Letter to my mother.

This is what I would like to say to my mother, but seem unable to make her understand.

Mom, you seem to have no problem comprehending what I’m going through.  You seem to have no problem letting the pieces settle in and admitting that an anxiety disorder is very likely what I’ve been struggling with for the majority of my life.  You’re aware yourself of the many issues with depression and anxiety on your side of the family.  You work in mental health.  None of this is difficult for you.

Why is it difficult for you to accept me being on clonazepam for a short time?

Yes, it is a drug that can be abused, that become addicting.  So can morphine, but I don’t recall you being verbally worried about Cortana receiving morphine several times in the emergency room when she was having troubles with her gall bladder.  Please, please think of it like this.

I suspect if I could probably explain to you what this experience is to me, you might grasp it, but I can’t seem to really be able to bring myself to explain.  I censor myself a lot, because I know you take it hard, and I know you are upset by it, and I hate, hate doing that to you with my own troubles and pain.  So I will likely never be able to tell you this.

The truth is, I’ve been fighting this a long time.

I have been depressed for a long time.  You became aware of my having suicidal thoughts when I was about fifteen, but truthfully, I was having them years earlier, when I was thirteen, when I was younger.  I am twenty-seven now.  There were antidepressants at some points, counselling at others, and the latter was more helpful than the former but it was all just band-aid solutions, because I never, even at the good times, the times when I felt okay and was reasonably functionable and could handle it, felt all that great.

And I have been declining.  You know this.

I’ve had breakdowns before.  Quite a few of them.  You know this.

But this last one has been devastating for me, and I am thankful as hell that this time I managed to put into the right words what was going on in my head, or someone listened to what I was saying, or someone put the pieces together, or whatever it was happened, and that someone realised that the depression was only a symptom.  Because this last breakdown?  I was feeling so worn down trying to drag myself through everything, trying to face everything I had to do to “make myself better” and “get through this” and even when I was being reassured that I always get through these things and come out stronger, getting through it felt so very, very beyond me.  To get over depression, they tell me, you must do this and this and this, you are socially isolated and should do this and this, and it all only made me feel overwhelmed and anxious and worse to think of all these things I had to do.  I didn’t feel capable of any of it.

And it was becoming harder to imagine ever getting through this.  Under normal circumstances, I don’t think I was a danger to myself, but there were a few panic attacks where I seriously considered doing myself harm, because it hurt too much, and making it better seemed beyond my means.

Having a label of “potential anxiety disorder” and the first appropriate prescription for that in my life has made a world of difference, Mom.  Even if you don’t like the clonazepam, even if you worry that I will become addicted, I wish I could tell you properly what it means to feel like this.

Because, for the first time in probably fifteen years, I feel like I can handle the things I need to do.  It’s not going to be an exhausting, will-destroying battle to do my day-to-day tasks.  It’s not going be anxiety-provoking to try to get better from the depression caused by anxiety, because, without that anxiety, I am miraculously not depressed.  It is worlds better.  I recognise there will be effort in keeping in this state of mind, I do.

But I feel alive.

And I feel competent.

I feel like a new person.  I am not entirely sure who this person is, exactly.  I’m still learning that.  But for the first time in a very long time, I like her.


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