I wish I had something delightfully random and clever to write about this time, but unfortunately, this is not the case. As I have mentioned on my blog before, I write, in part, because I find it therapeutic and a healthy form of dealing with the quilombo that is my brain. Hence, I am continuing to write, but more for myself and my sanity than to entertain any particular audience.
The past week or so has been difficult for me on different levels. Waking up on the first morning of my psychiatric leave of absence (for all intents and purposes, let’s just call it a leave for now) from my school and from my students was not unlike waking up from a hangover… Now mind you, I’ve never been even close to drunk, but I know the vicious cycle of sinning and repentance far too well. My head was still spinning, my thoughts still swirling, the feelings of remorse and guilt still compounding. And waking up at 6am my first morning and realizing how “late” it was made me want to forcefully shut my eyes and sleep another ten hours. Or one hundred. Or perhaps to just not wake up ever again.
In the past, I have always been adamant, especially on my blog, that conditions like depression and mental illness are simply that – illnesses, full stop. That just like when something as horrible as cancer causes someone to be bedridden or even takes a life, we never blame the victim, just the sickness. Nevertheless, this truth is hard and extremely humbling to accept for myself.
There isn’t enough space on the internet or enough time in the day for me to explain how I felt and still feel about my leave, but what’s done is done. Now it is up to me to make the most of this time to recuperate and to truly heal. Taking baby steps, one at a time, and sometimes having to take a step back now and then.
One of my greatest fears throughout this ordeal has been being thought of as a weak, attention-seeking drama queen who doesn’t give a damn about who she affects because of her leave. Deep down, however, nothing could be further from the truth. I really do care. I don’t want to draw attention to myself, especially now. I wish I could have just disappeared like a cheap hologram and have been done with it, permitted to suddenly, quietly resurface in about ten weeks’ time.
No such luck
I have been the recipient of a number of messages and emails, mostly from students, who say that they miss me and want me to come back. That they will pray for me. And not to sound melodramatic, but though well-meaning, these messages reopen my wound that is already stubbornly refusing to heal. I feel guilty, ashamed, guilty, sheepish, guilty, horrible… and did I mention guilty?
I have since had Fede secretly reset the password on my work email so that I can’t access it, because the compulsion to continue to check it and the shame-spiral that ensues was not doing me any good. But in all honesty, it’s like putting oven mitts on a scratcher… While I cannot engage in the prohibited action, the urge is still very much there.
Damn you, depression! Fuck you, anxiety! Screw you, low self-esteem!
I hope that the next time I write, I will have something happier and more light-hearted to write about. But until then…
“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese proverb