When You're Sick of Mental Illness but Well Enough to Want to Live

Amber Wood
photo of bored tired looking woman on train or bus looking out of dirty window

Even though I’m far away from being the best I can be in terms of my recovery, overall, I can truthfully say I am “on the mend.” In general, I’m improving. My trajectory is headed toward wellness rather than self-destruction. I won’t go as far to say I’m thrilled about this — depression means I don’t really get thrilled about anything nowadays — but, categorically, I can say I am thankful to be alive.

So herein lies a new problem (because apparently, I don’t have enough of those); I’m sick of being sick. I want my old life back. Now that I actually want to be alive, having to deal with all the messy, painful, unromantic symptoms of depression and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) seems at times an impossible task, and also royally unfair. I thought I did the hard part. I found the will to live again — I made active, difficult steps to start my own recovery. I got through weeks of being acutely suicidal, and on the other side of it, what I’m left with is my old life being dangled tantalizingly in front of me, but with two horrible mental illnesses barring the way.

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Now that I’m not in a haze of emotional numbness and frequent dissociative episodes, I’m actually experiencing feelings like frustration. I’m angry at my illness when it causes me to cancel plans because I just can’t stop crying. Despite working hard at my recovery, PTSD is literally written all over my face; three layers of make-up can’t mask the pretty much permanent circles under my eyes. I am chronically tired, terrified of what awaits me when I close my eyes, but also terrified of the possibility of relapse caused by worsening sleep.

I’m well enough to start to look forward to normal things again but not well enough to actually do most of those things. I know this is probably all just part of recovery and it won’t last forever, but right now, keeping going seems like a fruitless, bitter task. There’s constantly an aching sense of loss for the person I used to be, and I’m desperately trying to become her again. I’m telling myself over and over that it’s time to get well now, but my brain just isn’t getting the memo.

Related:10 Things I’ve Learned in Living With Depression

I really hope it does soon.

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