The Truth About Mornings…

I want, so much, to come to the computer with a song in my heart, a smile on my face, and a kind of happiness that just spills over onto the page, or in this case, the computer. I want to have lovely things to share and sweet stories about my pugs and all of the many other things that are incredible blessings in my life — and there are many, and I know it, and I am deeply grateful — but my brain does not work the way other people’s does and this morning a mixture of anxiety, depression, fear, confusion, and sadness are nearly choking me. This is the truth about living with mental illness. One doesn’t just bound up out of bed and soar through the day.

I creep. I get my dogs out to the potty and feed them. I get them their breakfast. I give them their meds and I take mine. And finally, I sit down with a cup of coffee, and I pray. I pray to have a day that isn’t so hard. I pray to please God let me have one of those days when I rest easy in my own skin, and, even if I’m not singing my way through the day nor am I crying. I took on this September Blogalong Challenge With Effy because I badly wanted to reconnect with my blog and all the lovely people who read and comment here. I wanted to have something to offer, something more than this. I didn’t want to say, 30 days running, this is so hard and I am so scared and how am I supposed to hang on and keep moving forward? But this is the truth of my days. I am sitting here, over morning coffee, trying to breathe, and wondering how I will make it through, again. I always do, and I will, but mornings are especially hard. The whole day is stretching out before me and I don’t know how to get from here to there. There being when I can curl up with my pugs and go to sleep again.

I have therapy today, in fact I have to leave in 35 minutes. Many’s the day when I want to call and cancel because I just can’t face going out, but that is something I don’t let myself do. I have a wonderful therapist and I always feel better for having gone. Monday I had an appointment with the P.A. who manages my meds and the dose was raised on my antidepressant. I am now at the highest dose they give. I prayed for a miracle, but it’s only been two days on the higher dose. I swallow my pills, I hold my coffee mug tight in my hands, I wait for some magic whooshing through my body of a feeling of relief, release, of being okay, but it doesn’t come. These meds take awhile to get in your system. This is the 3rd time in 3 appointments that the anti-depressant has been raised. I am being closely watched.

It has come to me, as it has before, that if what I have to offer is a detailed accounting of what it’s like to live with mental illness then maybe I should stop continually saying I’m sorry for having nothing more to offer and just tell the truth as clearly as I can. I know other people suffer and feel achingly alone as I do. I know that perhaps someone who is close to them and loves them and wants to help just can’t understand. Perhaps if you suffer you can share this blog post with someone to help them understand. Maybe I can be of service. I have read Jenny Lawson’s hysterical books about mental illness and they are so funny they have made me laugh outloud when I was going through days so hard I couldn’t smile. That kind of book can be and is so helpful, but that’s not the kind of book I can write. I can only share this, what I know, how it feels, and how I struggle and pray to be other than I am, but the miracle I pray for has not been forthcoming.

The hardest thing about mental illness is that it doesn’t just affect you. It affects your family, those you love most in the world, those who are near you and dear to you. I want to be able to be cheerful and happy and productive for them. I want to be normal for them. I don’t want to be a burden on them for any reason whatsoever. I don’t want to be a Debby Downer. I don’t want to be the kind of person people avoid because I am not all jokes and laughter and fun to be around. It is why I suppose I live pretty much cut off from the world. Why I became agoraphobic. Why I have to take a pill so I can leave the house at all to do the things that must be done, and then I rush home and cuddle up with my pugs under a blanket and hide. The world is too much with me, Mr. Wordsworth. I want to belong, I long to be part of people’s joy and happiness and good times, but I am utterly terrified. I am staring at the clock, I have to leave for therapy in 18 minutes. I count them down, one by one, even when there is only one or two minutes left I cling to them and count them down, I hold my breath, I pray that maybe she will call me and cancel. But she won’t, and I will go, and I will get home as soon as I can.

Today is a good day though, a sweet day, one I look forward to all week long. My darling daughter Rachel comes over on Wednesday nights most weeks and we eat dinner together and then we watch something together. We have been watching Downton Abbey together for some time now as we could and tonight we are going to have a marathon and watch the last 3 episodes. I look so forward to this and will all day. But first I have to get out the door, I have to make it to this appointment, there are 14 minutes left before I have to go.

This is what it’s like most days. I hope the med changes might help this time, I pray for relief, and from the middle of all of this I want to reach out and help others. You are not alone, I am here, and I am struggling, but I am praying for you too if you are suffering. One day at a time, we just need to make it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. I am, right now. I hope you are too. But it’s almost time for me to go, and I am so afraid…