Things have changed.
I know this should be the easy part. The part where I just simply recount the past couple weeks of soul crippling depression in bits and fragments… some sort of counter part to the ‘psychosis’ post from a few weeks ago. But it isnt. Its never easy for me to admit this half of the spectrum; the one I feel like I should be able to control. Its been here longer, and it takes up much more space inside me. It is a part of me in a much more tangible, recognizable way: the pitch, pitch black.
Last week, I was forcibly taken to the ER because I was suicidal and the people closest to me were gravely concerned for my well being. I’ve hinted and mentioned and touched on this fact, and the circumstances leading up to it in bits and pieces. It was (is?) a bleak period for me. there is something so inherently difficult to explain here… some coming to of an innate, constant reality that just broke me.
As a mental health advocate, its an incredibly taboo thing for me to say, but I’m going to say it: the realization that I was, in fact, bipolar, or at the very least not “just” anxious has been, at times, unbearable for me. It is not that I don’t value people with these heavy diagnoses. I do, I really, truly do. people that have these problems and cope. That make it through their lives and do what they want to do, who be who they want to be, who are good, amazing, wonderful people who better the world. The people who have such strength and fortitude to survive: they are my heroes, in every sense of the word. But lately, or maybe always, I have a deep seeded doubt that this is something I can ever personally accomplish. And that is crushing.
I cannot pretend my mental illness is not a burden: it is. it is painful. it is heavy. it is a boulder that sits on my chest and the only thing keeping it from crushing through my rib cage is the strength of my finger tips and sheer force of will. It is not easy. It is not pleasant. It is not without struggle.
I spend a lot of time fighting to not be defined by that struggle. A lot of time. So it is painful for me to admit that in the face of recognizing that that struggle was something serious, something permanent, something that wont necessarily improve with continuous hard work and diligent effort… it broke me. Looking at the state I was in, and knowing, unequivocally, that there was nothing I could do to stop it, to stop myself from being back here again, that I was already doing everything anyone could suggest… was devastating.
I work hard at being mentally healthy.
I go to therapy. I work on things that my psychologist tells me to work on. I have insight into why things are happening and what is causing what. I do my best to reason and talk through things. I use all my CBT training. I have a psychiatrist. A good one. I take the pills I’m told to take. I go to my appointments. I modify my diet. I do the stupid routines and sleep hygiene. I work. I try. There is literally nothing I could be doing right now to work any harder at this, aside from being better at doing nothing at all.
And this still happened.
This horrible, crushing, terrible thing still happened.
I cant work it away.
I have always been able to work it away.
As stupid, or misguided as it may be, having a diagnosis of depression and anxiety, as opposed to bipolar or schizoaffective, or whatever label it ends up being, made me feel like I had more control. It made me feel like I could work my way through it. It made me feel like if I just tried harder I could get somewhere, because I have always held that sliver of hope. That hope that so many people have lost.
But, for some reason, for whatever reason, the bipolar label makes me feel like I’ve lost that. And the switching of labels.. the oh your bipolar, oh nevermind you’ve got anxiety, oh i meant ptsd, oh no, “just” depression… it feels like I was robbed of time to adjust.
I know its just a word. A label meant to help those who help me; not one to define me or who I am. But it matters. I have very separate emotions attached to each. and they may be unreasonable and they may be the byproduct of stigma and internalization of bullshit, but they are mine and i have a right to work through them.
I have a right to be devastated by apparently old news. I am devastated by old news. My finger tips can only hold some much weigh before they give. The boulder is going to fall, some of the time. My ribs are going to have to learn how to take it.
I have a right to be tired. I have a right to let myself be crushed.