[To keep my pen moving, I’ll be using the 30 Days of Blogging as writing prompts. Today’s prompt: “Something you hate about yourself.” ]
I hate that I’m mentally ill.
I became aware of my illness before I knew how to label it. I was 16 years old, my boyfriend's family had just been transferred to another base and I felt like the lonelist person in the world. One afternoon, as I sat alone in the bedroom laying in my bed with the tv turned on its side so I could watch it the correct way as I layed in my bed I burst into tears. I took an entire bottle of vicodine and went to sleep. God said "not so" and sent a friend over to hang out. We went walking and I walked in a fog the entire time, for hours. I never told anyone. When I got home, I cried again. I cried everyday after that no matter what. I hadn’t hurt myself. I wasn’t watching a sad movie or television show. Out of nowhere, I was overcome by a wave of melancholy that forced my small body into the fetal position each day and leaked down my face. At one point I even had a new boyfriend and still I cried everyday and I had no idea why I cried, In the which scared me and thus made me cry more hysterically. This was not normal. I was crazy.
I wouldn’t acknowledge my depression until just last year. I constantly would go in and out of it. I was fine for months and then it would hit me and I literally had days when I couldn't get out of bed. After delivering my third child I almost lost it completely and the doctor medicated me. The thought that I was nursing, frightened me to not taking it so I MADE myself put on a happy face. I was failing miserably at being a wife, mother, friend, person but I pushed through each day and sometimes cried at night despite being told all my life wha a great job I was doing. I was clueless and crippled by feelings of panic regarding the state of my future. Stopped eating and sleeping. Alienated friends. Considered running away, quitting and suicide. After my second child I found out my tolerance to alcohol had suddenly increased and tequilla numbed the pain enough for me to go to sleep each night. I laughed and joked about two shots of patron, but literally, it helped me get to sleep until 2am, then I would be up for the rest of the night, staring at the ceiling and pacing the floor. Anything to stop the pain. This was more than a hard time. I was sick. Last year, I finally battled back from where I started. I turned to Jesus, layed face in the floor and pleaded for his mercy and to save me from all of this. Turned Marvin Sapp "The best in me" on repeat to ward off whatever evil was trying to attack me. Crawled into bed and slept. I woke up with a new start and I've done my best to give it to him now whenever I feel under attack.
Through all of my depressive episodes I always believed that clinical depression was a phase. A demon, that I’d one day defeat and be rid of for the rest of my life. Following my rededication to the Lord Jesus Christ, my recovery made me feel unstoppable. Depression? It is no match for me.
So I thought. I've had my battles and somedays I fight and plead and tell God to handle this.
Some days to fight it off I am forced to self-evaluate. I've discovered there are behaviors I’d blamed on depression, that were actually just my personality traits. Introspection and emotional intensity weren’t symptoms of an illness, but rather aspects of my personality that made me more vulnerable to the illness. Often it's a daily balancing act. Defeating the illness ultimately meant managing it, and managing it meant accepting that it wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Honestly, I hate my depression. I hate that it sometimes gives me limitations that I have to respect for the sake of my well-being. Deep down, there is an ambitious, competitive, take the world by the balls girl who wants to conquer everything. I’m stuck with this mental bully who manipulates that drive and turns it into self-loathing. A mental bully that can kill me. I have to temper my approach to life to protect myself. I wouldn’t run a marathon if I had arthritis in my knees. I can’t rush toward huge life challenges with a mental illness.
So I play the balancing game. Constantly adjusting my responsibilities. Pacing myself in achieving my vision. Analyzing my every thought to differentiate those that push me forward from those looking to bring me down (you’d be shocked at how similar they sound sometimes). I accept that this is who I am and eventually, I will learn to totally love it.
I’m praying that day comes quickly.