The Long Hill


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Mental illness is not a fair disease. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe cancer or arthritis is any better but there is something so disgusting about a disease that destroys not only your life but the people you love as well. There is something so disturbing about fighting and working so hard to be better, to be more, to give more, and still be stuck in the same place as you started in. It’s like walking in nine feet of snow and ice, up a mountain, only to realize the fog obliterates any ability to actually see which step to take next. Being mentally ill doesn’t mean you don’t want to get better or take those steps to the top, it just means you can’t get better.

Mental illness is cyclical. Not perfectly round or even all that predictable but a push and pull that leaves one without the ability to know. Maybe it would be smarter to say mental illness is not only cyclical but it’s a fight that you don’t win. Mental illness doesn’t care if you see that you are being lazy, or unable to manage the simplest of tasks, it still manages to leave you hiking up that damn hill. Mental illness doesn’t care if you want to attend your child’s events or even clean the kitchen floor. Mental illness doesn’t care that you can see all that you are not, wish that you were more, or help you to become what you dream. It just keeps you hiking to nowhere.

I know that I am in a bad place right now. I know that the suicidal thoughts are worse than they normally are. I know that I need to do such minor things like get my blood drawn and clean, and take a shower, and find a way to be, not happy, but not this.

My mental illness is often a reflection of those around me. My husband is currently stressed out in a way I have rarely seen – that reflects onto my mental illness. My children are so busy they don’t have the time to spend with me – that reflects onto my mental illness. My parents have never helped me when it came to my mental illness and quite frankly, they tend to make it worse – that reflects onto my mental illness. Knowing that I am not doing what my doctor needs me to do, not finding cures for side effects that come from this disease, living alone in ways that have nothing to do with the number of people surrounding me – that reflects on my mental illness. While my mental illness is not to blame on anyone, certainly not those I love, it is really hard to hike without someone to make sure that you are safe.

Today, these days, I feel alone. I feel that I can’t explain to anyone what is happening in my soul – not even to the readers of this blog, because it’s too big and wonky. I can’t find anyone who will sit down with me and let me actually talk about my life and what is going on, the frustration I feel not being able to climb that icy mountain. There is no where for me to go to find surcease and a little, tiny bit of compassion. Part of this is my fault. Having mental illness and trying to take care of myself doesn’t mean that it is easy for me to say, ‘help’. There isn’t anyone in my life that I feel comfortable crying to; I have never been able to build that kind of world. There isn’t in me an ability to trust someone enough to finally break. And if I don’t break soon – I will not make it. The darkness, the mountain, the justifications are getting stronger than the ability to keep myself breathing.

Will this pass? It usually does, although I don’t know how. I don’t know what steps to take to make it to the top of any mountain, much less one that is so dangerous. I don’t know how to heal when I don’t have the ability to ask someone for real help, and unburden myself from this. My eyes water, my soul cries, and no one listens. And this time, there is something a little different. I don’t actually have the belief in my recovery that I can and have counted on in the past. I always swore I could never hurt myself, because I could never do that to my children – but the truth when you are so alone, it’s hard to remember what you owe to anyone else. Even your own life.

I want to scream – but there is no sound coming from me. I want to cry – but although the tears sit delicately on my eyelids, they don’t seem capable of falling. I want to explain – but I don’t know who is willing to listen anymore. I want that promise at the top of the mountain, but while part of me recognizes that I have to make it, this time it isn’t about the compulsion to find something better, but the desire to even try. The mountain is high. It is cold and windy. And the fog keeps the promise away. This time I don’t know how to climb. And that feels different than any time before. And what might be worse – this time I don’t know if I care.