Random (but not really)

Friday, April 9, 2021

Maybe Not Today, But Someday

It’s been years since I talked about mental health, because things had been going ok. I had some struggles, but I was able to change the things that were problems (get a new job) and it got better.

But this past year has been rough. Really rough. Honestly, from 2016 on things were difficult, with so much hate and racism and sexism right out in the open everywhere you looked, but 2020 was just the worst. All the racism, all the sexism, all the hate AND a pandemic.

But I kept going, thinking, “once the election is over, things will get better” or “once we get a vaccine approved, things will get better” and “once we have the inauguration, things will get better.”

Except that all those things happened, and it didn’t get better.

Not really.

So I finally had to admit that my anxiety was out of control, and pushing me into a bout of depression, because all the tools I’ve used for decades to stay healthy were suddenly no longer working.

I’m not sure I can explain how hard it’s been to have a situation beyond my control go on for so long, and about which I can do absolutely nothing.

When I can get out hiking, it’s not bad. But last spring I broke my foot, which meant no hiking–no walking. That took a big chunk out of me, and really started the downward spiral.

I just kept hoping that after event X happened, things would get better. But they never did.

My depression is insidious. I’ve always thought of it as being functionally depressed. Work is never a problem–I’m on time and I get my work done. So from the outside everything looks perfectly normal. Except that work is almost the only thing I can manage to do, and once I’m done for the day, I am incapable of accomplishing anything else.

I can manage to go to the grocery store every week at the normal time, and I put away all the fridge and freezer items, but once the perishable items are away–it’s too much struggle to deal with the rest of it.

I can do wash and try and fold laundry (because I actually find laundry calming). But putting it away? Nope.

Forget making dinner. Or cleaning the house.

It’s a stupid thing. “How hard can it be to (do simple task)?” you ask yourself. Yet it is hard. Things that were once simple to manage become overwhelming. Everything is too much effort, too hard. All tasks are Sisyphean–undertaken as if they were to be done uphill, across an icy terrain, while carrying an awkward heavy package. Any single misstep brings everything crashing back down.

And asking for help is out of the question when things get bad. “It’s just your brain, you can get over it.” “You’re just being lazy; you don’t deserve help.”

These are, of course, things that I know are lies. But that doesn’t make them any less powerful. And fighting those lies is exhausting, which just gives us a nasty little vicious circle. After all, if I don’t want to be around myself, why would I want to subject anyone else to me?

So, that’s where we’ve been.

The future? I’ve got a change in meds–which takes time. And little things to look forward to. Things I am going to hug to myself and cherish. And hopefully one day I’ll realize that I’ve eventually reached the top of the hill, and that the ice has melted and although it’s not necessarily smooth sailing, it’s okay.

For now, I just keep reminding myself that it will, eventually, be okay again. Eventually.

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