Life with mental illness is less a steady uphill climb and more a torturous hike across a freaking mountain range that stretches from the emergence of symptoms to the end of life.
There are those moments when I've been assiduously climbing, I've battled mountain lions and sabertooth tigers, frigid winds and high altitude, avalanches and snow drifts, and I've peaked. I'm on top of the mountain, waving down and smiling to my cheering supporters.
I am, literally, on top of the world. I am invincible, unconquerable. I am Caesar before Brutus, Napoleon before Russia and again (maybe?) before Waterloo. I have prevailed against my enemy and I shall never be taken down again.
In those moments when the adrenaline is rushing through my veins and I am positively drunk on the joy of not being depressed, I write as though I have conquered this illness for once and for all.
But then begins the long descent once more into the valley. Each step grows colder, my shoes soaked through until my toes are brittle and liable to snap off, frostbitten. My heart grows heavy and beats louder yet fainter, faster yet slower, in that strange paradox that comes with a new episode of depression.
When I fight battles, I lose; my enemies (depression, anxiety, stress, desperation) overwhelm me and leave me, broken and bloodied, on the mountainous steppes.
I have hit rock bottom.
Again and again, I hit rock bottom. And again and again, I write about hitting rock bottom.
Is it wearisome to you to go on this rollercoaster with me? It's wearisome to me to live it. Boy, do I wish the battle against depression was one uphill slog, culminating in a nice celebration at the peak where all my friends gather and toast my fortitude with sweet wine. How I wish I had friends...but see, that's the downward slog talking!
I asked if it was wearisome to you to go on this journey with me, but the truth is...I don't care. It's important that you come with me, because I need you to understand. I need you to grasp what it's like living with mental illness.
Because today I'm...descending.
I was just at the peak, was I not? If I reach backwards, I remember — I was okay. I was so okay, in fact, that I filmed a video talking about why I was so okay!
Look at how okay I am! I am obnoxiously okay! I am gloriously, beautifully, my-hair-is-actually-red-for-onceokay!
Now my feet are cold yet again.