This is Why I Am Never Going to Get Better

 depressed woman sitting on dirt path in foggy forest

There are days that I really do try.

I remind myself that my actions have consequences, that another absence would be noticed.

I think about how much harder tomorrow will be if I don't get out of bed today and how hard today will be if I spend it in bed, full of guilt and unable to shake the sleep and fullness from my head. 

There are other days where I don't have to try at all.

I wake up, shower, make it through my twenty-minute skin and makeup routine, apply four products to my hair to get the curl just right, and I don't forget to take my medication.

Most days are like this.

I don't miss the bus, I make it to work on time, and I play my small part in the big machine that keeps churning out change in the world. 

And then there are some days I just don't try.

Some days I don't get out of bed because I can't.

Some nights I take too many sleeping pills on an empty stomach.

I go too many days without taking my meds, too many days without eating.

Too many days without something, just to feel anything.

On those other days I have to wake myself up without making any changes, choosing to walk through a world that looks and feels like the inside of a snow globe at the end of its shake. 

I cycle. I learned some time ago that there will be too many to count, too many to miss, too many to look forward to to be nostalgic or excited.

I have been treated for, and diagnosed with, multiple illnesses from so many professionals I've put my trust in that I can no longer align myself with any of them.

Treatment-resistant major depression. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Bipolar Affective Disorder I. Bipolar Affective Disorder II. 

I am sick. I have a long-term illness that requires consistent monitoring and treatment.

I have been in therapy for most of my adult life, I take seven pills a day, and I spent a month last year as the only person older than 19 and younger than 65 in a psychiatric outpatient program to help me learn how to cope with these intense feelings. 

I learned that I am never going to get better. I learned that I am a work in progress. 

Living with such a complex combination of mental health issues means I am scared and sad and confused a majority of the time.

But when I'm not, when I have good days, I must take advantage of them to pull ahead in case I get pulled back again.

I have to trust that there is a support system there whose patience isn't fleeting and whose love is unwavering.

That's another thing that I've learned over the years. In order to stay healthy, to stay strong, I have to remember: it's not about getting better. It's about staying alive. It's about staying strong. And it is not up to me to run that course alone. 

On the otherwise blank walls of the group therapy room in the hospital, there was a poster outlining the lay of land. On the very last line, in bold letters, stood alone the words:

We are all in this together.