I answered the questions as honestly as I could and hit submit.
I tried again, downplaying a bit because I didn’t want to inflate my symptoms.
I knew. I’d known for awhile. I thought I could fix it, feel better, through sheer force of will. Grin and bear it. But I’d been grinning and I’d been bearing, and it wasn’t working.
I was tired of being angry. I was tired of being angry and frustrated and short-tempered. I am too independent at times. I was reluctant to ask for support. I was reluctant to admit I needed it.
There’s never been a diagnosis of you have this or you have that, but I think I’ve wanted that, in a way. A name for the fog that moves through my mind. A name for the red hot rage that flares in my soul more often than I would like.
But then there’s the fear of something being named and having to tell people. Would they believe me? Would they think I was playing a sympathy card? Would they treat me differently?
So I take a leap of faith.
I sit down across from a nice lady (girl? woman? She doesn’t seem much older than me). I get the vibe that she’s kind of confused because I’m describing all these feelings, emotions while laughing and making jokes. Defense mechanism. I need to feel like I am putting my best face forward.
“You can’t be the perfect everything to everyone,” she tells me. My initial reaction is, “Well I can try.”
This is what I’ve learned through years of trying to figure this out: I’m anxious but not anxious enough to have Anxiety. I’m depressed but I do not have Depression. I live in a constant limbo where I’m thankful these issues are not debilitating, but man, sometimes they feel pretty debilitating.
People sometimes get frustrated at my inaction, but I know I should be doing something and I’m just working up the nerve. Then I become frustrated with my own inaction, and herein lies my problem. I crumble under stress, yet I work in a stressful job. I love my job and won’t leave. You see my dilemma. Even if my job wasn’t stressful, I would (and do) stress about something, anything: money, growing older, the sky falling. Anything.
I write all this because some days, it’s a real struggle to get out of bed. See, I could compare myself to someone with different struggles and say, “They have it so much worse, so I should be able to handle this.” Or I could compare myself to someone else and think, “They have it together. I should be more like them.” Neither of those is helpful. This is not a competition. My struggles are mine, and yours are yours, and however those affect you is valid. But this isn’t meant to be isolating. If we can all give ourselves and others the room to be in whatever way we happen to be that day, that moment, then maybe reaching out for help and support won’t have to be so scary.
The thing about mental health is that it is work. I keep looking for quick fixes. There are none. I have to eat well, stay hydrated, sleep, exercise. Journal, talk, process. We work hard for our physical well-being but then wonder why our mental states often suffer. I have to consciously focus on my mental health and watch for warning signs. I have to let myself sleep all afternoon some days and be productive other days. I am starting to learn how to communicate my feelings and needs to those who start wondering why I am acting the way I am.
Sometimes people ask me why I haven’t written anything on this blog for 7 months. This is why. I’ve been trying to find my voice again, and so I figured I may as well put in enough effort to say,
You are not alone, and it will be okay.