Sunday, November 06, 2016

Broken

"It helps to know what it is."

A character on Wentworth just said that about the depression that's been ruining his life. And I get it. Boy, do I get it.


Of course, he thinks he was suicidal and jumped in front of a van, but really the evil governor of the prison put a hit out on him, and paid someone to drive him down in the street, causing a serious brain injury that made him forget the critical information she'd do anything to keep the world from knowing. But still, samers Mr. Fletcher. Samers.

It does help to know what it is.

Undiagnosed depression and anxiety feels like you are losing a battle against yourself every day. You can't understand why you are in pain when the doctors can't find anything wrong with you. You just want to sleep and hide, but you have a life that you need to live and being "lazy" isn't an option. At least not every day. And not if you don't want to feel like more of a failure that you already do. You don't know why you're worried when you have nothing to worry about, and you can't understand why you think the way you do. You try to talk to yourself, to tell yourself to get out of bed, to stop thinking so negatively, to not worry about the crazy things you worry about..

I worry about parking spots, and places to sit, and standing in line, and driving, and whether the store will have what I need, and making doctor appointments, and being on time, and the staff room at work, and being able to fall asleep... When I'm not consciously worrying about things like that I often have this pit in my stomach telling me I should be worried about something. And not just a passing worry. When I go to the movies my hands are usually shaking until I find my seat. In my head, I don't care where I am. In my head I know I'll enjoy the movie regardless of where I sit. But that doesn't stop my stress level from sky-rocketing the day I go to a show. (This is why I LOOOOOVE the VIP theatres that let you book your seats in advance.) Just typing out these last few sentences has caused my pulse to start racing. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest thinking about lining up at the theatre to buy the tickets, and the popcorn, and then find seats where we can all sit together and everyone can see, and no one weird is beside me...

I also worry about big things like my health, and family problems, and money, and my children's safety, but those things make sense. And they aren't usually the things that keep me up at night. And there should be a difference between how those big worries feel compared to those little ones. There's no difference. All of it makes me feel sick.

Probably because I'm sick.

For lots and lots of years I didn't realize that feeling like this wasn't normal. I figured out the depression around the time my dad died in 2009, maybe a year or two before that. But I didn't realize that anxiety has a pretty tight grip on my life till just a year or two ago. I remember when I first talked to my doctor and realized that I wasn't just sad, and lazy, and shut down. I remember what it felt like to realize I was sick. Mentally ill. It felt amazing. Honestly, sometimes just knowing and accepting my limits is enough to pull me through a hard day, it helps that much.

Imagine going through life not knowing that your leg is broken. It never even occurs to you that there might be something actually wrong with you. You are constantly in pain though, and some things are completely impossible. People try to help. They tell you which shoes work best for them. They send you articles about learning to run a 5k to inspire you. Even you get in on the action with self-talks and exercises designed to help you overcome your weakness. But no matter what you do, you can't run. You can barely walk sometimes. And then suddenly, one day, a doctor x-rays your leg and tells you it was broken all along. It won't be an easy fix, but there's a reason you've been limping for years.

It sucks to be broken, but it is such a relief to finally understand that you ARE.

So I get it Mr. Fletcher. You're right. It does help to know. Of course, you also need to know that The Governor is after you, and she'll stop at nothing.

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