There’s a loneliness in struggling with mental illness and the healing process that is little talked about, little discussed. Ruminating thoughts, stuck places, out of control spirals, rages, arguments with yourself- It’s so difficult to keep going when the demons won’t let you.
Writing my novel is bringing a lot to the surface that I’d previously refused to acknowledge within myself. The more I see my mistakes glaring back at me from the pages I’ve written, the harder it is to keep going on and keep pushing myself. I want to hide under a rock and stay there until I’m merely a memory to others, so I can’t keep inadvertently hurting them.
There is this societal ideal that’s instilled in us all. I can see it, I can touch it, and I understand that ideal. I feel like a failure because I lack the ability to fulfill the expectations placed upon me. Traditional expectations of give and take in friendship are often lost on me. I feel I don’t have any place I belong. I’ve even created my own places to belong, just to find I don’t belong there either.
My friendships and relationships suffer. I begin to wonder if I’m simply a narcissistic psychopath or sociopath just like my parents. It would be easier to accept than this crippled shell of a good person I see inside. All I start to see is the bad within myself when I can’t be what everyone wants me to be. Eventually, everybody leaves, and I’m left to wonder what I did wrong, which ball I dropped in the attempt to juggle far too much. The self blame becomes a deafening, screaming argument in my mind, so I drop all the balls and just stand in place, a look of confusion permanently fixed upon my face, sadness heavy in my heart.
People who don’t even know me, only the bare bones of my story, are afraid of me. You would think after all these years, I would be accustomed to that feeling, of folks not wanting me around them or their children, of people viewing me as toxic to their psyche. I have tears in my eyes as I write this, because it just adds to the feeling of being so purely, utterly alone.
A part of me sees what they see. I feel their fear and it feels very real, no matter how irrational it seems. I’m afraid of me too. I often believe I’m better alone because then, I can’t prove anybody wrong or right. Then the world gets to believe that people like me don’t exist, and I’d rather they feel that naive innocence in their lives than be poisoned by the reality of what some people have to deal with, what some people have to do to survive. I hate that I can’t live naively. I wish I could. I’ve tried. It just makes the psychosis angry to be pushed down.
Worst of all, I hate the stigma that comes with honest emotion, honest feelings, and truth. Every. Single. Day. Is a struggle. To get out of bed. To face friends and family ready to judge if I’m ill or not. To motivate myself to be something other than a pile of crud. To not cry or rage out of control just because my brain dictates that I should. If only others knew the amount of strength it takes to exist, they would stop viewing me as weak and fragile.
Rarely are days full of sunshine, rainbows, and happiness. Those kind of days are truly an exception, not the rule.
I hold onto the gift that is a good day and I piece it with the next and the next. Believing that another good day is on the horizon is the only thing keeping me from ending it all right now. I have to believe that something good is on its way, because otherwise all of my struggles to hold on another day, to push through and own this life, to seek and find healing, would be pointless.
I have to believe there’s a reason I’m still here that I just haven’t discovered yet. Or maybe I have and I just don’t realize what it is. All I know is, after a long period of struggle, the sunshine seems brighter and the days seem a whole lot sweeter, as long as I just hold on.