Thursday, October 12, 2017

Collected Musings

For the last guest post of this week, I've got my friend CJ on the blog with a very raw and honest collection of what mental illness has been like for her. So please give her a warm welcome and support in the comments. :)

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Hey, guys. I’m C.J. from Sarcasm and Lemons, a book blog. I have depression and anxiety. Many flavors of each, and I’ve been dealing with them for a long time. I’ve talked a lot about mental illness on my blog, self care tips and myth busting and various bookish topics, but for this year’s mental health awareness week, I’m going with something a little more personal. A series of snippets, things I’ve written down in the midst of anxiety or depression. Fragments of my experience in those moments. Mental illness is a fickle, mercurial thing, different for everyone but with a core of gray sameness.

Here’s what it’s been like for me. 
CW: Depression, anxiety, thoughts of self-harm 

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Collected Musings

Anxiety is taking a klonopin on your birthday because you’re worried your dinner reservation won’t work out or your friends won’t have fun or they’re only coming because they feel like they have to or…

Depression is longing and failure. When you’re so desperately sad and you find someone else’s poetry, someone else’s lines that express exactly how you’re feeling in that moment, and instead of feeling less alone you feel more depressed because there’s even someone out there who’s better at your pain than you are.

Sometimes the greatest relief in a moment of depression comes when you have come to think so little of yourself and your situation that you’ll say anything to anyone, even a thing so terrifying as a “How do you do?”  A lovely irony, that the fear to seek what you want is lowest when you’ve nearly given up on seeking it. 

In this world, you can be in a room full of people and invisible. In this world you are a character.  You are a ghost.  You feel that you live but you can’t help shifting your eyes to the side, searching for the edge of the scene.  Blinking, to clear the fog and bring the real world into focus.  Move too quickly and you’ll tip off the edge of the earth.  If you move, you cease to exist.  If you speak, you’re a shadow.  This place is a phantom.  This is the dream world, where you stand on the threshold of the void and long to jump, because the smash of the earth will make everything real again.  If the wind didn’t tear the wheat to the side and bluster the walkers into corners, would they know they were real?  Pain, no matter how melodramatic it sounds, is the only reality in this kind of world.  Muffled in the golden glow, you struggle against the itchy restlessness of a scream.  Dig your fingernails into your wrist.  Suck down coffee hot enough to scald.  You fear that you’ll be in this half world forever, but even more you fear the reality you’ve left behind.  Because step out that door you break the spell, and the loneliness can find you.  The only good solution is to open a book, because locked behind two layers of unreality, you can cease to exist . . . with the comfort that any time you feel yourself dying, you can come back. 

It's medication. You know you need it, but you hate needing it. Hate piling those little capsules together and choking them down. I remember, once, picking up the pills and having this awful feeling of deju vu. Didn’t I just do this? I realized, listlessly, that I had. Last night, and the night before, and the one before that, every one of them so much the same as to be indistinguishable in my memory. God, I thought. Is this my life? I’d never felt so restless to escape, and so unable to.

Television is the refuge of the lonely. TV shows are prepackaged friends. I’ve come to know many of them, Alex the wizard, Leslie Knope, Jessica Day. Cancellations feel like funerals.

Sometimes it’s being afraid to live. To be me. To express opinions, to share the splinters of my soul. I’ve become a fragile thing that cracks beneath fingerprints.

Does going to sleep count as situational anxiety?

I’ve perfected the silent scream. It comes from the back of your throat. You can force your diaphraghm in, push air out of your throat, hard, into your closed lips. In a reasonably noisy room, you can smile and scream and no one will notice a goddamn thing.

In truth, I hate myself a little. Sometimes I hate myself a lot. I feel claustrophobic in my own skin and I scream for escape but the only escape is death, and that’s no escape at all because it scares me so fucking bad to think about it that I want to claw my way out of my skin.
It’s a circular problem. 

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, CJ darling. <3