And They Say It Could Be Worse
People always say that things could be worse. I am quite sure that indeed they could be. To some people who see me, I seem to have it all together. To the few who know the real me, even though I have a home and small support system, I sometimes feel like this is the worst.
My name is Rebecca. I have two wonderful sons, and I suffer from severe mental health issues. My illnesses range from MDD (major depressive disorder) and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) to DID (dissociative identity disorder) and schizoaffective disorder. Some days are great and I love being the quirky person that I am, while other days are lower than low, and I just do not want to exist at all. It’s easy for someone on the outside looking in to think that things aren’t as bad as I might say, but for me it’s not like that at all.
It starts out with just getting up in the morning. For some people, this is something you just do without much thought. For me, there are days when I have to fight myself to get out of bed and start my day. There are days when I compromise with myself and go back to bed after I do what I have to. Some days I wake up and begin the day with little effort at all.
Once the early morning struggle is over and I am semi-exhausted with myself, I have another struggle ahead of me, which is eating. First, I must have my black coffee. Once that first cup is in me, I may try to eat (a battle I sometimes lose). The mental struggle of what should be a simple no-brainer has now turned into a duty. Soon after follows a bout of OCD and the accompanying anxiety: checking locks, lights, doors, appointments, phone, computer and anything else my obsessive little thoughts can find. It is only 10 A.M. and I am already dreading my day.
And now, a little bit about my attempts to go out in public. Let's talk about the voices in my head that yammer before I’ve even left home, the worry of the social mocking that is sure to come just from going out. What about the people who will stare at me? What about the whisperings? What if someone follows me? What if there is a horrible catastrophe? All of this and only one foot out of the front door. Meanwhile, the logical side of me fights and screams that I have to get the shopping done, or go pay that electric bill, and no one will even notice me (it would be nice if I could believe that).
This is why I have to start leaving an hour or two before I have to be somewhere. I do not drive myself anymore because I have a horrible fear that I will be the cause of some major accident, so I take the bus. Some days the bus is the safest place to blend in with my surroundings, but typically, not so much.
Despite all of the daily challenges I face, I let a smile be my armor. It’s not especially easy for me to do so on days when I just want to give up. Despite the people who see me and say things could be worse, I face every day with a new hope that the next day has to be a little better.
I take my medicine and go to therapy like I am supposed to and it truly helps. No one would look at an elderly person and tell them to get over being old. So, I hope one day we all get to the point when we stop telling each other it could be worse and we start making it better.