Hello blog, my old friend. It has been quite the hiatus. I will try not to stay gone so long again.
But I have a reason, a really, really good reason. I went a little…crazy. Well, crazier than usual. Though us people who have mental illness prefer to call it “tired” or just “a little overworked.”
In reality though, I was spiraling. Bad. Its easy to rationalize your thoughts when you live with them for so long and you have a parent you’re close to that struggles with the same thing. Its easy to think that the 40 lb weight gain that has occurred in the past year is simply due to some bad eating habits, or the lack of sleep you’re getting is just because you’re busy. That the lonely feeling that you get in a room full of people is just normal, that the flashes of ending it all with a bang are common.
It isn’t easy. It isn’t “normal,” though I don’t subscribe to the idea that normal exists, and it isn’t common.
For years I have said with convincing conviction that I suffer with depression. That it is my cross to bear and that’s that.
But only recently did I realize how dishonest I was being with myself. How although I could say the words, I did not believe in it’s existence. I figured I could just “fix” it and move on. Case closed.
The case reopened though, of its own admission, and despite telling myself repeatedly that I needed to continue my treatment, I ignored that signs until I could ignore them no longer. Severely sleep deprived and half drunk on a Sunday afternoon, with big bad work looming in the ever present future, the concept of dying, giving up, no longer felt passive, but VERY active. A viable option. A way out. And as soon as I realized that suicide sounded as simple as choosing what to eat for dinner, I could ignore the signs no longer.
That day, I went to the hospital to get help. I was scared, not so much that I wouldn’t get help, but that I would, and I wasn’t sure what was lurking under the surface. For three days I stayed in what I can only describe as “weird summer camp,” where my days were filled with group therapy, medications, and meal regiments. It was not as bad as I feared and I met some interesting people, some similar people, and some people who had wayyyyyy worst problems than me.
It gave me perspective, hope. A much needed timeout. After leaving in-patient, I began out patient treatment, which I’m in the midst of completing and so far I feel astounded by how much I did not know about myself or my disease.
First off, and most importantly, that I have one. That depression is a disease like any other, and untreated, it can take over your life. It can take away the things you loved to do, the people you loved to be with, the life you want to live. It can ruin your health, make you feel worthless, bring you so low you don’t know how you will ever get up again.
For me, this was essential to recognize and is something I’m still coping with. I have always been independent and strong willed and the idea of having a problem that I can’t beat on my own terrified me and still does. It made me feel like I had no control. So to overcompensate, I tried to control everything-which is impossible, but if you try to tell a perfectionist that, they’ll just say they need to try harder. If you buy into this way of thinking, you set yourself up for what is known as the “cycle of insanity.” I’m depressed so I create goals, but my goals are either unrealistic or I’m too impatient to make them realistic so I fail, which makes me more depressed, which causes me to create more goals, and so on, and so on, and so forth.
I am stopping this cycle at the root. I am, at this moment, making my own emancipation proclamation – I can be a slave no longer. I am admitting that I have depression and anxiety, which are diseases. Although I can not help this, I can treat these diseases and make choices to make things better. I do not have to be a victim and admitting that it is something that is beyond my control does not make me weak, or lesser, or broken. I’m not a toy that can just be “fixed,” I am a person that has to develop ways to cope with her disease. And the first step is admitting I have a problem, REALLY admitting I have a problem and accepting that.
Just because I’m “mental” doesn’t mean I’m “crazy”.