I’ve been absent awhile. From work. From friends. From activities. From, really, life.
I needed a break. Or, rather, my body/brain decided I needed a break and they weren’t taking “no” for an answer.
If I look back, I can see the spiral for over a year. My brain tried to tell me, tried to send me messages in the form of migraines, etc. But, like always, I ignored it and just kept going.
And really, that’s both why and how I fell part. Keep going. Just buckle down and get it done. If it needs to be done I will figure out a way to do it, including teaching myself or finding a workaround, and just get things done. And then I hit a wall and I literally could not keep going anymore. I collapsed.
So I’m tired. Exhausted, both mentally and physically. Worn out, worn down, drained. Weary.
I made an effort to stay connected while figuring out why I was so tired and falling apart. Only being out “intermittently.” I really tried, even if it may not have looked that way to many people. If you haven’t been there, it’s hard to explain depression/anxiety to someone.
It’s not a choice. You really just cannot do, well, anything. It’s a struggle to get out of bed to even walk the dog or eat or get some water. Add the “anxiety shakes” when you even think about leaving and going out to interact with anyone or anything and you really just freeze up and cannot do anything. You just can’t. Not won’t, but can’t.
Eventually I admitted that “intermittent” wasn’t enough. The stress of trying to find the energy to get up and go to work, interact with the world, while pretending that everything was just fine and I was doing better was too much. I couldn’t do it. So I took some time away.
I’m grateful I have the option to do that, to take time, with the support of my place of work.
Yes, I am seeing a therapist and my doctor. We’ve adjusted meds. Changed meds. Tried this cocktail of meds, this dosage, that dosage, and hey, here’s one we haven’t tried yet. Anything to help me leave my apartment and interact with more than my pets in person.
Tired. So damn tired.
When my therapist asked me to give him three words to describe “me” to him, all I could come up with was:
I’ve been “the responsible one/child/person/student/friend” for as long as I can remember. I was “the good/positive example.” The “good influence” on others. I’ve been “adulting” for decades, and I’m only 40. My sorority and my rugby team in college nicknamed me “mom” before I could legally drink.
I took it as an affectionate nickname, but really, it wasn’t a good thing.
I got called “mom” because I was always there to get things done. Everyone knew I was responsible and would keep it together.
I’ve just kept going, doing what needed to be done, for so long I don’t know how not to. I don’t know how not to fill in the gaps. To be the helper.
And I’m tired. So tired.
I’m going back to work this week. And I’m scared. I’m scared I’ve disappointed people or that I will as I try to integrate myself back into work. That, disappointing someone, terrifies me like nothing else. But I need to be better about boundaries. And I don’t have the energy to be everyone’s helper. I still barely have the energy to get up some days.
I’m sure I will lose some friendships/relationships, that some folks will lose or have already lost their respect for me. If I haven’t disappointed someone yet, I probably will as I try to learn boundaries and how not to always be the “responsible helper.”
I’ve been warned that being public about my battle with depression will hurt me. Hurt my career, my relationships, etc. But I’m too damn tired to hide it anymore. Depression will most likely be with me in some form for the rest of my life. And being silent doesn’t help anyone. I’d rather follow the example of people like The Bloggess Jenny Lawson, Wil Wheaton, and Carrie Fisher (who will always be one of my (s)heroes) who speak out about mental illness and struggles, letting people know that they’re not alone.
Because depression lies. It tells you that you’re not good enough. That you’re in this, fighting this, alone. But you’re not. And I have to keep telling myself that. That people won’t hate me or be disappointed when I just can’t.