Surviving My Invisible Illness

ErinDay-to-Day Life

A lot of people use their blog as a place to vent about their life.  I try not to use this blog like that because I want to spread knowledge, share tools, and give people hope. I don’t feel able to do that right now, though, so here’s a bit about what’s going on for me in a less-than-uplifting sense:

I’m aware that I’m in a bad spot. In light of everything I’ve experienced, this is minor, but I should stay in tune with my feelings so that I can take care of myself. And my biggest feeling tonight is fatigue. Depression is so hard. It’s always present, sucking at my energy, draining my positivity. Murmuring in my head about how the bus just blew past my stop today only because I am insignificant.

Lately I’ve been spending only a few hours a day with others. More social interaction would probably help me feel better and so I try more and more to be social. But then when someone says no to my invitation, it kind of wipes me out. It’s like, “Okay, there goes my shot for today” because it takes so much out of me. Same for shopping, going to therapy, hell, even going out and ordering a coffee. Functioning is so much work!

And then it pretty much goes without saying that it makes applying for a job extra hard, yet having a job would lead to consistent daily social interaction, and more friends, so I really want one. I just can’t predict how I’ll be feeling from one moment to the next.

Then I judge myself for not trying harder to be “normal” and “productive” and “sane.” I fear that the world sees me as self-indulgent, irresponsible, and most of all, lazy. I see myself that way, though I need to take full scope of what’s going on: depression, therapy, and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that are keeping me from being at a place where I can work.

I catch myself being envious of those with a visible disease or injury. I obviously don’t want to be sick or injured at all, but if I had a broken leg, I wouldn’t be berating myself for not taking dance classes, and neither would the rest of the world. People wouldn’t be able to look at me and forget that I have a broken leg the way that the world can look at me and forget I have depression. I’m the most skilled person in the world when it comes to putting on a mask of happiness and it can make people think that I’m doing well when I am not.

Yet sometimes I’m even too tired for that anymore. It actually has taken a long time to learn that I don’t need to smile all the time, that I can be real about how I’m feeling.

Oh, but about three weeks ago I got off the bus downtown and some stranger said to me, “SMILE!” and I gave him this ICY look right back. If he’d said something like, “It’s a nice day, isn’t it?” it would have made me smile, but instead he chose to stick his nose where it didn’t belong. He berated me for not pleasing him by wearing a mask. It made me so angry!

So that’s it for now. Being real about my emotions here is validating. I feel a bit better now.

P.S. Maybe there are some positive things in this post for you to take away:

1. Staying in tune with your feelings can help you take care of yourself

2. When you’re being hard on yourself, make sure you take everything into account, especially your mental illness(es) if you have them

3. Practice taking off your mask and let your face show your true emotions once in a while. It feels really good, even if others don’t get it!

ErinSurviving My Invisible Illness