“I’m really surprised with how high functioning you are with your mood constantly shifting.”
While that smells something like a backhanded compliment, there is a little validation in that statement. Ok, maybe a lot.
I’ve always been your classic, “Well you don’t look depressed/anxious/suicidal/mental illness of choice, so you are fine.” I’ve had therapists tell me to pray harder, run a few more laps, and distract myself and it’ll all go away. I’ve been told (by a therapist even!) that I didn’t really want to get better and that is why everything we were trying wasn’t working. Not because they were treating the wrong thing.
I have spent years telling therapists and doctors that my mood and mind are constantly flying all over creation–but because I’m a competent adult, I’m not “really” sick. Because I don’t have angry outbursts or random spending sprees or drink my problems away, there’s not really anything wrong.
Finally. Finally. I’ve found people that believe me that I’m suffering even though I was able to (successfully) do grad school, found and kept a job that I kick ass at (and love), remember and keep track of my life, and overall be a responsible, capable adult.
They get just how difficult it is for me to do those things 75% of the time. For every 5 thoughts that are completed, 5,000 bounce around my head, sometimes with no words and only feelings. When depression hits, its more than significant, but when it suddenly lifts its not necessarily me “getting better” I’m just swinging in the other direction. I’m able to self regulate and hide and control the crazyness that I think and feel.
But its still there, and it still hurts, and it still greatly impacts my life.
There are days where I have to sit with my head in my hands at work and try and just breathe, because my mind is spinning so quickly and I can’t string together a coherent sentence. Sometimes for an hour or more. Thank God my office is on a different floor than everyone else.
There are days that if I’m not doing something physical I can’t function. Thank God my job involves a significant amount of manual labor.
There are days when I have to leave work in the middle of the day because I can’t function, or have to come in late or leave early because the symptoms are so bad the energy to move is simply not there. Thank God I have a flexible and understanding boss where “I’m not feeling well” or “I’m having a bad reaction to medicine” is enough, and as long as I get my work done she’s fine with not having specifics.
I’m able to function because I’ve found a job that is flexible enough that I can accommodate the bad days and play off my strengths. I compensate so well, and sacrifice everything so I don’t lose what I have worked so hard for.
I am strong, and I can survive this, and I can be productive.
But dammit, I am still sick, and just because I’m “high-functioning” shouldn’t deny me the treatment I need in order to actually enjoy my life instead of just barely surviving.
And I’ve finally found doctors that believe that.