I'm sitting in my car. My heart's pounding, and I'm scared. Not like, mildy aprehensive, but literally full on panicked, scared. I'm confused too. This isn't me. Who is this person? This girl, who's on the brink of tears at the prospect of this. I'm fearless. There's very little I'm scared of, and most of those fears I can reason about. I can convince myself that there's really nothing to be afraid of.
But this? This is something else. This is paralyzing. This is completely unwarranted, and completely out of character. I can't reason about it, I can't even understand. All I know is that my brain is shouting at me. "No. No. No. Go away. Run. No."
How did I get here? Who is this girl in my skin?
That was me, today, as I tried to go into a coffee shop. Yep, that's right. I had a panic attack and nearly burst into tears over the idea of working in a coffee shop for a few hours.
See, this is something that my new therapist has been telling me to do since November, when I started seeing her. It's something that my old therapist recommended back in September, until I stopped seeing her. Something that I know will help me. My husband's suggested it, my boss has recommended it. I've said I'm going to do it.
But I never do. I am amazingly good at coming up with excuses not to. This comes up, or that comes up, or I need the three monitor set up that I have in my home office. I can come up with excuses for days. And that's how it's been, for months on end now. I leave my house to shop, generally for groceries, and to take my kids to and from their respective daytime activites. That's it. And it's been this way since I started working remotely in June.
I know who that girl walking around in my skin is. I've met her before. I've fought her before, I've won before. But now, it seems more and more that she's in control. That scares me too. I call her my depressed brain, and she's a complete asshole.
She's the one that sits by as I slowly put on weight, and then laughes uproariously when I look in the mirror and hate what I see. She reminds me of everything that's wrong with me, and every mistake I've ever made. She hates me, and she makes me hate me. She's loud, too, and persuasive.
Just like anyone would, she really only cares about one thing: her own survival. Which means, it's her job to make sure I stay like this. That I stay isolated, and I stay scared, and I forget more and more the woman that I used to be.
A few months ago, she convinced me that I wasn't worth the air I was breathing. I was convinced that I was only good at hurting people, and breaking things. That I was a detriment to anyone that knew me, and that by simply existing I was making their lives worse.
She convinced me that I should stop doing that. Hurting people, breaking things. The clear solution was just to stop existing. And everyone I'd ever known or loved, or broken, would be so much better off once that happened.
And so I tried.
Clearly, since I'm typing this, I didn't succeed. My husband found me, and stopped me, and then took me to the hospital. I was numb, in a daze. I don't remember the first day, much. I spent 10 days there, in total. I learned a lot. I saw other people, there for the same reason or similar reasons. I felt less alone. I even made a friend or two. And most importantly, I got some help. They set me up with a therapist, and a psychiatrist. Now I see my therapist twice a month, and I take medicine to help me sleep, and to help regulate my mood.
I still struggle, some days more than others. But I never forget what happened. Because she nearly won. That can't happen. There are people that I love, who love me, and not only would they not be better off without me, some of them need me just as much as I need them.
All that to say: My depressed brain is an asshole. She gives zero fucks about me, or my family, or my friends, or my well being. She'll try as hard as she can to win. And I have to try harder to make sure she doesn't.
If you have a depressed brain, I can just about guarantee that they're an asshole too. Don't forget that. Ever. Don't let them win, not by a mile or an inch. Don't give them anything, because you matter. You matter a whole lot.
Thanks to some good friends, I went into that coffee house today, one small baby step at a time. It was lovely. There were people there, none of whom I was related or married to. There was music, and coffee, and I got some work done. Today, I won a small victory against the bitch who sometimes walks around in my skin. Tomorrow I'll wake up and start that battle over again. Hopefully, someday, it'll get easier.