When people set goals, they think about what they want to be, or where they want to be in a year, two years, perhaps five. They see into a distant future and dig their heels into that goal.
Some days I have to set goals to get through hours, minutes, or seconds in order to make it through the week. I divide my day up into tiny segments and focus only on that segment until I reach the end and take a deep breath, congratulating myself on my tiny victory.
Goal 1: Get out of bed (ok, took an hour, but I did it)
Goal 2: Brush teeth (Yay! Good job.)
Goal 3: Get out of bed again. (God dammit! Another hour)
Goal 4: Put some clothes on. (No, not pajamas. Get off the floor. Put on pants. Good job)
Goal 5: Get the fuck off the couch. (This isn’t progress. 2 hours)
Goal 6: Make coffee and feed the dog. (Check and check)
Goal 7 and 8: Take dog outside and water the garden (good job!)
Goal 9: Get off the floor. (Ugghhhh)
Goal 10: Put on makeup (the wings don’t need to be perfect. No one will notice.)
Goal 11: Eat something. (Actual food. Not just coffee.)
****Take a deep breath. Regain yourself. Breathe*****
Then the next set of goals kick in. By that time, things get a little easier. I don’t collapse to floor in an overwhelmed heap, doing all that I can to hold back any tears that threaten to climb out past the surface.
This is depression. This is a manic crash. I felt so alive just a week ago. On top the world, as if nothing could touch me. And now, I feel empty and incomplete: like my soul has been ripped from my chest and crushed before my eyes.
Do “normal” people have to set goals like this make it through the morning? I would assume not. I hope not. I could do it all on autopilot, while singing and twirling around. But now I can barely muster the strength to get the fuck out of bed.
I don’t often talk about mental illness.
Let me rephrase that. I don’t often talk about my own mental illness. Not really. I prod and poke at it with vaguely interesting metaphors and short stories. I carefully place the journey through someone else’s eyes and do my best to pretend that it’s not me experiencing these thoughts that don’t seem like my own. (See: She Stood Atop A Mountain, Like A Puppet On Strings, Monsters Inside.)
I’m not quite sure why I’m deciding to write about it now. Since, I probably won’t post this on the same day I wrote it—if I post it at all. Getting it all out on paper (a screen?) does make me feel a little better, lifting the weight if just for a moment.
I think I need to go back on my meds.
UPDATE: I did NOT end up posting this on the day I wrote it. I wrote this out a few months ago. I’m doing better now and I am back on my meds. I decided to post this because I thought it might help someone, even if it’s just one person. I thought that if they knew they were not alone, they can push through the days as well keep and get help or reach out to someone.