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I love inspirational quotes, particularly the one above. I’m sure many of us have heard the saying, “This too shall pass”, which is what Robert Frost’s quote reminds me of. I know when I am experiencing something unpleasant, or going through a long depressive spell or, as I am currently, an extended mixed state. I have to believe that it will end. That there is a way out.

Every challenge is a stepping stone, is a notch on the belt, is something that makes me stronger and is a lesson learned. To get out, I must go through. I won’t just be passing by, I have to have the full experience, as unpleasant or painful as it may be.

I was watching season 3 of Transparent last week, and the season finale really touched me. The final minutes of the show, one of the characters, Shelly, performs her one woman show, “To Shell and Back” and she sings Alanis Morrissette’s “Hand in My Pocket” as a metaphor for what she has been through and how she feels. Prior to this scene, the family had been having a makeshift Passover seder, and one of the characters said they should open up about what they feel enslaved by. Shelly does not share, but she tells her family, essentially if they want to know how she feels, to come see her perform.

I always tell my husband/family/friends that if they (or anyone) wants to know how I am, then read my blogs. Sometimes it’s easier to express myself this way, even if it is a very public way to do so. When the words appear on the page and the thoughts are out of my head, I feel freer.

Shelly’s performance was liberating for her, and was her catharsis. If you read the lyrics to “Hand In My Pocket”, you will see how they can be comforting to so many people.

You can get a sense of this from the first and last verses:

I’m broke but I’m happy, I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded, I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful, baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five
And what it all boils down to
Is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano
These lyrics speak to me because even if I feel lost, and I don’t have it figured out, who does? Who has the answer to everything? I know it’s trite to say “have hope”, but let yourself believe (if you want to), that everything’s going to be fine. Fine- not perfect, not great. But that’s okay. Fine is a more realistic expectation. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, find your own baseline.
William Wordsworth said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”, so that’s why I do this. No matter how I am feeling when I write, I am breathing my feelings into my blogs and putting my real self out there, whether I am fine, whether I am not.

 

About Melanie Luxenberg

My name is Melanie Luxenberg and I am finally ready to live openly with mental illness. I was first diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2003, which I still experience. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety (which I also still experience), and then briefly experienced Agoraphobia. I have had depression on and off since I was 13 years old. In July 2010 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Shortly after it was realized that I experienced rapid cycling. I can experience multiple cycles in a week. Despite my diagnosis, I completed a university degree and then a college program. I have always held stable employment, regularly taken my medication and regularly attended my doctor’s appointments. There have been times of hopelessness, but I have always found support from my family, husband and 3 dogs. I am a law clerk, social media/content writer and of course, mental health advocate. My Twitter feed is full of mental health advocacy messages. I hope one day to see the end of stigma towards mental illness, because stigma has to stop!

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