I don’t know that this essay fits the bill as it’s very dark at times, but that’s a big part of mental illness.
I remember my first reaction to any diagnosis was relief, ah hah I knew I wasn’t right. Now let’s get me some pills and some therapy and knock this thing out! Well I rather quickly discovered for many of us the word "recovery" and the magical lives lived by those in the pharmaceutical commercials was not reality.
Making me feel even worse for not having a miraculous and quick turnaround. Wondering why my issues remained, whats so wrong with me. Why can’t I see all this potential everyone else does. Why can’t I shut it all off, what’s so darn defective.
Hmm while it's good to question things, I was missing acceptance of where I am in life, acceptance of a long hard road, acceptance of my diagnoses which today stands at......BPD, ADD, and Dysthymia.
For those in the know that’s a pretty brutal mix. Yet I’m able to seem perfectly ok most of the time externally, but just under the surface is still a volatile, fearful, manipulative version of myself I try so hard to suppress.
A version that tends to hurt those I care the most about, a version that doesn’t care about me and what’s good for me.
But somehow progress how ever achingly slow is still happening. Despite still being my own worst enemy. Having such a slow pace of “recovery” and thoughts of just giving in and ending it all consumed me.
But I couldn’t do it, not to my family, my parents, no they don’t deserve that. So I lived for them, for my case worker, my doctor, anything other than me.
While that strategy kept me alive, it also lead to all sorts of behaviors that lended themselves to an early exit by “accident” ie partying, drugs, reckless driving, putting myself in dangerous places and situations. I liked to call it the worlds slowest suicide by a thousand bad decisions.
Trying to live up to the terrible person I felt I was. Hoping for some kind of tragic accident to take me out. This went on for twenty years, twenty years of self hate. Yet I’m still here trying to learn to accept myself as I am.
Part of that process has been what others say is progress. That progress includes quitting drinking, street drugs, losing 60 pounds, biking over 3,000 miles in three years, maintaining a job, and some other minor things, hooray right?
Nope unfortunately I’m not advanced enough yet to see the positives in that. Because part of my illness just screams “so what’s next” that seems healthy right? Well no it isn’t, not when there is little to no recognition of what I’ve accomplished with no sense of satisfaction, only derision for not doing more, not being further along the path of life.
So what’s the point of all this? I guess I’d have to say somewhere inside I must have the values of fortitude and perseverance, however great or slight, is what’s got me here and keeps me going.
That’s very hard to say because my illness screams that I am not those things at all.
It’s always there ready to pull me down at a moments notice, I accept that. But I also know there’s just enough within me to get back up, yet again, from the ashes of my own making.
It’s an unending battle but I’m still here fighting myself to believe I am somebody worth getting up and fighting for, that my story isn’t over just yet.
Submitted by Craig Scherman
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