I’m not good at blogging for the sake of it. I just *sigh* I need to talk about this. WE need to talk about this. For every self-sabotaging, hidden maniac…WE need to have this talk.
Mental illness is “in” right now. People are very quick to assign normal stress and anxiousness as diagnosis. I may get shit for saying this, but I think it’s hurting more than it’s helping. This is not one of those things.
I have seen some sort of counselor off and on since I requested to talk to one in middle school when I was feeling particularly angsty and vulnerable. I have, since adolescence, suffered from depression. It ebbs and flows.
Sometimes it’s like an old lover, just passing through my mind, just enough to incite a chill. Sometimes, it’s consuming, like I’m physically weighted down. I imagine small anchors hanging from every limb.
Now, I have what many consider is high functioning depression. I have a stressful life that includes a lot of hard work, commuting, and leaving my children for days at a time. I keep going and going and going. I can’t lay in bed all day, I have shit to get done or the world literally stops turning. So my depression punishes me for living, for not taking dark days, for making myself get out of bed. And during the periods of time in which it becomes the center of my life, it amplifies every single other “dysfunction” that I have.
Mild ice-pick headaches manifest as migraines-forcing me to stay in bed. My anxiety intensifies so I start picking at the skin around and under my nails. I can’t stop my mind from running and running and running when I lay in bed at night or in the morning, so I go from twisting my hair to scratching my scalp until I break skin. The hand washing is a compulsion I feel that I have the most control over, until I’ve gotten up from laying in bed several times to wash because I can’t keep them from feeling dirty. Or I can’t function without shaking in class because I missed my chance to go wash. I have always had a problem with self-sabotage, so when the depression weighs down I take good things in my life and see how much I can fuck them up.
It’s a constant battle, and every time I don’t give in and hide from the world I am punished for my resistance.
So why am I writing this? Because my depression is telling me not to work, to stay in bed, to quit school, and to just generally fuck things up even more than the already are. Because I don’t dump my personal problems all over Facebook, I don’t bring up relationship insecurities, or a 15 year friendship on hiatus, or the constant pit in my stomach–like something bad is about to happen and no matter what I do I can’t stop it or fix it–but I don’t have any idea what it will be or when it will happen.
There are so. many. people. out there, in your world, in your feed, who are fighting tooth and nail, every single day, just to make it. Just to show up and put on a brave face. And they don’t want your sympathy, or your pity, or for you to know about their panic attacks and crying spells in the bathroom, and they sure as hell don’t want a semi colon tattoo– because this doesn’t define them, and they don’t want it to.
They just want to breathe without the feeling of that weight on their chest.
We just want you to know that we’re here, and we struggle, and we don’t want to broadcast it–but depression and mental illness are not just a quiet sad girl, dressed in black, nor are they just those who proclaim it and use it as their soap box to stand on.
They are eyes heavy and thick with a well that they cannot allow to gush. They have it seemingly together while their lives dissolve around them. They are a blazer and a sunny disposition.
And we deserve space here, too.