People tell me I’m so happy all the time…if they only knew

I have been falling into more of a depressive stage lately.  It’s harder to get motivated to do much of anything, to be social, etc.  I just want to hide more and more.  Unfortunately, right now I’m not in a position to do anything about it.  I don’t have the time or the funds to invest in seeing a shrink again, being put on a cocktail of meds, etc.

Sign o’ the times, ya know?  $50 co-pay for a specialist?  $35-50 per month per prescription?  Hell to the no.  Holla if ya hear me!

I’ve been in and out of therapy since I was about 16.  From about 2000-2007, I was on and off up to 5 meds at one time.  A variety of pharmaceuticals for a variety of mental ailments.

There’s a stigma that’s attached to “mental illness,” if you will.  I think that’s part of the reason that there’s been such a reaction to that story about the woman who lost her benefits because pictures were seen of her on Facebook at a party, on vacation, etc. (There’s 3 articles linked there, btw)  It really burns me up, because those of us with mental illness – well, that’s what we strive for.  To have some semblance of a normal life.  But just because I go to Gilly’s and sing karaoke a couple nights a week doesn’t mean that I’m miraculously cured of all my ills.  It just means that I’m dealing decently with everything for the moment.  Sometimes, it’s a real fucking struggle to get up and do fun stuff (Work is a different story.  Seriously, who DOESN’T struggle to get up and go to work?).  I get anxiety so badly over certain social situations that I have to really psyche myself up to get out there.  So when I do, yes, it’s progress.  Yes, it’s a good thing.  But NO, it doesn’t mean that I’m free of panic or sadness.

It also angers me that it seems that the insurance company made the judgement call that she was “un-depressed” due to the pictures posted.  Um, shouldn’t that call be made by a mental health professional?  Maybe the shrink or therapist that has been working with the woman in question? GEEZ.

That aside…it’s interesting to read the comments on these stories.  I can sort of see the different sides of the story.  I will say that it pisses me off that people are so ignorant about depression and other forms of mental illness.  It comes in many forms and varying degrees.

Yet…

I’m so conflicted about the story because…well, I don’t get disability for my depression, mania, anxiety, etc.  I never have.  Maybe if I could be completely open about it, I would.  There’s no way to tell.  I don’t have great insurance at the moment.  I pay every month myself (as opposed to by my employer).  I got the semi-sorta decent rate that I pay because I haven’t seen a therapist or been on any medication in 2 years.  Previously, I was paying an insane amount for COBRA.  So yeah, I’m teetering on a fine insurance-line.  Granted, I also don’t understand the insurance system all that well.

I can’t TELL you how many times over the years I have just wished so hard that I could completely BREAK DOWN, so that I could take some time and build myself back up again.  But I CAN’T.  Growing up, I was always told that I was just “overly sensitive” and that I should just deal with it and I’d be okay.  I have family members who have had anxiety so debilitating that they were barely able to leave the house AT ALL…for YEARS.  It’s only been in the past several years that other family members have become more accepting and a bit more understanding of it.  It’s an interesting family dynamic, trust me.  So there was no way in hell, years ago, that I could have ever been 100% forthcoming about how bad it was for me.  I still can’t be.  I’ve opened up a little bit more, but not completely.

We just don’t talk like that in my family.  Confrontations are avoided and issues are shelved with a smile.  My freshman year of college, I performed a half-hearted suicide attempt – and I even cringe to call it that.  Long story short, my transition to college life was not a smooth one.  The solution was a few sessions at the University Counseling Office, maybe 3 or 4 in total, while still taking my classes.  No break, no leave of absence, no nothing.  In retrospect, as much as I begged and pleaded to be allowed to drop out, it was probably best for me that I didn’t.  But the fact that my swallowing of a handful of pills was dealt with so lightly…

Which is why my family doesn’t know the cause of the light scars on my arms and legs – if they’ve even noticed.  I’ve mentioned my fasting, bingeing and purging in a joking manner to my mother.  Just casually in conversation.  In a way that says, Hey, this happened, but I’ve dealt with it and I’m okay now.” Also, I’ve mentioned how it’s funny (and lucky, I suppose) that I check things over and over again before I leave the house, because at least I can pretty much guarantee that our home won’t burn down because I left my flatiron on.

Because that’s what I had learned that I was supposed to do.  It’s not that bad, I can deal with it okay.  As far as the world knows.  So I break down a bit, and build myself back up a little.  I never crash 100%, because I can’t.  I have things to do.  Carry on, live a “normal” life and keep up appearances.  Go to work, build a life for myself.  But as a result, who knows if I’ll ever get entirely better.

Does it make me fucking OKAY because I deal with my life without meds and therapy (mostly because I cannot afford it)?  Trust me, I might be “dealing well” and functioning, but a lot of the time it SUCKS hardcore.  And just because I CAN, doesn’t mean that others can.  It doesn’t work that way.  I wish more people understood that.

Play off all the pain with a joke and a smile.  Never let on that anything’s REALLY wrong.  It’s nothing insurmountable. Appearances are everything. There’s so much shame in this game – I’ve got so much to lose.  So I suck it up and deal.

Never mind.  I’m just having a bad couple of days.

About meredithelaine

thirty-something. karaoke diva. just trying to get by.
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One Response to People tell me I’m so happy all the time…if they only knew

  1. Erica says:

    I so, so hear you and wish I didn’t. I have never been on meds, and have made several half-hearted attempts at therapy, but lately – I think I need to get more serious. Maybe. Like, do I really need these meds? (A doc wrote me a prescription) Am I creating a problem that may not really exist? What does this mean for me long-term? I wish I had some sort of test where I could just know definitively if something was wrong with me.

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