Sunday, June 5, 2016

Don't ask, don't tell...

I got married 9 years ago.
I moved away from home immediately after getting married.
4 years later I moved even further away.

The first move was exciting.
I was young, in love, and ready to stand on my own two feet with my husband by my side.
I made friends easily. I worked full time. I enjoyed being in charge of my own life.
I participated in activities outside of work regularly.
It was fabulous.

I got fired. That royally sucked.
I felt isolated.
My husband's school became more and more questionable (ethics related - whole other story).
I started taking antidepressants.
I found work again, but money was tight.
We got pregnant.
I was excited!
Jay quit school early to pursue a career.
I had a baby.
I quit work to be a stay at home mommy.
We used WIC, paid heavily for COBRA medical insurance, and even had to ask for monetary help from the church.
All our savings disappeared.
It was uneasy.
I felt guilty.

Jay got a job.
We moved.
I panicked.
I tried to stay positive and get organized.
I found a doctor for my baby.

I broke down when asked how I was doing...
I worried those people.
I was encourage and ushered into asking for help from a medical source.
I was 100% honest in the heat of the moment.
I was institutionalized.
I felt supremely guilty.
I couldn't nurse my baby.
I couldn't see my baby.
I was terrified.
The doctor said I didn't need to be there.
I was allowed to leave.
I felt guilty for how much money I unintentionally cost us from all of that.
My parents loaned us money.
I felt helpless.
My church knew the basic circumstances.
I had earned a label.
I was immediately aware of the social stigma that accompanied that knowledge.

I got pregnant again.
I was hopeful.
We increased our habitat size.
We acquired a family vehicle.
I felt happy.

It was winter.
I had an emergency cesarian section.
I had another baby girl.
I was slightly disappointed, but calm.
My baby girl had breathing issues.
We took infant CPR.
I was terrified.
I had to take special care of this little baby.
I didn't sleep very much.
We stopped going to church.

We flew home for Christmas.
I felt out of place.
We didn't celebrate "at home."
I was yelled at for not being a better mother.
I felt disowned.

We flew back to Idaho.
My baby threw up blood.
I panicked.
More medical necessities for this tiny baby.
More money than anticipated.
I felt guilty again.

We got new neighbors.
I was asked if we were Mormon.
We started going to church again to support our neighbors going back to church.
I felt guilty for having been absent for so long.
I felt the need to be an advocate for my neighbor.
We got a new Bishop.
My neighbors received help.
I had a new friend.
I shared my dark sides with her.
I felt accepted by someone.
It was relieving.

Time marched on.
I helped coordinate my 10 year class reunion.
I felt inadequate because of the success many of them had achieved.
I got pregnant.
I was anxiously happy.

I miscarried.

I shared the news with those whom had known I was pregnant.
I closed off social media.
I couldn't be happy looking at other's happiness.
I felt so empty and hollow.
I sank into postpartum depression.
I didn't expect that.
I felt guilty.
I joined a group.
It somewhat helped.
But I felt guilty for morning my loss because of the circumstances that made it occur (whole other story).

I started to journal.

My neighbor moved away.
I got church callings.
I kept distracted.
I didn't allow myself to be captivated by what I lacked.
I changed antidepressants.
I found a preschool for my daughter.
I kept us busy all summer.
I started having panic attacks.

We were offered a spot in a different class at the preschool that met more often.
I accepted for Autumn's sake.
I realized the preschool wasn't what I needed/hoped it to be.
I decided to plow through it because of the tuition scholarship we received.
It created a lot of social anxiety and obligatory guilt for myself.
I felt I owed devotion.

Medication increased.
I started to feel like myself again.

I got hit by a bus.
Yes, you read that right.
I was OK.
We got a new car.

I got pregnant.
I was excited.
Christmas was happy. We shared the news.
I started to feel happy anxious anticipation.

Then I started to slide back into darkness.
Lonely, isolated, angry, inadequate darkness.
My medication was increased.
Spring arrived.

Bad news hit.
I felt jealous of the relief someone else achieved through suicide.
I was concerned at my emotion toward it.
I was not desiring self-harm, but I was jealous of their end to pain.
I felt irrational.
I wasn't trusting of this thought process.
My medication was increased again.

My grandpa got sick.
We went to see him.
I knew I had said my final goodbye as we drove away.
He passed.
I sang at his funeral.
I truly began to morn afterward. In private. As I always do.

I got very sick.
Nobody knows for certain the cause.
Mother's day was spent in bed.
I got prescribed medication.
My birthday arrived. I was still very sick.
I pushed through it.

I got dehydrated.
I fainted twice.
I was terrified.
Jay was anxious, which makes him angry.
I've been ordered to consume more water and rest more.
I'm doing my best to.

School ended.
I'm still sick.
I'm on more meds.
I'm hopeful it's on its way out, but not optimistic.

I feel depleted.
I'm angry a lot.
I don't enjoy very many things.

I'm afraid of being asked how I'm doing because it makes me cry and people close of when there's too much information given.
I'm afraid of not telling how I'm doing because I've seen that lead to worse outcomes.
I'm not doing well.
I want help.
But I can't give back right now.

I can't take on any emotional, physical, or psychological problems that aren't my own for fear I'd break.

I bottle my own demons when I feel like I can help someone else.
Those demons only grow in confinement.
Then they break out when nobody is around.
They know I don't want others to see them because they could create demons in others.
I bridle them in small amounts to allow my doctors to examine them and help me combat them bit by bit.
None of them are dead yet.
None are yet defeated.

It's difficult to know who can safely help.
It's scary to cross the "don't tell" line that is not always visible.
It's almost impossible to allow myself to be 100% vulnerable to someone else because of my history.

I've learned to not tell, to avoid being asked, and to hide the demons because that is what is most socially acceptable.

I'm imprisoned by society's unspoken rules about mental health.
I'm imprisoned by society's unspoken rule about airing your dirty laundry.
I'm imprisoned by how unsafe it can be to be 100% honest with everybody.
Culturally we're encouraged to not share any private information about ourselves because of the risk it involves. Risk to ourselves, and risk to others.
There are very few safe places to share anymore.

It's devastating.

How can you break the shell of "don't ask, don't tell"?

It would take the world changing. I don't believe it can be accomplished by one person alone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are not alone.