I want there to be nothing wrong with me. I am in a terrible-twos-worthy state of defiance about how my depression is affecting the life I’m trying to build for myself. I want to enjoy a new job that I love and my home and family life without having my brain turn on me every day.
I’ve been having a hard time lately.
I’ve been forgetting things at work, spacing out on protocols and details, and making big mistakes. I’m doing all these things while still working my ass off. Yesterday one of my mistakes made a coworker so upset that she had to go home. Not my proudest week.
I was confronted, albeit in a kind, mature, and functional way (I’m not used to any of those things from my past management teams) by my manager, which is when I started crying and never stopped until I was asleep later that night. The good thing about it was that they approached me by saying, “This isn’t like you, what’s going on?”
But then I had to admit to myself that something is going on.
After everything I have been through this year (see any previous posts), I have had a slow, bumpy road to recovery. I lost a whole job earlier this year because of my mental (and physical, but mostly mental) health issues, and I am determined to not let that happen again with this job.
But just because I want things to be back to normal doesn’t make it so.
This raises one of my greatest fears: I might be too mentally ill/inhibited/functionally challenged to keep a job. I will lose my house, my lifestyle, my structure, my self-respect…everything. When I’m at my best, I can do that job and three other jobs and raise fourteen kids and rescue twenty dogs and have a blast doing all of it. In whatever phase I’m in now, I can barely get up when the alarm goes off in the morning and pull myself together enough to make it to work on time, much less do something like perform a thoracic CT scan on a geriatric dog who is a high anesthetic risk. I have an equal number of moments when I say, “What the hell was I thinking, trying to make this work?” and, “This is exactly where I want to be!”
Over the years I have been able to learn to not let diabetes define me. I can fully embrace the phrase “I have diabetes, it does not have me,” but the same strategies that helped me learn how to do this do not work with my depression. Depression changes who you are, you can’t separate yourself from it…I have tried. Even on medications I no longer think about killing or cutting myself, I even smile or laugh on a daily basis, but I also feel like a muted version of myself.
How do I stay true to myself when my self is completely wrapped up in treating my major depression? I can accept that depression is something I have to deal with in my life, I can’t get around it. I may have to adjust many parts of my life in order to live with it. However, I am not ready to accept that this medicated, spaced-out incompetent version of me is who I really am now. I have to learn to function as this version of myself because though I may eventually feel better than this, I may not. I may only have moments when my true self is allowed to shine through, or I may have long stretches of time between bouts of depression. I have to work with what I’ve got.
Right now what I’ve got is a challenge. I need to learn how to pull myself together and do my job well, or I need to learn where my limits are. I need to practice being honest with myself about what I can do, even when I want, with all my heart, for the problem to not be there in the first place.
I really need to stop crying at work, too. It makes people look at you funny and get real quiet when you walk by. The snot really doesn’t help either.