I’ve wanted to write what it feels like to live with a mental illness, a few time I have composed sentences in my mind, but they never made it to paper. Now I figure I will compose them as I write here.
I wish it were as simple as saying, “well I woke up this morning and my mood sucks!”. Sometimes it isn’t like that, but mostly there are days it can be, especially if sleep hasn’t been easy to get.
My moods swing, worse than a chandelier and it makes knowing when I will be calm virtually impossible. I find that friendships suffer because my moods have dictated if I will go anywhere, when I used to get invited to social events.
Years ago you would never find me at home, now you find me at home. Perhaps it is because it is my owned home, where it is calm (most of the time) and there is no answering to anyone but myself or my boyfriend.
I feel like a prisoner in my own mind. Trapped in my emotions, ride after ride. Not able to get off, albeit for a day or so and that was usually when the sunshine was out. For years I was diagnosed with chronic depression, followed by group therapy. Followed by a period of time where I would remember the tools in my kit I call life, only to forget the tools when stressful moments came to be. This cycle has repeated itself since I was first diagnosed at 24 years old.
Anxiety comes with depression, what a pair! Nothing like a pounding heart rate to make sure you are awake! When my emotions become all consuming I rock back and forth while sitting, almost like I am self soothing myself.
A couple of years ago, I sought out mental health therapy and I met a social worker. She and I connected where she said to me “do you realize everything you have said is in the past?” This is the first time anyone ever said anything like that to me. From that day forward, to meeting a psychiatrist for evaluation and diagnosis, I learned I live with Borderline Personality Disorder ~ that was 2 years ago.
2 weeks ago, I met with another psychiatrist as I feel my anti depressants that I have been on for 12 years, are not doing their job. He has diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Social Anxiety and Body Dysmorphia (meaning how I see myself is not what it appears to be).
I do not know who I am, I’m pretty sure I haven’t for a long time…. if ever. I do know I have felt anger, rage and definitely frustration for most of my life from childhood to adulthood. When I am triggered, instead of questioning a comment, I instantly go to rage. From there all rational thoughts are no longer available. I must admit, even I scare myself at how fast I can go from calm to rage.
In terms of relationships and friendships, closeness is something I have longed for, but it had to be on my terms. If someone approached me and came on too strong to me, I ran far away. I don’t have friendships, as most do. I don’t have friends over for tea or coffee. Or friends who pick me up to go shopping. I’ve had a wall for so long that it makes decisions for me.
My emotions are many, often a mess inside my head. I’ve wanted to kill them so that I don’t hurt anymore. From hurting to obsession about what I feel, or don’t feel. But now, I feel numbness, I’ve gone from feelings to numbness, another reason why I want off the Effexor.
I’ve been blamed countless times for past mistakes. Mistakes I’ve since owned and long forgotten, but others choose to punish me, withholding me from connections to people who deserve to be in my life and I theirs. I’ve ached to belong, belong in a family, to be sharing in memories today, tomorrow and on wards. But, I know in my heart, those memories will be developed without me and I tell myself, that one day, one day the smallest ones who know of me, will seek me out wanting to be in my life. I will smile when that happens.
I have said a few times to therapists in private and in group therapy, that I am afraid. I’m afraid that this chaos inside my head is all I will ever know. That the loneliness I feel will always be there, no matter how many “things” I put in place of the one thing I will never have.
I’ve made this journey to wellness alone, at times I’ve had support from a partner or friend. But mostly by myself, with hope that not all is lost on me. That something will change, that there will be progress for me to believe that I haven’t been forgotten.
Every now and again, through tireless progress, a thought process once thought to be the only way of thinking is challenged and removed. Vulnerability is felt and fear is released. Suddenly replaced with intense exhaustion. Healing is hard work.
My lips have shared the dark secrets within, no judgments were given, no yelling to be heard. Only acceptance from those who feel or have felt the same.