The Ambiguity of Mental Health

“Am I lazy or is this Clinical Depression?”

“Am I actually this motivated or is this the Generalized Anxiety Disorder?”

I don’t know…and a part of me believes I never entirely will.

I’ve been treated for Depression since high school. I’ve done the group therapies, aromatherapies, one-on-one therapies, psychiatrist appointments, intensive outpatient care, etc. You name it, I’ve probably done it.

The Generalized Anxiety Disorder was diagnosed fairly recently. I’m surprised no one pegged me for it before. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t normal to immediately call myself a failure if I wasn’t doing something productive 24/7.

I’ve been described as ambitious. I’d like to think that is a good thing. It typically has a good connotation…but like anything else, too much of anything is a bad thing.

Over-exhaustion leads to manic episodes and panic attacks. I wish someone would have told me that the entirety of my freshman year of college.

Seeing everyone as competition is great for your resume and overall motivation, but it depletes your self-esteem.

Clothes and make-up can help make you appear pretty but it does not nothing for how you feel.

Being dependable is considered a fantastic quality…but somehow, I lost my own identity along the way. Somehow, numbness crept into my entire being.

Doing what you’re ‘supposed to do’ is praised. Obedience and subordination are taught to be ideal. But what happens when you trust others more than you trust yourself?

What happens when you start to believe that everyone else’s needs are more important than your own?

What happens when your needs, wants, and desires are simply obsolete?

Quick answer: Best case scenario, you have a horrid self-esteem. Worst case scenario, you die by suicide.

Does that sound extreme to you? Well, its not. It’s not for people like me.

Depression is a monster that I’ve developed Stockholm Syndrome for. It’s abusive and controlling. It leaves me chained to my bed. It whispers insults in my ears. It sucks the enjoyment out of everything. And yet, it’s been with me so long that I’d be lying if I didn’t occasionally feed it. I give it way too much attention when I hide for days on end in my own isolation. There are days that I cradle it as if it’s my lifeline, because in some ways, it’s the most stable aspect in my life.

I acknowledge the counterproductive aspect of this. There are moments I cradle the thing that has the ability to kill me; the thing that has attempted to kill me.

So why am I depressed? Why am I anxious? A chemical imbalance and a beautiful hit of the genetic lottery. Sure, some events haven’t helped, but that’s the gist of it.

Oh, and why am I sharing this?

Because I hear you, the people who don’t know about my sickness. I hear the “This generation is just weak”, “Stop being so lazy”, “It’s all in your head”, “You’re not really sick, get over it”, “Stop being so sensitive”, “It’s not that deep”, and so on.

I hear you all as I’m balling my eyes out on the bathroom floor as I have another episode. I hear you as I look at all the scars on my forearms and on my thighs. I hear you as I take my medications every single day while I try not to think of myself as a “pill-popper.” I hear you…but do you hear me?

I refuse to be ashamed of a genetic disposition that I cannot help.

I refuse to be burdened simply because you do not understand.

I refuse to be silent.