Mental Health, Round 2

February 13, 2012


Okay, that took much longer to write than intended. It was partly because I was busy, partly because I was depressed and miserable (thanks to STILL being mostly one-handed, among other things). But here is the next installment of my update on my progress.


The trip home to Vt was intense and trying and therapeutic. It was helpful to be on the road, with almost no chance of seeing anyone I knew while at the same time I was constantly feeling like a spectacle for looking so obviously out of place in all of these small towns. I wore pants and a hoodie almost every day (which is not my style at all) just to blend in (also not my style). The one day I put on a skirt and wore my usual wild attire I felt so nervous and ended up in such a panic after going into a diner to use their bathroom and having the whole room turn to stare at me that I made my mother pull off the interstate so I could change.


But the hardest part was dealing with my mother. Not so much her but the effect I was having on her. Having my boyfriend leave me when I needed him most, when I felt safe and secure, finally, that he wasn’t going to leave me left a huge hole in my heart and my confidence was shattered. For the first time in my life, I was actually worried I might do something to drive my own mother not to love me anymore. My fear of loosing everyone I love was so big that I was able to do things I couldn’t do before. The fear of my problems driving my mother away became bigger than the fear of talking to people or going out. I tried so hard to feign normalcy just to keep my mom from seeing how truly fucked my state of mind was. When she saw it, saw the panic or anxiety, it stressed her out so much. She had no idea how to deal with me. That’s why I hid it as much as I could, so I wouldn’t scare her away.


In the end, it was instrumental to my “recovery” or rather, my ability to be myself within society, to be me with all my problems and still able to walk down the street. I think perhaps I went into “survival mode”, which has always served me well. Because I had to, I started going out and doing what needed to be done. People used to tell my boyfriend and my sister that what I needed was to go out, to be forced to live normally. I still think they were wrong. I still believe that what I needed was to be alone and build my strength and I know that if anyone ever tried to make me go out during those years of isolation my reaction would have been panic mixed with anger. There are a very select few (meaning 2 and even they frequently meet with resistance) who can tell me what to do; anyone else who tries usually meets with hostility and contempt. So for me personally, the only way for me to go back out into the world was to be backed into a corner and have that be my only viable option. It had to be my decision, or it never would have had a positive effect.


When I first got back to Vermont, I was by no means at my best. Life was still incredibly hard. I often felt incredibly stressed and anxious. I would get so worked up in minor conversations with my mom that I would have to separate myself to calm down. I still avoided people and spent almost all of my time at home for months. Coming home was by no means an instant cure, but I believe it was a vital step to a beautiful and healing place where I could be outside and go for long walks without fear. Here I was able to work on parts of my well being that I had neglected.


There will be more to come, but I’m not pretending that I’ll actually stick with any sort of time-table. It’s coming… eventually.


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