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Enjoy the Ride

Having a mental illness is like being on a giant roller coaster. First, you’re up, life is good, the meds are doing their thing, your support network is solid, you’re thinking, “Yeah, I got this!” Then you go down. A crisis hits, your meds are out of whack and your support system. . . what support system? You’re thinking, “Oh yeah, must be Thursday” because when you’re down you forget about the up. You forget that feeling depressed isn’t always your state of mind. You forget the joy, the happiness, the peace.

I’m so tired of the roller coaster. I just want off. I don’t want to ride anymore. I want to be on flat ground. That feeling of being up, on top of the world feels so good! But the crash, especially when you get stuck going down, feels miserable.

I struggle with the word “acceptance”. I’ve spoken a lot about the fight. Fighting to get better. Fighting to get a life you want. Fighting to achieve your dreams. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying stop fighting but I’m wondering if there’s another side to it. Analogies only go so far in explaining life. I wonder if there’s a place for acceptance.

When you get on a real roller coaster, and you’re like me, who hates roller coasters, once it starts you accept that you’re there for the duration of the ride. It doesn’t matter how scared you are or how much you hate it. You aren’t getting off until the ride comes to a stop. You can scream the whole time and be miserable (like me) or you can enjoy the ride.

When you’re on the roller coaster and it’s reaching its apex and you see the view you can enjoy it. Or you can anticipate the crash that makes your stomach drop and focus on that. Acceptance, in my mind, is stopping long enough to enjoy the ups – however brief – seal them in your mind, and take every ounce of joy your life has to offer. As long as you’re on the roller coaster, the crashes will come, but hopefully so will the good times.

I still say don’t give up the fight. Where you can, fight to get better, fight to get off the roller coaster but when you’re strapped in and you’re not going anywhere, accept that for right here, for right now, this is where you are so kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

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