Saturday, September 24, 2016


Some days I don't want to be here any more. That's the honest truth that everyone would rather I lied about.

Some days life just stretches on and on like an endless desert in my mind and I struggle to see what the point is when I've just dragging myself inch by inch toward a horizon that will quickly shift once I get ten feet further.

Yesterday was one of those days. So is today.

Maybe I didn't take my omega-3 fatty acid or whatever that shit is called. Some component of the carton of pills I have to take to keep myself (somewhat) stable. Sometimes I can figure out what might be wrong, sometimes I can't. My body is a mystery to me even though I constantly inhabit it, like that picture in my science textbook of the world before human life - giant pools of ooze and meteors ricocheting through the dark sky. I don't know what it needs to be satisfied; treating my illness is all trial and error, though my psychiatrist would never care to admit it. Every time I think I've turned a corner, I plunge back into darkness again.

The worst part is that I feel so alone in my fight. My psychiatrist barely knows anything about me. She answers my emails with a couple of words. I have to pay $200 just to spend 15 minutes talking to her so why go unless you've run out of refills?

My friends...I don't have friends I feel like I can talk to when I'm hurting. They're too wrapped up in themselves or they get uncomfortable. I've tried saying things in the past and I only get more hurt by their lack of responsiveness.

My mother is supportive but I already feel bad with how much of my emotional crap I've dumped on her over the years and she can only do so much.

My counselor is great but I can only see her for 45 minutes once a frickin' week. How much can you accomplish in 45 minutes? So much happens outside of that 45 minute window that I don't get to talk through. I mean, over two decades of things have happened before I even started getting a 45 minute window to process through all of my shit. I don't know what I'm supposed to do if I feel bad between sessions. I don't know if I'm allowed to schedule an extra appointment. My counselor told me once to go to the ER if I ever feel like ending my life, but there's no way in hell I'm going there. I've heard the stories about how they treat people with mental illness.

And every time I go for my 45 minutes of fame, I leave with more work to do. I leave with a realization of yet another way in which I am falling short. I leave with another vague idea of what I need to do to improve myself. I leave with another technique for how to handle my shit the next time it comes up, which is usually the second I step out of that freaking office. Sometimes it helps, overall counseling has been a force for positive change in my life, but I have to admit that it leaves me unbelievably frustrated at other times.

Lately, I feel like therapy leaves me with this burden to fix myself. And what a crushing burden that is. I can't possibly accomplish it. I don't know how.

When I say that, I hear in my voice the ghosts of my evangelical Christian past saying, "That's because only God can fix you." But I've been disappointed beyond words with the results I've gotten from Him over the years. I still capitalize the "H" because we still have a relationship, God and I (it feels so wrong to put us together like we're equals, but it sounded catchy), but I have trouble trusting Him the way I used to. And it doesn't help when His followers are so unfeeling and ignorant, badgering me about when I'm going to come back to church instead of asking me why I left.

I guess I'm tired of being responsible for my well-being. That sounds immature and, well, irresponsible, but it's so frustrating to spend every day monitoring your thoughts and keeping careful watch over your coping mechanisms and pushing yourself to self-advocate and making your gratitude lists and recording your latest mood and taking your pills on time and then waiting thirty minutes to eat and doing your mindfulness exercise when you get upset and remembering to do your deep breathing when your anxiety flares back up...

It's all on me. My counselor says that my mood and my self-concept are in my control like it's a good thing, but frankly it's an overwhelming responsibility. I want someone else to take care of me. I want something good to just fall into my lap for once instead of having to work for it. I want a friend who will call me and ask if everything is okay.

I guess they call that co-dependency though. My counselor keeps telling me that I have to become more content with myself and secure in who I am so I'll have "good energy" and attract people who appreciate me for who I am. I guess that makes sense, but how the heck am I supposed to do that? And it all sounds like just another mammoth task tacked onto the end of my to-do list. Another way in which I fall short: Not confident enough in myself even though I'm a hell of a lot more confident than most women (and men - I think the arrogance act is just a coping mechanism for rampant insecurity) I've met. Which then makes me feel even worse about myself, which is ironic since the whole problem is that I don't feel good enough about myself. How am I supposed to feel good about myself when I am going to this therapy because I know there's something wrong with me?

People are always telling you to end on a positive note, even the mental health advocacy people. Well, I've spent too much time spinning my mental illness in a positive light because I was scared to let people see how bad it really was in the recesses of my depressive mind. Who was I trying to protect? My counselors? My psychiatrists? My family? Well, I only hurt myself by keeping them from giving me the support I needed.

I could feel proud of how much of my own weight I have borne in the process of dragging myself to this point, but I mostly just feel lonely. I wish I could have had some company. The worst part of depression is the isolation. Nobody gets what's going on in your head and no one can make you feel better. But I don't really trust people fully any more. It seems to me that they can leave you even more burned. It seems like there are some things you just have to muscle through on your own. Is it wrong for me to say that?

I hope if you're hurting you can find help. I hope you're not alone. Certainly you're not alone in feeling alone; I hope this post shows you that.

As for me, I'll close the computer and go to sleep so I can stop thinking about thinking for a while. It will be a nice relief. The only trouble is I won't even be awake to appreciate it.

I guess this is a bit of a morbid, dark post. I made the mistake of reading poetry earlier. I think it rubbed off on me. But at the end of the day, I just want to be honest because I think people who are suffering deserve to know that they're not crazy. They're one of many. Their feelings are legitimate. When we put trigger warnings on posts and tell people to remain positive all the time when talking about mental illness, we're being like the rest of the world and denying them the opportunity to feel those feelings and speak that life isn't always a walk in the park.

Sometimes it's an afternoon "hiding behind bottles in dark cafes".


  1. Oh how my soul resonates with all the words here. I feel the frustration of not being able to discuss how you feel without fear of being ostracized or dramatized. I feel the pressure of therapy to help you help yourself and making you somehow feel like you aren't doing enough in the process. I am so glad that you were led to type these words - I am glad that I now know one other person feels the same as me.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting...I'm filled with joy at my first comment on here! I'm both glad and sad that this resonates with you...glad you can know you're not alone but sad that you are going through something so difficult and isolating. I wish you the best on your journey. Hang in there and keep fighting. I can tell you have a beautiful, wise soul and the world needs more of those. (And you write beautifully!) Thanks again for's nice to know that I'm not alone either :)

  2. Rebecca,

    I read your post on The Mighty and I cried. Then I came to your site, read what you wrote and cried some more.

    I'm 66, afflicted with severe untreatable rapid cycling bipolar and Complex-PTSD from being in an emotionally abusive marriage, from which I didn't have enough sense or courage to leave. Now, aside from my small disability check, I'm dependent on my wife for a roof over my head. But there was a time that I worked, full time, in a job that I loved, I was writing short stories, novels and screenplays, trying to get my foot in the door of publishing or movies.

    Now, all I feel is hopelessly lost, sad and empty. I'm ashamed that I stayed with my alcohol addicted, mentally ill wife. She doesn't think there's anything wrong with her and when she has gone to individual therapy, she told me that her therapist blames her problems on me and my illness. She couldn't open to her therapist about her life and her family, so I became the whipping boy. And they call it love.

    I'm the only one that has my back and I push myself to search for solutions. My dad told me that when you stop trying, you start dying. I feel like I'm dying, anyway, but I will keep getting back into the fight, exhausted and despondent as I feel.

    Thank you for speaking your truth. I believe you're saving more lives than you'll ever know.

    1. I'm so sorry for not responding to this sooner. I so appreciate your sharing your thoughts here and being so open and honest and your comment really touched me. It breaks my heart to hear what you've been going through and my thoughts go out to you. I have an inkling of how hard it is, especially as a creative person, to not be able to work any more; when I had to take a break from school because of my depression, I hated feeling so purposeless not having any work. I hope maybe you can still find it in yourself to continue writing, even if it's just for yourself. I've been amazed at how much it's helped me in coping with things. If anything, it's helped me process my thoughts and feel like I have a voice and a hope that even after I pass away, my words and experience will live on.

      I'm so sorry about the abuse you're experiencing. I can't imagine the hurt and frustration. A good therapist would not encourage a client to blame all their problems on another person, but I've sadly found that there are a lot of not very good therapists out there. I'm so sorry that something that was meant to be an encouragement in your life has turned out to be suffocating. I can understand why it would be hard to leave a marriage though, and I hope you won't be so hard on yourself (but I say that as someone who is way too hard on's not an easy habit to break, is it?)

      I'm so glad my words have been of some encouragement to you and I want to thank you for taking the time to share that b/c I get discouraged a lot about whether or not I'm making a difference. I really appreciate hearing your story (and I can tell you're a talented writer, by the way). I wish you the best and I salute your efforts to keep fighting; I know it's harder than anyone could ever realize. But you are worth the fight and you are worthy of life and love, most of all you loving and appreciating yourself. But it's people like you who amaze me - people who keep pushing on in spite of all the hardship and hurt. That is so incredibly brave and strong. I hope things pick up for you one of these days.