Three weeks ago I started writing a post about my depression and anxiety. It was very personal and very… well, depressive. I didn’t finish it, because I figured that I just had a bad day, no need to be dramatic. I was mostly wrong. I have a lot of bad days lately. Yesterday I woke up at 4 pm, had a muffin for breakfast/lunch/dinner and spent the whole day online. Today is better. I even managed to cook myself a meal.
But I have been thinking. I’ve been thinking about what depression is, how it affects me, how much I hide and wave off, how much I pretend to be ‘normal’. I do less of it these days than I used to simply because I feel so awful that most of the time it’s impossible to hide. But when I can I still pretend, and there’s something so sad about that. I keep coming across articles and blog posts that could be about me – that feels like the posts I would be writing if writing wasn’t so hard.
I’m going to quote a bit because I’m not put together to use my own words, I guess.
If I’d known thirteen years ago, when I went on meds for the first time, that I would still have days like these I don’t know what I would’ve done, but it wouldn’t have been pretty. That post, by the way, is so true. All the way down to the I don’t want to DIE, I just want to become dead somehow image. I’ve felt like that a lot of times. I’m obviously happy I was always too apathetic to go anywhere even resembling self-destruction, but yeah. Been there. Felt that way. (I don’t right now, btw.)
I have a serious addiction to xojane, and can sit there for hours and read ‘it happened to me’ articles. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and read this magazine filled with short stories, most of a (heterosexually) romantic nature. It had a section of short articles/stories written by readers, based on their own lives. (The 200 SEK I got for writing one and getting it published was the first paid writing I did. I was fourteen.) The ‘it happened to me’ section on xojane feels like that.
Last night at 3 am when I just couldn’t bring myself to go to bed because sleeping means you’re going to wake up and being awake is THE WORST right now, I found this article by s.e. smith (yes, it’s supposed to be without caps) about hiding mental illness. And ouch.
“You don’t seem crazy,” people say about fronters. Or “your mental illness must not be that bad.”
We are rewarded for hiding ourselves. We become the poster children for “productive” mentally ill people, because we are so organized and together. The fact that we can function, at great cost to ourselves, is used to beat up the people who cannot function.
Because unlike the people who cannot front, or who fronted too hard and fell off the cliff, we are able to “keep it together,” whatever it takes.
Ferocious organization and minute to minute daily scheduling are how I deal with it, forcing myself to go and go and go until I crash at night. Because if I stop, for a second, everything starts to fall apart. And some days I wake up and realize that I just cannot go.
And I don’t want to tell anyone, because that cracks the facade and alerts everyone to the fact that I am fronting. I know my fellow fronters when I see them and we nod at each other, aware that behind every light-hearted Tweet and friendly email may lie acute emotions, stuffed down deep inside so they doesn’t explode.
It leaves you raw and prickly a lot of time because you spend so much energy controlling and suppressing that when something disrupts you, you are totally unequipped to handle it.
That’s a too long quote from that article. It was a little painful to read it, because I used to be like that. I used to be able to front. I’m not anymore. And I hate myself for it. But thanks to s.e., I guess, for putting words to it.
And then I read a post about being ashamed about one’s illness, about being ashamed about things like not being able to clean your own house, and I related to it, I relate to it so so so so much. The person who wrote this has some kind of a physical illness, I don’t know what, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I recognise myself in every single word. Especially this part (translation below):
för det jag vill ha är inte någon som ser på mig med frågetecken i sina sympati-ögon, jag vill för fan inte att någon säger “det blir bättre, imorgon är en annan dag!” för även om imorgon är en annan dag är min kropp densamma och det här är mitt liv, det kommer alltid vara såhär, det jag vill ha är någon som tittar på mig och faktiskt ser. att jag försöker men att det inte räcker, att jag kämpar i ett krig med slag jag nästan aldrig vinner och jag vill att någon ska vara stolt över att jag ändå gör det, att jag ändå krigar och jag vill att någon ska förstå dom dagar det inte går, jag vill det men mest av allt behöver jag det, jag behöver det så oerhört fruktansvärt mycket)
because what i want isn’t someone who looks at me with question marks in their sympathetic eyes, i don’t want anyone to fucking say “it’ll get better, tomorrow is another (different?) day” because even if tomorrow is another day my body is the same and this is my life, it will always be this way, what i want is someone who looks at me and sees that i try but it’s not enough, that i fight in a war with battles i almost never win and i want someone to be proud that i’ still doing it, that i’m still fighting and i want someone to understand the days i just can’t, i want that but most of all i need it, i need it so terribly much.
I don’t now if “tomorrow is another day” works in English or if I just did a terrible direct translation, but you get the gist.
And no, maybe I won’t always be depressed, and yes, I do have days that are okay, when I can laugh and last week I sat in my parents gazebo and the weather was nice and it felt so good, but yesterday I couldn’t think of a single reason to not sleep away the day, and I think that I will always be like that sometimes. Even if I get well enough, stable enough, to work around all that, to feel that dreaded “normal”, I can and will always relapse. Always. And that’s me being realistic, nothing else.
But there are a few good things. Some stuff that I like right now, that makes things better:
1. This tweet.
2. Hockey. Pittsburgh Penguins, to be specific. Please don’t break my heart.
3. Sad music. Including the new Indelicates album.
4. The music C. sent me. That I made an awesome playlist from.
4. Discovering mug cakes.
5. The fact that I had energy to cook today. Even if I had to lie down twice to manage it.