I don’t think this is you

“I don’t think this is you.  This is your pathology, not your personality.”

 

This was told to me by a psychiatrist when I was going through a particularly rough patch, and my behavior was less than stellar.  The thing with mental illness is that our symptoms are not just seen as something apart from us.  The way mental illness manifests, is that it affects the very way we think and feel, the way we perceive the world around us, and the actions we take.

Sometimes corrections a person who is mentally healthy can take are actually impossible for a person with mental illness.  Then there is the added stigma of that if we were just “better”  more compliant with our treatment, or choosing different treatment that our illness would be better mitigated.

 

Being mentally ill is not something we “do” to other people, but unlike many other illnesses, it can get a bit messy, and affect not only we who are suffering, but affect those around us as well.  I don’t know how to avoid this.  And the longer that we do manage to hold things together the more it seems like a betrayal when things finally go off the wheels.

 

Mental illness is damaging.   It destroys one’s careers, one’s relationships, one’s perceptions, thoughts, and emotions.  In my case, any mitigation is always ephemeral. Sooner or later, it will become evident that I am ill.  Things will be done that are out of character for me, but they will still be me doing it.  While I get dissociated and see my pathology take the driver’s seat while my personality is taken along like a passenger.

 

Mental Illness is a hell of a thing.

One thought on “I don’t think this is you

  1. Stacy says:

    Yes. I think of my depression as an external force with the simplistic plan that all disease has: pillage and destroy the host.

    Depression has quite a bit to do to get me to dead. It needs to undermine everything good in my life: my relationships, my work/livelihood, my love of food, sleep, sex, reading, etc

    But check it out! Depression has tools (aka symptoms) to attack each pillar of joy!

    Sleeplessness, loss of appetite, loss of libido. There’s the health of my body trashed.

    Sleeping in, lack of motivation, exhaustion, poor concentration. Whoops, but I loved my job 🙁

    Irritability, withdrawal, oversensitivity, self obsession (as I focus on my mind’s endless alarm bells). Well, that’s damn hard on friendships.

    And then depression’s favourite tool: my own self awareness. Usually such a gift, now weaponized and turned against me. Clearly when depression has undermined my physical health, got me too tired to think straight, stolen my livelihood, and strained my relationships, that is when it goes for the kill.

    ALL THIS DESTRUCTION AND MISERY IS YOUR FAULT. YOU ARE BROKEN. IN YOUR HEAD. AND UNFIXABLE.

    You know what, depression? Fuck you. You are the abusive boyfriend who played that card one too many times. I believe none of your fucking transparent lines.

    People love me. I deserve just as much space on this planet as anyone else. Even with you trying to drive my attempts to harm others, the worst I do is hurt their feelings, usually by withdrawing from their lives. IF I’M SO FUCKING USELESS, DEPRESSION, WHY DO THEY MISS ME SO MUCH?

    And that thing you do to my memory? Where you are the only constant? FUCK YOU. I’ve wrestled you down 100 times. The bulk of my life is joyful. I wring every glorious moment from it, knowing you’ll be at my heels again you damn yappy dog. That makes me a goddamn hero.

    Christopher, you are a goddamn hero. That bitch lies and lies. You aren’t your mental illness. It is a thing that happens to you. Yes, it does damage to your relationships. But you both mitigate the damage as much as you can AND seek to repair when the bitch loses her grip on you.

    It’s up to those around you to not take it personally when your mental illness has you pinned. I’m cheering for you. You’ll wiggle free again.

    Fuck mental illness.

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