I’ve told you about my particular anxiety disorder, my decision to go on medication, a bit about the side effects of said medication, and how that wasn’t the end of what I needed to do to get healthier.
Even now, multiple years after those events, I’m still not done. I’m still actively working. I’m sure I’ll be a project until I shuffle off my mortal coil.
But I wanted to talk about one last thing. I wanted to tell you why I even opened my mouth about this at all.
It’s a difficult decision. Partly for all the usual reasons–I am, despite what one might think reading my blog, a pretty private person, and there’s also the fact that a series of posts like this can be blood in the water for stalkers or people who might not necessarily want to offer support. Besides, there is a huge social stigma around any sort of mental disorder, as well as a toxic set of assumptions about anyone who admits to having to take meds. Of those reasons, the blood in the water was the biggest one on the side of refraining.
There’s also the fact that my story is very common, and I have not made art of it the way some other people have. My struggles are mild in comparison. I stay silent about a number of issues stemming from my childhood for my own reasons, and I think they’re good reasons. Also, fear. Just plain, simple fear. Not the kind that I can grab and force into a story to make it manageable. Not the kind that fuels a book. Just a creeping, cringing, terrible fear.
Balanced against all that were the reasons to speak.
* I felt it was time, for my own health. To face my own fear. Selfish, but true.
* I’m not going to lie: part of it was a dare to those who smell blood in the water. It’s been educational and interesting to see them come out of the woodwork. It’s been healing to not respond, or to put my barriers up, and to realize that I have a right to speak even though some would prefer I keep silent. To speak or not is my choice, and I am going to make it myself. And only by myself.
* I’ve read, in the past few months, some searing, honest, and marvelous things from people who struggle with similar (albeit much larger) issues. In particular, Allie Brosh speaking about her depression helped me to feel much, much less alone and freakish. This is my way of passing that help on.
* Because–and this is the biggest reason–I desperately hope that someone, somewhere, will feel less alone reading these posts. If even just one person might feel slightly less alone, slightly less isolated, slightly less of a freak or an alien as a result of me speaking publicly about having to take meds, or about what led up to that and how I made my decision, or even just that I wanted to reach out…then every single instant of pain was worth it, because it led me to a place where I could have a chance of hopefully ameliorating someone else’s agony.
Again and again I come to the place of simply holding the line and hoping. The older I get, the more I think that’s the point of life, and the only thing that truly survives anyone’s brief tenure on this rock hurtling through space. The ripple effect, as it were, from being as decent as you can on a day-to-day basis, shouting into the void and holding the line even if you fear nobody will grab it. The act of holding is important.
And so, I continue.
Thanks for listening.