You make me so I need to disconnect
When I made the decision to seek out treatment for my mental health issues, I did so because I wanted to save my relationship with my now husband. I wanted to be better for him, because he deserved to be with someone who was whole, or atleast healing. Eventually, once the depression fog cleared, I kept up with my medication and therapy for me and wanting to BE someone who was whole and living their life, not just existing in it. The one thing I could not anticipate was how therapy, and medication would change me as a person, and the collateral damage that would happen as a result. In hindsight of course there was going to be changes, but at the time I could not see them.
For 90% of my life I have existed in a grey space of numbness, and ambivalence. It is hard to give a shit about people and their lives, when you yourself don’t give a shit about your own. Sure, you can want to help, you can feel bad – but at the end of the day what’s the fucking point. If people make mistakes, or keep going around in circles, meh, it’s their life not mine. I listened to people, I am pretty sure I did a great job at masking shit I did not actually feel but if you were dumb and did dumb things no skin off my nose.
Medication and therapy was like going from black and white to technicolour as cliche as that may sound. Before treatment I read crappy romance novels, and watched endless amounts of romcoms and horror film because it required no thought. I did not have the energy or attention span to engage in anything more meaningful. It was just routine, and easy. Friendships were much the same, easy. You could find solace in other people who also are living in a state of stationary numbness.
The first few years of my treatment was like coming awake from a long hibernation. I was experiencing emotions and feelings that I had not previously ever felt. Joy, anger, happiness, and sadness were all new to me and learning how to feel them and negotiate them was hard. It still is. I was working on becoming this person that I had always wanted to be, but because of my mental illness I was never able to express. I still have a difficulty believing in this new self. Accepting that I am a kind person, that I am positive and joyful. I always want to default to the old me, who hid behind sarcasm and venom in order to protect the softness. Who never wanted to show weakness because if you were weak people would take advantage of you – they would hurt you.
With the help of the husband and the family I have created for myself I realized that if you show the right person your weaknesses, they will show you theirs. Together you will become stronger for it, because those vulnerabilities are what make you human and lovable. These relationships are infinitely stronger and more empowering than any other I have experienced. I gained more confidence in myself because of these relationships.
Waking up from this hibernation helped not only my relationships, but me intellectually. Having energy and being able to focus on reading more academic work helped my grades for school. I went from d’s and c’s to b’s and the occasional a. I was actually absorbing what I was reading and it started to actually sink into my brain. The turning point for me, as I have said elsewhere on this page was due to one class in school that lit my brain up like a light bulb and I have been insatiable in my quest for understanding, and knowledge on specific topics. My feminism graduated from shitty white feminism to a more involved intersectional feminism.
I no longer consume an endless amount of romcom and horror movies. Most are way too problematic for me to enjoy. I make an exception for hallmark made for tv movies, because they fill me with immense joy, and I hope one day they graduate from white feminism to a more intersectional approach like I have. Instead I enjoy documentaries, and reading non fiction. I cannot honestly remember the last time I read a fiction book. In this quest for knowledge and understanding I have evolved as a person. I have started forcing myself to get outside my comfort zone and be active in the community.
While this new life journey of activism, and community building is at times terrifying and exhausting it is also immensely rewarding. I feel so infinitely grateful for the community I have become involved in. However, this growth and awakening has made me look at people and friendships differently. People who I love, and have been instrumental to my journey in mental health recovery have become people I find myself no longer connecting with. This makes me feel like a total cunt.
This is my collateral damage in changing myself, in moving beyond mental illness. The me that was locked away, and unable to breathe is now alive and breathing. I love who I am, who I have become. I look at what I am doing now and I feel fulfilled for the first time in my life. My art, my activism everything is what I have always wanted. I just hate that it has also made me a person who has disconnected from people because I have moved to a different place in my life. This does not mean though that I am abandoning those people, my love for them and our history is infinite. I am just moving on with my lives journey, as they are with their own. Who knows, maybe our paths will intersect again one day and we can reconnect.