The Bloggess. Mental Illness. Being Just Fine.

I found out about The Bloggess from someone over at the Chump Lady website. The Bloggess has thousands of followers and her posts get hundreds of comments — she’s amazing, funny, witty.

I haven’t followed her as closely as I’d like because I spent so much time on the Internet that I was spread pretty thin, but I just read her latest column and it really spoke to me.

It’s amazing and wonderful that a person with mental illness has found a way to be heard, to be weird, to be herself.

Sometimes I try to forget that I have mental illness. In fact just now I was going to type “supposed” in front of “mental illness” because even after all these years I sometimes have a hard time believing it myself.

By far the worst for me is the anxiety. I’ve often said I can handle my depression, but not my incredibly high anxiety — it makes me physically uncomfortable to the point of feeling out of control and terrified.

There were many years of my life when I was married to my “good husband” that I could not answer the phone. I could barely leave the house. I could not meet new people. That’s one reason why it was so easy for me to hide in the online world where I could be anyone I wanted to be.

I escaped into that world the way people escape into drugs, alcohol, gaming, gambling, anything that’s addictive. And by doing so I ruined my marriage.

I saw the same psychiatrist for ten years. And what I thought was a good psychologist for half that time. I was on every sort of medication you can imagine, and in the end I even tried some rounds of electro shock therapy — something I’m deeply ashamed of.

Nothing helped me. I just kept getting worse. And I lost that dear friend, my best friend, my husband because being with me was more than he could bear. I don’t blame him. I can’t think about it much or it overwhelms me even now. We were married for 18 years, and now we’ve been apart for about ten.

I was going to tell you a bit about him, but instantly realized I can’t let myself go there. I lost him. He’s happy now with someone deserving of him. I don’t know why I was so selfish and self centered and why I couldn’t see what I was doing to my life and to our life. I can only see it now, many years later.

So when I think about how anxious I got as I was being trained at my new job recently, it makes more sense. I don’t handle stress well at all. I may never be able to take on more responsibility than I have now. I can be very, very good at what I do, but I will probably not advance much.

My “good husband” and I divorced and I moved away and then I instantly met the bad one on the internet and I was a perfect willing victim and chump and so naive. He saw it from thousands of miles away. I never got to mourn that marriage or work on myself I just dove right into the next relationship which was doomed from the start.

When the guy flying to meet you gives up his apartment, says goodbye to his children, and comes with no plan on how long he will stay, you set yourself up for failure. I was stuck with him. I got caught up in his dreams of extreme wealth — all the while being the one who paid for everything. Because I wasn’t raised to be nosey about personal things, I only gently tried to ask him what he did for money and when he told me it was “family money” I decided to believe him.

So that is why I am grateful for this last year and a half, the hardest time of my entire life, and after my rocky start I stopped trying to hurt myself and kill myself and decided to live. I kept feeling what I thought was a sort of love for him for over a year. I’m sure the few folks who read my blog were annoyed by that — but they were gentle and kind people and I was grateful someone was hearing me and cheering me on.

If you had asked me even six months ago if I could picture myself where I am now, a decent job, decent health, not concerned about the next man in my life, very slowly making acquaintances. Realizing I am a bit odd and that nobody really cares. Realizing that maybe everyone is a bit odd and I wasn’t that unique.

Falling in love with the music of Bach. Looking so forward to Sunday mornings at church. Feeling very grateful, appreciative, and alive. I just would not have believed it was possible.

And now I think I need to know my limitations, but also push them. I have to trust that good folks will come into my life and that friends are in my future.

I know that my incredible anxiety is 100% due to my extremely traumatic very early childhood but nobody meant to hurt me, they were just young and stupid. There’s no point in trying to get them to see the error of their ways because they were in pain too. The gift I can give myself now is the gift of loving myself.

And I do. I’m fairly comfortable in my own skin. I’m aware that I’m no great beauty any more. But I appreciate beauty and decency and kindness in people. I think they see those things in me.

I’ll never thank my soon to be ex for hurting me so horribly that I finally awoke — but between you and I, I am glad that I took the journey which brought me here. I am awake, present, contented, calm (for me), and generally hopeful.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not elated. I’m not manic. What I am is just fine. I am just fine. That’s a lucky thing, and I’m grateful for it.

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4 responses to “The Bloggess. Mental Illness. Being Just Fine.

  1. Nice piece. Blessings from NZ.

  2. I hope this “just fine” stage lasts a long time for you. Or improves. No going backwards. I tell myself that all the time.

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