The HellBilly Pulpit: The Stigma of the Stigma

The HellBilly Pulpit: The Stigma of the Stigma


This is a painful, yet necessary entry. It envelops me and I must address the situation.

There is a real issue in this country, or even the world over, about mental health. You can’t see it in someone. You can have no idea just how bad someone is suffering. Suffering because they don’t have a choice. Their problems are discounted, downplayed, and even ridiculed. But make no mistake. They are very much real to those who live it.

This is a personal account of just this sort of thing.

There was a certain movie that came out in 2019 that had a line that sums up the truth. “The worst part about having a mental illness is that people expect you to act as if you don’t.”

I can not agree with this more.

I am currently going through a situation where this exact scenario is taking place. I know that I am not alone in my struggles. I feel that there are probably many of you out there with a similar story.

This pandemic over the last two years has completely laid to waste many of the daily rituals and habits that I had spent my entire life building just to be able to function as a (semi) normal person on any given day.

I suffer from OCD- Anxiety- Depression- and ADHD. That is one heck of a ride as it is, but toss on the pandemic and it’s a real rollercoaster that is out of my control. My job is not very critical. It’s deemed “essential” because of the relation to the finance market it has. Honestly, that’s just a super vague excuse to keep us going to work at the boss’s wishes. Some of us have been working from our dwellings for two years. The problem with this is that now is the time when the bosses want to start pulling people back into the office a couple of days a week despite the current spike of COVID cases. In doing this they have said, “all safety measures will be implemented”. What a crock.

I expressed my concerns about coming back not only because of this new surge of the newest variant but also because the situation really hasn’t changed any in the last few months from what it was in 2020. My coworkers and my boss know that I have OCD (extreme contamination fears) already with the workplace, but now, as I’m sure some are aware, it’s been kicked up a bunch of notches. My concerns were met with deaf ears. It was like this friend (who happened to be my boss) completely disregarded my concerns in dealing with trying to resume “normal” life. My life never was normal and now it’s even a different version than it was two years ago.

The sum- “get over it, you’re needed here… get here”

It didn’t matter what I said about the situation. Now, in this nightmare cocktail of disorders, I have developed a huge amount of empathy for others, especially if they are having any of the mental struggles that I am having. I spoke up that this is not just for me that I am bringing these things to attention, but for others that don’t have the same platform or comfortability to say for themselves.

The sum- “stop being a baby”.

Long story short… Thankfully I have a great therapist and doctor who knows how deep in the weeds I am with all of this and they have helped me sort out the situation, much to the annoyance of my bosses, so that I can continue to remain a cave dweller for the time being.

My point is this… it’s been said but it’s true and bears repeating. There is a stigma about mental health.

A person can be burning inside with the torment of depression and anxiety and any or all of the little variations or caravan of side issues that accompany any one of them. BUT.. since it is not a physical ailment, it’s perceived that it does not exist. Why? Why is it that to be taken even a little bit seriously, there has to be a physical manifestation of an ailment?

To add to the fact that I am a middle-aged male does nothing but amp up the opinions of others who don’t understand, nor do they want to understand what we go through inside.

For some of us, just the simple act of getting out of bed and putting that first foot on the floor takes ALL of our willpower, and we often sit right back down to attempt to regain it all over again. Or we drag ourselves to the shower only to stand in there and let the water try to distract us and wash away our pain. Knowing that in about an hour, we are going to have to put on our “normal” face and walk into the world carrying that weight on our backs that nobody sees.

There was a joke that I heard a few days ago- The doctor asks the patient if they have had any issues with depression or anxiety recently. The patient says, “doesn’t everybody?” and the doctor said… “No.”. That hit. That was an eye-opening moment. Not everyone knows what that is like. I can’t fathom that.

I have this group of bosses that have known me for years, as I said earlier, and they know that this is me. They know that I’ve been in therapy and medicated for years. And like any other millions of bosses out there in the world, they didn’t care.

It’s a mission of mine to bring as much attention as I can to the stigma surrounding mental health. That I can express how important focus on mental health is.

If you were to break a leg, you’d wear your cast and take your painkillers. Well, when dealing with your mental health, what’s broken is your brain, your spirit, your ambition, and your will - the invisible things that people can’t see.

Seek out the help that you need - be it from a professional, family, your best friend, or someone you know who just “gets” you.

Reach out in your prayers, spells, cards, or whatever you use to help guide you. Your spirituality may be a surprising comfort in new ways that you hadn’t thought of. I’ve found that I can rest my anxiety with a cleansing shower, letting the water run, cool not cold, over me as I focus my intent and purpose of removing the negativity that has attached itself to me.

I also use meditation to refocus and empty my mind by sitting in a dark room with my favorite ambient music to rest and let my mind float and take me wherever it wants to go. Falling asleep this way is ok as well, I’ve found that’s a great formula for a relaxing nap.

Tarot. This is new to me. I’ve started with a simple shuffle and letting my thoughts go into my cards. Not necessarily asking for a definitive answer, maybe just some insight that I may be missing myself that the cards can lead me to.

I’ve always been interested in the cards, but always as a spectator. I’ve recently met a few people who have some good experience with giving readings to people. I asked one of them a few weeks ago to give me a reading. He lives over in Europe and there’s a good bit of time difference but he is the first to inspire me to get a deck of my own. He did a reading for me, simple pull, nothing fancy and he came up with a certain card in a certain position and it corresponded with my current station in life. That was an eye-opening experience. To have someone do a reading with their cards for ME after all this time of being curious.

My second friend that I’ve turned to for guidance in the cards also did a reading for me. This was maybe 3 or 4 days after the first. This person is stateside and not far from me. I feel this is an important detail.
She pulled my cards and one of the cards jumped out of the deck as she started to shuffle. This was the same card that my friend overseas pulled for me as well.

That was it. I’m in.

I bought my first deck. The one in the picture for this blog and I’m ready to start down that path of self-discovery that I’m learning is possible to achieve.

Tarot. Always curious. Never studied. Now I’m ready for the insight that is possible through the cards.

Opening my mind and spirit to the universe, I have found that this has been one of the most refreshing feelings in the world.

I try to live by the idea that the energy that you put out into the universe, will come back to you. Don’t be afraid to look within yourself and use the tools you feel compelled to use and are comfortable with. You’ll be much for the better than allowing the demons to hang out in your mind 24/7.

Always remember that you are not alone.

I promise you.

We are here and we reach out with open arms to be the support that you didn’t know you needed.

Take care of yourselves everyone.  

Be cool

I leave you again this month with another poesy. This was inspired by the cards themselves.

Fnip.. fnip.. fnip…
Sitting and shuffling
Brooding and clenching
The flutter of the cards calming my senses
What will they show?
Maybe they haven’t determined yet
Guide me on my path, lead the way
Give me insight, security
Calm my thoughts
Show me what you want to say

Ava Satanis

The HellBilly Pulpit Blog by @hellbillyvvitch

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