I've only been diagnosed with a mental illness (well, two) since August, but since then I've tried six medications, three psychiatrists, three therapists, medical leave from school and even some time in the hospital. I am just so tired from the effort it takes to just get out of bed every single day. I force myself to eat, go outside, do my laundry, and then I'm amazed whenever, once a week or so, I realize that I'm doing something and I truly want to be there. It's hard to recognize the feeling.
Coming into this, I thought it was all situational. I was stressed out with school and depressed about my dog dying. Now, thanks to months of therapy, I know that it's not. I've just always been sick. My whole life, every time my doctor tested me for lymes, or hormonal disorders, or migraines, or vision problems, or allergies they never found anything solid. Sometimes they just gave me painkilers or drugs to treat the symptoms, when it turns out that I've been sick my whole life. I think I was born sick. They ask how long I've felt like this, and i can't tell them, because my earliest memories are of being embarassed, or afraid for no reason, or just plain weak. They ask if I'm feeling better and I don't know, because I don't even know what better would be like. I thought at first I had bipolar disorder. It turns out that what I thought was mania is just what it feels like to be normal and happy. Nobody ever guessed, because my whole life I've been trying to compensate. Trying to keep up when I was tired all the time, and stay positive when it scared me to speak to people. I thought that everyone had to feel that way. Now I have no idea if there is a "better" for me to get to.
It's not just the past that's been diagnosed. It's the future. I know I shouldn't worry about it, but I'm scared. I failed student teaching because I was just too sick to manage such an intensive schedule. I was tired and afraid and I couldn't do it. Now I have to make it up next fall, but I'm self-aware enough to know that if I'm not doing better by then, it's not happening. I'll have to choose whether to risk going through the experience that put me in a hospital last time or taking an easy semester and adding a few irrelevant credits to my resume. Just putting off life again.
I've always wanted to be a mother. People have told me I'd be good at it, and i love children. Now though, I'm afraid. First of all, it messes with my hormones. I don't know if I could even have a baby if I wanted to. And now that I've been diagnosed with depression, there are just more question marks. I'm no expert, but I know enough to know that I'm pretty likely to get postpartum depression. Or later in life. When I thought that I was just infertile, it was scary, but it was okay. I thought I'd be a good candidate for adoption. Now I don't know if I'd even choose myself to take care of a child. I'll get better for a few days, even a week, and I think maybe this is it. Maybe I've found the right drug this time, the right therapy. And then it goes away again. What if the rest of my life is going to be like this? I won't date anyone, and I don't want to get too close to anyone new right now. Not because I don't think they'd want me, but what kind of person would I be to wish that on them? Do they think I don't know that every person who gets too close to me, everyone who even gets a glimpse, starts worrying? They start asking me how I am, and getting scared when I have a band-aide on (I don't cut, but I'm clumsy and have an evil cat.) How would it help me to know I'm adding another person to the list that has to worry about me?
I'll end this with the same thing I say to my therapist every week. I'm not suicidal, because I still have some hope. Maybe it won't always be this way. Maybe there is some time out there in the future when I'll feel different. When I'll look back at my past and realize how wrong I was about it. But what I'm doing now, this isn't life. Hell, last week I had a bad fever and a throat infection. I couldn't focus on anything and my whole body hurt. I was relieved, because I had an excuse to let myself off the hook for a few days and just watch movies online. I should be getting better, but sometimes I think I just get more tired every day. I can't live like this. I can just exist and wait for some drug or therapy to get me out of this hole, because I don't have the strength.