The following personal history piece focuses on the author’s journey in the mental healthcare system, through both psychiatry and psychotherapy. It also deals with how stigmatizing and detrimental the system (and the world) can be to those with mental illnesses. This memoir-style essay tells the story of the author’s illness like it’s the big bad wolf, and walks the reader with her on the journey to coping with it. It’s a piece that not only talks about the author’s individual reality, but also the greater reality of the world of psychology, psychiatry, and mental illness.
Loss can present itself in a variety of ways: death of a friend or loved one, a relationship breakup, leaving home or moving to a new place, loss of physical ability, loss of financial security, etc. Sudden loss (like crimes, accidents, or suicide) leaves no room to prepare, while predictable loss creates grief related to the anticipation of the loss, as well as the loss itself. The experience of loss is profoundly human, yet it is often something we suffer alone, in solitude. How do we build resilience against future losses? Can we ever replace that which we grieve?
How do ideals interfere with our ability to perceive reality? Is a jaded person just an optimist who encountered reality? This poem touches on the experience of reacting to things outside one’s control to the point at which it breaks one down.
The piece deals primarily with the absence of home, solitude, silence, secrecy, the passage of time, individual memory, and the willingness to admit and wrestle with contradictions, anger, destruction, and creation. How do we deal with contradictions in ourselves? Do we know they’re there? How does prolonged silence, uninterrupted aloneness, or living without a home affect the individual mind? How resilient are we against the human traumas we put ourselves through?
There’s no question the United States — and the globe — has been experiencing crisis and turmoil. Crisis Theory emerged as a response to assist those who faced unimaginable horrors while serving in WWII — can it help us now? How can we apply Crisis Theory to the U.S.’s political climate, institutions, policies, and laws; personal therapy sessions and individual mental health; and response to the COVID-19 global pandemic in order to enact positive change?
What’s worse — being at the mercy of strong emotions, or feeling nothing at all? Is life better in pain, or jaded to it? How do we deceive ourselves, delude ourselves, into acceptance? Compliance?
How do we keep our emotionality in check? As a species, what regulatory mechanisms do we employ to balance negative and positive experiences? Does society influence our psychological balancing act, or is this primarily an individual responsibility?
How are we drawn to our romantic partners? What factors influence our connection and bond with those we love?
Is depression something we have or something we are?
Is it better to have it all or to lose it all?