Chances are, my depression affects my outlook on life. I don't want to be this way, so I try extra hard to spin things positively. On the outside, it looks like it's working. On the inside, not so much. It's absurd how often my mood can change in a day. In a DAY. Not a week, or month. A day. I go from being ecstatic about painting my nails to miserable because I got an answer on Jeopardy wrong. This isn't a joke; the smallest things can have an effect on my mood. Can you imagine what it's like when something big hits me? Rejection, embarrassment, failure? Unreal.
Why am I telling you this? Because some people have a hard time understanding why I'm being so cranky, snapping, shutting them out, ignoring everyone. I swear to Zeus it's not you (it might be but chances are it's not). There are things people do when I get like this that are so counterproductive it's not even funny. Even though you think you're helping you may be making it worse. There are some things I need you to not do when I'm in a low.
1. Saying things like it's going to be okay. It might be, but at that moment, it's not. Saying it makes me feel worse because things are not okay yet.
2. Telling me you know how I feel. You don't. I don't expect you to, but you don't. So don't say it.
3. Making me feel lazy for not getting out of bed. Guess what? In my head I'm already telling myself I'm a useless slob so reminding me that laying in bed in the dark isn't okay and that I need to get off my ass makes it worse. Instead, suggest something to do. Tell me you want me to come play cards or a game or watch a movie. Chances are you'll have a better success rate in getting me out of bed.
4. Having a bad poker face. I sound crazy, I'm aware. But if you can't hide your confusion/disgust/judgement that is etched across your face while consoling me it might be better that you don't come near me at all.
5. Telling me if I think positive then it will get better. You know what I hear when you say that? "It's your fault you're like this. Just start acting happy and you'll be happy". One of the worst things you could ever say to me.
This past week and a half has been bad again. I was doing really well for awhile and thought that it would last. And then bam. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Sunday, I was awake for maybe 7 hours total. The rest of it I was sleeping. Being inside my head gets exhausting and I get lost in it. I get lost in my thoughts and end up in an endless loop. So I sleep. I sleep so I don't think.
The worst is that while I'm lonely and miserable all I can think about is that I'm alone and miserable. So I start going down that path and all the things I hate about myself come to the surface and I decide that MUST be why I'm alone. No one will ever love you yada yada yada. As hard as I try to tell myself I'm kick ass and someone should be so lucky to be with me, I don't believe it. I tell myself anyway, because if I don't, I'm letting the dark win.
The other side effect of this is that I become needy. I reach out to anyone who will pay attention to me to distract me. I text everyone and their mother so that I can talk and not think. If you're one of those people, I'm really sorry. I swear I'm not generally this clingy or needy. I swear I'll stop.
This week has been a struggle. I'm working extra hard this week to turn things around. Writing helps. A lot actually. And sharing helps too. Because I need you to know it's not you. I need you to know I need you to help me. And I need you to know I appreciate every single person that this has been hard on and that you still haven't left me.
Weeks like these are fewer and fewer. Two years ago this would last for months. Now it lasts for days. Major improvement.
While I am moving in the right direction and am usually happier than I ever have been since getting things under control, I'm still not "normal". Then again, what is normal? Everyone's reality is different.
I don't want to let my illness dictate my life. After years of letting it push me around, I've finally become strong enough to fight back and learn how to live with and above it. I choose not to let it cripple me. I choose to take actions to heal. I choose to be honest and open about this because somewhere out there, someone is struggling with it like I was and it's nice to know you're not alone.
I don't want your pity. I don't need it. I pity myself enough most days. I want your understanding. I just want you to know. Don't pity me because what doesn't kill you gives you something to write about? #writersmind