Hiya, internet. It’s been… Well, it’s been a fucking long time, that’s for sure. At first it was an intentional hiatus for NaNoWriMo (where I wrote a total of 20k), and after that, every time I sat down to write a blog post, I just… couldn’t. What can I say, 2019 was one hell of a year for mental illness.
But I figured I’d take advantage of this whole New Year thing and try again, because damn it, I miss writing weekly blog posts. It made me feel like a better writer and a more sane human, and I could really use both of those feelings in my life right now.
That’s not to say that life has been bad lately. Actually, outside of the mental health stuff, things have been pretty wonderful. My relationships with my best friends and my girlfriend are all solid and healthy and rewarding. I’ve started figuring out my gender identity a bit more. Because I finally have a nice job, I had the first proper Christmas holiday in years. Oh, and I got a kitten! A beautiful black little princess, my Satanic familiar, the curious and cuddly Sadie. I have had her a little over a week and we are already madly in love – even when we drive each other nuts.
Alright, that’s the general stuff about my life if you exclude all the time I’ve spent reading fan fiction. Let’s get to the good stuff, hm? Let’s talk mental health. If you’re uncomfortable with open and frank discussion of mental illness, you might want to skip this bit – I don’t really do honesty half way.
Like I mentioned, 2019 has been a wild ride for me, mental health wise. It’s arguably been the happiest year of my life to date, yet also one where I nearly allowed mental illness to destroy me so many times. While it’s tempting to call myself weak for being so down in happy circumstances, I’m gonna go ahead and call myself strong as fuck for making it through, for clinging to the good things and not letting the dark spots in my brain totally out-shadow the rest of me.
This fall, I feel like I finally started fighting back against the monsters in my head. I started therapy again, but with one significant difference from last time; I have a good therapist who actually knows what they’re doing. I used to think just the act of going to therapy meant I was fighting, but I was wrong. I needed someone who was actually good at their job, and I needed to put in the hours, not just during our sessions but every day for the rest of the week.
This therapist looked at me and listened to me long enough to recognize something I wasn’t aware of; adult ADHD. I had no idea that might be something I had, but in educating myself, it suddenly made most of my life to make sense. It explains so freaking much, and filling that gap in my self knowledge means I can actively adjust. I’ve started on meds (the side effects are a bitch but here’s hoping they pass soon), which means I’m now tackling both my depression, anxiety and ADHD both medically and emotionally.
Proper meds and therapy at the same time for the first time in my life. How about that?
So the ADHD, that’s a new thing, and learning about it has already helped me a lot. But let’s not forget about the other mental illnesses, like good old clinical depression; my close companion over the past decade or so. I sure fed that beast a lot in 2019.
Now, I’m about to be brutally honest, and warning, it might be uncomfortable. I’m gonna talk about self harm.
I’ve been a cutter since I was fifteen, but self harmed in various ways since I was maybe twelve, thirteen. While there have been long periods of time over the years where I didn’t self harm, I never really stopped. I just got more subtle about it, smarter. In 2019, I stopped being subtle. It was like I was a teenager again, desperately looking for an outlet, for a way to deal with the mess in my head, and like always, cutting has been the easiest and most efficient way to do that.
The stigma around mental illness may have lessened a bit in the past few years, but self harm is still way up there as taboo, especially in adults. Self harm is meant to be a thing teenagers do as a cry for help or to get through high school, right? If I believed everything society told me, that’s all I would think. I would think everyone grows out of it. I would think this isn’t a thing that adults do, or even think about.
Considering how bad my self harm habits got in 2019, I wanted to start the year saying this to anyone out there who also struggles with this: being an adult who self harms as a coping mechanism isn’t shameful. People might look at your fresh scars and think you’re weak, or that you’re losing somehow by having done this to yourself. I’m here to remind you that you are strong. I know that maybe you wanted to do more. I know you hurt so much and that you needed physical evidence that your pain was real, and I am so proud that you didn’t take it further. On behalf of all the people who love and cherish you, I am glad that you have a coping mechanism that helps you stay with them.
No, I am not “endorsing” self harm or saying it’s a good or healthy thing, but if it’s the one thing that helps you get through the day, don’t you dare let anyone shame you for it. Don’t you dare believe that you’re weak. You have made it this long and you are going to keep making it and I am fucking proud of you for that.
As someone who never thought they would make it to the year 2020 – we are big damn heroes just for being here, and don’t you ever forget it.
Well, that got kinda personal, didn’t it? Good. It wouldn’t be one of my posts if it wasn’t personal. Honestly, I am just so happy I actually wrote and posted something today.
I don’t normally ask this, but if you’ve read this and appreciated anything in it, would you be kind enough to give it a like or a comment? On whatever platform you prefer. I desperately want to go back to posting regularly this year, and a little encouragement could go a long way in helping me do that ❤
Either way, I appreciate your time and attention, and I hope you’re all ready to conquer this new year and decade. We’re gonna keep trying our best and we are going to make it through this fucking thing, for the sake of our loved ones and for ourselves.