Today was a bad day. I can’t keep myself together. I keep having thoughts that distract from reality and cannot hold a normal thought for more than a few minutes. It’s distracting me that I’m distracted! This is the kind of day I am having.
So, what does a home-bound physically disabled person who is also mentally ill do every day? Well, there is a healthy dose of watching TV when I should be doing something else. Then, there is reading, writing and listening to music, checking social media, writing this blog, and yeah, that’s about it.
Why do I do all of those time-taking activities (some of which are very unhealthy) instead of what I imagine normal people do? It’s to drown “it” out. It’s to make “it” stop. If you’ve ever know or loved a person with a mental illness you will know all about “it”. But, if you don’t, let me explain. “It” is what we call the madness, the instability, the negativity, you can literally insert any symptom of mental illness here and still come up with “it”. So, now you understand what it means when a mentally ill person says “it’s been a bad day” or “it’s really out of control”. Maybe that’s why Stephen King called the damn clown “It” – because he knew real mental illness is scarier than any movie?
I spent a significant amount of time today pondering what my daughter would do if I died tomorrow. And I worried about it. I literally had a panic attack about an imaginary event that never happened and isn’t going to happen any time soon (knock on wood). My chest got tight, my hands started to sweat, I got hot flashes all over my body, and then I started to shake and hyperventilate. Yup – that is my physical response to an anxiety attack. So, I took my medicine, laid down and watched a movie to try to stop my brain from being on this one track of a nonsense thought that was making me have the panic attack. That is always the way to stop it, distract myself from the dark thought that brought me there.
I laid in bed, taking my pain medication to stop the pain that consistently courses through my body due to my chronic illness. I try to block the pain the same way I block the anxiety, by not dealing with it. I try to tune it out to a frequency I cannot hear, feel, or see anymore. This mentally exhausting system is what is going on in my head 24/7. So, I can been extremely irritable when even slightly provoked. A normal person can let passive aggressive statements roll off their back – not me! I will scream and yell and call you out on it, all because I’m already trying to block so many painful things in my head that whatever I’m yelling about it the straw that broke the camels back.
What didn’t I do today? Anything that I should have done. While I lay in my bed panicking about imagined fears, the real ones are here and knocking down my door. I have a stack of unpaid, unopened bills on my desk, and I do mean a stack – it’s as high as a foot now. I have a long list of blocked callers to ignore the debt collectors calling me. My rent was due on the 1st, and I don’t have enough money to pay it at all, let alone pay the rent and provide food for our family. But this – all this very real nightmare – I’m not panicking over today. This stuff had made me so numb that I have actually put up a mental block in my head to ignore all of this because it upsets me so much I loose myself completely. If I let it all in at once I would need to visit a special facility for a nice long stay.
So, now you know what I did in my lost day of anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Please remember this the next time someone you know tells you that “they can’t take it anymore”, because now you know what “it” might be.