Yesterday, the moment I had been dreading all semester happened; I had a meltdown. After months of working toward recovery and being more independent, everything fell apart in a few minutes. Spiraling downward, my irrational panic reminded me of years ago. Darkness consumed my mind, making me transform into my 14-year-old self. Broken inside, I sobbed harder than I have in months if not years.
Why is it that things can be going so well and then change suddenly? All fall, I held myself together. Sure, moments were difficult, but for the first time, life seemed beautiful and full of hope. Last night, all of my accomplishments dissipated as I lost control of my anxieties and hurts.
These meltdowns used to be regular for me. My therapist helped me to realize that these times when I sob and lament over every little thing is brought on by my aspergers, anxiety, and depression. The eating disorder often adds more stress. Thus, I used to turn to self-harm or food for comfort. Last night, negative ways to cope popped into my head. However, I used very few of them and instead tried to turn to my parents for help.
In the end, my mother helped me to reconcile with others. Each member of my family tried to reach out to me and convince me of how much I was loved. Pink nosed and sniffling, I stopped crying and tried to enter into normal festivities. Mario raised my spirits by dancing to Mariah Carey, Scotty McCreery, and Kelly Clarkson Christmas music.
Yet the meltdown still affect me and my family. When I see how much my mental illness hurts those around me, I wish that someone would lock me up forever so that I would never harm anyone again. These are the times when I believe that this world would be better off with me gone.
In fact, I asked my mother to take me to the hospital again. That way I would be out of the way for my family’s Christmas celebrations. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that the last place I want to go is back to the psych ward. However, being in an awful place or even on the streets (which I also suggested to my mom) would be better than spoiling this holiday for my family.
Meltdowns and other symptoms of mental illness, learning disorders, and any other types of health issues are difficult for the family members of the person struggling. Believe me, those who have these disorders or diseases realize how difficult they make life for their loved ones. Guilt fills me whenever my family gathers. Sometimes, I hide in the bathroom and just listen to my family laugh without me. If I was not in the house, everything would be more simple for them. Better yet, if I were never born, no one would have to deal with any of my problems.
I hate Mario being sent out of the room so that he will not hear my desire to hurt myself. Watching my dad struggle to say anything to me for fear of angering me breaks my heart. Whether my sisters smother me in a hug, stay silent about an accomplishment, or look at the ground trying not to cry, their actions show how much they care and how difficult that is. My mother’s anger when I hurt myself also reminds me of the hurt that I cause.
So often I wish that things were different. If only I tried harder, perhaps things could change, and I could be normal. However, deep down, I know that I can heal but not change. Some of my burdens will haunt me forever. I can learn to live with my illnesses, but I cannot fully escape them.
During this Christmas season, I want to encourage all of those who are struggling and their families. Meltdowns probably will occur. This is a stressful time of year which brings out anxiety in many people. These are difficult to deal with but no impossible. Taking one day, you can make it through this next few days. I will be struggling and smiling through this holiday along with you.