I was going to run last night. I meant to run. I was thinking about it all day yesterday--psyching myself up to run. Or rather, walk. I was planning to work on improving my walking speed, and do a few hills.
Then, "hello darkness my old friend. I've come to talk with you again." Or rather, it came to talk with me.
Darkness is always there, like "a little shadow that goes in and out with me." What's the use of it? It's more than I can see. And yet, it's there. Sometimes it's small. I can manage it really well when it's little, because I am big. (I'm talking in the figurative sense. Although I guess I'm "big" compared to some people.) If the tiny shadow tries to speak up, I can more easily drown it out with the positive words and caring gestures from my husband, my in-laws (though I affectionately call them outlaws), and my wonderful friends. I have the skills to work with it--skills I learned through practice and therapy, that lets me recognize it.
Acknowledging it is the first step. Then the next step is to overcome it, and sometimes I can. When the darkness tries to glue my ass to the computer chair, I can sometimes ignore that computer chair stuck to my butt, and go about my business anyway. It's heavy, but I can do it. And along the way, the darkness realizes that I'm beating HIS ass, and that darn computer chair falls off my butt.
(Okay, I know I'm speaking in figurative language--but it's the best way I can describe it. So bear with me.)
Sometimes the darkness is bigger than me. Especially when depression is compounded by seasonal affective disorder--aka, I get worse between October and March, with lingering effects into May.
I honestly thought I had it beat back this winter. It was loads better than the last winter, when I barely had enough energy to go to work, to stand up and check in books, to train students. I managed somehow, but it was awful. There were times last winter when I wanted to succumb to the craziness and jump off my balcony--but the fear of God and the fear of hell kept me from ever doing that. (Who says religious guilt is all bad?)
But I forgot that just because it's better than last year doesn't mean it's better, period. I came a long way this year, thanks to switching from Zoloft to Lexapro. I was able to do school still. I was able to move around and do activities. I was able to work efficiently. And yet I realized that I still have a long way to go.
You know why? Because I forgot about another friend. PTSD.
I may no longer get nightly nightmares about my dad, but that doesn't mean that PTSD is gone. It's a complex disorder, and it's even more complex when the trauma happened when one was a child. There have been studies that show that persistent childhood trauma actually changes the brain chemistry in people, predisposing them even more to mental illnesses. Particularly depression. And PTSD that forms in children at a young age...
Well. It's just a giant clusterfuck. I thought I had managed to move past most of that--but I don't think I actually have. I haven't addressed anxiety, for one thing. Some anxiety is normal, but there can come a time when it's obsessive. I haven't addressed PTSD very much. At least it has gotten better--I don't freak out whenever people raise their voices anymore. My heart used to jump out of my chest whenever someone scraped something across a hard floor, and I rarely have that reaction anymore. If I'm caught off guard, I will still react, but most of the time, I can talk myself down from it.
But then there are times when I feel like getting injured just so I have a reason to feel bad. Like my depression and SAD and PTSD aren't a reason enough--just because they're emotions. Just like my dad would say. I have no reason to feel bad so I need to get over my being spoiled and my big britches, or else he would give me a reason to feel bad.
All fucking winter, beginning somewhere around Oct or Nov, I'd had daily fears of getting run over by a car as I cross streets. Sometimes it was once a day, sometimes twice. Even when there are no cars, I wonder this. And sometimes I would tempt fate by standing close to the curb, or crossing the street even with a car approaching. It wasn't a "oh, I wonder what would happen," but a step further. More like, "That car is moving slowly, so I won't actually die, but it might break my legs..." but I never actually follow through on it. As I said, I don't want to go to hell or disappoint God.
Even when I think I'm okay--I actually am triggered or struggling. It's sometimes a delayed reaction. I don't know--I'm still parsing this part out in my mind. I just know that a lot of memories are locked away, but the emotions still flow freely from that locked portion of my mind. Some days are free-er, some days are weights on me.
So. Back to the running. The darkness became suddenly overwhelming yesterday. I managed to finish out the work day despite feeling rather dysphoric and weepy and like I'm just observing myself going through the motions. I went home, and I allowed myself to take the night off of school, take a bath, read, and go to bed early. I wasn't hungry for dinner. My stomach was hungry, but I didn't feel like eating. And I couldn't make myself go to the exercise room to even walk.
I'm going to try again tonight. I'm feeling a little bit better, because I had my husband call the psychiatrists' office nearby, to get an appointment set up. Apparently it's not like going to the GP--they have intake procedures to make sure they match the right doctor's specialties to the right patient. So, they're going to call back in a few days, and then I can go in and get taken care of. Having a plan in place is helping me keep moving forward.
That's all one can really do. Keep moving forward.
And people who abuse children can go to hell. Especially the "invisible" abuses that nobody can see, like psychological or verbal.