Ok. Mini social media “break” didn’t do the trick. Always surprising how surprising that is… How “knowing” what depletes your energy only becomes known when you have no energy left.
So, #realtalk time. And I know it seems real talk is all I do, but even when you’re commentating your own life blow by blow in public, it’s entirely possible to fool yourself some of the time. Until it becomes all of the time.
Burn out. Nervous breakdown. Not in the it’s just an expression kind of way. In the adrenal fatigue, Drs’ visits, worrying yourself long after worrying others kind of way. (Even now it’s easier to be clever with words and speak in the 3rd person about yourself than actually admit it).I admit it. To myself in the last few days and now to you. Because my compulsive need to be smart and insightful and brave and inspiring, in both ups and downs, for you, Dear Reader, is why I’m “unwell”.
And so I’m confessing, not looking for sympathy or help, because sympathy and help at times like this are best left to the professionals. And in admitting it mode, I’ve been able to ask for that help. (Funny how that only comes just after the ‘before it’s too late’ stage). (And the exhausting nervous energy of burnout means I ramble and it’s all tl;dr but so be it, because I’m tired of apologising). If, however, your spoons mean the rest of the piece is tl;dr (too long; didn’t read), just know this:
Just know that I know my own neurodiversity and mental illness SO well by now, I know what to do and when to do it, even if sometimes a bit too late. And I am getting professional help and then some, and my Doc says I do what they would have told me to do anyway, but help me with med interactions and the infinite counterinteractions of psych meds and adrenal fatigue recovery meds.
They also agree that getting healthy for top surgery and not delaying the surgery is what I need right now for my continued recovery. So I’m aware of ALL the infinite possibilities and am on the right path. So I WILL be ok. Thank you.
RE CONTACTING ME TO SUPPORT ME/KEEP IN TOUCH.
And now, if you have spoons and want to continue reading, feel free.
The last 12 months have been rough. And it’s no surprise that I’m here. Except it is because so many things are going so well. The guilt that I should be happy because I’m grateful and excited and relieved fools me into thinking that I am happy. And I am, in moments, and I celebrate and acknowledge and express gratitude for those moments. But I am not happy.
I feel guilty that my good news about surgery that makes you so genuinely happy for me has not made me happy. In fact, tbh, I feel guilty for the good happening. I feel guilty for the love shown, the donations made, the heartfelt excitement shared. Because deep down I worry that I don’t deserve these things; that I am not worthy. And in a trans and mental health community where I am one of the more privileged, survivor’s guilt is real.
I feel shame in admitting that my real life does not match up to the social media news highlights I share of disasters and triumphs. While I am making progress, which makes you happy for me and makes me happy for me, I feel shame admitting that on either side of those disasters and triumphs lie vast valleys and plateaus of chronic not-OKness.
But good and exciting things that have been so hard fought for and won only mean that good things happen when I fight hard. It doesn’t have to mean that I AM good or ok or fine or happy. (Told you I was rambling, but fuck it; I need to get this out of me to heal).
Guilt and shame are shitty fucking emotions that do so much harm; but as unconventional as I am and as much as I fight to prove the unreality of so much of what we see as reality, those puritan emotional pillars, Guilt and Shame are very real.
Guilt and shame. All while exercising my Obsessive Compulsive Saviour Complex and having empathy for and helping everyone else because “I’m good and ok and successfully navigating extreme hardships and inspiring and brave”…breathe…
Pretending to be as strong as everyone thinks I am, and being an empath and feeling genuine empathy for and wanting to help (EVERYone) means I have not held and soothed my vulnerability and my battered by 2016/7 self. And the only person I have not had empathy for, the only person I have not tried to advise, counsel and save is me.
(And I realise I’m writing and sharing this because of the guilt and shame of what I have to do to save me, and because I have to leave you with more of the brave and strong and inspiring mental health awareness and anti-stigma Germaine, but) I’m writing this to confirm for me, and you, in black and white and in thought my adrenally-fatigued brain has been incapable of holding onto (as well as my ID number, the need for food and sleep and the day of the week) that:
- Being not ok is ok, always, but especially when I’ve had shitty things that are not self inflicted and are out of my control happen to me.
- Being not ok is ok when people viewing my life think wonderful things happening for me means I should feel wonderful.
- Weakness (being vulnerable and admitting it and asking for help) IS strength.
- Selfcare is not selfish.
- Saying ‘no’ is not a betrayal or a cause for the receiver of the ‘no’s disappointment or thought that I’m a self-involved, privileged asshole.
- Self-care is the foundation for any care of others.
- Self-love and self-awareness does not mean I never feel unworthy or guilty or shameful.
(And now that we’re past the emotional incontinence mark, let me mop around it and wrap this up).
My self-care and healing needs to look like this: I will do the social media equivalent of burn after writing this by deleting all social media apps off my phone and stay away from iProducts so that I can stop the cycle of saving-guilt-saving-shame-saving and focus on saving myself so that I ensure that the calling/crutch of helping others doesn’t jeopardise my surgery and other things that will enable me to save myself.
FOMO, but brb, when I’m strong enough for me. Seriously love you, Reader, and I’ll carry your support and love with me before, during and after surgery and until we speak again. (And now it’s 1:53am and I have gotten this out and can try again to fall asleep before Day 1 of Serious Self-care). #GoneHealing