I Am Not Broken…

They say that I am not broken, but that’s not what it feels like. “Mental illness doesn’t mean that you are broken. There’s nothing wrong with you.” I’m glad these people are here to reassure me that I’m perfectly normal. I don’t know who they are personally, but they are nice for telling me that I am like normal people.

I have problems. I know this and I’m sure that if you really knew me personally, you know this too. I have problems, but I am trying to get better. I am working on myself and I am really self conscious about my issues. I have learned over the years how to hide these problems. Or at least try to hide them.

I am not broken. I know because I read it on a poster somewhere. I am totally normal. Normal people go through phases in their life where sadness overwhelms them. I guess it’s normal when you have absolutely no reason to be sad or depressed, but the darkness engulfs your brain in a cloak of haziness and dark thoughts. Everything in my life is great and I should be happy, but the black cloud of depression doesn’t care what’s going on in your life. Rain never asks permission to ruin your day, it just does. This is no different.

I will admit that the depression has been getting better over the years if that’s even possible. I remember in the past when it moved in, it stayed for long periods of time. Weeks…sometimes months. The time leading up to my 30th birthday was a really dark time. Dark, sinister thoughts danced in the back of my head. I fought back and I guess you could say that I won. But that time in my life really took a toll on me mentally and not a week goes by without me thinking about that time in my life. So did I really win?

Nowadays I hide it behind a laugh and a fake smile when the depression moves in. The more people that realize I’m sad, the sadder I get. It’s like they can see my brain fully exposed and I’m being judged silently by all of the normal people. Like they know something is wrong with me. So I try to hide it to avoid judgement. The storm always passes and knowing that helps me get through it.

I am not broken. Someone shared a post on facebook that said I’m not. People joke about having OCD because they like order in their life. I understand wanting things organized and neat. Who doesn’t like that? Order just makes sense. Chaos isn’t pleasant. But, if everyone had OCD then it wouldn’t be a disorder. It would just be human nature.

When I was a child I began washing my hands compulsively. I washed my hands so much that they became red and the skin on my knuckles split open and bled. It didn’t stop me from washing my hands. I was eventually able to control it for awhile. In my 20’s it returned and I washed my hands until my knuckles split again and I was forced to control it so my hands would stop bleeding. They are healed now, but I can still feel the wounds.

I still do it to this day, but I use hand sanitizer with aloe that is much easier on my hands. I used to hate hand sanitizer. I hate touching things. Door knobs, gas pumps, items in a store or office, etc. It’s not a germophobia thing. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. In fact, almost all of my hobbies involve getting my hands dirty, whether is woodworking or working on cars. Not everything makes me feel anxiety, but touching certain things triggers severe anxiety if I do not clean them. If I shake your hand, I am going to sanitize afterward. Please do not take offense, but if I don’t then my anxiety kicks in and then it really becomes an issue. I have learned that to normal people it’s rude to sanitize after a handshake. I have gotten better. Now I wait until you walk away and then I quickly sanitize. That’s not as rude. I really am trying to get better.

It’s not just the sanitizer. I also enjoy checking all of the locks in the house multiple times before leaving or going to bed. I don’t mean that I check the locks once and then I’m done. That’s what normal people do. What I mean is that I have to check all the locks and the garage door and then I usually end up checking them again and sometimes I have to leave the bedroom to go check them again. Did I say that I enjoy it? I don’t. If I don’t check them, then they might be unlocked and thinking about that means I won’t sleep and the anxiety pays me a visit.

It all sounds like a really pleasant life, doesn’t it? Not broken at all. Everyone is the hero of their own story, yet I get the privilege of being the hero and the villain in my story. Honestly some days are better than others and some are worse, but I realize I am not as bad as others. In the end I manage it the best I can.

I am not broken, but there sure is a hell of a lot to fix.

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