Well, that seems to be a question that has been asked a lot lately. I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been writing. I’ve been writing copiously, constantly, every chance I have. My notebook is my constant companion, carried with me everywhere. I’ve been writing instead of reading, looking at social media, even showering on some days. I’ve been writing down every thought, feeling, everything I can think of, to try and figure things out. I’m not really sure I’ve made any real progress. It’s been a long couple of weeks, with some small setbacks and one major setback. A lot of days, I’ve been struggling to keep moving forward. I want to say that I’m working to care for myself and work through whatever I need to work through. It’s hard, though, because new stuff keeps cropping up for me to deal with. And there’s life. Some stuff I have to do, though all but the absolutely necessary has been pushed aside. And I always wonder, as I sit wrapped in blankets, writing furiously in my notebook, or curled up in bed because I’m just too tired to move – am I taking care of myself and doing what I need to do, or am I using this as an excuse to be lazy, and not do the things I actually need to do?
In some ways, I am a little better. I don’t want to cry quite every minute of the day. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to scream, so that’s a bit of a change. Writing this makes me wonder, why did I let it get to that point? Why did I wait until I felt so bad that all I could do was cry or scream before I took action to help myself? But I tried. I did more yoga, I meditated more. I increased and changed my nutritional supplements several times. I talked to friends. And I felt like a hypocrite, a feeling I’ve explored before. I didn’t want to admit that my tools weren’t enough, and I dreaded the thought of being on medication again, after working so hard all those years ago to get off all the medications all the various doctors I had seen put me on. Considering how the medications ended up making me feel worse, and eventually I was the one who treated myself and was responsible for making myself feel better, I didn’t have much faith in the medical community. In fact, I still think they generally do more harm than good.
But here I am. Using two different medications to help myself. Believing that that’s what I need to help myself feel better, at least until I get back on my feet. But I want to know why. I want to know why I broke. Because that’s what I feel like has happened. I was going along, carrying all this weight. And eventually it got too heavy. It became too much, and eventually – I broke. I collapsed under the weight. Let’s be very clear. The fact that I feel like I broke does not mean that I believe I am broken. I do not believe that there is fundamentally something wrong with me, or that I’m in some way inferior. But I need a minute to get back on my feet.
But what happened? What led to the point where I collapsed? Partly, I think, that I have a genetic predisposition toward depression. As the shrink I saw a few weeks ago put it, I have depression with mixed symptoms. Or, as he delightfully elaborated, it’s like, “depression with a splash of bipolar”. Meaning I occasionally have manic episodes similar to those that characterize bipolar disorder, but they aren’t long enough or severe enough to put me in the bipolar end of the spectrum. Mostly, I tend toward the depressed side. I pretty much knew all this, but it was helpful to have it described so clearly. As I’ve said a million times by now, I managed all this for years with exercise, yoga, nutrition, all that stuff. So why did it quit working? Why did I break?
I’m getting a little older. Maybe I got a new batch of hormones. Maybe I have a bunch of old traumas that my body decided I needed to work through before I can be whole again. Maybe I can’t carry the load of managing my household, raising my children, and doing the majority of the chores, shopping, planning, etc. Maybe it’s just too much for me. I don’t know, and maybe it doesn’t matter why, but that’s who I am. I want to figure stuff out. So I’ll keep going to therapy, and writing in my notebook, and trying to do better and be better.
So there it is. That’s where I’ve made it so far. I’m in here, doing the work, trusting in the process, and having faith that I’ll be better, hopefully sooner rather than later.