It’s OK … honestly

I’m frustrated that people don’t understand and can’t accept me the way I am. I’ve been taking medication for depression and anxiety for over 20 years, but at the end of the day I’m still mentally ill. Before I started the meds, it could take me five minutes to decide which car to take to the store, and I’d still be second guessing myself, as if the world as we know it would come to a screeching halt if I made the wrong decision.

The meds are there to help stabilize my mood so I can function, but they’re never going to make me “normal.” I go through periods when my sleep patterns are totally crazy, and simple things like brushing my teeth are impossibly hard.

I have pinched nerves in my neck, arthritis, and stiffness from an old injury. The pain is invisible, but I have to deal with it on a daily basis, compounding the problem.

What I really want to say is, that doesn’t make me bad or wrong. Ask me if I’m angry with you, and 99% of the time the answer is a resounding “no.” I just don’t know what to do when people don’t believe me, or read things into my mood. I used to make the excuse, “I guess I’m just tired” when people asked me, what’s wrong?” I’m so tired of making excuses.

Please, please, please understand that sometimes I’ll withdraw into myself. At those times, being sociable is a near impossibility. I express myself better in writing than in conversation, so I’m hoping this open letter to those who care about me will help.

So many people have to deal with mental illness on a daily basis. Many feel that they have to assess and guard their actions and reactions at every moment, so they don’t project their mood, because others just wouldn’t understand. I hope this letter will help others to understand depression a little more. Depression and anxiety are a part of who I am. Please know that I’m OK with you, and I’m OK with myself … honestly.

17 thoughts on “It’s OK … honestly

  1. Good morning and Good Easter, my lovely friend. I am misty-eyed as I write this, and I know you probably don’t want that, so I’ll try not to be all sobby on ya. That being said, I do understand depression and anxiety, as I live with it daily. The pinched nerves and arthritis as well. Some days I have to use a cane and that, in and of itself, puts me in a bad mood. Like you, I live with these things every day and sometimes I withdraw from people. Often, in fact. Gosh, we certainly do have a lot in common, don’t we? Bless your beautiful heart for being the warm, caring person that you are. I’m so glad you do write to communicate because that’s how I’ve gotten to know you. And I value your friendship! I know all those who care about you will appreciate your taking the time to write this heartfelt post. HUGS, my friend.

    • Thank you so much. This was a hard one to write. Trust me, I can be as self-centered and ignorant as the next person. I don’t use depression as an excuse for that. I just know that a lot of people take it personally when a loved one’s mood shifts. I’m so grateful that if my husband thinks I’m acting funny, he’ll ask if something’s wrong, then when I say “no,” that’s the end of it.

      Sometimes we’re so much alike that it’s scary (at least, I’d be afraid if I were you). Your friendship means more to me than you could know. OK, now I’m sniffly, damn it!

  2. Hi Karla,

    I hope today is one of your better days. As you know depression hurts. Many people do not understand how it affects a person’s daily schedule. I am glad that you are able to share your feelings with others, and I hope over time posts like these help to break down some of the stigma attached to depression.

  3. Reading this, I can relate to a lot of it, Karla. I’m not on meds, but this is something I’m living with and working through each day. I’ve had rough periods where it’s settled in on me and it’s hard to see any hope. Then I have better days.

    There’s a stigma to this that makes it hard to talk about, because we don’t want to be seen that way, and so we do withdraw into ourselves. And because it’s not readily apparent to the casual observer, they don’t see it, and they don’t understand, not if they haven’t had to deal with it themselves. Thanks for posting this.

    • Thanks, William. Usually I think “it’s nobody’s business but my own” but dealing with it is much harder when people misunderstand.

  4. I’ve dealt with mood swings, too, Karla. I’m epileptic (temporal lobe epilepsy), and it’s often mistaken for bipolar disorder. I’ve got a pretty good idea of how you must be feeling.

    I agree with William. Thank you for writing this. Most of us have only seen you online when you’re upbeat and funny.

    • A lot of people use upbeat and funny as a coping mechanism. Many of us fall into that category to some degree. I think having bipolar symptoms would have its own set of problems. Bipolar is often misdiagnosed, so people stop taking it seriously.

  5. Like all great artists, thelisas have their trials and tribulations.

    …Just talking about your manic-depressive state.

    Bi-polar sound like a bear with gender issues.

    So, by and large we cannot relate to this issue. At least we never refer to ourselves in third person; that would be flat out nuts.

    • did you know if you use brackets around dialogue it effectively deletes it?
      if you thought the above reads weird NOW, you should have seen it with the extra scenes!

    • Karla totally agrees. She wouldn’t be caught dead using third person. I suppose you also had an alternate ending where Vera throws herself into the volcano to save the village.

  6. Imagine going through all that pain and depression without a sense of humor!
    I’m so sorry you have to deal with anything causing you mental anguish, my friend. Sending positive thoughts your direction and I hope the good outweighs the bad.

    • Thanks, sweetie. I’ve had a lot of practice dealing with it, and for the most part, things are pretty darn good. I have a lot to be thankful for.

  7. Thanks for posting, Karla! I think this is common with creative people. I’m not on meds either but like William, there are days I struggle with my mood and like you I rarely find people around me who really understand. It is something we don’t like to talk about mainly because society doesn’t want us to and we maybe fear people think we are loons or something. However, I believe this is what gives us our creativity; sometimes in my darkest moods I create the best poetry. But it has its ups and downs. As you know, it can propel us forward and at times hold us back. Anyway, know my thoughts are always with you and any time you need anything, I’m here, my friend! Take care!

  8. *wiping my eyes* – I get this totally, Karla. I am not prone to depression, but I have my rare moments. I do however have friends who feel out of sorts and know when not to drown them in words or assume stuff. A hug seems enough. Sometimes I ‘ll just hold them a tad longer when I sense they’re okay with it. Yet there’ll be people deciding how you should or should not feel. When they do not get the reaction they expect, they will turn judgmental. And say hurtful things. I think people generally do not have the patience to understand.

    Here’s an hug. 🙂 A tad longer is fine, too. You write so beautifully.

  9. Honestly, I think everyone in the world has some form or another of mental illness…some just are able to hide it better than others. I tend to leave everything bottled up inside…I guess I’m one of those people who figures it’s “none of your business”…but, that’s not a good way to be either.

    I hope you feel better soon…more your upbeat and humorous self…

  10. Karla, I have posted you in the 7 Meme Challenge on my blog, so stop on by and read. I hope you will consider taking the challenge. Enjoy! Take care!

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