Today, I decided to do something a bit different. Normally, I like to chat about a specific instance of some mental health related challenges that I have been facing, or have faced, and then offer some insight into what has helped me to cope or conquer those challenges. Originally, I was planning on doing the same thing today, but I quickly came to realise that this was proving to be most trying for me. In lieu of the norm, I wanted to candidly speak about what has been going on with me recently. Please note that there will be mention of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, abuse, and psychological breakdown in this discussion.
Also, if you are here for the announcement, you can catch it at the end of this post, just after the quote.
Depression fucking sucks. No matter how positive or optimistic you are, no matter how much progress that you make with it, there is always a chance that it will sneak-attack you and stab you in the face. I think for me, in this situation, it’s less of a sudden assault and more of a deliberate one that I have simply been trying my damndest to ignore.
Some of you may recall that I have been helping a close friend of mine deal with an abusive relationship. When this began—my assisting her that is—approximately two months or so ago, I felt fucking invincible. My own experience with a traumatic abusive relationship—a marriage—and the aftermath of going through recovery and treatment, made me feel like as if I was strong enough to help her and not have to worry about the effects that it would ultimately have on me. For a short while, I managed decently. Whenever I started to feel anxious, or if I began to have symptoms of a PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) attack, I found ways to cope, utilising things that I was taught by my psychiatrist. But the truth of the matter is much different. I was merely sticking a small band-aid on a wound that had been ripped open so much so that what it truly needed were stitches.
I really like to help people. I suspect that it mostly has to do with all of the shit that I have undergone in my 30 years of life. From culture clashes to child abuse (physical and psychological) to being raped regularly in a toxic marriage, which also included its fair share of emotional and psychological abuse (mostly where my being “brown and weird and non-American” are concerned), to being used and abandoned by people I thought were my friends—just a whole mess of crap, and these are just sprinkles on the cheesecake. Nevertheless, the pain and long-lasting consequences of these accumulated experiences are facets of a darker side of life that I never want anyone else to ever have to feel. The agony that stems from many twisted and hurtful things, like some of the ones I’ve mentioned, never truly go away. They sort of hang over your head like a personal black cloud, just waiting to rain down upon you just when you feel like you’ve got your shit together. That feeling and that heaviness of having such a cloud attached to you can be very draining and restricting on your potential to flourish as a person. Because of that, I want to make people smile. I want people to feel valued, respected, and accepted for whoever and whatever they are because life is so fucking short and so fucking cruel as it is. I never wish to add to its wrath, and I would only hope to prevent as much as I can.
But I’m not God. I’m not some supreme, omnipotent superbeing who can do these things that I wish I could. And this was a lesson that I had to learn the hard way with helping my friend.
She’s a lovely human. One of the finest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She’s full of life, love, intelligence, and so much more. I was so focused on these things that made her happy and I was so focused on doing what I could to ensure that the poison of abuse wouldn’t wash away her individuality and her personality, her vibe for life, that I never bothered to see how it was slowly poisoning me.
Being her shoulder involved so much more than just listening and advising when I could and when she wanted/needed me to. It meant having to listen to her stories of the things that were being done to her, things she didn’t even recognise initially, that were signs of abusive behaviour. These stories triggered something somewhere in my brain, unlocking the deepest, darkest corners of my marriage, bringing it back to the forefront one ounce at a time, until I could no longer effectively ignore them.
I have spent the past three years working my ass off to get my mental health conditions diagnosed and to get them treated to the best of both my ability and the ability of the medical professionals who have helped me. Conditions like PTSD and schizophrenia are a bit difficult to work with because inherent triggers can make them unpredictable and extremely hard to cope through. But I have managed, and I have grown so much. I may not have any real confidence in myself, however, I did learn to obtain a level of self-respect that I am finally comfortable with. I began to accept the good things that I have done and those that are within me instead of constantly defining myself by the abuse that I endured. As I’ve probably already mentioned, it was damn fucking difficult and involved more work than I ever could have imagined.
As I kept helping my friend and dealing with the bullshit her significant other keeps bestowing on her, not to mention his sheer audacity to be two-faced and offensive towards me and Sir Betrothed, somewhere along the line, it started to unravel all of the progress that I have made thus far. As I’ve said earlier, I think I was in denial about it. Deep within my heart and on the surface of my subconscious (a bit like seeing things out of the corner of your eyes) I knew I was being affected in the worst ways. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to acknowledge its existence because I was so desperate to help my friend.
This past week I finally hit somewhat of a climax with the situation. My depression for the past two weeks has made it almost impossible for me to be positive. Sure, I try my hardest on social media when I see friends struggling with their own life stuff, or when I’m trying to promote awesome content creators, but behind the gigantic HD screens of a computer or my too-bright screen of an iPhone, I was a fucking mess. I’m not great at reaching out for help when I need it. It’s a problem I’m trying to work on, but I’m unfathomably socially awkward and have the worst kind of social anxiety and paranoia you can imagine. This makes it nigh impossible for me to reach out. So, I swallowed my pain and tried dealing with it alone. I spent more time buried in bed than I did doing anything else. I barely ate and when I did, it was all shit things that are super bad for my heart. Even writing blog posts, an activity that usually helps to alleviate my anxiety and depression, felt so excruciatingly daunting to me. Whenever I tried to sleep, I would have devastating dreams either about my ex in alarming scenarios, or about the abuse that I endured. Then last weekend, I sort of lost it…
I sat down on the floor beneath my computer desk, buried my face into my hands, and cried so hard. All I felt was maddening rage. I wanted to break everything around me. Punch everything. Listen to the sounds of my valuables shattering. Pull the hair out of my head. Run my fingernails down my arms. All of it. For the first time in three years, I wanted to rip into my arms and feel the burning agony that comes with self-harm, just so I can make sure that I am actually alive; to convince myself that the physical pain meant more than the things eating away at my brain. I was so mad, and I could not for the life of me understand why. I even snapped at Sir Betrothed over the stupidest fucking inconsequential things (the way they wiped down the countertop… like WTF even?). ** No acts of self-harm were committed. **
I received a message from my friend later that evening. She shared with me a bit of information regarding her significant other and his opinion on our (mine and his) friendship. Believe it or not, the dude used to be a decent person before he turned into whatever he’s become now. That was the last straw for me. His offensive pettiness and blatant immaturity just pushed me to a point where I could no longer safely tolerate his presence in my life, even being so far removed already. I knew that I could not let myself continue to suffer and become unhinged in such a matter because then I would truly become useless and helpless to her.
My message to her was honest about the effects that her situation was having on my mental and emotional health. I’m not someone who is capable of sugar-coating or lying, especially with my friends. I am a very blunt person, and I’m not too well versed in tact either. Yet, with Sir Betrothed’s help, I was able to tell her what I needed to without hurting her, which was my priority. I told her that I needed to take a step back because my progress was reverting, and I was essentially losing my mind from all of the triggers due to the negative aspects of her relationship with her significant other, and my involvement in trying to counsel them (mostly her).
I felt like such a fucking failure, you guys. I felt like I was letting my friend down when she needed me the most, that I was being so wholeheartedly selfish and narrow-minded.
Her response was… excuse me while I get emotional sitting here with my green-lit keyboard… her response was one of complete understanding, respect for my unyielding honesty (more so since she could tell how hard it was for me), and an offer to help me in anyway that she could. Her gratitude for everything I had done up to that point was… indescribable. In that moment, I knew that she truly was quite a phenomenal human being and I felt blessed to have her as my family.
This entire experience has taught me that while helping people is dandy and delightful, it really isn’t worth jeopardising my own sanity for, and I do mean that in a literal sense. Self-care and wanting to—needing to—prioritise your own well-being is never a selfish thing. After all, if I kept denying what was in front of me, I probably would have died, either from a heart attack (which I came very close to getting… again) or suicide. What help is that going to be to the person I’m trying to assist? Nada. Niente. Nashi. Kuch bhi nahin. None.
I also learned that I’m not fucking invincible. I know! Major shocker, right? It doesn’t matter how “under control” or how much of a grasp that I think I have on my mental health illnesses and my emotional stability. I’m not bulletproof or incapable of being hurt, and when my body tells me, “Hey, you’re fucking bleeding right now, can you not, please?” I need to shut up and listen instead of acting like a smart-ass about it and treating it like a minor scratch. I need to take a shot of whiskey, or in my case milo because I don’t really drink, shut my eyes, and stitch the wounds closed. But more than that, I need to let it heal completely and not be careless, or reckless about it.
There are no immediate fixes for depression, anxiety, PTSD, paranoia, and schizophrenia. Techniques to cope and work through the worst of them, support from those who love and care about me the most (my friend, cats, and Sir Betrothed), and learning to be intimately self-aware of my body, mind, and spirit are the best ways for me to deal with these conditions. It’s always been a sort of “duh,” common sense notion that I never really think about, however, when I don’t practise it actively and shit does go down, I have no one to really blame but myself and my own reckless disregard for my health.
Anyway, two-thousand-plus words later, this has been my life in a nutshell. While I didn’t actively give advice in this post, and it was mostly a way for me to manage the feelings and thoughts that have been bottled up, if you can take away anything from my chat today, it’s this:
self-care is very fucking important. It never, ever, ever makes you selfish, narrow-minded, rude, or uncouth. If you need to step back from life, no matter what the fuck is going on, do so. Because at the end of the day the only person who can truly help you heal and get better, the only person who can effectively make a positive difference in your well-being, is you, my non-gender specific bruh.
Now that I have explained to you what has been going on, it is time for me to make that announcement I mentioned in the title of this post. This may not come as a surprise to some of you, more so after reading my little novel here, but I have decided to step away from blogging for the time being.
Due to how much I have unravelled in terms of my mental and emotional health within the past few months, it has become quite pivotal for both my psychological and physical health for me to do whatever it necessary to be able to become stable and comfortable in my own skin once more. I don’t want to force myself to keep on writing and blogging during a period where I know that I won’t be able to give it my very best effort, and also during a time where I fear the risk of my passion for doing my work could be strangled out of me. The last thing I need in my life is to lose the ability to enjoy things that I love so dearly, especially blogging.
My half-hiatus will begin today, after this post. This does not mean that I won’t be posting anything at all. It means that my posting will be significantly decreased, and yes, there will days or weeks where there may be empty space. Currently I write 1-3 blog posts per day. This will change to 0-3 per week. I still plan to continue reading the content you all create, as a way to motivate me and inspire me to never to give up. I will also definitely be doing Blogsphere Highlights. My half-hiatus will not stop this very specific post from going up. It’s an element of positivity and uplift that I believe will help me combat my depression.
A huge part of me wants to apologise to you for going on this half-hiatus. I know I recently just came off a miniature hiatus—my father was sick, so I focused on helping him—and now I’m going back on one, albeit for entirely different reasons. Nevertheless, I’m not going to apologise. I should never have to say “I’m sorry” for doing what is going to be most beneficial for my self-care and my mental health and well-being, and neither should any of you if you are ever in a position where you feel you must do something similar. Part of life is knowing when you need to go sit in the kiddie pool and catch your breath before returning to the deep waters, and there is no shame or guilt to be had with it. This is something that I learned from my fellow blogging community, actually, and I’m so grateful to you.
If any of you feel that you may prefer to unfollow a blog that may not be super active all of the time, I completely understand and will hold no ill-will against you. I know many people who prefer to follow blogs that update regularly rather than ones that go for months without doing so. While I don’t believe I will have months of no content, I’m not going to kick myself in the arse for it if it happens. Treatment and recovery is a tricky and unpredictable business. I’m going to hope for the very, very best and try my damndest to prepare for the utmost worse.
For any collaborations or commitments that I have with other bloggers: My hiatus DOES NOT change my commitment to you! I will still participate, happily so, and look forward to working on those posts with you! If you’d like to discuss it more, feel free to either DM me on Twitter, or drop me an Inquiry here on BiblioNyan. Please, do not worry about this! I made a promise to you and I am very much looking forward to working with you. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Thank you for taking the time to visit me today. I know I say this all the time, but I sincerely mean it from the very bottom of my heart: I respect and appreciate every one of you who takes the time to visit me and read, comment, like my stuff. Even if you don’t comment or actively participate, your presence here is taken in with just as much gratitude. I appreciate you sticking by through all of the ups, downs, and in-betweens. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I hope to return to you again one day, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Until next time, keep reading and keep otakuing. 🖤