I haven’t written many blogs posts lately. Haven’t written much fiction lately either. The most I seem to be able to manage is a Facebook post or two. Even emails feel overwhelming.
It’s hard to be sick and I’m sick. Only not in the ways I’m used to being sick–sneezing or coughing or whatever. I feel sick down to my core, sick in my brain, sick in my heart.
“An anxious depression,” the therapist called it–“or a depressed anxiety, if you prefer.” I think the first sounds better. I still like phrases to sound good even if I’m not writing many of them these days.
My heart races, my stomach knots, my mind leaps around, terrified, and I think, “I have to flee.” And then I remember there’s nowhere to run to and, anyway, I don’t really want to leave the family I love and the wonderful life I have (but can’t appreciate right now). And the conflict of that–the wanting to be gone and the knowledge that I should stay–hurts and bring sadness.
This is the loneliest I’ve ever been. I feel so alone in my head. Sometimes I watch myself talk and it’s like I’m pretending to be me, to say the things I would “normally” say to my kids and husband and friends, and it’s like something out of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. Am I fooling them? Do they think it’s the real me? What if they see through me?
I don’t want to go on too long about this, not because I’m worried about revealing too much–I’m not ashamed of feeling like this, just wish I didn’t–but because I’m worried about being too boring. It’s a cliche, isn’t it? Middle-aged woman, grappling with menopause, falls down a deep hole and can’t find anything to grab onto to keep from going deeper. It’s not news.
So why write about it at all? Partially because I want to explain why I’m not being creative these days and partially because it really does make me feel better when I open up to someone and that person says, “I know, I’ve been there.” And means it. That helps the loneliness. It also helps me believe that this will pass. So there’s a hopefulness to sharing: maybe some of you have been in the hole or are in the hole and maybe you’ll help me or I’ll help you feel less alone in there.
And, just so you know, I’m being responsible: I’m working in every possible way on getting better, both on my own and with professionals. This week was better than last week. Two weeks ago, I couldn’t even have written this post. So that’s something. And there are moments when I feel like my old self, when something makes me laugh for real or distracts me from the thoughts that race around my head and body, telling me not to relax my vigilance for one second, because bad things are waiting to happen, will happen, soon and forever. There’s such relief when I can escape from those thoughts even for a moment or two–it gives me a glimpse of a future when I won’t feel this way all or even most of the time. I know it will come and I’m doing everything I can to make it come sooner rather than later.
In the meanwhile, see that little hand waving around at ground level? That’s me in my hole. Reaching up to say hi.