These last few days have found me struggling down the gray path of mental illness. The glowing pink aura of a healthy head is a halo you won't find me wearing. Once again the culprit here is anxiety, which leads to chest pain and difficulty breathing. So I've been taking a lot of propranolol and lorazepam, along with my usual dose of lithium carbonate. There have also been many pauses, deep breaths, and mental exercises. And my efforts have paid off. I'm far better these days than even just a couple of years ago. I still snap at people sometimes, though, and can't conceal the impact my nerves are having on my emotional well-being.
In July, I will be 36 years old and am hopeful that, as I grow older, my success at concealing or controlling my dark moods will eventually become complete. This isn't something I desire solely for loved ones who have to endure me. It's also a matter of survival. Ever time I "lose it" there is trailing, psychic damage; shame, fear, self-loathing and guilt. And no matter how much I'm comforted otherwise, I know that it makes it difficult to be close to me, to trust me completely. As completely as one human being can, under the best of circumstances, trust another.
These innate inconsistencies lead to spasmodic outbursts of emotion. They reveal what those close to me already know. That I am "not right" and "have problems." And I can live with that. I've reconciled with my soft, broken mind and am happy that it works at all. What I can't accept is that there is any part of me that may emotionally or physically hurt another human being, particularly someone I love. If I'm going to continue to exist on terms that are acceptable to me, I need to reign in the frequency and severity of my explosive moods. More than I have. Cruelty and disrespect have no place in my life and relationships.
I'm mentally ill, and I know that will make life hard for the rest of my life. I know that I'll be on medication forever, and that suicidal thoughts will plague me, and that anxiety and social phobia will make it extremely difficult to simply run errands or go to family functions. I've even accepted that, by now. But I will not tolerate my causing any more pain or unhappiness out of an inability to control my dark moods. There is enough of that in the world, and even in the happiest homes. I've caused enough pain in my life for the people who love me. It's likely that my suicide attempts and hospitalizations and drama when I was younger contributed to my mother's death. It has to end. No more a burden to my family.
So my specific task is to obtain enough control over myself so that I never lash out against those I love. That these episodes of yelling and wall-punching and self-injury are rare is not enough. They need to be unheard of.