There’s Nothing Wrong With That

I want to write but I feel like I have nothing to say. That’s not true, I have a million things to say I’m just so drained and frustrated that developing a cohesive thought seems practically impossible.

I’m drained because my anxiety is being a huge dick right now and making everything I do exponentially harder. Every time I try to think about decisions I need to make (big AND small) my thoughts start to race, my heart beats out of control, and I have to get leave where ever I am to fight off a panic attack. Once I calm down I feel depressed because I’m ashamed of this horrific routine. I get stressed to the point of panicking about decisions that are blessings. I have a company interested in hiring me and offering me a (potentially) large salary, but I love the company I work for. I love the people I work with and the freedom I have here. I’m afraid that I accept this other offer that I won’t like the people or the office or the products I work with. At least that’s what I say, what I’m really afraid of is losing my time and energy to write.

Writing, apart from my loved ones and personal well-being, is the most important thing in my life. When I started my current job I didn’t write a single thing for three months (other than work as I’m a technical writer). Now that I’ve been here for over a year and settled in, I’ve learned that my work comes in waves which allows me plenty of time to write still being available to do my job and getting paid. It’s pretty perfect.

When this other company reached out to me I listened to what they had to say, talked to a few people, and decided it wasn’t for me. Then they offered me a 30% raise, ability to work from home, and opportunities to travel to the UK. That pulled me in. But now that I’ve done the interview process, learned what they do, and seen their office…and not that into it. Basically they only thing that’s kept me from just saying, “Thank you, but no thank you,” is that obnoxious voice I thought my meds were supposed to silence.

It’s the voice that second guesses everything that you do. We all have one, but those of us with mental illnesses seem to me more prone to have an extraordinarily loud one. And just one, hundreds of them. Every time I try to think about this decision logically I hear one voice telling me to take the new job, and then another telling me to stay because I have already have a good job, which makes me start to feel anxious. Then another voice jumps in and tells me I’m being selfish for getting anxious because other people have real problems like death, disease, and poverty while I’m getting upset about deciding between two good jobs. Then another voice comes in and tells me I’m fat (random, I know, but it always seems to join the party). Then another reminds me that I either need to rent a car or ask my mom to borrow one in two weeks. Then another comes in and another and another and…

You get the point.

When the dust settles I feel empty. The voices are gone but so is everything else. I feel worthless and guilty for being self-indulgent. But I’m not being self-indulgent, I have a mental illness and that is not my fault. My bipolar disorder makes even the simplest thing, like deciding where to get lunch, into a stressful, exhausting ordeal. But I can’t beat myself up about it, I need to learn to be patient with myself just like I would be with someone else suffering from a mental illness. I would never get upset with a friend for feeling anxious or depressed, yet I hate myself for feeling the same way. I think it’s because we’re taught to hide our mental illnesses. We’re taught that they’re wrong and we’re wrong for having them. Well I don’t know about you guys, but I’m done feeling this way.

My mental illness makes it difficult for me to make decisions. I can make them when I feel good, when I feel like me, but when I don’t feel good I can’t make them. That’s something I’ve learned about myself. So today I decided to take care of me and follow the advice I would give someone else — I told the recruiter for that other job that I need the weekend to think about it. If that’s a problem, then my decision was made for me and that makes my life easier. If it’s not, then I’m going to dedicate this weekend to self-care and feeling better so that I can make a decision without having a breakdown.

As I learn how to take care of myself and my mental illness, I’ve learned that I need to take more time to do things that others can do instantly. And there’s nothing wrong with that.