Imagine this. An existence where you are entrapped in a deep dark hole. Minimal sunlight peeks through the blackness. You feel like you are to be by yourself, but amongst everyone else. There is little hope or eagerness to swarm out of the toxic depths of despair.
That is not an imagination, that was my existence. I say existence since I was not living, but just surviving. Those bright rays of light penetrating the darkness were my few happy moments.
I came along as a perfect storm of mental anguish. One parent was an emotionally unavailable cold person that was like a porcupine. As a very sensitive person, she would use her harsh criticism on me that would occupy my mind for decades. The other parent was a paranoid man that had to have eyes in the back of his head. He said not to trust anyone and this sunk into the debts of my subconscious. The cards were already set against before being born and the early years.
Throw into the mix an early divorce and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I probably perceived the divorce was my fault. My stepdad was a hot-headed jock and drunkard that would scold me in drunken raids. Given the fact that I was a sensitive person, this didn’t assist the problem at all.
My Black Hole
This early foundation of life set me up for 15 years of misery. This is the black hole of life I told you I was existing in. I had a tough time getting along with anyone at all. I would live in the principal’s office a couple times a month for blowing a gasket. Later on, the temper resulting in a expulsion and a few arrests. Slowly the anger subsided, but not before the damage had been committed against others. Anger wasn’t the only issue though.
Along with the anger was anxiety. Hell, if I couldn’t trust my parents, how could I trust anyone else. Their world was a scary place and I did what I could to survive. I have been diagnosed with OCD, GAD, Depression, and PTSD. Many of these were born from those earliest years. Just going to school or work each day was a struggle. Were people going to criticize me? Were people going to be pleasant? This led to the anxiety and even anger. Each disorder in itself was rough, but they did not conquer.
Light Gets Brighter
Now picture this. Gazing up at those tiny lights poking through the darkness of my mind. Every year they would get brighter and brighter. They would also increase in size. I was chosen to have a mind to break the grasp of hell and move to better places in the mind. This was my life and continues to be as I ride out my Journey in life. The journey was and is not simplistic, but when I look back it was worth it and a lot was learned along the way.
I feel like I was chosen to break free and start living. I started seeing little lights come into my darkness. In high school, even though it was a rough time I started to join clubs and drive around with acquaintances. I graduated high school and went on to get four college degrees. I even wrote a book on a lot of these problems that I published. My daily life improves and continues to improve also.
I learned to find ways to cope and relax more. I found a way to go to church and utilize the messages given. I also listened to music to calm out from a stressful day. Meditation and nature were also worked in. I currently am working on strategies also.
The biggest part of the light shining on the dark is on improving myself. I now use deep breathing throughout the day and keep the mind still. If I need to think, I will think of hopeful and joyous thoughts. Just keeping thought control is monumental. There are many ways to work on relaxing, these are what works for me.
The light has shone in my dark spot of life. This is a journey, so there is more light that can shine in. I am up to having 90 percent light now, from a low of 5 percent. I hope I can get to total enlightenment someday with practice.
If my story sounds like yours or someone you know, keep positive and be one of the chosen ones. Going on the journey to get more light is sometimes rough, but when you look back at the lit up room, it is worth it.
– This article was written by Jason McKean as a testimony of living with Mental Illness.