Well, here I am. I’ve decided I need an outlet for the things that keep screaming in my head. Last night one of my heroes, The Bloggess, posted a link to a video about a man who wants to take the stigma off mental illness. I read it, watched the video twice, and had a breakdown.
I’ve been struggling, battling, scratching and clawing against depression since I was 14 years old. I’m 36 now, but sometimes I’m still that scared kid sitting in the dark feeling so alone. Now, it’s a running joke in my family that I don’t remember my childhood, and I don’t. Not because something horrible happened to me, I just don’t. But every single bad thing that has happened to me since I was at least 4 is clear as a bell to me. I’ve always been told I’m just too sensitive, too emotional too something all the time, as an excuse for how I felt. I know, I’ve always known it’s more than that.
Some background on me: I’m a 36 year old single woman living at home with her parents and sister. I’m also overweight, and trying to work on that too. I’ve been unemployed since losing my job due to “economic downturn” almost 2 years ago. Yeah, I know, believe me, I know. We had a horrific ice storm here in NY a year ago where we lost a lot of trees, some hitting the house on the way down. No damage, but oh Christ the noise. Since that night I’ve also had severe anxiety disorder.
I’m not even sure what happened when I was 14. I just remember little by little I felt a back curtain come down on me and it would not budge. I ended up failing 2 classes one semester and I snapped back just enough to learn “ok, I have to fake it sometimes. Sometimes I have to be normal”.
The feeling of having to be “normal” is always there. Just put on your happy face, smile, just make them believe it and they’ll leave you alone. That’s what that little dark voice says to me. Just hold it together until everyone else is asleep, then you can cry all you want and no one will hear. It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine…
BUT IT’S NOT FINE! Last year I had been out of work for a year, going on interviews, getting nothing. See, you’re worthless, but you knew that, didn’t you? Yes, I did. I retreated into myself, into my bedroom. There I am safe. No one can hurt me there. I don’t have to feel anything there. I started feeling like if I left the house horrible things would happen to me, so I would come up with excuses. I didn’t see my friends, didn’t go shopping with my family, wouldn’t go out for dinner, nothing. Then I stopped answering the phone. I can’t disappoint anyone if I don’t talk to them.
Finally my mother was scared enough she made me go to my doctor and tell him what was going on. But still, I felt like I couldn’t tell him everything. Some of this is MINE! This I have control over if I don’t tell you! Do I feel suicidal – of course not. Those feelings of everything being better if I’m not here are MY FEELINGS and you don’t get to know about them! THIS IS MINE!
He put me on an antidepressant, that I know isn’t really helping. It takes a little of the edge off, but I’m still circling a black hole every day. Some days are better than others. Some days I think I might even beat this. But then I’ll spiral.
So that’s what this will be. This blog will be where I go to put the feelings that have to go somewhere. That have to get out of my head. When the voice gets a little too loud. The things I need to say, but can’t. I’ll write. I’ll write them damn it. Writing them will give me power, it will make me stronger. And maybe if I write that enough I’ll even believe it.
Do I expect anyone to read this? No. This is for me. If someone wanders in and feels like reading, thank you. Feel free to share if you want. This is my safe space, and I’ll share it with anyone who needs it.
Update: I’m adding a copy of the video that changed things for me, maybe it will help others too. I know it already has.