One of the things that’s made me who I am is my anxiety disorder and depression. Unfortunately, an overwhelming proportion of people don’t actually believe it’s a real problem, and therefore it’s hard to talk about. Conversations tend to go like this:
Them: Why are you sad a lot?
Me: I don’t know.
Them: There has to be something making you sad and anxious.
Me: It’s completely irrational. That’s why it scares me.
Them: But if you don’t have anything to be sad about, why are you sad?
Me: I don’t know.
The problem with any sort of mental illness is that historically, it’s been viewed as a defect, something to be ashamed of and not discussed in polite company. If you’re sad or anxious, pop a few pills and get back to life. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Your life’s great, stop being melodramatic. Don’t hide behind the depression thing. Be strong.
But you know what? I’m sick of being strong. Or at least pretending to be. If my insides are churning and rejecting any sort of food because that’s how scared I am of absolutely nothing at all, don’t tell me to get on with it. Sometimes I have to run to my room and curl up half upside down on the floor because that’s how I slept when I was a toddler and you know what? Deal with it. There are days when I wake up queasy and my heart’s racing and I don’t know why. And I sit there staring at the wall all day because I just can’t move. Or I force myself to text my friends banal bullshit and happy faced emojis and sit quietly on the couch with my dog because I don’t trust myself to handle forks or drive a car. I’m afraid of what I could do to myself.
Sometimes I feel like my entire life has been derailed. I need have a plan for whatever I’m doing, and when I don’t know, I get scared. That’s been the hardest part of being dismissed from school. I don’t know what’s going to happen next and that absolutely terrifies me. Everyone says it’ll be okay. It might be, far in the future, but I need it to be okay now. I need to know what I’m doing next.
Yes, I’m broken. A lot of people are. But it feels like everyone else is fine because no one wants to talk about how broken they are.