A few days ago, I told a friend that I felt like I wanted to write about a certain subject, but the very thought of it made me nervous. Then I saw that this month is Mental Health Awareness Month and I knew it was time. Time to just admit that things aren’t perfect, that at times they are in fact downright scary, and acknowledge that I’ve got an awesome support system around me to get me through it.

First things first: I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, major depressive disorder and PTSD. I also have a thyroid condition, which can at times exacerbate all three of these. Let’s just say my brain is a virtual minefield and I’ve taken a wrong step a time or two or a thousand. Things can be going great and then KABLOOEY! I’m in a funk so strong I can’t even get out of bed.

Those who know me know that I’m pretty open about things. I feel no shame in my diagnoses. But what I do have an issue with is admitting when I’m in the middle of an episode. I retreat within myself and avoid contact and just generally try to keep everyone thinking things are fine and I’m fine and everything’s going to be fine. All the while, my brain is doing this:

Yeah, that’s my brain in animated gif form. I love animated gifs. They are so awesome for expressing yourself.

So, while on the inside I’m a mess, I’m pretty stoic to those around me. I try, in my own warped way, to let people in by dropping hints here and there that things aren’t ok. Most times, it doesn’t work and I just come across like I’m a whiny brat. To their credit, I give really crappy hints. I wish I was better at letting people know that I’m in internal freak out mode. I think it would make my relationships a lot less stressful.

SuperDad is abso-freaking-lutely amazing for putting up with all of my issues over the past 12 years. When other folks run screaming for the hills, he’s still there, waiting for it to pass and trying to help me through it in whatever way I will allow him. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

This past year and a half has been particularly rough. From getting my PTSD diagnosis, to going through therapy for that, to having people I considered friends using my openness against me, to SuperDad changing careers and my having to start working full time outside the home rather suddenly… Let’s just say those animated gifs up there are an understatement.

One of the major struggles I’ve had over the past few years is how to be a mother to my children during my episodes. It got to the point that they were asking to “visit mommy in bed” because I was spending days/weeks shut up in my bedroom. That was one of the driving forces behind me going back to therapy, which in turn produced the PTSD diagnosis, which in turn explained SO MANY THINGS. Therapy has certainly helped, but I still fight my demons every day. But knowing I have those little girls to provide for and raise to be decent human beings is one of the only things that keeps me going some days.

To a lot of people, they see me make decisions or take certain actions and they think I’m impulsive and flighty. Little do they know that even getting to the point of being able to make a decision is weeks and weeks of panic, anxiety, dread, second guessing and doubt. SuperDad is really the only one who knows how much I anguish over certain decisions. Even when, to anyone else, the choice is clear, I can never just accept that. But this is even more so the case when my decision isn’t the popular choice. I dealt with this recently and while it hurt to have friends take my choice personally, it was quite literally a lifesaving decision for me. But I feel like even saying that makes it sound less true. Like admitting that I was at one of my lowest points and I had to do something, ANYTHING to save myself from doing something stupid makes it an invalid excuse somehow. But again, I know SuperDad was there through it all and we made the decision together.

And yet, still I struggle. Still I deal with the crippling fear that I’m not adequate. That I don’t measure up. That I’m a failure as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. It’s absolutely exhausting constantly fighting this battle. But it’s so worth it. I look at my family and I think, “They deserve more.”

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