Per my last post, a clarification of my pervasively resentful tone might be necessary. In an attempt to treat this blog more as a journal and less as a diatribe against whatever social or political cause I’m using as an invisibility cloak for my emotional state, there are a few things that need to be said.
I genuinely appreciate when people tell me they’re praying for me so long as those prayers come from a place of sincere concern for my illness and not from a place of hoping I will return to religion. For me, it’s the equivalent of sending positive thoughts or good vibes. I can use an infinite number of those. So thanks to everyone who wants me to heal while still remaining true to my identity. It means a lot, and it’s incredibly refreshing.
But please understand that I’m tired. Mentally ill people are tired – the in our bones, no amount of sleep will cure this kind of tired. I move slowly, I think cloudily, and I breathe shallowly. Every little thing seems insurmountable, so when I paint mentally healthy people with a broad brush, the backlash I get comes from the same sentiment as “all lives matter” or “not all men.” Yes, I know that not all religious people are dismissive. I know that not all mentally healthy people are dehumanizing. But the institutions as a whole have had negative effects on me. That’s not the fault of any individual. It’s just the way of institutions to marginalize those for whom and by whom they weren’t created.
It’s exhausting to feel the need to reiterate and justify my pain as if one person’s good intentions delegitimize my feelings. Sorry if that seems snowflake-y, but it’s the equivalent of having to pass legislation just so people in wheelchairs can have access to all buildings. Mentally ill people get overlooked in the shuffle of the mundane.
We’re told we’re lazy, selfish, and insane just because we can’t readily conform to the institutions in place without inflicting even greater suffering on ourselves, but there I go again exhausting myself. I don’t have the energy to better my own life. How can I expect to overhaul every oppressive institution?
Truth be told, although I genuinely care about politics and enjoy being informed and engaged, I tend to use it as a way to ignore my own declining mental health. Sure, I do things. I go to local protests, stay informed via the AP, and study the intersection of social justice, appropriation, art, and globalization.
But I am tired. Reread that in the most dejected tone possible. Everyone should have to experience the exhaustion of a chronically ill person for just one day so he or she can know how debilitating it is. Worst yet, it can even be a side effect of our medication. Mental instability vs. exhausted brain fog. Yay.
It feels like someone has attached a vacuum hose to my chest and is just sucking everything out of my body, like my empty flesh could either float away or collapse in a pile. I want to iterate that this is part of the process. Not every day is the type of day I can be ironic, activist, or tenacious. In fact, most days aren’t, and the days that are typically reveal themselves to be attempts to distract myself to the point of being able to do nothing else but lie in bed and contemplate my pseudo-recovery. I hope I haven’t misled people to believe that I’m coping well by occasional pithiness or political rants. Sure, I don’t want anyone to worry about or feel sorry for me, but my reality is much different than the one I purport to the public. So I worry my attempts to remove the stigma have the opposite effect at times. Because I am tired.
My mind tells me awful things, gives me awful impulses, bombards me with awful intrusive thoughts, scares me with awful threats, and clouds my brain in an awful fog. That isn’t me complaining. That’s me illustrating what makes my illness so exhausting. The source of my livelihood – my mind – has betrayed me. Sometimes surrendering seems easier than fighting back. I’m sorry if that “disappoints” or “frustrates” anyone, but I’m not squandering my potential. I’m doing the best with what I have even though some would prefer to believe I’m just incapable of coping with real life because of whatever aspect of my personality or identity they don’t particularly like.
So I apologize if I don’t seem appreciative of people’s concern, but I’m so tired and frustrated. I want to be normal, but I’m too lethargic to try to be normal. I want to go out with friends, stay up late, and prioritize my schoolwork and job search without feeling like it could completely derail the small amount of recovery I have achieved. I want to have appropriate reactions to minor inconveniences. I want to be able to make plans without feeling like I will never be able to follow through because of the pendulum of my moods. I want to do mundane tasks without feeling like I’m taking a huge risk simply by leaving the house without washing my hands twelve times.
I want to touch and go and do what normal people can, but I’m tired. And I’m tired of being told I should be better by now. I’m tired of feeling like my illness is an inconvenience to other people because they don’t know how to respond or create an illusion of control over my situation. I’m tired of people telling me that circumstances or situations “ruined me.” I’m tired of being faulted for my mental illness. I don’t like to use the word “normal,” but I’m so acutely aware that I’m not normal at all times. I like to play it off with sarcasm or sugarcoating, but how can anyone expect an ill person to not hit a wall at some point?
I use political diatribes, sarcastic humor, and half-truths about my mental state as coping mechanisms. They aren’t indicative of regained vitality. I’m sucked dry of energy almost all the time. Anything that seems to counter that is just acting. They’re just theatrics – well rehearsed out of necessity to spare others from being frustrated, upset, and exhausted. Sure, sometimes they open up a dialogue, but I’m not a walking dialogue. I’m a walking zombie, and I’m just waiting for the day I can say that without being perceived as gluttonous or melodramatic.
Because why would I lie about something so awful? I might be passive aggressive, but I’m not spiteful. I’m tired, and I would’ve typed that in all-caps if it didn’t undermine the sentiment of exhaustion. So thank you to everyone who understands or, at least, validates that. It’s, more often than you realize, vital.
I don’t want to argue any more. I’m tired.