So I decided to give this Liptember thing a crack.
Aspects of this campaign go against a couple of things I stand for, but rest assured, I’ve rationalised it remarkably well. I usually avoid female-centric charities like a damn plague unless there’s a male equivalent that gets equal the amount of attention. Because dudes have issues too, yo. It’s why I don’t purchase any products with a pink ribbon (although, there are other reasons for that…). But, given that Movember is coming up, it seemed reasonable – in my head – to do this.
I said a little bit about it on my bio for it, and to be honest I’m not quite sure if I want to elaborate or keep this brief, but I’ll see where this takes me.
Mental illness has been something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. I mean, I’m sure I was a happy child, and I’ve been told I laughed a lot and was rather funny, but that’s not the me that I remember. My memories from about the age of 9 consist of a deeply miserable young girl who just couldn’t see the point in trying. And it’s not like I had a bad upbringing. My parents did the best they could, gave all they had, to make sure my brother and I wanted for nothing.
The thing about depression and related illnesses is that there’s not always a moment you can point to and say “There. That’s the one that broke my happiness.” In fact, so much of the time, there’s no distinct moment or event that defines the engulfing sadness that seems to permeate every single day. That blocks out the sun so that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel – just a seemingly endless, dark stretch of time. And then there’s guilt. So, so much guilt when the people in your life who have never experienced this ask why you can’t just be happy. You wish with everything you have that you could. That you were no longer a drain on the people you love, or a burden, or an inconvenience. You watch people laugh and relate to each other and wonder how they do it so effortlessly, so naturally. Why you’re this tiny negative ball of human goo just floating around, and when will this end? Partners will treat you like hobby kits – forever trying to put you together and take responsibility for your issues, who ignore you when you try to scream that you’re not broken, you’re not a fixer upper, you’re just wired a little differently. Oh my, those people can be damaging.
Thennnnnn there’s the “mental health professionals”. I’ve been through many. Jerks, well meaning but incompetent, the ones that were just quick to write a prescription so they didn’t have to hear about your “feelings of lousiness” anymore. (I’m looking at you, Fiona.) The ones who misdiagnose, the ones who won’t diagnose, the ones who constantly change their diagnosis, making you feel like a psychotic anomaly when really, you’re just a human being.
What it ultimately comes down to is that there’s plenty of awareness for mental illness, but it all has a fatal flaw: it presents you as either a victim or a survivor, when really, it’s neither. Like I said before, you’re just wired differently. Sometimes this can be straightened out, sometimes you learn to work around it, sometimes you figure out how to embrace it to enhance your life instead of hinder it. The stigma is horribly unnecessary – everyone has their Achilles’ Heel.
We also have such limited understanding of the human brain, and psychology is, at best, a big game of trial and error. There is no magic cure, no quick fix and no guarantees. That’s why raising funds and the right kind of awareness is so important. Which is why I’m doing this.
I am aware that wearing lipstick every day for a month doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but you have to understand – 90% of the time I look like a hobo. So this is a big deal to me. I don’t girl very well, and I sure as heck don’t have an easy time trying to apply lipstick
Anyway, if you’re unsure of what Liptember actually is, go check out http://www.liptember.com.au , as I’ve written this with the assumption that you already know what it is. And if you want to help me reach my impossible goal of $1000, you can sponsor me at: http://www.liptember.com.au/roxie-barratt or share my profile or this post.
(see, there’s like a little profile there…meow.)
If I do post again this month, it will probably be about this, so get used to it, get over it, and help me out with my own tiny attempt at making a difference.