Today has been an interesting day. I just finished watching Oprah Winfrey accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globe Awards on YouTube. Her message was inspiring on many levels but what spoke to me was her encouragement of people to “speak your truth”. My truth is long and drawn out, alternating between the salacious and the boring. There are many things I could talk about but what really spurs me on is overcoming the stigma and torture of mental illness. I have friends who suffer as I do and others who struggle to understand. There are people in my life who judge me and don’t understand why I don’t “get over it” and others who hear my pain and offer a shoulder to cry on. To everyone, let me be clear, I want my life back – assuming I ever had it. I want friends to hang out with and family to reminisce with. I want to hold down a job. I want to be counted on – not just to show up but to excel, to contribute. I don’t want to be an invalid. I don’t want to be dismissed as unreliable. I don’t want to be hated because I let you down, again. And yet, what I want seems irrelevant. Friends and family try to understand but how do you understand illogical behavior? Wanting one thing yet seemingly undermining it. I want a job but struggle to get out of bed. I want to hang out with friends as long as I don’t have to go anywhere. I don’t want to be unreliable yet when a depressive episode hits, it is so hard to fight. When every day is a battle to get out of bed, going out to be social feels overwhelming, impossible.
People try to understand. I think they want to but it’s not that simple. I don’t look at my life and consciously choose a depressive lifestyle. I want more. I want it so much but I’m in physical pain. I struggle to move. I’m thinking through a thick haze that covers my mind. I’m grieving. Every mistake I’ve made I review. Every pain I’ve felt cuts my soul. This is not something I can just go, “Hey, forget all that! Choose to be happy!”
I wish I could. I make the choices I CAN make. I can choose to take my medication and choose to eat healthy and exercise. I can choose friends who love and support me and turn to them when I need them. Believe me, if I wasn’t fighting to get better I would not be typing on the computer, I would be in bed, with chocolate, watching tv.
So, let me speak my truth. My brain has betrayed me. The choice I make is to fight and I pray to God I win the war but the battles leave me broken and bruised. To those that wonder what they can do to help: love me, encourage me. Help me remember the truths when I’m surrounded by lies. I told my mom I was at my breaking point. She refused to believe it so I elaborated: I am at the breaking point but I haven’t broken yet. I’m hurt and sad and angry and want to give up. I’m at that point where the good feels lost but while I’m at the edge, I have not gone over. I’m still here, still fighting. I’m not alone. I have dear friends who have battled as I have. Some are at the same place and some have moved past it. All of us WANT more. Whether or not we get it is up for debate. We’re fighters and even though it may not seem like it or look like it to others, we are and we’re fighting for our own survival. Help us, don’t judge us.