I think of this image frequently, especially on days like today, when the clouds hang in the sky like gray, unwashed curtains and the air is heavy from any lack of expectation.
This is my state of emotional being on a fairly regular basis, about every month or so. I was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in my early 20's. Over the past 20 years I have worked hard to deal with this venomous demon they call depression, and have been marginally successful depending on the time of year and circumstances surrounding my life at that moment.
In 2007 I chose to stop taking the Prozac I was prescribed and have been free of any pharmaceutical depression meds for about 7 years. I do a LOT of self care, meditation and writing to help me get through the numbing times. Let me just interject here that I am not a doctor, and going off my meds was a personal decision that I made after much deliberation. There was also a self understanding that I would revisit them should things really take a major turn for the worse.
For those of us enduring mental illness, we find there are many people living in the so-called real world who can't fathom the extent of our coping mechanisms. These are the tricks and tools of the trade we utilize so we can function in our everyday lives. I view my depression as an actual person; she is a sad, emotionless girl who takes over as if I were some sort of empty backhoe on the side of the road that she can simply jump up into and start up. She will run the controls for a while and I will fade into a numb, voiceless bystander as she walks through my days, gloomy and distracted. She then relinquishes the helm after a bit, and I jump back up into the cab, a little more refreshed, a little less depressed.
When I first began my relationship with my current partner, I had to explain to him about my OCD...what it meant...and my own personal version of it. OCD is a broad term for a compulsion to engage in the act of repetitive actions that may make no sense to others, but have an enormous, powerful significance in the OCD sufferer's life.
Bi-polar and obsessive compulsive disorder. These are the things I have, but I am not my diagnosis. I am still me, a human being who has mental health issues and works to exist with them in the most conducive way I know how.
This life is a quagmire of hidden land mines and pitfalls for those of us afflicted, suffering, and dealing with mental illness. Today is a day of emotional stress and sadness for me. Ghost Girl is at the controls, and I am just going through the motions. But hopefully, when she is tired and ready to jump down, I can pick up where she left off a little brighter, a little better than before.
In the end, it's all just a part of my own personal journey, and I am grateful for my Ghost Girl...for rainy, overcast days...and for a place to hide until it all blows over.
Until next time, don't forget to be gentle with yourselves,