Monday, January 23, 2017
Why You Shouldn't Believe That I Am "Letting" My Depression Win
I want you to read this story the way you would if it were about Cancer, or Diabetes, or Alzheimer's. Take every word just as seriously regarding the symptoms, the progressive nature, and the way it impacts my whole life. The reason this is important is because you need to separate the word Mental from the word Illness in order to really grasp what is happening here. I am ill.
First off. Sometimes I just can't get out of bed.
There are days when my body feels so heavy that getting out of bed is like trying to get out of quicksand when you've already sunk down to your neck. Atop that, once that feeling has set in I begin to panic about what my family will think if I cannot keep up with them today. My mind starts to race in circles until I am literally not physically able to force myself up and out of bed. Nothing about me is able to push any harder, and my mind is already abusing me for it.
Second; suggesting that I am choosing to suffer this way could be fatal.
I already doubt the legitimacy of my own illnesses, and I mean constantly. My mind twists my symptoms around so much that I sometimes believe that I am just doing this to myself. That makes everything just that much worse because I begin to think of myself as a monster for doing all of this to you. When you tell me, in that matter-of-fact tone that I am just choosing to hurt like I am, then you enforce the thoughts I am already struggling with. These are the same thoughts and feelings that drive me to feel suicidal. I've attempted before because of these thoughts, and I am fighting daily to not ever get that low again.
Third; I need you to understand, validate, and advocate for me.
When you see me losing this fight, you are watching my chances of survival dwindle more, and more. If this was not a mental illness, but rather something physical, you'd be talking with my care providers, and advocating on my behalf. I desperately need you to take every last symptom as something that is as sinister as the loss of appetite in a cancer patient, or severe confusion in an Alzheimer's patient - because it could be.
Fourth; my illnesses play with one another - and not nicely.
Seriously, my anxiety bullies my depression, which triggers my PTSD and leaves me sweating, crying, and hiding from everyone I have ever cared for. When you cannot look at me as a sick person, who is fighting legitimate illnesses, you make all of this that much worse. You are contributing to the view of the world that my illnesses create. The world - to me - is a terrifying, and unwelcoming place wherein I could be seriously hurt just for existing as I do.
You have to look at my illnesses as real illnesses, or you will never be able to help me. Worse, you may just lose me to them. Every pill I take, every appointment I force myself to get to, every new treatment tried, that is me actively fighting for my life. If you cannot get behind me and be my advocate, I may have to ask you not to be involved in my life anymore. I don't want to die, I just want to stop being like this.
Peace, Love, and Bulletproof Marshmallows