I muse upon a beginning.

I am beginning to hate the term “mental illness.”

It’s a very broad term.  It carries a lot of stigma.  And I hate the fact that I am beginning to think of it as applying to myself, without really knowing what it is that I’m defining, either.

There is a little bottle of pills.  It is sitting on my desk as I type, in its place next to the monitor.  The bottle is blue and white, the pills inside are also white.  I take one once a day.  I don’t know if they do anything.  Some days I think they help, and some days I think they don’t, and some days I think they actually might be making things worse, but I take the little pill every day, because my doctor tells me to, and I will take them and tell her what happens until she tells me not to.  That is a lot of trust there.

It is also, frankly, insane to be blindly taking pills that alter your brain chemistry because someone else tells you to when they can neither predict how it will affect you personally nor entirely grasp what is going on your head because you have no way of describing it.

I tried recently to describe a panic attack to a friend of mine, and found I couldn’t.  I can describe the physical aspects of it, sure.  I can describe my inability to breathe, the pound of my heart, the shaking, the tunnel vision, the anxiety, the fear that I am losing my mind, but there are no words in the English language to properly express the oppressive and all-encompassing despair, the misery that is so strong that it is very nearly a physical symptom, despite all logic, like a million tiny hands are pressing outwards from your skull and that your head might very well explode.  I cannot explain the thought process that leads me to seriously consider banging my head on the wall or inflicting some other injury upon myself in the hopes it might stop that feeling — I haven’t done this, but I think about it.  When I’m having a panic attack I know that’s what’s happening, but that doesn’t mean I can make it stop.

And what brought this panic attack on?

Nothing.  Merely the come-down from an exhausting and inexplicable rush of energy and good mood and productiveness.  I have felt like shit since.

I’ve been diagnosed repeatedly over the last decade as severely depressive.  They give me antidepressants, but they don’t seem to change anything, and in the last three cases have been worse than not taking anything.   I have a counsellor, albeit a temporary one, who is finally listening when I talk about the crippling level of anxiety I am experiencing, that I drive myself to work through somehow in an exhausting and self-defeating fit of stubborness which leaves me depressed and limp and crying, and that in turn serves to only make the anxiety worse.  It’s a terrible vicious cycle, and I can’t explain it, and I can’t break it, and it all builds until I break down.  I lash out, because when I am screaming and irrationally angry, then at least I can’t feel anything else, at least I don’t hurt anymore.

“Depression” is a weighty enough label to live under, but at this point… I’m wondering if all of this is leading up to a diagnosis of something more, because it’s a little more complicated that that.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  I’m waiting on an appointment at the health unit.  I have been waiting over a month and have weeks to go.  Sometimes I feel like I won’t make it.

I feel crazy, and possibly I am. I feel broken and I feel a failure on some intrinsic level that I can’t deal with my own brain without help.  There are good days, and there are bad days where everything is a struggle, everything from deciding what I will have for breakfast to using the newly-introduced style of bus pass to grocery shopping to making it to work, it’s all so insanely difficult to accomplish.

My brain is my own worst enemy.  I’m trying to commit that to paper.

But this is a beginning.  It will get better — I have to believe that, because the alternative is to go on like this indefinitely, and that’s an unbearable thought.


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