I have not always been vocal about my mental health issues.
But I have always written about my feelings.
Somewhere (in my unsorted chaotic mess of teenage stuff) there were books and books of my ramblings. But those were lost somewhere along my timeline.
If I am truthful, it is likely I did a BIG purge and tossed those suckers hoping the feelings scribbled in their pages would go with them…
I also lost all of my artwork. Sometimes I feel as though I don’t have a right to call myself an artist/writer because there really isn’t any proof. Like, none. No background…no history…
Several years ago, I had a pretty serious breakdown. The doctor in charge of my care had me VERY heavily medicated and I was a complete mess. Even with the cocktail of prescription drugs, my anxiety soared to new heights and I was (pretty much) housebound for nearly two years. Small trips out to the grocery store were about all I could handle. And even those were often too much for me.
Like the time my husband and I walked to the corner store and were waiting in line, and I became completely overwhelmed and literally ran out of the store and all the way home. I didn’t leave the house for a whole month after that.
I truly believe I was never the same after that.
I had dark days before; days where I just couldn’t put my finger on it, but I didn’t feel right. But what came after those treacherous months birthed a new set of feelings. And a deeper feeling of not right.
It isn’t a feeling of sadness or stereotypical depression. It’s probably better describes as a feeling absent of feeling. Neither here nor there, instead just a state of being. Without emotion. Just existence.
During that time I began writing. Nothing cohesive. Just thoughts.
A lot of those writings (well the ones that survived being tossed!) experienced some editing, some condensing, and then eventually made it here. To this blog.
It was during that time, of what felt like utter desperation, I took comfort in something I had written down. Perhaps, as a means of keeping myself motivated or a way of convincing myself that everything would be okay…regardless, it appeared on several pages, in margins, crossed out, underlined, in the middle of sentences…EVERYWHERE…
A Soul is a Resilient Thing
So that’s what I named my blog and, eventually, it also became my Twitter handle.
It wasn’t an identity. It was a reminder. A mantra. A small boost of encouragement. To reminder me that things may not get better but I will get through them.
When I was younger, I was outgoing. I wasn’t popular (unless you count being the most picked on, the most bullied kid – I was a popular target) at all. But I had no fears of being out in the world, being in front of people. I would go off to Leadership Camps alone, perform speeches in front of crowds, travel by myself.
But after that event (what I have dubbed “the breakdown”) I didn’t have the same want for those things.
I suddenly lacked the ability to do those things…people now give me great anxiety. Even the people I like/love/am used to, pose a tremendous threat to my mental state. And to go out, in the world, and be those people – the ones I know, the ones I don’t – requires such an exhausting effort that it can sometimes mean my end.
And while I survive, certain excursions, trips, social things, jobs do not…
I have worked (out in the world) in some capacity since I started babysitting at the age of 11 – more than a quarter of a century later, it is something I find incredibly difficult to maintain. Mind you, between then and now, I was diagnosed with several mental health things and physical health things (not in the least, Type 1 Diabetes).
Most likely to my detriment, I have kept my mental health and many medical issues hidden from my employers. But not my Diabetes (I think the logic there is that it could make for more immediate life-threatening circumstances than all the others). However, my Diabetes has been grossly misunderstood and sometimes its seriousness ignored (like the time I had a severe hypoglycemic episode on the sales floor, then went to recover in the lunch room and no one came to check on me – my husband, who I had called to come pick me up, found me nearly unconscious in the room alone) by employers and coworkers alike, and I wonder sometimes if my mental health struggles would gain greater sympathy…
But mostly I feel as though I am simply unworthy of sympathy from anyone for anything.
Simple tasks that I had no issues with have become increasingly more difficult to accomplish. Because of their effects on my mental health. Because the process to them and through them is more than I can handle. And because my anxiety ends up getting the better of me. And that is a really difficult thing accept. Because I should know better. Because I should go easier on myself.
Yet, no matter how much logic I throw at it all, I get consumed by these feelings of I-can’t-do-this-I’m-not-good-enough-why-would-I-do-that-what-am-I-doing-did-I-do-that-before-was-it-good-enough-why-would-they-want-me-to-do-that-I-can’t-do-this-I’m-not-good-enough-did-I-do-something-wrong-did-I-forget-something-why-do-I-feel-like-this-what-do-I-even-fucking-feel-I-can’t-do-this-I’m-not-good-enough-why-do-I-have-to-do-this-what-is-the-point-it-probably-won’t-work-out-anyways-I-look-awful-what-is-it-I’m-not-doing-right-I-can’t-do-this-I’m-not-good-enough…
And those feelings (and/or thoughts) run amuck. Into and over each other. Creating some-kind-of never-ending loop. Constantly in my head, in my heart, in my stomach. And in a FAR greater quantity than that demonstrated above (I shortened things up to a) keep my audience, and b) make a quick point).
If you have made it this far along, I thank you. For sticking it out – there is no real point to this post, sadly. I apologize if you thought something profound might come of it. I also apologize for the moments you have lost reading all this stuff because you will not be getting those back…I don’t deal in chronological reimbursement.
Instead, it is the ramblings of a resilient thing: me.
The last few weeks have really posed some difficulties. And I cannot even give a good reason why. They just have.
And I have struggled with just about everything.
My weight/body image have recently consumed me by flooding my days with negativity. My Diabetes and physical health have provided a roller coaster ride I didn’t buy a ticket for and I desperately (desperately!) want off but can’t seem to make it stop. My drive and ambition have all but abandoned me. My creativity has ceased – no drawing, no sketching, no painting, no crafting…NOTHING. I have completely fallen off the yoga wagon for the last 2 weeks or more (mind you I was hospitalized last week and served up a full order of influenza with several side dish infections). I haven’t read a book. I’ve super sucked at household maintenance. I have no want for anything…
Mind you, my parenting hasn’t taken a hit and for that I am grateful. While I can easily let myself down and survive, I cannot bear the idea (or the times when I have) of letting my son down by being a shit parent. So, at least, I have that going for me.
I have not also been vocal about my mental health issues.
But I have always written about my feelings.
Maybe with the hope that the writing may help someone.
Even if that someone is me.