Expressing Your Inner Most Thoughts
I can tell you this is not easy. In no way what is going on in my head is easy. I don’t say this to get pity, or even sympathy. No, i say that because it’s true.
I woke up today at 2:45. Yes, in the middle of the night. Sweating. It is odd. I know. I looked at my phone to check the time. And thought to try sleeping more. I tried. For entire 15-20 minutes. While that time passed my mind was racing. I remembered an odd dream before i woke up about a pencil case and how it was so perfect. Random, i know. I also thought how i am so sick of being so sick. I thought about writing this and so now i am.
Sometimes i wonder how could i best explain to people what is going on with me? I can’t really say i am sick, when i miss days at school, but reality is, that i am. In more ways than one. I am physically having many symptoms. Too many. And i don’t know what to do. I think, but don’t know for sure, that they might be from all the mental stuff, but yeah. Not sure.
My mental stuff is well complicated. See i don’t have just one thing, like stress. No, i think at one point it could’ve been stress, but i can’t remember when. Right now it’s self diagnosed depression, which also occasionally turns into anxiety. Depression is more steady thing that i have, which sounds horrible. Steady. But well at least good news is that anxiety is on and off thing. The way that they look in my daily life. Well i’ve done a lot of searching online how others feel and can i relate. And mostly i can. One short description was something like this. You are too tired to get out of bed (the depression side), but feel guilty for not going to work/school and what others think of you (anxiety side). So having two things at once, is just utterly terrible battle. There are days where i feel more depressed. Not more, but i feel depression more than anxiety. Those days i feel like i have this invisible sad friend. Only i can see how life is gloomy, everything sucks, how i am well not worth much. Like overthinking about little things (why doesn’t anybody sit with me, is there something wrong with me). Do i do this good enough? Will they be pleased? Will i be okay then? Will they like me more then? If i make them something, will they be my friend then?
I feel terribly lonely, even among friends or whoever. I don’t even know who should i call a friend anymore. I wonder about that. Because well a lot of people have kind of abandoned me. It’s sad to say, but moving to another country you really see who keeps in touch and who doesn’t. And i seriously suck at staying in touch. It’s hard even to make myself leave my bed. Bad excuses, but i feel terrible for not staying in touch and also sad about people not caring enough about me after what i have given them. My time, energy, commitment and all that. I feel very sad. But maybe that’s just life.
Anyway, on depressed days, that’s how i feel. Sad a lot. Lonely. Doubting myself a lot. And so so tired from everything. And if someone asks me how am i, i might start to cry because i’ve been holding it in way too long, or nobody hasn’t asked me that in a long time for real. Like sometimes people ask you how are you and you say fine and they move on. They don’t care how you really are and that’s also sad for a depressed person who anyway already feels nobody cares and that they are lonely. But it’s alright. I try to tell that to myself.
There’s also the trouble of believing things. People can say all sorts of good things. Like we care about you. We love you. You are special to me. Or anything else positive, reaffirming, encouraging on a normal day. But on days of sadness, doubt, loneliness and just dark cloud above my head. I just can’t believe that. It’s not that i don’t want to. I DESPERATELY want to believe all the goodness. I’d want to paint all the kind words on my walls for daily good measure, but my brain refuses to believe that. If you say anything that i can translate as negative, well i will. Even if it’s a simple thing like asking me prayer requests. I feel that i haven’t already done that (wait but i tell you everything already, haven’t i shared everything???). Or someone asking me to take the trash out (should i have assumed that to be my task? I hope i do it quick enough… oh they didn’t say thank you… what did i do wrong…). Or bigger things like going through classes and not remembering absolutely nothing from it. Teacher telling you to discuss something with your neighbour and you haven’t heard a single word the teacher says. Haven’t done my homework in weeks, because i can’t seem to find motivation to do that. Sometimes i even can’t brush my teeth. Well i want to. I have every intention to. But i forget. Or when i remember then it’s like 2 pm or something. Sometimes the smallest things are hardest. Sometimes big things are too big and i don’t even want to start because i am afraid i won’t finish. Not to mention i wish i could exercise and eat healthier. Exercise would be good for me, but if getting out of my bed is a struggle already and i am so tired, i lack motivation to get myself to the gym. I so desperately want to. In my head. But my body is just like :" Let’s just relax under a blanket and watch movies…" and i need that time too. Or how much do i love chocolate, because it comforts me in dark days, even if it is for small moments, it’s still nice.
And then there are days when this turns into anxiety. All this, but more nervous. I feel guilty for taking day off, even though i need it. To recover. Or whatever. I feel guilty for not doing homework and i wonder what the teachers think of me. I am afraid that they’ll be hard on me and i’ll cry in front of others. I hate crying by the way. But i can’t stop it sometimes. Or that i am engaged and i already worry about how will i look on my wedding day and will he be pleased or should i exercise for that? I worry about every small and big thing and sometimes it’s just so overwhelming that i just cry. Sometimes anxiety means that living with 90 people makes you want to walk along the side of the hallways, there’s too many people, too much noise and it makes you so nervous. It’s like standing on the edge of the cliff with that breath holding moment before you fall down, but like all the time. Not just a moment. It can be hours. Sometimes it’s several days. That breath holding moment. Or you know that moment when you skip a step walking down the stairs? That mini heart attack moment? That’s more or less how anxiety might feel like. You are constantly on edge. And you just want to run away. You just want to be alone. I remember one of the worst nights. More like evenings. People were having fun at Christmas party, but me, i was having anxiety attack. Why? Well i live right above the room where they were having fun and music and all that. And i tried headphones. Covering my head with pillows. And i just felt the restlessness come on me. How my heart rate got up and i left my room. Desperate like a deer in headlights looking for a more quiet place. I searched through classrooms (locked), library (locked). I went down there almost in tears and asked the teacher when will they turn it down. As i was desperate for sleep and calm and rest. They said few more hours. I left and started walking upstairs. Devastated, almost crying, but not, because i hate crying in public. And then one friend saw me and she asked me am i okay and i start weeping like crazy. And having almost a panic attack, with quick breathing and all that. She took me to her room, which was in another wing. And asked me to stay there until i wanted to. That helped. It took a while, but she left me there to calm down. Quiet place. Strange place, but quiet. And that helped. But this is what i face sometimes.
Other times it has been strangers that scare me. I walk along the streets and i constantly hope that someone won’t come behind me to rob me or rape me. You can guess how much i go out walking in the dark. Not much. Rarely. Only on good days. If even that.
So and all the above, the mental side of things, probably, most likely, has caused a lot of what i have as physical symptoms. My sleep patterns are all over the place. On and off headaches. Lack of concentration, motivation, restlessness. Tension and aches in my body. Stomach problems (from diarrhoea and gas, to constipation). And so on.
It is honestly exhausting. It’s not just that. But i am annoyed. I used to for example LOVE reading before. I loved having hours on end just with a book. Getting lost in there. Now, i open a book and a page or two, maybe chapter later… i lose interest, or think of something else that is so distracting and takes me to some other thing i thought to do. This happens all the time. Like me watching an episode of tv-series that last about 40 minutes can take half a day. Because then there’s facebook to distract me occasionally, and then i remembered what i wanted to do on pinterest. And then google something else. And so on. Oh and then i thought of another thing. So it’s very hard to do anything. And i hate that. I hate the most that i can’t seem to even have steady times with God. I want to. Desperately want to have regular steady time with God, but no matter how many times i try. No matter how many different devotions, Bible reading plans, different locations etc i try, i can’t seem to make it work.
And this is what my life is like for now. This does not mean that i don’t have good things in my life. I sure do! I have wonderful things and people. But this is me saying i can’t just “snap out of it” i can’t just " think happy thoughts and you’ll be better". I haven’t gone to the doctor, because i am 1) in a different country where most medicines are in danish; 2) my doctor wanted to only listen to one thing at a time and that would take forever to share all of this; 3) if i am sent to somewhere for research it’s in another town, about an hour away, and costs money to get there; 4) it would cost money to get therapy or/and medicine. which i don’t have much.
So yes, i try managing it. Sometimes it helps to take days off. Sometimes it just helps to write or talk. Sometimes distracting myself with sleep or watching movies. I do anything that might help. That doesn’t cost money or very little.
I don’t write this for sympathy, or pity. I write this that maybe someday you can understand someone else better who is a christian and struggles with mental illnesses. It has nothing to do with lack of faith. Or lack of praying or anything. It has nothing to do with you just need to think more happy thoughts or push yourself harder. Those guilt trip things don’t help. It helps if you show that you are there. That you are really available. Not just when it suits you, but that you really want to be there for them. Whenever they need you. It helps if you keep encouraging them, even if they don’t accept, or believe. It takes time. And persistence. And just whatever you do, don’t leave them. Don’t walk out of people’s lives just because they have an illness. Don’t leave them alone entirely. Yes it’s okay for a while, but abandoning them is not. Keep in touch, keep asking how are they or how could you help them. Even if it’s a i don’t know answer, you are still showing you are there. Oh and bring tissues :) Or chocolate. Or both. That just might help. And i don’t say this just for me. But a lot of times we, people with mental stuff, we are good at hiding. We put on this brave face and “i’m okay/fine” face because of others. We don’t want to be a burden with our thoughts and feelings. But reality is that we aren’t fine. But only the best-est people find that out, if they take time for that.
I tell all this because i know how hard it is. I couldn’t possibly say all this to someone in their face. I can’t say to my previous friends who haven’t contacted me that it has hurt me. Because i don’t want to make them feel guilty. I don’t want to be a burden. If they haven’t contacted me i shall assume that i wasn’t necessary in their lives.
I hope this gives an insight to life with mental illness as a christian. Not easy, but i try. Every day is a try. Sometimes i succeed. In little or big things. Sometimes i don’t. And it’s okay.