Feel free to skip this post, I’m going a bit personal here.
I’m not well.
As a lot of you know, I have multiple diagnosed mental illnesses, such as severe depression and multiple anxiety disorders, along with a variety of not-officially-diagnosed ones. Unfortunately, this also means that I tend to react to situations in ways that neurotypical folk don’t.
I’m also an extrovert. The way I typically deal with bad days or high stress situations is by being in close physical proximity to my friends, or even just random people enjoying themselves. With the current pandemic, that’s not possible. I had wondered at the start of my social isolation how long it would take for me to break.
It was three days, for reference. It has been fourteen days since I was around people that don’t live in my house, not counting the one vet appointment that I had for Zoan. This is the longest I’ve been by myself since I started working twenty two years ago. This means that I’m not recovering my mental fortitude (for lack of a better word) on a daily basis.
Which makes the rest of this so much worse.
The way my brain works, it has times where things are fine, and times where things are Not Fine. This is, as far as I’ve been able to tell, a normal cyclical pattern. There isn’t anything I can do about this*, or even generally predict it. When it does start though, I recognize it happening and I make sure I have my coping measures in place – usually organizing additional board game / roleplaying nights, or visiting friends for a bit. This gives me enough mental fortitude to deal with the depression and not be a completely useless wreck of a human being.
That cycle started in early November. I received the phone call in mid-November that my mother had cancer, and she passed mid-December. This pushed me to try and force away those depressive thoughts, as I needed to “Adult Up” and actually operate. My mother needed me to do all sorts of things before she passed, and I needed me to do a bunch of them after. I know I can push things a bit, but I pay things back with interest – the longer I push, the deeper the depression gets after I’m done pushing.
I started with the deeper depression in January, around the time my partner arrived. It was rough, but I was starting to work through it. I took a trip to Indiana and we spent time with friends at the end of February. That’s, of course, when the proverbial excrement hit the ventilation system. The pandemic isn’t something I was prepared for, and even before things started getting locked down it started impacting my mental health.
Add in working from home. Add in my four-month-long migraine. Add in the social isolation. Add in deal with the battle report of the world. Add in the intense disappointment in how people are handling things. Add in my partner’s utter nightmare of a travel situation. Add in having to do a lot more work at home. Add in having routines disrupted. Add in losing food stability or the ability to even get food in less than five days. Add in losing an appointment I’ve been on a waiting list for for over six months (time to start back over on the list!).
I’m a walking disaster. I had to take time off of work Friday because I had been crying for about three hours straight. My head hurts so much that I’ve been trying to take 2-3 hot showers a day directly pointed at my neck to relax some of my tense muscles. I’m seeing the telltale signs of my body breaking down over long-term stress. I’m seeing stress-based illnesses in my cats even, as they take my stress on themselves. My temper is much shorter than normal and I’m just so aggravated by All The Things that I want to just scream.
This isn’t going to end anytime soon. I don’t have an end in sight, I don’t know how much longer I’ll have to do this. I still need to help my partner contact people regarding trying to extend something that isn’t supposed to be extendable. I still need to work (which, at least I’m still being paid?), and everything is just So Much.
I’m broken. I don’t know how to function long-term, or even how to keep things up short-term.
* – Other people in my situation take anti-depressants. There is nothing wrong with this – if you don’t have home made neurotransmitters, store-bought ones are fine. Problem being, I side-react to anti-depressants, making things about a hundred times worse. For those that knew me in high school, any of you ever notice me just staring at a wall for two days? Yeah, I don’t remember that because those were the side effects of my meds; I lost two days of my memory.