I wanted to frame it as mental health, but there’s so much more than that. The states I live with are not only mental health, sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s a combination. What comes with it is a lot of exhaustion, the mental exhaustion which manifests physically. The mental warnings, which then give physical warnings. When you don’t listen to those warnings the big pain comes, and the complete and utter loss for words, literally.
As I get exhausted I lose words, which I guess is ironic when I’m writing these words now, on one of those days. But if I were to have a conversation with my partner I’d not know what a frying pan is called, or not remember what day it is. I think it’s Tuesday today, but I only know that because I’m home from my Tuesday class today.
The image above shows what I looked like today when I could not leave the house. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did leave the house. I left the apartment, went down to my bike, but I could not touch or unlock my bike.
– Bahumbug, that’s ridicilous, what do you mean you couldn’t even touch your bike? You were right there, outside, fully dressed, back packed, breakfast eaten, and you couldn’t? Why not?
I am not sure why not. But let me tell you some of the process which led me to not leaving.
First, I woke up still exhausted, after 8hrs of sleep. Every limb was very heavy. On those days I use my phone to help me wake up, I will read until my mind is a bit more functional, so any social media like Twitter or Mastodon is usually a go, find people’s morning chirps and toots, or articles.
I wanted to go to a creative writing reading today at uni, I knew my friends were going. I reached out and said “I want to join you, but I don’t think I have the energy”.
With my phone in bed I felt the sore shoulder blades still hating me, from the arm I pulled the other day, when trying to finalize my written take-home exam (which I couldn’t finished because my body physically told me stop).
Second, I did get up, and I was like “Okay I can do this, I’ll be a little late, but I’ll just get dressed, eat and go.” So, I got dressed, as you can see in the image above, I packed my bag, and I felt like I could do it, I even felt like I looked nice today. I plugged in my headphones, started listening to the audiobook, which usually helps distract me enough to leave as well.
Third, I’m fully dressed with hoodie, scarf, hat, and coat. I go down the elevator, and as I reach the entry-hall, and go towards the door, I start walking slower. I open the door, and tell myself, just make it out to the bike and you’ll be okay. I see the rain, the wet water on the seats. And I stop in my tracks.
“I’m just going to go in.” I turn around. “But I’ve made it so far.” I turn back around towards the bike again. “I really don’t want to get on the bike, okay if I’m not going to go to school I’ll just take a walk” I start walking out towards the street to walk. I stop again, just under the building. “If I’m going for a walk, I could just as well make it to school.” I turn around to the bike again, and walk there. Still not touching the bike. “I… can’t”. I turn around, and decide to go inside. I check the mail. The box is empty except for a newspaper. I go outside again. “…” I turn around, and go in to the elevator. I do not hit the button. I lean my head against the wall, and try to tell myself that “it’s okay to go, it’ll be okay, it’s fine, you can do it, it’s just 2hrs, it’s fine once you get there, you know this” I step out to the bike again. A few steps closer. I go back in, into the elevator, and up to our floor. Each step down the hall “I can still turn around and go to school, I can do it.”
After going back in, admitting to my partner that I couldn’t go, but at least I tried. I feel relieved. Like always, as soon as I say “It’s okay to not go” I feel like I probably could’ve gone, but trying again would be stupid.
I message my class mates that I, yet again, couldn’t make it to class. And I think about how I’m dressed, how pretty I look, and how no one would’ve been the wiser if I had gone. No one would’ve seen the struggles on me.
But you, who’ve read this text, who’ve felt these days yourself, you can probably see it in my eyes when you look at the photo. Because I can, I can see the pain right there. Behind what’s not really even a smile.