World Mental Health Day

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(Selfie taken on my worst mental health day of 2017. Why did I take this? I don’t recall.)

Today is apparently World Mental Health Day. It’s made me remember a conversation I had once with an ex-boyfriend. This post is coming a little late in the day here in New Jersey, but I wanted to share this anyway.

He said, “You always talk about your anxiety and depression, but I never see it.” I sensed an implied message, namely, “So, it’s not really that big a deal, is it?”

I replied, “Just because it isn’t visible, or isn’t happening around you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

He eventually wound up ending the relationship exactly a week after Anxious Krys made her first appearance in front of him. My logical brain said it was a coincidence. My illogical brain was concerned that was at least part of the cause and wondered which other people in my life I might drive away by being a basket case. (I just want to make it clear — I’m not using illogical as a negative term here, it’s just the terminology I personally use to identify the thoughts that I know are floating around in my head because of depression and anxiety, and to separate them from my clearer thoughts.)

When it comes to my mental health issues, I make it a point to be as open as I can be with as many of the people in my life that I feel I can. Maybe I’ll never have an anxiety attack around a specific person. Maybe the most they’ll get of my lows is a text message that says, “please send me memes or a funny video because I’m down today.” But I want people in my life to know that this is a part of me that exists because if it does pop up, I don’t them to be taken aback. I know there are people out there who don’t want to be around a “crazy girl,” who wouldn’t want to be my friend because sometimes I can get “too negative,” who wouldn’t want to date me because sometimes I’m occasionally emotionally unstable. So I just feel like giving people a heads up is the polite thing to do.

My mental health issues are not even that severe when compared to those of other people. I can only imagine how much more difficult life might be for those who have struggles greater than mine.

Not everyone can be open like I am, for one reason or another. And not all mental health problems have visible manifestations. So just be kind to people, and patient with them, because you don’t know what they’re dealing with inside.

Low

Week three of the blog and I’m already feeling like everything I have to say is super trite, unoriginal, and not worth writing, that the way I write is overblown and unwelcoming. Who would even want to read my heap of cliches? I could try to dial back my writing style, but then it wouldn’t be me, wouldn’t be my voice.

Probably adding to these feelings of inadequacy is the fact that I’ve been feeling pretty low for the past week or so. When my mood crashes, I always hesitate to call it being in a depression, because who has money to get diagnosed in therapy when there are school loans to pay? But probably that’s what it is. And I probably have proper anxiety as well too, which just makes for a delicious, occasionally debilitating mental cocktail.

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(The woods behind my house. Not a recent picture, but somehow reflective of my feelings.)

My low isn’t constant. It comes and goes in cycles (but not always in sync with that cycle, if you catch my drift). Sometimes it’s pops up out of nowhere. Sometimes the things in my life that I’m less than happy about cling to me, like when you’ve got a hair in your shirt tickling you but you can’t get it out.

My current low is an external factors low. For one, I really don’t like my job. I’ve been trying since March to find a new one. I haven’t even been called for one single interview. The past months have just been repeated silent rejection, and sometimes it wears me down more than others.

For two, I’m lonely. It’s a weird kind of lonely where I can be in a room full of my friends and feel like I’m on the other side of the Grand Canyon from them even though I know they love me, and I know I’m welcome. And it definitely doesn’t help that most of my friends are coupled up right now, to the point where if we’re hanging out someone’s significant other is almost always there. This isn’t a bad thing; my friends’ girlfriends are great people. It just makes me feel particularly angsty about a certain lack in my life.

I’ve never been the kind of girl who needs a boyfriend to feel complete. I have my hobbies, I have my friends and family. But seeing my friends holding hands, or snuggling up with their girlfriends on the couch when we all watch a movie together can make me feel a bit jealous, a bit like I’ve just opened up an old wound and poured lemon juice on it – bitter and painful. (And yes, I have talked about this with my friends.)

But these feelings shall pass, as they always do. I will be fine, until the next cycle. Hopefully I can solve my job problem in the meantime, so at least I’ll have something new and positive in my life to motivate me and keep my head above the depths, but it’s looking doubtful. And winter is on its way, a time of year when I tend to have more frequent lows because of the lack of sun.

I feel like such a whiny punk, but this is my place to talk about what I want to, even if it is unappealing, and I needed to get these thoughts out of my head.