I was SUPER depressed last weekend. I felt trapped and hopeless, and then angry with myself for feeling so trapped and hopeless when I was still kind of holding out hope that maybe I’d never feel that way again. Periods of decent mental health can be deceiving like that.
I’m not really shy about my trips to the psychiatrist or the medications I take, so most friends and family members know that I stuggle with anxiety and depression. Only a few of them have seen me at my absolute worst, as recently as last year and as long ago as high school. These people, including my fiancé, are my mental illness emergency contacts. They’re the ones I trust enough to follow their advice when I can’t think rationally for myself, and that’s critical when I’m in a downward spiral and need someone to talk me off of the edge of a figurative cliff.
For about a week before my worst moment last weekend, I had picked up my phone a couple of times to text one of the trusted few. Just something like, “I’m in a bad place right now and I need a different perspective. Can you talk?” but I never sent it. I’m so frustrated that my irrational feelings won’t just go away for good, and I’m the one experiencing them. How frustrating must it be to be on the outside of that, trying to understand and respond? Too frustrating for me to feel comfortable with causing.
See, when I was in college I did what I was supposed to do and saw doctors and went on medications, and all of this was supposed to give me control again. It did…but then it didn’t anymore, and I had to accept that while I can manage my symptoms, the imbalance is always going to be there and addressing it is a lifelong task.
I want to be able to show my friends that their advice and care for me worked, and I’m better now(!), but chronic mental and physical conditions don’t work that way, so I avoid the subject as much as possible. Like I said, I have some great people in my life and they’ve been an anchor more times than they know – keeping me from being swept away into deep water when I’m not sure if I can swim – but I know not everyone is so lucky. It’s amazingly difficult to ask for what you need sometimes, and until mental health is taken equally as seriously as physical health is, chronic loneliness will continue to be a significant part of the struggle.