Yesterday was a bad day for me. A really bad day. I don’t usually have days like that. It got to the point of where I had convinced myself that when I got home from work I would attempt to shut my brain off and accept any consequences that came along with it….as long as my brain would shut off I would be fine. Luckily I work with the most amazing children and, they don’t know it, they helped me not push the self destruct button.
While I lay in bed reading, waiting for my partner to get home from work I began thinking about how I had failed. I write this blog, I work in and present on mental health and I am constantly doing what all friends do, offer advice on how to ease stress and have a better life. How can I do all that, spread hope and say that having mental health issues is ok, that it’s not what you think it is, and then fall so deep into the black hole…….??????
My logical mind, the one I trust more and the one I have most of the time, tells me that I’m allowed to fall into the black hole. I’m allowed to not always succeed. I’m allowed to be that stereotype I fight against because the point is not to say it isn’t real but that it doesn’t define my capabilities as a human.
I am still trying to understand happiness and sadness. Throughout my diagnosis of dysthymic disorder (chronic depression) sadness meant that I was ill and happiness meant that treatment was working and I was becoming “normal”. It is easy to see how anyone, but especially a teenager, could create this belief that sadness is all bad and happiness is all good. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!
I still sometimes struggle to see my negative emotions as not being a sign that I should be heavily medicated and hospitalized because that is how it was in the past. To be happy is the ultimate goal when you have a mental health issue but it seems unattainable, especially to the extent everyone else appears to have it. It really comes down to the label. I felt that “normal” people have this free-flowing, relaxed, easy come happiness and that people with mental health issues have this difficult, medicated, therapy driven, exhausting, fake happiness. My labels keep me under the constant threat of “relapse” because if I can’t hold it together then I am “crazy”.
I reminded myself, after thinking all of this, cozy in my bed, that no one can hold it together all the time. Everyone plunges into the black hole. My partner has told me in the past that everyone has to work at being happy, that it is not a natural state and this is true. Sadness is not a natural state either…yes, we need to work at being sad too!
I’m ok now. Drained a little but I’m entitled to feeling and I’m even more entitled to not be condemned for how I’m feeling. I feel that my emotions yesterday have nothing to do with an illness but just my reaction to feeling intensely horrible and isolated with that feeling.
I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder while smiling and having pleasant conversation with the psychiatrist so I guess no emotion is safe to have once you’ve entered our mental health system.