This Double-Edged Sword

Something that came up in my last session which I suppose I had to accept as a certain possibility is that perhaps I haven’t gotten “better” over these years. Not really in the way I had hoped at least. It seems obvious just hearing out loud but it’s not something I still fully grasped yet. My symptoms haven’t lessened, I haven’t stopped trying whatever I can just to cope with both massive mood shifts on a periodical basis, but the most infuriating and more difficult aspect of my mental health is the sudden and often violent shifts on a moment to moment basis. It hasn’t gone away, I haven’t noticed them for a while because the way in which I cope now isn’t nearly as destructive to myself or to others but what I didn’t realize is I’m doing the same exact thing I did back years ago. Coping. I hoped with enough time, enough therapy, and enough actual practicing of my skills that little things that used to bother me wouldn’t anymore. What I wrote in my last post is a prime example of that, and is only one of many situations happening constantly. Situations and events can wipe my mood, just as easily as one can quickly refill it. I have stopped catastrophizing relationships and friendships in the years that have passed, for the most part, and I thought that was a sign maybe I am not who I was. The problem lies in I never stopped catastrophizing, I just shifted my target. I’m not scared things are going to end with the people I love.. unfortunately I feel almost certain that they’re going to end that isn’t what I’m afraid of anymore, I am afraid that when things do end. I won’t be prepared for it. I am uncomfortable with any happiness that isn’t self-created because that could possibly mean I get too comfortable in something that could/will end eventually. I seem “healthier” now, I seem like a different person than I was then, but I have seen even recently when things get bad all of that is thrown out the window. I rely reflexively on these unhealthy coping mechanisms that definitely don’t fix the problem, often they make them worse in the long run, but give me some sort of immediate relief. I am catastrophizing the result of what seems certain, which can also be argued that’s in it’s own respect is catastrophizing too.. just a mixture of that and an unhealthy radical acceptance. I’m afraid that I won’t know what to do, how to react, how to cope if my situation just suddenly did a 180 and things felt cold and dark again. Will I become the old me? Had I ever even become a new me or is that just who I always have been? Have I just gotten smarter and better at reacting to the discomfort?

I am a hypocrite because I will proudly express my support and full belief that having a mental illness is not in anyway unlike having a physical illness or disability. It doesn’t make you any less than for being sick with the flu, just like it shouldn’t make you any less than for dealing with depression. We are all born or are given somewhere along the ride of our lives these handicaps that make our life more difficult, but it does not make us any less us than we would’ve been without it. However when I look at the mirror all those beliefs tend to fade away, because I do genuinely see this all as my own weakness. As something I’ve been trying to fix, like at the end of this therapy thing I might come out a decent, healthy, and functional human being who no longer has to worry about the constant mood, personality, and just entire thought process shifts that it’s starting to fully settle in I will actually never have control over. I don’t know why I can’t give myself a fucking break, I would never even for a second think any of the things I constantly tell myself on repeat to any of my friends who are dealing with similar stuff. Why do I feel like I’m the god damn special exception here? It feels really disappointing to know that maybe this tendency to expect the worse isn’t going to go away. I will never stop preparing for things to blow up, I just have to do so in a way that’s healthier than I had in the past. And to give myself just a fraction of credit, while I believe the reason for doing so is unhealthy and a result of flawed thinking, I’ve been preparing myself for this “catastrophe” by trying to gain all the bits of happiness, appreciation, validation I can try to muster mostly from myself but also just trying to further establish my “pack” still to help with that as well. It’s not their job to give me validation or anything else, but I would be completely lying if I said we don’t need that from other people as well. Another both positive and negative aspect of this is I’m not really doing it for myself anymore. Being this depressed and manic for a good portion of my life now and for the unforeseeable future, that happy ending I hoped for as a naive teenager. Thinking things will someday get better, I’ll get better, and that might open me up the possibility of having a life in which I’m happy, settled down, and all these worries of “Does everyone hate me? Do I really matter? Could I just disappear and would anyone notice?” would all be long gone. That situation can’t happen. Because I know that there is no happy ending at the end of this for me, and because of that my focus hasn’t making things better for me.

I’m going to keep coping for as long as I can, but what has deeply affected me is what effect all of this has had on the people I care about. I’m okay dealing with a few hours of discomfort if it means I didn’t immediately ask them what they meant by some random insignificant bit of information I stumbled upon that caused my brain to go into panic mode. I didn’t suffocate them to appease my own constant fear and need for validation. If I’m not better, at least I know that the fact that I’m reacting better will at least be better for my friends. That matters to me a lot more now because I really like Silas, I am incredibly thankful they entered into my life but most importantly I genuinely think they are a incredible person with more kindness than I could ever hope to even pretend to have. I don’t fear things are going to end, they may or may not I’m trying my hardest to just stay adamantly in the present when it comes to thinking about that but I do worry that if things do end badly that it will likely be my fault and I don’t want to have been a negative even regretful addition to their lives. That goes for every one of those I consider a part of my pack, but the worry I feel tenfold with them because of their importance to me and admittedly them being my favorite person. As much as I’ve hated using that term in the past, it’s just an aspect of my personality and there will be a special place I hold for those I am specifically closely attached to. Especially when that person means as much as Silas does to me. These people all mean the world to me. Now it’s just a matter of not making this term unhealthy this time. I don’t think these people deserve having someone like me dropped into their lives but to try and make up for that guilt I’m going to try and be the best friend I am capable of being. Whether that’s enough is yet to be seen.