This was written in the end of October, but I was unable to edit for quite a while. I didn’t publish this until today, because I wasn’t sure if it was going to stick, if I was going to find myself crying, wanting to run away, and die again. I think I wanted to future proof, before sharing this text that isn’t advice, especially since so much I talk about comes out as advice.
I keep having mental breakdowns. And it’s been getting increasingly harder to come out of them. I’ve felt a need to escape, to use all my remaining energy to just run away. From everyone and everything. All the while knowing that I don’t want to run away. So I stay and I suffer, unable to understand what’s going on with me.
Other than the glaringly obvious, that my meds is doing shit with my brain. I need to figure out what exactly. I know bits and pieces of it, it’s my new meds which are supposed to change things with my brain chemistry, there’s a reason I’m on legal speed. *laughs in ADHD* but also it seems to interact with my hormones and I don’t know how much of that is what. Then I have my anti-depressants on top and I don’t know if I need to adjust them down or up. If I had a choice I’d prefer to adjust them down to find out where I am without them but on the ADHD-meds. But that also feels increasingly dangerous as I’m currently in my worst depressive episode in very many years.
I’m slowly putting all the pieces together. Constantly referring to my life and my experiences as pieces of a puzzle. It’s tricky, and nearly impossible to figure out all of it in one go. On some days I’m living for the challenge and finding joy in pulling the threads—all balled together—apart, while on others it’s driving me mad.
I’ve always been an over-sharer, who a lot of people have looked at and laughed while I’ve been sharing my weird stories and experiences. I’ve been encouraged to get drunk and tell my tall tales, while everyone else in the room was nearly sober. And my friends giggled at me as I was having trouble getting from point A to point B. I would always go from A to D, maybe via F back to H, the C, I , and completely forget about B. This was my ADHD. My brain doesn’t work like everyone elses, and I just didn’t know until three months ago.
So yes, I’m going through the worst depression of my life, but it’s different this time, even if it’s just as painful. I have so many more tools in my tool box, at the ready. Unfortunately, I also have ADHD, so I don’t always remember what’s in that tool box, or where I put the toolbox, or I forgot to put the tools in there at all. Even though this is a metaphorical box, I have created a physical one, where I write down things on little cue cards, and they are neatly organized in a box. It took me 7 years to even start writing them since the idea came to me, a while before I even met my current partner. I have had the box since we started dating, I have had some of the cards since before then.
You see, I’m extremely self-aware, and sometimes I get completely lost, within myself, trying to fix things, trying to fix myself and people around me. If I’m trying to save someone else I don’t have to worry about myself, you see.
But sometimes, I get so lost that I have completely forgotten that I know how to swim, and that I know how to love. I’ve been threading water for so long, for so many years, that when the water is shallow enough for me to stand in, I forget. I don’t know. I’m that screaming child, because the water is too deep, and my parents are letting me go, and then I realize that I am able to stand in the water. That screaming, aches in me when I see it. I identify with it on such a deep level, because I keep getting so lost, unable to see the lighthouse at the shore line because I’m only looking straight up into the sky, and the sky is dark with clouds. And I’m freezing in the water. Ready to let go, and stop threading water.
I’m mixing metaphors, as we do, but I think you can understand how easy it is to just not be able to identify your situation. Over the past few months, I have been quite sure that I was going to die, not because of Covid-19, not directly, but because of my, what feels like a, very broken mind. I did not feel like I could see any way out of the darkness.
I didn’t hear my partner, asking me if I was okay. I’d always just respond with “yeah, whatever” or just not be able to say anything useful. A lot of “I don’t know”. Just saying I don’t know, is… usually an indication that we’re not okay, but we may not possess all the words yet.
I knew I wasn’t able to talk with my partner about how I was feeling inside, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t understand why. I thought this would be the end of me, or at the very least us.
I kept crying, but I didn’t want to cry. Crying is annoying, it bothers others, and I didn’t want to be a burden anymore. I am tired of being sick, and sick of being tired. I struggle to take care of myself on a good day, and I have so so many bad days.
What did I do to find my way back? I… I don’t know how it happened, I just know that it happened. I was cuddling with my partner, talking about my last bout of leaving the house and sitting on a bench, out in the cold night, not the rain this time. We had not been cuddling much in a very long time, for reasons. In the week prior I had began braiding his hair, giving us a few minutes of intimacy before he’d go to work every night. That ounce of intimacy reminded me, how good oxytocin can be. Yet, I had a complete breakdown that very same weekend. Again. So I was seeking comfort, before I could formulate what was going on. Saying that I was not okay.
As he was drifting off to sleep on his day off of work that week, with me right next to him I said, that I felt like I was invading his space, if he was falling asleep, and I should probably leave. He said to me, something that helped me find my way back again out of this darkness:
I’m falling asleep because I’m comfortable, I wouldn’t fall asleep with you here if I wasn’t feeling comfortable with you here.
And I realized, that I had locked myself into my head, I had created a distance by withdrawing because I thought that was what he wanted and needed. He had never told me to leave him alone all the time, but I thought that him being in his room meant he wanted space to be alone. So I left him alone, as it was the least I could do given that he works and keeps us safe and alive when I can’t work enough to pay my own bills let alone ours or any food on top of that.
No, I had decided that he was withdrawn, so I kept withdrawing. I didn’t ask to watch something together, I didn’t ask to sit together, I didn’t ask to cuddle anymore.
When he said those words I realized that I wasn’t alone. We’ve been together for 7.5 years now. We’ve been through some of the worst things in my life, but we’re still here. And we’re still building our home together.
I thought I wanted to edit this last bit out, because it was way too private, but as I read it again, I realize that I need to leave it in because it was important. Important in order to understand how easy it is to get obsessively lost within yourself, not seeing a way out.
I think it’s valuable to reach out to your friends. Whether you see them struggling or not, whether you’re struggling or not. Remind them and yourself that you are not alone, and maybe even help direct each other to the shore. The answer isn’t always “you’re not being treated right”, but it’s also not necessarily “you’re crazy”, it can be somewhere in between, or way out of orbit. This post isn’t a recommendation, or a solution for anyone else, this was my solution, for me, and it may not stick, but I did feel like it was a proper breakthrough in the most positive ways.
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