I haven’t been able to write, really write, in three weeks. I haven’t really been able to do much of anything, homework included, for a month. The day I wrote the Mouthful of Forevers review was the day I got some really not great news. It hit me in the chest, put me on the ground, and I’ve been struggling to get back up again ever since. I live with, fight with, argue with, suffer from depression, and sometimes a bit of anxiety. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, complicated by a bit of PTSD. Six years later, I’ve been downgraded from BPD to Unspecified Depressive Disorder. I’m depressed a lot. It doesn’t take much. Procrastinating, being overwhelmed and wanting the world to slow down so that I can catch up. Getting really bad news. Having to attend a surprise funeral. All of these things have happened in the past year, and when I think I’m over them or recovering from them, something else happens.
On that day in late August, I was called self-centered. I was called manipulative. I was called infantile. I was told that I have no coping mechanisms, that things that would normally not affect a mentally healthy/stable human would send me on a spiral into depression and suicidal ideation. I was called a lot of things, none of them positive.On top of that, I was said to be incapable of introspection and self-examination. Even worse, it was said that my choice of career, librarian, was a manifestation of my pathological need to be isolated, yet accepted. [Someone doesn’t know a thing about 21st century libraries.]
Already, I’d recognized that I was beginning to feel lower than normal, that I was becoming overwhelmed with my responsibilities, that I needed and was ready to go back to therapy and get my life in order again. I was setting plans in motion. Then this happened.
Six fucking years of work almost destroyed. Six years of getting up everyday, going to work everyday, going to school every day. Six years, off and on, of journaling when I felt extremely low. Six years of talking myself out of depression. Six years of self-realization, self-actualization. Six years of making attempts to talk to strangers in the hopes of making new friends, which I hate doing. Six years of going after things that terrify me, like grad school and a library job and a promotion. Six fucking years of trying to better than I was at 18 years old. I was shaking. I was angry. I was near tears. I wanted to lay down and not get up again. I wanted to crawl into a whole and never come out. I wanted to drink every bottle of wine in my house, and I have a lot of it.
Instead, I told my mom. Instead, I grabbed three bottles of water and drained the first one in ~45 seconds. Instead, I texted my best friends, one who knew me before, one who knew me after, and two I see on a regular basis. I read off all the traits, and asked them. Because I don’t think that I am any of those things above. I recognize that I have the capacity to be. I’m human, dammit. But I work, actively, at not being those things. I work at being an adult every fucking day. Then again, I am incapable of self-examination, so they said.
Every answer came back, “Uhm…no. Where is this coming from? Are you ok?” In that moment, I wasn’t. I was not ok. I was barely safe. I was hanging on by strength of will alone. It was a long night and even longer day after, because I went to work. My entire world had been rocked, but I went to work the next day. I have been going to work every day.
I am actually really proud of myself, because six years ago, I would not have been able to write this in public. I would not have recognized that I was on a downswing. I would not have reached out for help. I would not have had emergency triage with four friends on three different sets of text messages simultaneously. I would not have recognized so soon that I was letting these words rule my life and ruin my self-perception.
Even now, I’m struggling. My participation in class is slipping. My dedication to my job is fading. But I will not be that girl anymore. I have wallowed in this trench of self-loathing for a month. I have given this process, this person, entirely too much power over my life. I have had enough. I love being a librarian. I love learning and I love the 3.9 GPA that comes with it. I have coping mechanisms, including coloring, going to the gym, reading, journaling, and web-surfing. I recognize that I have the capacity for a whole host of negative emotions and traits, yet I work at not giving in to them. It’s not easy. I lean, heavily at times, on outside support. But I am determined to be better, always and in all ways, than I was at 18 years old.
Thanks for listening. Until next time