I just had a long conversation with an old friend on the phone. I hate talking on the phone. But there’s like 4 people aside from my kids I will always answer the phone for and she is one of them. She suffers a lot of the same mental ailments that I do. We always say that we can’t both be “sick” at the same time because one of us has to be able to pick the other one up.
Our conversation turned to the turmoil I am having with 2 of my 3 kids. We aren’t talking at all. My daughter turned 27 on Thursday and I didn’t see her for her birthday. Didn’t even really talk to her. Sent her a happy birthday text and got a “thanks” reply.
One of the things I explained to my friend is that I wish my kids would just try to understand what goes on in my head and what is wrong with me. I feel like they would be a little more… gentle? Caring? Loving? Present? I don’t know what I think they would do. But I have such a NEED to be understood.
My friend said exactly what I have always known but seem to have forgotten. People who have never battled mental illness don’t, and probably won’t ever, understand what it’s like. What I go through. How afraid I am. How sensitive I can be. Why I can’t get off the couch some days. Why their mom wasn’t like all the other moms when they were growing up.
Despite my daughter being an RN and having studied mental illness and having done a rotation in a mental hospital, she is educated on the issue of mental disorders, but lacks the experience I guess you would say, to understand what it means to be me.
It’s so true. People don’t understand. How many times have you heard “but you have a great job”, “you’re so good looking and intelligent”, “you look fine to me”… as if I would say “you know what? You’re right! I am a beautiful woman with a beautiful family and a successful career. I should just stop being this way! Why haven’t I thought of this?”
Everyone I meet lately seems to have “anxiety” and a Xanax prescription so that gives them the experience to tell me what I need to do in order to feel better. “Autumn, you need to get up and go for a run every morning” “go out with your friends for happy hour” “just change the way you think” “just look at all you have to be thankful for”… ad nauseum.
I feel invisible. Alone. In a room full of people, I feel alone. It’s such a suffocating feeling.
I wish that I would just accept that people aren’t going to understand. My kids aren’t going to understand. Maybe I just need to stop trying to put a square block in a circular hole.
I am not making these feelings up. I can’t just STOP feeling this way. If it were that easy, everyone would be shitting glitter and vomiting rainbows.
This is real. This is debilitating. This is terrifying at times. This is lonely as hell always. This is me.