I’m going to have bad days. I can’t tell you when, I can’t tell you why. I just know they exist.
There are some days I’ll wake up and not want to be anywhere near you, or anyone, for that matter. I’ll want to isolate myself and lock myself away all day. I won’t want to answer my phone or even check it, in fact, I’ll probably switch it off completely…for days even, depending on how long the bad spell lasts.
There are some days where I’ll be able to function but will be quieter than usual, I’ll zone out and stare into space, I won’t pay attention to the things you say and I’ll nod or mumble a yes or no every few minutes just to convince you I was listening. To convince myself I’m ‘normal’, whatever that is.
Some days I’ll be happy, I’ll be ecstatic and everything will be good in the world, I’ll be positive and laugh and joke with you to the point I seem like I’m back to my old self again – whether you’ve seen that person or not before is a different matter. Some days I’ll be okay, and you’ll believe it.
The next day I may wake up and regret it, regret being so happy and saying the things I did, or maybe I got excited and too comfortable and shared things I wish I hadn’t. I’m going to regret that. I’ll push you away and try to make you hate me, I’ll ask you why you want to talk to someone like me or why you even care so much, because you shouldn’t. I’ll tell you I don’t care and that you should leave, and then a week later I’ll regret it and want to crawl back again and say I’m sorry, it wasn’t me, it was the darkness speaking.
Some days I’ll wake up and just want to be held, I’ll want to climb into someone’s lap as if I were a child and for them to stroke my hair and tell me everything is going to be okay, nothing can hurt me. I’ll wrap myself up in blankets and be soft spoken, my voice barely a whisper as I struggle to muster up the strength to use my voice. I’ll sleep all day and drift in and out of consciousness, there’ll be bags under my eyes and I’ll be tired, even though I’ve only just woken up.
I’ll continue to be tired for days, weeks even. It all depends how long the spell lasts but of course, that’s something I don’t know. No one does. I wish I did so that I could tell you, so that you could plan for it…prepare for the storm that’s inevitably going to come.
I’ll pick myself up and get back on my feet again and I’ll be okay, everything will be okay. I’ll fight it, I’ll hide it, I’ll smile, I’ll function.
But then, like a hurricane, the strong winds will come crashing through the windows and shatter everything in its wake. Was I a fool to think it was really gone for good this time?
I’m the violence in the pouring rain, I’m a hurricane.
This is the cycle of my mind. This is the cycle of my mental illness. This is how I exist.
It’s difficult to interact with people who don’t understand it, to have to be in their presence and almost cater to their needs instead of your own, because you don’t want to look like the girl with glazed eyes and no sign of life.
Though I do, I always do.
It’s not anyone’s fault that they don’t understand, I mean, who’s trained for that kind of thing anyway? All you can do is be there, though I understand that it gets too much sometimes.
You have to let me do my own thing. You can’t expect me to be a certain thing or feel a certain way, because mental illness doesn’t have a schedule, it’s not about timing, it’s about your brain and the way you feel – nobody knows what’s coming next including yourself which actually, is quite scary. So please let me deal with things in my own way and cope with them the way I know how, please don’t try and tell me how to deal with my own illness, or make me feel guilty because it’s simply not adhering to your schedule.
You have to let us do our own thing and be free, sometimes you just have to let us get on with it and do things our way because that’s just the way we’ve learned how to cope.
Sometimes I think it’s actually worse to be around people, like I said, you have to cater to their needs and exert energy that you simply don’t have. It actually makes me feel worse. In most cases it doesn’t matter anyway because you can be in a room full of people and still feel alone, sometimes you really do just need to be by yourself.
People get impatient and try to make you feel guilty for not feeling better when it suits them, it’s always the same. At first they’re sympathetic and want to help but after a while they get bored, they get irritable, they get sick of the way you are and their ignorance creeps in again as they fail to understand why you can’t just “cheer up” – in the end you’re made to feel guilty for bringing them down, you’re the ill one yet you’re the one doing the comforting – consoling the other person because you don’t want them to feel bad. The irony.
If I could just snap my fingers and feel okay again don’t you think I would have done that by now? Do you think I enjoy feeling this way?
You have to let me go and I will come back to you, I don’t know when, but I will come back. It could be days, weeks… months even, but I’ll be there. Sometimes it’s random, I’ll be here one day and gone the next…if you want to be in my life, that’s just a tiny part you need to accept.
I understand the flip-side, I get it, it’s exhausting, but it’s exhausting for us too, having to exert energy we don’t have and apologise for things beyond our control – I can’t help the fact that I’m sad, I wish there wasn’t a chemical imbalance in my brain and rainclouds hanging over my head some days, but there are, and I’m sorry for it. I’m sorry to you and I’m sorry to myself. I have the best intentions but I’m a little messy sometimes…I’m working on it. We’re all working on it. Every day is a conscious effort to be brand new, to smile and say actually, I’m going to be okay. Sometimes it doesn’t always work, sometimes the darkness wins and it seeps into my veins and consumes my whole body, sometimes I can’t do anything but cry…but that’s okay. It’s all okay. All you can do is try to understand, and if you can’t, please keep it to yourself, there are too many people hurting who already feel like they’re a burden – I know I do. Please don’t make that worse. Please give love and try to understand.
Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so please be kind, reach out to people, ask them how they’re feeling and be genuinely interested in their answer. Please be real, we all need to hold onto something we can trust these days, we all need to help each other.
You never know what goes on behind closed doors.
All my love,