It’s often difficult living with a disability that the world often fails to recognize or understand.
On Tuesday, I spoke with my psychologist, as I do every two weeks. I have no shame in having a regular psychologist. I need a regular psychologist, and that’s simply a fact of my day-to-day life. When discussing some issues I’ve been having lately in regards to my depression and my anxiety, I mentioned that it’s painful living my life every day when people don’t get why I’m acting or reacting the way I do. The words were on the tip of my tongue, but I was nervous to speak them. I didn’t want to seem like I was exaggerating, overreacting, or crying out for attention… but he reminded me of the fact I always shy away from.
“It’s a disability. You can’t help the way you are.”
I’ve been struggling with major clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder since I was thirteen years old. I’ve been in and out of treatment for years, and some periods in my life have been better than others, but the skeletons in my closet are always there. Lately, things have been harder than usual to handle. Everyone’s first instinct is to try and help, but sometimes help is beyond their capabilities.
Last Monday, I tried to do a few menial tasks around my school in preparation for next semester. Some simple necessities, but nothing too difficult at their core. I remember feeling okay for most of the morning before starting to get some stuff done. I remember speaking to a woman for assistance completing a form, and when she spoke, there was venom in her voice. Maybe it wasn’t really there, or maybe her tone was just slightly ruder than I was expecting, but it overcame me before I could stop it.
She was belittling me, mocking me, and patronizing me. I couldn’t handle it, so I burst into tears.
Now, I am no stranger to crying in front of strangers. Yet still, here I was, a deer caught yet again in the headlights of this weight I’ve been carrying for years. I panicked and left the room, telling her I’m sorry and that I’d take care of it another time. She followed after me as I left the hall, I kept asking her to leave me alone. I told her I was sorry (notably again) and that I just “had anxiety”. She told me “I’m good with anxiety,” but I can never know that for sure, really, and it didn’t matter when I was already in the throes. In a flurry of shame and humiliation, I left the building. I didn’t know what else to do, I just had to get my heart rate down. Start breathing again. My head was spinning.
I then found myself crying in the grass outside the tech center, wondering how everything fell apart so quickly. Wondering why I even try. Why I even fucking exist. This sort of thing is so status quo that I walked away without even bothering to wipe the tears off my sunglasses.
Now, I should take a step back.
I rationally know that my life is okay. I have a kind family, wonderful friends, a boyfriend who loves me, two beautiful cats (Ember is doing okay, by the way) and a promising future. Nonetheless, I can’t help but fall into these depressive rabbit holes. At my best, I can smile and laugh and have fun with the people I love. At my worst, I can hardly even comprehend why I shouldn’t shuffle off this godforfuckingsaken mortal coil.
There is so much to live for, if I can only manage to see it.
I know well that my irrational actions and feelings affect those around me. I often get told to calm down, or get it together, or cheer up. I wish I could. When I hear these things, it only reminds me how “broken” I am, and how I hurt people just by being around. In my current sound state, I know that’s not true. Hell, in the end, deep down, I know I’ll be okay. But my brain has been fucking me since I was a teenager, and trust me, I want to get better as much as any physically ill person does. I’m taking steps, making progress, and hopefully each day I come closer to a healthy future.
But major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder are just that– disorders. If I were asthmatic, you wouldn’t tell me to just breathe. So I simply ask for patience in these trying times. Instead of wishing for me to feel happy, just understand that a lot of the time, I can’t be, and it’s not anyone’s fault.
Someday, I know I will be. But sometimes, it’s just not that day.