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This is Me Living With Mental Illness

March 1, 2017

Just imagine sitting at your desk in front of your computer ready to work and huge veil comes down and covers your mind. You stare out the window. A half hour goes by. And you don’t even realize it’s happening. And it’s certainly not something you can control. You can’t control something you don’t even realize is happening.

I haven’t eaten all day because I can’t decide what to eat and I’ll have to cook. Make a sandwich? That implies I am able to go to the grocery store and keep my kitchen stocked with the basic necessities, like bread.

Anything you take for granted, any task you do during the day, like putting the clothes in the washer, is a monumental effort for me. I sit and think about doing it. I think a lot about doing it. But I don’t do it. I even dream sometimes I’m doing something, like unloading the dishwasher and I wake up and realize it’s not done. And I think about doing it. And I don’t do it.

I don’t think anyone knows just how bad it is. I really don’t. I have a very good “normal” act. I’ve perfected it over the years. But my issues are more obvious now, because of the tremors from the lithium, because of the things I say that don’t make sense, because I stutter when I'm desperately searching for that word, because of the quality of my work. But it used to be and not that long ago, when I’d tell people I had an issue with depression they’d be surprised.

This is me living with mental illness. Mental illness is winning. I am fading.

“My case is not unique: I am afraid of dying and distressed at being in this world. I haven’t worked, I haven’t studied. I have wept, I have cried out in protest. These tears and cries have taken up a great deal of my time. I am tortured by all the time lost whenever I think about it. I cannot think about things for long, but I can find pleasure in a withered lettuce leaf offering me nothing but regrets to chew over. There is no sustenance in the past. I shall depart as I arrived. Intact, loaded down with the defects that have tormented me. I wish I had been born a statue: I am a slug under my dunghill. Virtues, good qualities, courage, meditation, culture. With arms crossed on my breast I have broken myself against those words.”

―Violette Leduc, La Bâtarde



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