The girl was always me. Putting her in a bell jar, looking at her from the outside, was safer, but I'm weary. I'm tired of pretending, then ranting about stigmas on mental illness and suicide.
A friend texted today and asked for an opinion. I struggled to give my opinion, then I was honest. "I'm sorry but I can't help you with your decision. I am so depressed, it is hard for me to make the decision to get out of bed each day." She did what good social workers do, she made sure I wasn't suicidal, and she gave great suggestions. "Don't isolate yourself." I know all of this as it is exactly what I will tell a client one day. I will also understand that sometimes the depression is too deep and sinking lower means rock bottom. If you don't do what my brother did, you bounce up from the bottom. I will not do what my brother did. I will not cause that kind of pain in others because if there is a hell, I will be there from guilt. I'm already there now, from pain.
So then my husband, helpless 8000 miles away, told me I should be honest to his parents so that they could help. The theme of not isolating myself was repeated. Yet it is what I do. I isolate, and I pretend that the girl who is seriously mentally ill isn't me.
Another friend calls, and it is fun for a minute to rant about rape culture and injustice. We hang up and I crumple to the floor. This friend would have been here in a minute if I had told her I was drowning, but I could not and it is easier to isolate. I come to this blog where I can spill all this pain, weeping, then when someone calls I say "No, really I'm ok. I'm not in bed."
I tell my 16 year old to come home quickly. Children shouldn't ask "What is wrong?" to be told, "I'm really depressed. I need you to bathe and feed Trent for me." Trent asks "What's wrong mama?" I have never told him his uncle is dead. But frequently, he names family members and Uncle Chad is one of them. He will stop naming him in time. I don't know if I crave or dread that moment.
I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder at 18. I have been suicidal. I experienced Postpartum Psychosis after my first child was born and actually had visual hallucinations and delusions. My diagnosis changed to Bi-Polar II a few years ago, and new medication made all the difference. Then Chad did what he did, and I cannot grieve normally. A mood disorder makes grieving normally impossible.
So I look for any way to feel better, some ways healthy and some not. Changes in meds and an added prescription that gives me mixed episodes, which means I am hypo-manic but depressed at the same time. So I can write and I can clean and I can shower, but I cannot stop crying, and the cognitive distortions continue. My doctor doesn't necessarily mind the mixed episodes, but when the stimulant wears off, I am in full depression. No writing, no getting out of bed, no showering, very little eating. This is one view of mental illness.
There is no working like this. I cannot help a client when I can't help myself. I graduated and wanted to do great things for other people, I was full of fire just a few months ago. I wanted a career in mental health. It makes me laugh because it would be like the inmates running the prison. Until I am stable for at least year, I need to stick to jobs outside of mental health.
I wonder what cognitive distortions my brother and I shared. That we aren't anyone's priority? That we are bothersome to other people? That everything someone says to us is actually negative and judgmental? That we will never be better? That we will never be happy again? That a certain amount of happiness is allotted to each of us, and we used up our allotment at some other point in our life? That love is finite and can only take so much? That we are shitty parents continually fucking up our kids? That there is no transcendence at the other side of this pain? That hell is actually this life, right now? That loneliness is the only true state of being? This is one view of mental illness: where every thought feels true, even when some logical part of your brain tells you isn't. He lost all hope, likely because of these thoughts. They swirl so fast and so frequently, they become overwhelming. He was overwhelmed and I can picture the last moments. I just wish he hadn't isolated. That he had gone to the hospital. That he had wrote a fucking blog and published it so that the darkness was vomited in public, like coughing up a disease. There is power in telling this to people and being honest.
I have therapy at 6:30 tonight. By then, the stimulant will be wearing off so I will have to force myself to drive there, but she will see the truer depression. She will have to gauge my safety, and that aggravates the piss out of me for some reason. I cannot fully explain how much suicide feels like a personal insult at this point. I know the clinical, scientific truth of it, but it feels like a really low insult.
August 11th, my husband comes home for three weeks. The end of that three weeks frightens me the most, when he gets on a plane and the loneliness immediately seeps into my bones. I am already frightened for something almost two months away.
This is one view of mental illness, and I'm not putting the girl in the bell jar anymore, where the air and dust are removed.