Digging to Roam

Sometimes I Feel Ashamed of My Mental Health

Woman with mascara running holds a sign in front of her face with a smile on it.
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I haven’t written in so long and each time I start, all I want to do is edit myself as I write. Also my left shift key is broken so I need to adjust my typing speed to that. Afraid of my own thoughts. Avoidance. Avoiding the silence, avoiding what it means to not be connected. To be actually alone. To lose myself in these words. What am I avoiding?

When I start trying to write about my personal experience I get blocked. I just dissociate and lose the thread I was sewing with. My flow is interrupted with jolts and fear.

My words get caught in my head. I don’t get it. And I can’t seem to translate the moment. The energy is gone, drained. The sorrow is heavy. The lack of interest in life is like a drain, emptying out what I try to fill up the space with. My momentary joy, the temporary energy, the minutes of laughter, the hours of dreaming, the walks, the meetings I go to, the plants I grow, the makeup I wear, the people I meet, the therapy appointments, the research, the community. It adds up to a mere puddle in the corner of the tub, that area that doesn’t empty just right because it’s off kilter by a millimeter. Eventually it too will make its way to the drain, just slowly. How much water must I pour in to amount to something? Anything?

I am embarrassed by my lack of productivity. It’s like each time I get close to starting work, just almost clicking the folder for writing, just almost opening the groups to do marketing for husband’s business, just as I start thinking about uploading a client’s photos to their website…I stop. What is stopping me? Who is stopping me? I start dissociating. My mind pulls me away from it. That inability to push past the hesitation, I feel like I’m not even trying.

I can’t tell myself no and I can’t tell myself yes. I’m constantly not showing up for myself. I never show up for myself. And I’m stuck in a limbo I cannot escape from. There is a fear there, a force, stronger than anything else, that keeps me from thriving. It’s stronger than the desire to be healthy. It’s stronger than the urge to work. It’s more powerful than the conviction to be a good and loving partner. This self-destructive force is stronger than anything I’ve ever known. It keeps me from taking the good advice of others and pushes me to extremes.

I have to get out of this space. Where my head is clouded and the fog so thick that all my thoughts get caught in the swirl of intrusive thoughts and voices. Getting them out in the open, to do something with them, is nearly impossible.  Just right now as I sit here, there is creativity there, there is a yearning to break out, to let this build up of feeling in my chest explode through my fingertips. But it doesn’t happen. It is looking for a way out but there is no exit way that isn’t blocked or obscured by the fog.

Sometimes I will be writing and I get scared someone will see the unedited pieces. It’s not that I want to hide but I also want to process and write without that extra fear of someone seeing it and coming to their own conclusions about my state of mind or what I’m doing or trying to do.

I’ve been wandering, seeing the pieces of my life that fell apart. I could pick them up. Collect the burned remnants. The ashes have been transformed, but I can’t help but think if I could only put it back together…maybe it would all make sense and I could be in the now and let go of the then.

I wish I had just cut and dry answers to my thoughts. I always am thinking if what I think is what other people think. I then question myself and my own conclusions or even my own musings. Like always being defensive and circling around and covering all bases to not offend, to not seem like I know what is best, to avoid labeling.

And I keep things to myself that I think and feel because I guess I don’t want to bother people with problems that just keep repeating themselves. I mean who wants to listen to me talk again about not being able to concentrate or work or what keeps me from going out of my apartment much. How many days can I struggle to get out of bed or off the couch? Who wants to listen to it again? I keep things to myself also because I think I should be different by now. That I should be better by now. And I don’t want to reveal the extent of my struggle because I feel ashamed. I’m embarrassed.

I always hope for it to change, give way, undergo a metamorphosis. It doesn’t. The lethargic symptoms merely ebb and flow. The blockage remains. I’ve had the blockage release it’s hold, but rather than dissolving, it is merely dislodged. Eventually returning to clog the same pipeline it was temporarily parted from. Other people point out the growth they’ve seen, and many days I can see it too. Impatience urges me to progress faster, more effectively, and to just “get better.”

I talk a lot about mental health positivity and preach about not being ashamed of mental health struggles, but the reality is that acceptance isn’t the finish line and there is no linear progression to obtain it. It’s a daily choice, a choice I’m sometimes unable to make. And that’s ok, too.

November 29, 2019

you might also be interested in

Find help for a crisis by texting, calling, or chatting online with these free crisis organizations. Looking for one outside of the USA? Check out our support listings.

Crisis Text Line
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Domestic Violence Hotline
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Child Abuse Hotline
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The Trevor Project
Text “START” to 678678
1-866-488-7386

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1 Comment

  1. Chosura on November 30, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Wow! I needed your piece ..your experience, your voice SO MUCH…..it was like listening to my own voice when writing which I do often try to write about how I’m thinking, feeling so I can transcend this experience that you speak of and let the passion go but I have not been able to do it!!! And I DO think, as you have said, for me after all these years that the solution is absolutely in the moment either working from that place or simply accepting that I can’t in that moment and come back to it. Initially, focusing only on the moment is terrifying for me because I feel out of control in the moment as if my negative thoughts are actually helping me control my life. However, in this moment, I am sighing with relief after reading your piece. It is so nice to hear from a comrade. Thank you so much, as always!

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