our being. Not from our brain that we trust and rely on to warn us of danger, make logical decisions, and to protect our interests.

When despair and hopelessness settle in it’s our minds that whisper,

“What’s the point?”

And in a moment of unbearable pain, our mind is easy to believe.

I’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy?
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on

Heavy by Linkin Park

After someone dies by suicide, people observe how normal the victim appeared. They seemed okay, their life was moving in a positive direction. They had plans. They were optimistic about the future.

All it takes is one low moment of desperation. A weary moment when the victim becomes tired of the burden, tired of trying so hard to hold on with no end in sight. No one can save you. It’s nobody’s fault.

Dying by suicide is not a choice. It’s a side-effect of mental illness. No one wants to die, but our minds deceive us into believing it’s the only way out. There is comfort in thinking the torment will end. There will be rest. The fight is over.

In talking to my family doctor many years ago about suicide, she said,

“Suicide is a long-term solution for a short-term problem.”

That was 18 years ago, and while she is right, my mental illness is hardly a short-term problem. It will be with me for the rest of my life.

Heavy was the last song written by Linkin Park. It speaks to Chester’s state of mind and the heaviness weighing on him. He was swimming in despair. His illness pulling him under the water. And in the end, he lost the fight and was swept away.

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: Soil or …?

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“Did you soil your pants, little man?”

No, I poop!

Daily Prompt: Edible – To Eat or Not

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It’s quiet and cool in the woods. Sunlight filters through the leafy canopy while we tread carefully on dead leaves and pine needles. It’s peaceful here. The stillness is calming and the beauty of our surroundings warms my soul.

I feel like a child on a treasure hunt. Michael is an experienced mushroom hunter taking me out for the first time. He finds them easily and educates me on the type of mushroom and if they’re edible or not. At first, I have a hard time finding them but once I do I start to see them everywhere.

“Hey! I think I found button mushrooms!”

Those are not button mushrooms.”

“They look like button mushrooms”

They’re called death caps and if you eat them they will kill you.”

“Oh.”

 

 

Summer Colds

On the off chance that some of you enjoy summer colds I just have to say:

I Hates Summer Colds

Coughing, hacking, and wheezing

Sniffling, snorting, and gasping

I struggle to breathe through my nose

I struggle to breathe at all!

Aching head, shivers and sweating

Woozy, my snotty nose leaking

I struggle to keep my eyes open

I struggle to keep myself awake!

Fevered dreams while sleeping

Groggy and grumpy on waking

I struggle to find my bearings

I struggle to care at all!

 

Daily Prompt: Moxie – Omar Khadr has It

Moxie

The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage

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Omar Khadr has certainly faced his share of horrors with spirit and courage. A child soldier, Omar fought against Canadian and American soldiers on Afghan soil. Indoctrinated by his father an al-Qaeda operative, Omar was trained as a young child to fight his father’s cause.

During the fighting, a grenade exploded and Omar was seriously wounded. When American soldiers found him he had a wound in one eye from shrapnel and two gunshot wounds to his back. He begged soldiers to kill him.

At first, it was thought that the grenade was thrown by an American. But early on the focus turned to Omar. There has never been proof that Omar was the one to throw the grenade.  He was taken to Guantanamo Bay and spent 10 years tortured and neglected by his captors. The Canadian government refused to come to his aid.

Only when there was hope that he might be returned to Canada did Omar confess. His confession was part of a plea-bargain so that he could finish out his sentence in Canada.

With all that Omar has endured he is not bitter, angry or hateful. He is a soft-spoken man looking to put his past behind him and start a new life. He is looking to the future. He wants to become a nurse so he can help people and become a productive member of society.

Omar received a 10.5 million dollar settlement and an apology from the Canadian government for the violation of his rights and freedoms.

Omar has moxie and I wish him a wonderful life. One he rightly deserves.

Go in peace, Omar.