I wish I could say that the reason for not writing was because I’ve been doing so well there was no need, but this isn’t the case. This summer has been less of a blur and more of a hurricane – I frequently found myself wishing for cold weather, in hopes that everything would (figuratively and literally) chill out.
It’s become so easy to wear a mask again, to be the wife/daughter/friend/employee that I’m expected to be – to nod my head, laugh and make conversation. It’s a defence mechanism, really, because I have very little to give in this moment in time. The moments I spend alone are silent, if I could find a pin to drop behind my eyes, I’m sure it would echo between each ear incessantly – but there is no pin. I turn on the metaphorical light and it’s just a cold cement room, nothing loose or out of place. Just nothing. I don’t even sit in this room, I watch it from above for hours, staring at an empty unchanging space. Imagine the worst boredom you’ve ever experienced, now imagine that nothing can make that boredom stop – no person to person interaction, no hobby, again nothing, can liven up this mental bunker.
This is how I know I’m burnt out.
It’s important for me to clarify that being burnt out, in this instance, isn’t the same as being depressed. In fact, I would almost guarantee that my depression throughout the past 5 months is a large factor in what has caused me to become burnt out in the first place. Any time I start to feel depressed or anxious my mind immediately goes in to auto pilot, lawful neutral, play the parts you need to play to get through the day, because my brain and body just can’t handle an episode right now… it needs order and stability – I imagine it being an emergency override mode and I’m locked out until systems return to normal, which I know is for my own good, but it is lonely; To not be able to take solace in your own thoughts and for all the old tricks to stop working.
I felt it was important to talk about this today, because it shows that even those of us who know our cues and have some understanding of how our mental illnesses work… we can still be thrown for a loop. You can’t always predict the next anxiety attack or depressive episode. Sometimes they come in new forms that you’ve never dealt with before and sometimes you are subject to something completely foreign. You may feel lost in a familiar maze that was once solvable, now impossible, taking days to decide whether to turn left or right.
You may be staring at a devoid space, from the outside in, recognizing the shapes but not the colours, slamming your fists against the walls to be let back inside.
I hope that soon I will be; that one day soon I’ll be ready.