September 8, 2012 by Chelisa
My biggest secret has kept me from posting for a month (sorry about that, if you were waiting for a post).
I have depression and anxiety.
It’s not anything cool enough to warrant regular medication or intensive therapy. I can get out of bed, be a mom and a wife and a daughter and a friend. I can even get my work done. Ironically, I become more extroverted. I make more jokes and become funny and adorable. (Chances are, if the impression that I’ve left you with is one of wit and charm, you’ve been around me in one of my episodes.) I’m lucky enough to have an amazing husband who treats me with kindness and patience (and the occasional ass-kicking when necessary). I walk through each day, getting through each task on my list, all the time struggling to be present with my family. There is only one thing that I can’t do while I’m dealing with this: talk about myself.
These attacks don’t hit me out of the blue. There is always a trigger, but it seems when I’m in the midst of one, whatever has set me off is intangible. I get lost wrestling with myself, trying to maintain confidence that it will pass. It has always passed before.
I know that recently the larger world has tried to take away the stigma and shame associated with “mental illness,” but, even as someone who suffers, I still paused typing out that word. Recently, Corey posted this blog on the RTC website, and I realized that shame is exactly what I’m feeling, exactly why I can’t breathe long enough to figure myself out. My brain gets fuzzy, and I become ashamed that I can’t control my feelings. That I can’t suck it up and move on. The trigger of these icky feelings becomes even more elusive, because I’m not holding my own space sacred– shame is taking up the limited free space that my condition left behind.
I’m not walking this road alone. I know that I’m exactly where I need to be in my life. I get to hang out with the coolest men in the world every day, I get to work with others to tell their stories. There is so much for which to be thankful. However, with all things, coming to this area of clarity in my professional and personal life has only shown the light upon things that I shoved into the (metaphorical) basement. I’m getting better, but goddamn if healing isn’t the most painful thing in the world.