Dear Reader… From Mental Illness

I really must apologize for Andrea’s behavior lately. She has snapped at colleagues, been irritable at home, has forgotten simple things to the point of frustration, and still doesn’t have the essays graded that were turned in a week ago. She’s working on it, but it’s going to be a while. 

I’m also sorry that she couldn’t attend dinner with her close friends from college tonight.

See, I have been taking up a lot of space lately. Sometime she almost forgets about me, I get jealous, and so I have to make myself noticed.

What I do is when I can tell she is vulnerable, I point out worries and then I enlarge them. By like 1000 times. So when people posted a lot of negativity on social media, I told her that human nature was really evil. I told her that people really do hate others and think and believe vile things. This made her question all of humanity and the basic principles she has always believed in. 

Then there were some news headlines that caught her attention. A dad in prison for beating his baby to death. A woman who killed her boyfriend’s son because she was mad at his dad. So again I took these stories and ran with them. I made her wonder how many kids in her classroom are abused? How many things are unreported? And then I made her dwell on every negative story she has ever heard involving children.

See, when I make her think about these things, it’s easy to spend more time with her. Because then she thinks about whether she’s doing her job well enough. Sometimes she has nightmares about not being competent at work, or getting nowhere with things she knows will help kids. I just get some popcorn and watch. If I’m lucky, she’ll wake up in a sweat and we can hang out for hours.

And my company exhausts her. She thinks and thinks and it takes a huge amount of energy. She took three naps over the weekend. One about two hours after she got up. She just couldn’t do anything. It also hurts her physically. Her back, head and joints just ache. Her legs feel heavy. This makes her feel like a lazy lump of fat. 

So when she’s asked to go out to dinner on a Friday night with friends she loves and love her, all she can think about is how much energy it will cost. Getting dressed. Leaving the house. Driving. Paying attention. Being in the middle of a noisy restaurant. Being pleasant and funny. 

And it’s overwhelming. 

I like having her all to myself anyway. She’ll sit in her chair listening to the kids’ watch TV and play phone games and watch the clock until it’s an acceptable time to go to bed. She’ll climb under the covers thinking about all the things she should have done while waiting to sleep. She’ll berate herself for not having the energy or motivation to cross anything off her list. 

And she’ll question. 

She’ll wonder– does she need more medication? Does she need therapy? How would she even do therapy when she can barely get out of bed for work? Does she need more rest? Less? Yoga? Comfort foods? See, she doesn’t like me, but she knows I’m always a part of her. She tries to hide from me, and pretend I don’t exist anymore, but she knows I’ll always come back. 

So I’m sorry that she’s been bitchy/ out of it/ absent/ incoherent/ non-communicative and just negative and blue. She really can’t help it. And I’m not sure how long it will last either. I may take a break but then decide I want more one on one time.

In fact, I had to write this post for her because she’s feeling so introverty and non-peopley (her words, not mine). You’ll get her back though. At some point. It’s just hard to say when.

4 thoughts on “Dear Reader… From Mental Illness

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