There is many of parts of this disease that is literally impossible to explain. Not only because what I experience will never be exactly what everyone else with this disease experiences, but because what I experience is daily, a battle that never changes much. I am so used to the battles that I have to fight each day that they have become almost as common as the breathing I do seamlessly.
So when someone I love becomes upset, or worried about part of this disease, I don’t often have the ability to recognize it. Not because I am not sympathetic, but because truthfully, I just can’t understand. I can’t understand any more than those who are sane can understand me. There is such a difference between what I know, what I battle and what my husband knows.
Last week, I had a bad day. Just a bad day. So, carelessly, I tried to explain to my husband. I simply told him that while driving down the highway, I had watched all those lovely trees flying by and wondered if I could just drive into one. It probably wouldn’t hurt to just take myself out, and then my children would be left with the story that I lost control of the car rather than the truth that I killed myself. It was a perfectly normal thought in my head. I long ago accepted the fact that suicidal thoughts were part of my world. It was part of me that could not be covered up by the drugs that I take so faithfully.
However, I would never have told my husband this truth except that because I have battled these things for so long, it was perfectly normal. This has actually happened a couple of times with my disease. Normalcy to me, is strange or scary or forbidden for others. Whether it is admitting to the voices I hear, or the thoughts that I have what I deal with everyday is foreign to those around me. You would think it would make for a good conversation piece at a party, but instead it becomes the catalyst for worry and stress. It becomes that single thing that differentiates me from the norm, and becomes the one thing those around me can point to as an excuse.
I fight every day. I fight a battle that changes constantly: the enemy, the terrain, even the weapons are changed until each day is different. Let me use this analogy. You are driving down the highway, going that eighty miles an hour, and the wind is pushing you left and right. Your hands automatically move the steering wheel to counteract the effect of the wind. It is a constant back and forth that helps you to maintain your lane. That is my fight. A constant battle back and forth from forces that I can not see, but can feel pushing me. I don’t from which direction they will come from next, but I have to be ready.
And sometimes, it easier to just let the wind take me wherever it wants. Sometimes, I look at those trees standing so tall on the sides of the highway and wonder what happens if I don’t automatically correct myself? What happens if I listen to that voice that just wants me to let go? What happens if I lift my hands in surrender?
Usually I force myself to fight those demons. I fight those demons with the clear and steady pictures of my children. The picture I carry in my mind of the beauty my body help create, rather than the demons my mind gifts me with. I fight using the only weapon I have, purity. The pure love a child. The pure innocence of a baby sleeping. The pure goodness of a heart not marred with life’s little lessons.
It is the only weapon that constantly works. The only defense I have against the torments that can take me far away from my mortal coil. The only thing that truly works to keep me sane. For my children I will fight the thoughts, the feelings, the judgements, the beliefs. I will fight the naysayers, the cynics, the pessimists that live inside of me. For the husband that gave me those children I will try to fight that which I can not see, but haunts me always.
But the thoughts, the feelings, the judgements, the cynics ride on in me, surrounding me and keeping me from being truly free. They don’t go away just because I had a good day, or my child smiled. They don’t surrender, they don’t call cease fires, they don’t take breaks to enjoy the sun. They are as much a part of me as the air in my lungs. And despite the fact that I know they are there, I can’t see them. I can’t touch them or vanquish them for all time. It is a daily war, without a hill to die on. You can not stand against the forces, rather you simply move the wheel back and forth until it becomes as normal as anything else.
I forget that my normal isn’t everyone else’s. I forget that what I fight doesn’t look like everyone else’s. I forget that demons that are so normal to my life, are scary and dark to others. And in the fifteen years that I have known my husband, it is possible that I simply buried the truth. It may have been a shock to my husband, because I fight my demons alone. It may have surprised or worried my husband, when to me it is nothing less than the norm.
I try to remember that not everyone fights demons like I do. Most people have one or two enemies that erode something that lives within them. Most people have to fight a direct attack. The attack may be large or may be small. It may be ridiculous, or it may be life and death. It may have form or it may be as unsubstantial as the wind. But everyone has it. I try to remember this.
And I try to remember to hide the horror. I try to remember to hide all the darkness, in favor of pretending there is light. Not because I am selfless, but because the fight I acknowledge is for me. I hide it because the fight is not fair, nor is it always balanced. It is a daily fight that takes sweat, blood and my lonely and often unshed tears. It is not a fight for the masses; and therefore should not be shared. It can not be diminished in the light of the spoken word, and it can not lose weight by being taken. It is a solo curse.
And I thank God everyday for that. I will reveal something else to my husband accidentally. And I will deal with his concern and fears. And then the next day, I will wake, brush my teeth, get my coffee and look upon why the fight must be won everyday.