What if I told you it does get better?
What if I also told you none of that matters right now?
I’ve been in a fog for the last few months (years?) with a couple weeks of happiness and bliss fueled by mania and obsession sprinkled in there. I have accomplished enough for it to look like I haven’t spent more than a few days at a time locked away in my bedroom with dirty plates on my windowsill, emptied junk food packages accidentally hidden under my clothes—both clean and dirty—all over the floor.
I fake productivity well. It doesn’t take me much time to cross tasks of my to-do list that feels daunting until I finally have no choice other than facing it and completing things—many of which are behind deadline.
There are always things for me to do, places to go. I show up, I start some tasks. Then as soon as I have a moment alone, I sit on the toilet in a public bathroom and quietly cry. I return to my apartment and as soon as the door is slammed shut I breathe for the first time all day. The most calming time of my day is spent in kneeling on the floor of my shower.
I choose not to tell people I am feeling unwell. As sweet and sincere my loved ones are, it doesn’t actually do any good for me to openly admit I am going through a depressive period or I made terrible mistakes and didn’t realize it until the mania wore off. Often it’s frustrating because people in my life want nothing more than to see me happy and I can’t provide that.
Taking care of people, their personal issues and dilemmas is what I am used to doing. Taking care of myself is one of the hardest tasks that has been on my list since childhood. It is such a process that I am still not ready to undertake.
“I had no idea you were feeling that way” is a sentence I have heard from many people close to me. And it’s because I am good faking it. My Google calendar is beautifully color-coded and shows back-to-back meetings and work shifts. I often skip plans to finish a project or assignment. I do what I can, I show up where I can—more often than I have the energy for—and most of the time I am thinking, “I can’t wait to go home.” And “it’s good I am here, I have less time to think about causing damage to my body”.
My productivity is useful for not messing up my life in the long-run, but it doesn’t help me in the present. Most of the time, it helps others take comfort in the fact I do well on my own, that I might be something short of a superhero.
I overwhelm myself with projects because I don’t know how to say No, and I rather spend my time working on something than staying in bed binge-watching TV shows. Both make for a good escape, but neither make me feel better.
I know it gets better because I have experienced better. I know I will experience better again. There is no point to this post besides to say, no, I am not doing well. But I will be at some point. I am grateful to know what it’s like to experience light and to know that it gets better.
For now, I am trying very hard to make it through the day. And that is okay.