A Bit of Painful Truth

I’ve been trying to avoid this post for a while, both writing and posting it, but I feel like I need to be honest about something, even though I hate the idea of sharing this. It’s very personal and those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know I don’t tend to post about my personal life here. This blog is about writing, both mine and those of my friends. Today, it isn’t though. And hitting ‘publish’ has been so hard, because I feel like I’ll disappoint people with this truth. But I’m doing it anyway, because I have to. And maybe I’m wrong, and people will understand. I hope so.

I’m struggling, and I’m not talking about the trouble I’ve had writing. That ties into it, but it’s not the majority of the picture. Maybe it’s more of a symptom of the problem. I’m not sure.

I’ve posted before about depression, and mentioned my own history of it. I believe I also said it was behind me. How wrong I was.

The depression is back. And it’s worse than it’s ever been in my life.

You have no idea how hard that is to admit, the depth of it. How long I’ve stared at that, debating deleting those words and suggesting it isn’t as bad as that, but that would be dishonest. And I need to get out how bad this is, or I will eventually isolate myself disastrously. It’s nearly happened already.

Part of what’s prompted me to finally stop running away from the idea of admitting the truth is a post written by a friend, Amanda. She posted today about her own struggles. She said a lot of things that are very true of my own experiences. The losses of the year, some of which has been on a personal level. The self-hate, and self-castigation over how I am and am not spending my time. Definitely the feeling that it’s childish of me to complain and whine, that I should be silent on this. A few people, both men and women, have told me I’m childish. I’ve also been called selfish and self-absorbed by some. Each of these occasions have pushed me further into myself, especially when they’ve come from people who claim they care about me. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but this has reinforced the idea that I should just shut up about my problems and myself, I should just go on pretending everything is okay, because anything else is selfish and wrong.

Except it isn’t, and I’m now out of ability to pretend things are okay. So it’s either speak up or withdraw from everyone, and I’m afraid of where the latter will lead me. Thus this post finally being written and shared.

Virtually everything in my life is sharp-edged to me now. It hurts to do and in many cases, even to think about doing so many things. Writing. Blogging. Being on Twitter. Being alone, when my thoughts are apt to attack me. These things shouldn’t hurt, and often what triggers the pain is small and seems stupid. Only it clearly isn’t. Sometimes I force myself to do these things anyway, putting on a brave face so I seem okay to those around me. I do it every day at the day job. But it’s a mask, and behind it I feel like a walking bruise. Nights are the worst, but days are becoming bad as well.

At the beginning of this horrible journey back into my deepest fear, the return of the depression, I thought that feeling of being a bruise would ease. I thought things would get better if I just held on long enough. It’s happened in the past, after all. Instead, they’ve worsened beyond anything I’ve experienced before. My world has become a dark and lonely place, though some friends have been glimmers of light, reminding me that loneliness is really the lies of depression. I am grateful for every one of you, whether I could bring myself to fully confess the truth or not. Just knowing you were there helped.

I’m not going to share here the things that have happened that brought me to this place, for a lot of reasons. There’s still only so much of my personal life I’m willing to put out there, and those things are on the far side of that line. But there have been things, and these exacerbated a situation that was already tenuous at the time.

I’m working on getting help, despite a shitty history in that arena. It’s not fast and I’m low on hope that it’ll help, but I recognize the essential truth: I can’t live like this. Something has to change. And I can’t do this alone. I’ve tried for months and have instead slid further into the hole.

One of the hardest parts, and something that has to change, is reaching out to my friends and family. This requires me to admit I’m not okay though, and the track in my head is always “I’m okay. I have to be okay. They need me to be okay.” even when I’m not. And of course, there’s the shame, the feeling that I should be able to hold it together. Breaking down the reflex to say I’m okay when I’m not won’t be easy, and dealing with that shame is harder still. I’m so grateful to those who are supporting me as I try, and who understand that it’s hard and encourage me to keep going. Thank you so much.

I don’t know how long it’ll take before I get the a place where I’m some version of holding my own, but I’m going to try to keep pushing forward, no matter how tired I am. I may continue to not be here much on the way there, and I hope you’ll understand. In the meantime, I’m trying to do little things that will help me in addition to therapy. Painting my condo so that it’s my colors, my place a little more than it has been in the year I’ve lived here. Gaming with friends. Reading. Talking to people, and being there for my friends despite my own problems. That helps a surprising amount.

If you’re one of the people I’ve tried to convince I’m okay, please understand that it’s because I care about you. Because I didn’t want to worry you. I’m sorry. I’m trying, honest, I am. And remember that I love you guys. I’m not good at expressing it right now, but I do. Thank you for being there. I can’t say it enough.

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About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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32 Responses to A Bit of Painful Truth

  1. keep fighting. I know what depression is like, It is hell. I never really talk about mine, but I tend to let it bleed into my writing. It is hard to focus when so much seems to go wrong, but all we can do is continue to fight.

  2. wordnerdlove says:

    Sometimes the very meaning of holding on is simply that. Breathing. Surviving the day, the week and the month. I love you. You don’t have to hide this. You don’t have to lie to make us worry less. Loving you means loving every part of you, including the depression. No matter what the depression tells you, you are loved.

  3. I’m so sorry, Julie! 😦 I know it probably doesn’t help to hear me say that, but I’m sorry to hear about your problems — you’re a lovely person and you don’t deserve to be in such a dark place. I sincerely hope that things will get better for you! ❤ I get the idea you're not a religious person (and I'm not judging or preaching, I respect you) but I'll be over here praying for you to get through this, 'kay? *sends hugs and well-wishes* Know that you're loved. I love you, okay? You have brought light and motivation into my life several times, and blessed me in ways you don't know, and sometimes when I think I can't do something, like write a lot, I've thought of you and how you would breeze through those words, and tried harder because I knew I could do something small if you could do something that big. I just want to say thank you for the person you've been online for me, even if you were hurting behind it, and I hope the hurt will go away. Sorry for my babbling, I don't even know what I'm trying to say, I just had to say SOMETHING because I feel so bad hearing about this. There's probably nothing I can do, but if there is, please holler. I sincerely wish you well. ❤ *hugs*

    Love you,
    Deborah

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Deborah, for these words and the sweet, kind, supportive friend you’ve always been. I’m happy to say today has been better. I feel so much less alone after the responses to my post. Thank you for your prayers. I do appreciate them and the heart that offers them.

      I will say though, you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to. I know because I’ve seen you do it. I am so proud of you, though I don’t know that I ever came out and told you before. You do some amazing things, and it’s because you can, because it’s in you. Don’t ever forget that. ❤

  4. Kat G says:

    First of all, let me extend an e-hug to you. I’ve been there, unfortunately, and i know way too well how it feels. I don’t need to describe it; you have done so already. And from both my own experience and having held a fair few hands of friends as they got to the other side of that, I will say this: most people have absolutely no damn idea what it is.

    I’ve written before about depression being akin to a very heavy coat, the purpose of which is only to confine you to its inside. It sneaks up on you, buttons itself up, and is so heavy that it takes a herculean effort to unbutton it. You know you can unbutton it – but finding the strength to do so is a challenge. And when you do get the coat off, you never forget what it was like to wear it.

    People who hadn’t worn the coat will never understand what wearing it is like.

    It is okay to not be okay.

    Hugs again.

    • Julie says:

      That is a wonderful metaphor for depression. So accurate too. Thank you for the hug and for your kind words. I will keep them in mind on the darker days.

  5. See you soon! And hey, not a damn thing wrong with saying aloud “I need help” nor battling through the depression.

    Well, depression in and of itself SUCK ASS and yes, it’s a not good thing – for anyone, even you, BUT saying it exists, sharing the truth it’s affecting you, seeking help, support – NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

    Withdrawing away – definitely not the best choice, so celebrate that you took a step not too, and keep stepping. Don’t take steps Liz, MAKE STEPS!

    Things we ‘take’, can be ‘taken’ back. Things we MAKE are ours, forever.

    #MakeItDontTakeIt

    I love you!

    A Fellow Maker,
    Ria

    • Julie says:

      Yes, soon I’ll be coming to see you. Can’t wait. 🙂 Definitely celebrating taking that step and I won’t let it be the last. I love you too! ❤

  6. Em says:

    I am always ALWAYS here for you, no matter how far apart we are. I know the courage it took for you to write this. I hope we can chat soon.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you and we will definitely chat soon. Mb text/DM me when it would be a good time for a chat? My schedule is usually pretty open, but I know you have a lot in yours.

  7. quix689 says:

    I think it’s great that you had the courage to post this – though of course we’d all still love you and understand! I’m sad to say I didn’t even notice that you hadn’t blogged for a while because it’s been so long since I’ve even really cared about any of the blog posts that show up in my inbox. For the past month or so, I’ve been so out of it, scrolling through posts and deleting them without really taking in what I’m reading. I’m actually starting to think I’m depressed, as well, though I also don’t trust my judgement enough to say that for sure.

    But this isn’t about me; it’s about you. I’m glad you wrote this post, though I’m sad you had to write it. I haven’t been great about being around Twitter or WordPress lately, but know that if you ever need anything, I’m here for you! ❤

    • Julie says:

      That lack of caring about something that I know was important to you before is concerning, especially since I know you just moved to a new place. You might want to at least consider talking to a counsellor. Take it from me, you don’t want to let it go untreated for long if you don’t have to.

      Thank you for being there. I’ve missed you, but I know you’re also settling into the new job and home. How is that going? I’m here for you too if you need to talk. ❤

  8. Oh my Julie, I am so proud of you! I know what courage it took to write this. Remember, there is absolutely NOTHING for you to be ashamed of, or to feel you cannot be honest about. Any kind of mental illness is nothing that anyone should feel they have to hide. You don’t owe anyone a mask on your own feelings for their convenience!

    You are an amazing, strong, beautiful, brilliant woman, and you will get through this and come out through the dark tunnel to a brighter day. We will all be here with you every step of the way!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you so much, Sarah. You being proud of me means a lot, as do your words of encouragement. I am so grateful for our friendship. Thank you for being there and being part of my life and letting me be part of your. Love you so much!

  9. Helen Boswell says:

    Liz, I’m so sorry you’re going through this and also glad you wrote this post. You are so brave and so strong to post this. You have such courage to put yourself out there in writing, on Twitter, wherever you are — and I’m sorry we are so far away from each other because I wish I could give you a real-life hug. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re just barely holding things together, feeling the pressure to do it for others, but try to remember that your well-being comes first. Love you so much.

    • Julie says:

      This is where we need those teleporters. We could get together for hugs and coffee and just laughs together. Thank you for being there. Even when we haven’t talked for a while, I think about you a lot and I’m aware that you’re there (except when it’s gotten really bad and I felt like no one was). It helps, that knowing you’re there. Thank you so much. I love you too, Helen. Also, we should chat sometime soon. I feel like there’s lots to catch up on and I just miss your voice. ❤

  10. mandaray says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Just know that we’re with you, even if the whispers in your head say otherwise. And if there’s anything at all I can do to help, please let me know. I will spam #MandarayReads into my twitter all day every day if I have to. 😉

    • Julie says:

      Lol, be careful, I might take you up on that, at least in the evenings when I’m not at work. 😉

      That’s a key thing, I think, realizing that the whispers are lying. They’re always lying. The response to this post alone proves that the whispers are liars, because those whispers said I’d be condemned for saying anything, and it’s been entirely the opposite. Thank you for your post, which helped me find the courage to write and share this post. You are a wonderful friend and I’m grateful to Twitter for giving us a chance to know each other. 🙂 ❤

      • mandaray says:

        Considering that, for some odd reason, reading and reviewing books (and livetweeting them!) seems to really help lift my spirits, I shall be as reckless with that offer as I please. :3

        ***hugs*** I’m really glad we met, too. I’ve really enjoyed our friendship. And I’m DEFINITELY glad that my rambly post helped you. That’s almost the entire reason I write anything in the first place. Here’s to telling the whispers where they can go stuff it! 😀

  11. *hugs you tight* You aren’t alone. I promise.

    • Julie says:

      *Hugs back even tighter* Thank you. I think I’m getting that tattooed on my hand or something. “You are not alone” Maybe then I can remember it even in the darkest moments.

  12. Sarah L Fox says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. *hugs*

  13. brennalayne says:

    I’m hurting for you, because I know this sucks. I overcame an anxiety disorder several years ago, only to have it resurface last winter. And I’m better now, but I know what it’s like–the feeling of freedom followed by despair that this monster is back, eating at you, and then the constant wondering about if/when you’ll have to face it again. Ugh. But you are NOT alone in this experience. Mental illnesses can be so hard in large part because people treat them like they’re not illnesses. If you had cancer, no one would be so ugly to you. But you can get through this, and things can be better. I’m pulling for you. *hugs*

  14. Julie, I know what you’re going through, and that’s not meant to make you feel better, but maybe, just not as alone. There is no shame in suffering from depression. This is a real, debilitating disease. Unfortunately, the help that’s out there isn’t always the best, depending on circumstances. I’m the type of person who refuses to take pills to ease my pain. So, I was forced to do it on my own. It is possible, but it’s a hell of a journey.

    The fact it comes and goes is horrendous. For me, I found it helpful to chart the waves, so to speak. I used a calendar and I kept track. After a while, I saw patterns, sometimes. From there, it was a matter of coming up with my own battle plan.

    I’m glad you posted this. You are among friends, and this is a safe place for you. We’re here, always.

    *hugs*

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