i want to talk about what it’s really like to be mentally ill without the part of intervention. Just raw suffering so trigger warning.
I’m going to give you a run through of every mental illness I grapple with. Anxiety, ADHD, clinical seasonal depression, PTSD, grief and most recent BPD. I will tell you that I refused to accept the BPD for a while. I couldn’t believe it But mania has a way of letting you know that it’s not letting up whether you acknowledge it or not so I had to make room for it in the house of maladies.
This evening while texting a friend (one of the longest and most expressive texts I’ve sent in recent times because my friends and partner(s) say that I text weird. I don’t deny) I called myself the titanic.
This is why. Seasonal depression comes in tiny streaks or baths. Often the streaks lead to baths. Streaks are because it’s clinical so sometimes once a week I’m just depressed no triggers. But when those streaks stretch for long periods they turn into baths. These baths usually have triggers however. On Friday morning I had a breakdown. I cried and by Saturday evening I confirmed in therapy that that breakdown was the tip of the iceberg. A depression bath waiting to hit. All the water metaphors are my own cynical way of making a joke when I’m drowning.
That’s what depression feels like to me. Like I’m drowning even after knowing how to swim. There’s this spoken word piece that articulates this. “Notes on Depression” by Rachel Wiley For Button Poetry. “…my latest hobby is screaming. I scream into things. It was just pillows at first now it’s anything I think can hold my trauma. I have haunted the whole house… a celebration is just a way of begging the good things to stay. A false promise that we can always be just like this. A false promise worth clinging to. Worth living in the aftermath of”. Depression is sinking and hollow.
Moving on to anxiety. This is probably the most engulfing of them all. Plagues me at every turn. Teamed up with my large heart and when I have anxiety attacks, I get heart palpitations. It feels like my heart will come out Of my chest and run and leave me. It hurts so bad. Anxiety is me being afraid of every single thing even though I want to trust it. It is limiting. Anxiety feels like someone is constantly strangling me. I want to breathe more, reach for more but I am being held back.
PTSD tag teams with anxiety to petrify me. I had a car accident almost a decade ago and now if I witness an accident, I go into a downward mute spiral. PTSD is a painful reminder that somethings will always stop you in your tracks, glue your feet to the ground while the train is coming. PTSD feels like house arrest. I once got my phone seized in a building when I was in uni. For months I couldn’t go into the building. I would be in front of it but just walk away.
ADHD is the one that actually diagnosing it made things easier. ADHD is like salt. Once it spills, it gets everywhere. Touches everything. New therapy lessons made me realize that it is on the autism spectrum so most of the reactions are similar. One I’ve witnessed is the muteness. I go non verbal in times of great suffering. The quadrant Of ADHD I’m in is more attention than hyperactivity. Ruins my reading, cinephilia, work habits et al. I don’t even think I can compare ADHD to any thing because it’s overwhelming. Okay let me try. It’s like trying to get out of a very big blanket in the dark and it’s raining.
Grief is love persevering I think. But I can get really ugly no matter how i romanticize it. It’s in everything. It is just there with or without your permission. Grief is like that crush you known you’ll never lose. Grieving multiple people has wrecked me in many ways and will continue to do so and I will continue this particular suffering because the fondness for my dead is not something I can part with.
With BPD, the rage is foreign. Anger is not an emotion I’m very conversant with and I am so scared Of pouring it out to anyone that it stifles me. Chokes me and scares me. Mania is a bitch that doesn’t play.
Suffering is such a real thing. A human real thing and it is really dark. But the thing about suffering is that sometimes it needs to be looked at alone without intervention. Sat with while listening to imagine dragons “not today” because it’ll get easier but honey not today. So today, what you will do is maybe lose faith in your God, shut everyone out, scream, cry, doubt everything you know, but express that suffering because until we pass away everything will pass. This tape is not on intervention but I want to debunk something. Nothing heals suffering like human touch. Fuck the self love campaigns, suffering is not meant to be borne alone. It is too much load. Healthy habits, self awareness and even therapy will only help you break terrible self patterns that contribute to your suffering. They cannot take it away. I’m not saying other people can completely but external love sure does miles over self love in the area of eradicating human suffering. There are certain places only external love of value can pull you from.