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.