It has been about 7 months since I’ve written here, and I keep feeling a compulsion to bite my nails with every word typed. Write, gnaw on a fingernail for a few seconds, repeat. I’ve been feeling quite guilty for the past 30 years or so. To tell you the truth, it’s unfounded. For the past few years, I have struggled with a desire to share my thoughts, with a really selfish motivator: setting them free so I can feel a bit better. The prospect feels scary, exciting, interesting.
When I started this blog, I had grand ideas to become someone else. Someone who cares about advertising, product placement, and helping people learn new things about topics that have already been extensively covered. If you look back at what little has been posted here, it is clear that this was never going to happen. I have rated my Toyota Yaris, reviewed children’s candy, and talked about how much easier it is to do the dishes when eating a plant-based diet. I was doomed to transform into my vision from the start.
While it is wonderful that groups around the world are attempting to battle the stigma attached to mental illness, it is still something that naturally makes a person want to hide. It can be very disabling, but it is a disability people are expected to cover up. As many of you are aware (a staggering ~18% of Americans struggle with mental illness), this can compound until it eventually makes you feel even less connected. Not only with the people around you, but more dangerously, yourself.
I’ve worked very hard to push forth only my more acceptable personality traits in order to keep the machine well-oiled – we all have to perform at work and socially despite our struggles. This can be damaging and dangerous, because no one knows when you are feeling ill. When you force yourself to appear happy all of the time, you aren’t allowing yourself to experience anything and heal through it. Sometimes I overcompensate – my sense of humor becomes overly brash, or I get a bit obnoxious. I can feel like a robot malfunctioning at times, just sputtering out cliche remarks and provocative comments, trying to fill the dead air so I don’t have to be genuinely present.
I remember when I went to one therapist, she was the first to point out that my eyes were out of focus for most of our conversation. I had become so comfortable completely dissociating myself from reality after years of anxiety and depression, and thought no one noticed. Dissociation is a valid coping mechanism that we all use, but when you are disconnected for long periods of time and unable to be a part of the world without slipping into it, it is much more alienating. It also makes the connected moments much more vibrant, although it can be confusing.
When you are depressed for a very long time, and have tried different treatments to no avail, sometimes you can come to accept that it’s not just an illness, it is part of who you are. This is where I have arrived over the past couple of years. I feel thankful that I’m able to make these choices, and don’t have it worse (not seeking treatment is not an option for everybody). I sympathize with anyone who does – my heart goes out to you.
So, what do I want to change? I think, more than anything, I want to change the perception I have of myself that I’m somehow not normal for having these experiences and going through the difficulties that stem from mental illness. Not only is it just plain incorrect, it’s a waste of my life. It is also unfair to my loved ones that I don’t live a carefree, genuine life in which I share myself with them to the fullest extent, without fear of being rejected or seen as undesirable in some way.
With that said, I am going to continue this blog without any objective in mind. So, basically, a lifestyle blog, just without the affluence and poise.