TW: mild references to self-harm.
For the past couple of weeks I have felt a bit low and have been struggling to feel interested in anything. I have been feeling numb and detached and have also been self-harming. I know this is most likely Depression itself, or perhaps even a side-effect of some medication but there is another contributing factor. As I said in The Child In Me, aspects of my illness are often met with negative and unhelpful reactions from the people I love most. I have therefore, over time, become exhausted with the effort of trying to explain myself (because that’s what it feels like) and now no longer bother. So I guess you could say that I have become ‘selectively mute’ around my family when it comes to my illness and any associated thoughts and feelings. I simply don’t see the point in upsetting everyone else when I can just as easily be upset on my own, cope with self-harm injuries on my own and make/go to appointments on my own. After all, I have a care team which, from what I gather, is more than some people have so I do have regular opportunities to vent.
However, this withdrawal has now extended to other areas of my life. I often find myself suppressing things I might like to contribute to a conversation or even not having the energy to speak. I feel ‘protective’ of my life in general – I recently made the decision to re-enrol on an Open University module I have been trying to get through since…I don’t even know…this will be my third attempt. My family don’t know this. I don’t want to have a conversation about it. I fear being judged, questioned: What if you relapse again? What if studying causes you to relapse? What do you expect to gain from sitting in your bedroom reading textbooks? You put yourself under too much pressure…
To be clear, this (extreme) sort of reaction would be unlikely but I have had so many to the contrary of late that I’m too tired to risk it. I do spend time with my family: we eat together, I listen to them talk, show an interest in their lives, put on a face. But I feel utterly lost, like I am shut in a glass box, watching but not belonging. I feel I have lost my voice. I feel alone in a crowd.