Will I lose it today? Will my boss notice I cant function, will my co-workers see my shaking? Will I let my family and friends down and become that girl who is unable to work because she is too mentally unstable. What if I lose my home, what if I cant feed myself this month? Can I ever be a parent? These are the questions I ask myself on my way to work, my doctors decided its time to switch up medication again. I have little say, last time I ended up having an emergency visit three times, how do I explain that to my boss and others who don’t know? How do I live with myself?
Why cant I talk about it?
The shame and stigma of mental illness is one I can’t come to terms with even as my 30th birthday approaches. I still hide it. Some friends know, many don’t. I cant tell my boss or my co-workers, once they find out I’ll never get a promotion and they won’t treat me the same. I’ve tried this before. I’m terrified sitting in my room debating the end of the week and the end of the pills that are my lifeline and that keep me just sane enough to attend and work full-time at a job that I don’t like so I can afford to pay the bills for my family.
Last time, just a few weeks ago, we made changes. I wanted to die. I felt like someone in my life had died, but I had a hard time processing emotions because of the cocktail of meds they had me on. I listened to rap for 3 weeks. Ke$ha made me cry. Anything that didn’t talk about b*tches, hoes, or getting money made me cry. EVERYTHING. I did yoga in the middle of the night to avoid a breakdown, I can’t sit still because the meds make me have to move all the time. It’s hard to keep commitments or stay up to date with my friends and obligations. I struggle internally about the type of person I am.
This is life with mental illness.
This is the No Good Very Bad Day, not so pretty side that people rarely hear. The “I can’t hold it together long enough to complete a simple task and I cry at commercials for laundry detergent because my anti-depressant is off” side. I wish for a way to escape or to share what’s really happening without carrying the shame I have about who I am because of this disease. I was born with it, its genetic and runs in my family, every generation has had one person effected.
This generation was me and next generation could be my kid, if I can have any, I’m terrified I’ll be too depressed to care for my child or too manic to put them down and not dote to much on them. I have an excellent co-parent, but that doesn’t change how who I am will shape my child. Only I want to be a mom some day so bad, I dream of it, but I’m terrified, terrified I cant do it even though I’m great with kids.
I worry about supporting a family, when I cant count on myself to always be there. It’s not my fault, sometimes I’m just absent from my own mind and body and if I’m lucky I’m barely getting by. If I’m not lucky, I’m in a doctors office unable to function in my day to day life. I can’t share. I feel like so many must be suffering in silence, this is why I submit this article, albeit anonymously, but submitted nonetheless because there must be other voices out there floundering in the darkness and I hear you girl, I do.
We need to find ways to speak up. Ways to make a difference and small dent in mental health awareness and stigma whatever way we can and for me this is the beginning of a manifesto, a cry in to the world and a dream that one day we won’t feel like we’re on the outside or taboo and that my job and others can truly understand where I stand. This is my voice and my story and my rampant trailing thoughts. This is a piece for the underdog and those suffering in the dark. With that I leave this behind for those who understand, a bit of Chvrches about the traces that make a man:
“And you had best believe that you cannot build what I don’t need and I know I need to feel relief. And I know you’ll never fold but I believe nothing that I’m told. I know I need to feel release. Take care to tell it just as it was, take care to tell on me for the cause. I know I need to feel released. Take care to bury all that you can, take care to leave a trace of a man.”