Can’t maintain the façade

**I wrote this several months ago when I was in one of the darkest places I have ever been in my life. Since then I have alternately felt compelled to do my part in attempting to de-stigmatize and then also was embarrassed, ashamed and self judging so I have kept it hidden. The last thing I want is for this illness to be my legacy. I don’t want the first thing people think when they see me to be that I am the lady with mental issues. Or worse, judging my kids based on the disease. But this is why it is all the more important to ‘talk’ about it. Like any other disease, this is treatable but can also be fatal. Thanks to a friend (who literally saved my life) and an inner circle of trusted family and friends I was able to realize I was sick, not unlike someone with diabetes or cancer and have been able to find the right treatment for me. It is not just the people you see sleeping under bridges or the monsters in your nightmares that have these issues but it is people that you see every day trying to be good parents and successful business people, coaches, aunts, daughters, church members, sisters, friends, and most importantly ‘normal’ people. All of this describes me. The stigma is still very strong but I am constantly encouraged to talk about my experience and hearing about other’s did help me realize I was going to be okay. That I wasn’t a monster. Or selfish. Or broken. Or worse doomed to a sad statistic. I don’t feel like I have to hide or fake it anymore. **

 

December 17, 2012

 

“I start to feel like I can’t maintain the façade any longer, that I may just start to show through. And I wish I knew what was wrong. Maybe something about how stupid my whole life is. I don’t know. Why does the rest of the world put up with the hypocrisy, the need to put a happy face on sorrow, the need to keep keeping on?… I don’t know the answer. I know only that I can’t. I don’t want any more vicissitudes, I don’t want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.” ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel quotes (American Author and Actress, b.1967)

**

I am 37 years old. I have two beautiful, talented, smart and exceptionally well behaved children who haven’t given me a minute of trouble their whole lives. I have a loving supportive family. I am smart. I am not horribly unattractive. I am ambitious. I work hard and have a fantastic career. I can run for hours. I have some unique talents. I am well educated. And I hate myself profoundly.

**

Why is this? I don’t understand it myself but I am trying to now, finally, after 37 years of this. I cannot remember more than a handful of moments that I can honestly say I was happy. I have periods of being ‘okay’ more periods of sad and some of total blackness. I hate this more about myself than anything. I can’t stand people who whine and feel sorry for themselves. I despise people who sit around not doing anything for themselves. People who complain and take up my time going over the disappointments in their lives bore and disgust me. But this is exactly who I am on the inside.

**

I wasn’t raised this way. My family is strong. Every one of them accomplished in their own way. Successful. In my family, if you have an issue, physical or otherwise you suck it up and deal with it. We don’t have time or the patience for weakness. My family is amazing and has always helped one of the other of us in need, don’t get me wrong. But depression is not something to be tolerated or succumbed to. But I am clinically depressed and am an embarrassment. They haven’t said as much and probably wouldn’t. I have been for as long as I can remember and I am not capable of sucking it up anymore. As Elizabeth Wurtzel said, I am exhausted.

**

Tired. I am so tired of wishing I would disappear. I have gone through my whole life hoping this “one thing” would make me better. Better grades, higher achievement, a promotion, another marathon medal, better split times, nicer hair, a better figure, and most intensely…a great love. Love had eluded me and this, I feel, is my biggest failure of all. But if I do something fantastic, I will be okay. If I can find someone to love me. I will be better. But it is never enough. I know even that wouldn’t be enough.

**

Admitting this makes me sick. I should be able to overcome this. But not admitting it makes me sicker. It contributes to my Lupus, which I will take in extreme forms over this darkness. I find myself jealous of cancer patients and dead crime victims. How pitiful is that? But often times I could leave all of it behind and that would be ideal. My children would be taken care of and I would not be stigmatized. I would not be seen as a horrible person. I always thought people who take the ‘easy way out’ are selfish people. The worst kind of person. A waste. Deciding to take your own life is NOT easy, by the way. Picking the weapon and going through the agonizing steps will be the hardest thing a person could ever imagine going through. Almost as hard as imagining living through another day of the pain and torture of a mental condition you believe no one can understand or save you from. Hell is something you feel like you deserve. At least I did.

**

My children…feeling this way means I am a terrible parent, right? How could I feel like leaving them?  Aren’t they enough to live for and to make me snap out of it. Of course they are. They are wonderful and I feel the one reason why I am still here today. But many times I feel like they would be so much better off without me. But in leaving them, I would leave them to always blame themselves because that is what children do. So I cannot leave. I won’t leave. But I need help. And finally, I am getting it.

**

I am beginning to understand this is a medical condition. Not entirely my fault I suppose, even though I feel like it is. Like I am weak. Could five concussions have contributed to it? Perhaps, but I have always been sad. I remember darkness even when I was a child. Even growing up in the ideal ‘Leave It to Beaver’ household. I could not have asked for better in a childhood. I would hate it if anyone were to feel sorry for me. I couldn’t stand for anyone to look at me with a sad look and ask if I am okay. I will just say that I am fine. I will not bother you with my illness. My mother says I have said even as a toddler that I can do it myself. And I can. I will. I just need to say this. I had to write it. It is time to admit it to get better. This is an illness and I have to believe that.

**

I will be okay.

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About Christine O.

A single Mom to two little girls until March 9, 2014 when I married my soul-mate, full time executive in a demanding field, marathon runner, daughter to the perfect parents, oldest sister of a younger brother and sister, coach, boss, girlfriend, best friend, member of the church choir, volunteer in the local Lion's Club and CASA organization, and becoming newly acclimated to the world of mental illness after a life changing event. My goal in blogging and learning as much as I can about this subject is to defeat stigma associated with brain disease and preventing suicide in the future.
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One Response to Can’t maintain the façade

  1. gatito2 says:

    Christine, the more I read your blog, the more I know that you and my daughter were very similar, right down to the running and trying to make herself feel betterr. I have things to share with you that I would rather message you privately about. If you have time, please contact me at my email address welding81@intrstar.net (note the different spelling of intrstar). I have so much I want to talk to you about and ask you. Thank you. Rhonda

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