I have not had a very good year. Since I changed jobs in March, I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone and put under great amounts of stress, which has led to a long three months of downswings. I’ve had about one a month, each worse than the last, because I never really recover from the first one before I’m thrown into the next. Based on my journaling, I don’t see much as far as a downswing goes for the fall, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.
This past month saw a particularly awful downswing, and three days off work due to suicidality. My psychiatrist has now added Wellbutrin to my regimen. I’m feeling a bit better, if a bit numb, waiting for the floor to drop out on me again with yet another downswing. I’m on rocky footing at work as a result, and I have two months to get my productivity up and absenteeism down or that’s it. This is obviously not the best for my overall stress level, but as a lifelong procrastinator, that sort of deadline might just be feasible.
There’s some strange quality to coming back up from a downswing that I can’t quite put into words. It’s an uneasy, wary sensation, where I feel numb and fragile and sensitive to the touch, like I’ve been badly sunburned, but down in my soul. I am worried that I’ll fall back into a downswing. I doubt the stability, the calm in my mind, constantly wondering where the maelstrom has gone off to, when it will be back. Wondering when the thoughts of killing myself will come back. Wondering why I don’t feel like that now, why the reasons to off myself are no longer sufficient to give in to that urge. Wondering why all the scenarios I had envisioned are not actually taking place. I still ache like I’ve run a marathon.
It’s an eerie sort of twilight where I feel that I’m walking on broken glass and yet I have to keep going forward into some semblance of normalcy rather than run back to the embrace of madness. I want to go back. I know that might sound strange, but it is like someone who has been long abused, constantly returning to their abuser, because it’s easier to live with the devil you know, than the devil you don’t. Even though the devil you don’t won’t necessarily beat you, might be the calm and comfort you long for, it is still unfamiliar and terrifying. Better to return to the abuse that is familiar and strangely comforting. I feel that I deserve it, that I’m not deserving of peace and calm and comfort, but instead constant, exhausting agony. I am broken, and know no other master.
On the surface, I look “better,” though casual acquaintances wouldn’t necessarily know the difference anyway. I can pull it together long enough to put in my eight hours at work, before retreating home to my couch, my computer and my crochet, with my cat in my lap, a warm, comforting presence. I think of the reasons I need to stay. My cat, for one. My family. My nephews, whom I want to take to conventions when they’re older, to live vicariously through them and their wide-eyed wonder. My roommate and our dog. My clients, though I’ve not become as attached to them as to my previous caseload, because I am not all they have, but one of a handful, and I don’t have any favorites, yet. My friends. I missed the last two weeks of the Renaissance Festival due to being too sick to do anything more strenuous than haunt the house, and I’m not entirely sure anyone actually noticed. My crafting, and my writing, which I haven’t touched in years, not since the lamictal stole it. (That’s a story for another day.) I still have so many stories to tell, so many lives to touch, so many years to live and enjoy.
I still don’t feel deserving, but hopefully, this, too, shall pass.