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Friday, March 15, 2013

It’s Better to Know - Guest Post by Razorblade Brain

With each guest post, I am more and more in awe of the ease in which the words of such a difficult topic seem to flow in an effort to help others.

Today, I'd like to thank my lovely friend,
at Razorblade Brain 
for her incredibly well written post.

Most of us have mental health issues right under our noses -
that we don't even know are there.
Some people are getting help, while others are being hidden away.

When I was growing up, I could remember seeing only seeing Uncle Bobby once or twice - but that's it.  We always knew he was in the house, but no one ever saw him.  He was my great grandmother's brother.  They kept him hidden away because he had a "hair lip" and was schizophrenic.  I never knew as a kid that he was mentally ill....  One of the reasons I so relate to this story....

I now give you, It's Better to Know by Razorblade Brain:

My great-grandmother ate out of the cat’s bowl. 
True story.  All us kids had heard how bad Gramma Libby had been.  We’d also heard the stories about how she had undergone electric shock therapy back when it was not very humane.  But regardless, she was harmless to us all now.  She was weird in the way that all old people are weird to small children, but if I hadn’t heard the stories, I would’ve never guessed that she was schizophrenic.

For a great majority of my life, I thought that she was the only person in my family with mental illness.  And I never even considered that she still had mental illness.  It was something that she had a long time ago that caused her to be paranoid to the point that she wouldn’t eat anything that hadn’t  been deemed as safe by letting the cat eat it first.  She was fine now.  Everyone in my family was fine.

Almost no one in my family was fine.

My grandmother (Libby’s daughter) suffered from extreme anxiety.  She had several nervous breakdowns dealing with raising 5 daughters and being married to man who kept having heart attacks and finally died from one.  Out of those 5 daughters there was depression, OCD, nervous disorders, night terrors, and alcoholism.

My mother was one of the daughters.  But I never knew that she had any of these issues.  I didn’t really know that any of my family had these issues…until I had my own. 

I think that the entire family’s mental health issues weren’t fully dealt with before I had my problems.  In a way, it seems like the tirelessness with which my mother fought for me and fought for answers, opened a gateway to the rest of the family to get help and to deal with their own illness.  In a weird backwards way, I’m kinda proud of that.

I’ve been diagnosed with everything under the sun from several different therapists, but the diagnosis that finally “fit” was PTSD.  I had been through several different events of sexual abuse and through a devastating weather event.  Yet even though that diagnosis fit and is tied to the sexual abuse that I endured in a way, I think that I can look back at the family history on my mom’s side and realizes that no matter what happened or didn’t happen to me in my life, I was going to be mentally ill.  It was always going to be something.  Mental illness has a pretty strong incidence of heredity.  That’s not to say that everyone who has a mentally ill family member before them will become mentally ill, but there is a higher chance of such.  I think that had the rest of the family had the opportunity to be treated for their illnesses, the signs of mine would’ve been recognizable and gotten quicker treatment.

I remember what it was like in the beginning when we didn’t really know what was going on and it was terrifying.  No one really knew that we all had mental illness.  Everyone kept their own experiences secret and blew everything off as “Oh, my nerves were just acting up again.”  Having the panic attacks that I did without anything to attach them to or blame for was terrifying and frustrating.

Now that the stigma of mental illness is lessened (still have LONG ways to go), it’s easier to look at history of family and to seek treatment.  To keep yourself in “check” and watch for signs and symptoms and to make sure you know what to do in case you feel that you need some help.  And although there is no sure fire 100% way to completely prevent sexual assault, there are tons of available resources now to deal with the aftermath.  And recovery is never easy, but it’s easier if you know.  It’s easier if you know what’s going on and know where to get help.


~Razorblade Brain

Thank you again, Jessi, for guest posting for me!
We don't always see the signs, or even know that we or someone we love needs help.

Posts just like this are one of the biggest reasons for Mental Health inform one more person, who may not know....

As always, thank you for reading my blog.



  1. Thank you for sharing this story. The dialougue regarding mental health needs to be open and frequent to get the stigma erased. Blessings!


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