I haven’t written about this subject in a while for several reasons, a lot of new readers being one of them, but I figure you guys are due a post regarding my mental health. (go ahead and either take a shot of something good or take a nap, your choice)
A lot of you know that Autumn is really hard for me. For some reason, even before I moved to Alaska (which is known for many cases of Seasonal Effect Disorder), Fall time wreaks havoc with my emotions. I can feel my mind sinking into a funk sometime around the beginning of October. Usually sometime in January, I’ll feel myself pulling out of it but those few months in between are hard. Grueling.
Good for me, I’m a great actress. I’m really good at putting on a happy face and trudging along. And I think that helps me too. That old cliche’ “Think happy and you are happy” really does work. But when I am alone with myself, my face sore from fake smile and phony laughter, I am exhausted. I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Honestly? I think this might be a (notice I said “A” not “THE”) reason why depressed people sleep a lot. When you are putting 200 percent effort into something that is extremely difficult for you, all you want to do afterwards is rest.
It’s hard for people who don’t suffer from mental illness to understand. “What is so bad about your life?” “Get outside! Do something fun!” and of course the good old “Just get over it already”. Those of you who are in the boat with me are laughing sarcastically right now because you and I know it’s never that easy. No matter how hard you try.
There are good things about putting on a “happy front” and bad things about it too. I was raised in a loving family but a family that also didn’t know how to communicate, also a family that believed that mental illness could be treated by going to church ten times a week and giving it all up to God. Putting on that happy face means that surely she is feeling better. She isn’t talking about it either, so that must mean, things are going well.
Now I’m a Christian. I believe in God. I pray to him on a regular basis. But I also firmly believe that he put doctors on this Earth for a reason. I also believe that he helps those who help themselves.
It’s hard when you come from a family that doesn’t understand why you do the things you do. It puts a wall between you and you feel like an outsider. I mean, there’s a reason why I’ve always been the “odd child” and “loner” in my family. Now, don’t get me wrong, my family tries desperately to understand me. They are open and grateful that I seek professional help. But they still can’t relate to me when I try to talk about it.
Truth is: most people are just downright uncomfortable about mental illness. I think it’s just human nature. It doesn’t make anyone less of a person because they feel that way.
But it sure is lonely.
I think that’s why I put on my “happy face.” I keep climbing that mountain, “thinking happy”, surrounding myself with positive people, telling myself that I’ll be okay. January is right around the corner.