The trouble with mental illness is that when I try to be optimistic and tell myself on a bad day that tomorrow will be better I’m often disappointed. I don’t know why I expect the next day to be better, I suppose it is something that keeps me going: the hope that it will. In my worst times if I hadn’t told myself that tomorrow would be better there would have been no tomorrow.
Today I am in an impossible fog of derealization. Insomnia is causing exhaustion that is eating away at my sanity and weakening my defenses so much that I struggle to feel like anything is real. Everything is strange and unfamiliar, even my voice: it sounds like it’s coming from someone else. It catches me off guard.
I think I said earlier that it seems unfair that I (and many others) have to work so hard at such basic things. These days when I’m sleep-deprived my frustration about this is overwhelming. Every thought and action is a struggle. Not only is it difficult to just get from one thought to the next and one action to the next I am much more susceptible to negative thoughts and flashbacks and self-criticism. Thoughts come to my head: thoughts of my failures. Memories crash in with force: terrible memories. It is as if the demons I fight so hard to keep at bay are having a free-for-all. Old thoughts of drinking or self-harm resurface. I’m weak and discouraged. I’m gasping for air.
It’s difficult to be kind to myself on these days. I become frantic and tense and I beat myself up over things past and present. After a morning of obsessing about housecleaning and managing the kids my body said “enough”. I felt light-headed and like I couldn’t go another step. Couldn’t move. I realized that I was running, running, running and I needed to be still. My body and mind needed a rest. As I stilled my body my mind felt more at ease – it wasn’t trying to escape the darkness but simply sit in the darkness. The stillness made the dark less frightening. Being in the dark is bad enough but running in it is madness.
The day will end and I will lay down to sleep and think: “tomorrow will be better.”