Sometimes, I do everything right; I eat right, I sleep right, I take my meds correctly, I exercise. I finally think that I am doing OK. Then bam! One trigger hits and destroys it all.
Those walls that had finally, slowly, once again, started to come back down, shoot back up in an instant. Depression and Anxiety take control once more and darkness starts to loom.
People don’t see it though, not unless they really know me. For that’s the thing about Depression; it isn’t on the outside, it is on the inside.
I have been here before, many times, and I know just what to do to make sure people don’t notice me start to fall once more.
I wear long sleeves to cover the new cuts, bruises and scars.
I am not hungry, for depression makes me sick to my stomach. However, I eat just enough to give me enough energy to function through the day and stop the noises in my tummy.
I am exhausted, but I am too scared to sleep for fear of nightmares, so I take the minimal med dosage. Safe enough to keep me stable and give me a few hours sleep to function, but not strong enough to knock me out. Just incase my abuser sneaks back in to my dreams and turns them into nightmares. For he is always there.
I stop exercising to conserve all the energy I can to make it through my working week, one day at a time.
Finally I fake my smile and an “I’m fine” and get into my routine; sleep, wake, work, repeat. Attend therapy. Attend police appointments and interviews when needed. Do what needs to be done.
Function just enough to survive. For I cannot let anyone see my struggle. Society makes it that way.
It is easy to fake a smile to hide an injured soul and a broken heart. Nobody notices how torn apart you really are. I know because I’ve done it, so many times.
Depression isn’t always sadness and crying. Sometimes it is smiles and feeling numb. Sometimes it is feeling nothing at all and sometimes it is feeling everything all at once.
Deep breathing doesn’t help.
Screaming isn’t enough.
Cutting doesn’t make it disappear.
Meds don’t ease the pain.
Sometimes Depression just is.
It is just there. The darkness exists and nothing can make it go away. That is OK. There is nothing wrong with that, with feeling how we feel.
Why? Because we are sick. We have an illness.
Just because I am high-functioning, doesn’t mean I am not struggling.
It does not mean that I am not sick. It doesn’t mean that I am not hurting or wanting to break down.
People see me pick myself up day after day to fight the Depression, Anxiety and CPTSD once more. They see me work, see me smile. I am strong, they say.
But look closer in my eyes and you will see, some days, I am suffocating.
I am only strong because that is what society expects of me. I have perfected this strength for society. For society believes it is not OK to have a Mental Illness. Why? I do not know.
Would any other illness be judged the way Mental Illness is judged? No.
People with Mental Illness suffer the way anyone else with any other illness suffers. Our illness is just in our brain.
We have symptoms in our brain. We also have physical symptoms too. Tiredness. Nausea. Aches. Pains. Many more.
We see specialist doctors, just like anybody with a physical illness would. Except our doctors are doctors of the brain rather than the body. Does that make our illness any less valid than a physical illness? No.
And yet society shames and embarrasses us. Makes us feel worthless and no good. Too scared to speak up when we are struggling. So instead we struggle alone and sink deeper and deeper into despair and isolation.
It is not fair. Why? Why does society get to tell me that my illness does not matter. Why does society get to tell me that I cannot be sick today or tomorrow?
I have good days and bad with these illnesses. The good are days that are bearable, where maybe I don’t feel sad all day. The bad are days that are terrible, where I feel sad every minute. I have migraines and nosebleeds. I don’t sleep because of nightmares and yet I don’t want to get out of bed because of tiredness. I hear depression telling me how useless and worthless I am. I don’t want to function but I do. Somehow I do, because if I didn’t, if I stayed in bed because of Depression, society would judge me!
I survive with the help of medication and the support of my therapist and my doctor and those closest to me. Just as anyone with a physical illness would. So you see, there really is no difference.
Society does not get to judge me. Society does not get to tell me that I am not sick or not struggling or not worthy of help.
I am high functioning but it does not mean that I am not wishing, for just a second, that the world would stop turning just enough for me to catch my breath, just enough so that I can finally catch up with the feelings that are overwhelming me. Just enough that I can finally get some proper sleep. That I can finally begin to feel whole and heal from my trauma.
I am high functioning and I have a Mental Illness.
Here’s the thing you may not know; I am both functioning and barely functioning at all.
Thanks for reading.
**Image courtesy of Google Images**