I don’t recall the exact moment I decided to start taking responsibility for my own mental health, but I do know that 2019 has become the first chapter (or, the first chapter to get to the point) of a journey that will probably last a lifetime.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an author. There hasn’t been anything else; no other dream job that I craved, or passion that I wanted to follow. I am a writer. I am a creative. I am an author. I truly believe that’s what I’m supposed to be doing with my life (as well as worshiping the dark lord and single handedly keeping KFC afloat) but, unfortunately, I am also the sufferer of mental health issues.
These two things, as common as they are to find sitting next to one another, do not mix well…especially if you don’t put the effort in to keep them from fighting.
As of the time of this post I haven’t released a book in an entire year. I’ve not only let down the people who once called themselves my fans, but I’ve let down my partner, the friends I’ve cancelled on because I’ve been too worried about my income to do anything, and, perhaps most importantly, I’ve let down myself.
For the longest time I have been caught in a vicious cycle of doubting myself, seeking comfort, getting a fleeting high off the kind words/reassurance that people give me, then not making any progress in the time before the process repeats. I blamed this on everything but myself; I treated my mental state as some uncontrollable force that I cannot change (or attempt to better) and I let myself become a victim to my own thoughts—and, admittedly, somewhat enjoyed relinquishing myself of all responsibility in the process.
And, frankly, I’m sick of myself.
I’m sick of my own excuses. I’m sick of seeing myself post “hey everyone! Little delay because of X/Y/Z” and I’m sick of continually letting down every single person that ever put an ounce of faith in me because the truth is, I’ve had every opportunity to go and get mental health help and I have chosen to sit on my ass and do nothing for years.
I have become co-dependent on my partner, isolated myself and ignored every hand that reached out my way when it came to bettering myself. I have told doctors that I’ll “check in next week” only to cancel the appointment the day of, and I’ve lied about it to both my partner and my friends. I’ve done this for years, and while my anxiety and depression are things that I may never fully have under my control, they ARE things I should be attempting to control.
I wouldn’t willingly lie in the middle of a road and let a car run over me. Why the fuck have I been letting the mental equivalent happen every damn day when all I had to do was head over to the sidewalk?
You know, I’ve spoken about my addictive tendencies before, and if I’m going to be brutally honest with myself, I think I’ve been addicted to the rush that my anxiety gives me. I think I’ve been reveling in the chaos of my own mind and that I’ve secretly enjoyed the panic attacks, stress, and drama that I’ve created for myself within my head. I think that, in some sick, twisted way, I’ve found comfort in being an emotional wreck because it takes away the responsibilities of adulthood. I have something to blame for my mistakes, and I have excuses not to do things.
And that’s not right. Or fair. Or justified. Not when I have every resource available to me to at least attempt to change. Not when other people are out there fighting for their lives against this stuff.
So, that’s what I’m doing this year. Seeking help where I need it, doing the shit that needs to be done, and forcing myself onto those goddamn train rides to go to my goddamn appointments because I know I can fucking do it when it needs to be done.
No. More. Excuses.