The better I get, the harder things are

You might be used to the idea that when you recover from depression, any return of symptoms is much worse. Because you’re better – you’re higher out of that pit, so the fall back in is a lot harder. This past week, I’ve been finding that what’s equally as tough to deal with is the contrast.

Basically, feeling depressed now is much more frustrating than it used to be.

When I had fewer responsibilities, fewer obligations, and fewer things booked that challenge my mental health, waking up feeling a bit shit wasn’t a huge problem. It was unpleasant, but it didn’t leave me angry at what I couldn’t do.

Today, I’m due to push my Camp Nanowrimo word count and catch up to par, because I don’t write on the weekends. Last week, I had a breakthrough with the novel I’m working on (the next in the Oracle trilogy). I’m really excited about the next passage in the book. I’ve not felt this invested in it since I started it.

And…I don’t feel like I can do it justice right now. There is a knot in my chest and another in my throat. I have this insidiously quiet, hidden-in-the-background sense of my own worthlessness. I’m hyper aware of all the other things that are troubling me, like my joint and back pain.

When I was at my worst, I’d been there for so long that I had less to lose.

The risks were different. If I lost a day? I lost a day. I lost every day, so who cares. If I lose even so much as an hour now, I get locked in this cycle of being angry about how much I can’t do.

It’s actually not even that I beat myself up about it – I’m a lot better at acknowledging that something is too much. But the more I add into my week, the more I notice how frequently I wake up feeling like this; how often things are this hard.

In a weird way, I’m kind of proud of myself for having not noticed as much before. Because it shows how much I was surviving even when I couldn’t tell the difference between good and bad days. When the contrast wasn’t as great as it is now.

And, you know, when feeling like shit didn’t make me feel guilty.

Because what right do I have to feel like this, when so many good things are happening? How dare I invalidate them by feeling like I’m worthless? Or worst still, undo them by returning to my former self?

Well.

It’s not about right, I have a chronic illness. I’m not invalidating the good things in my life by having that illness, because I’m still engaging in them when I’m able to. And to get all the way back down to rock bottom? That would take a lot more than struggling but succeeding regardless.

Because that’s what I am doing – struggling, but succeeding. I just need to remind myself of that.

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