An Honest Post: I’m okay but not great

I wanted to write a more specific piece on depression and Jeff Foster’s take on it being a need for a deep rest, but it’s a topic I want to give my full attention with thorough research. So for now, I’ll just be candid.

I’m okay, but I’m not great. I’ve been okay for a while. I take my meds. I do my best to eat and sleep well (though I’m not terribly good at either). I get up every day and take things one task at a time. I make art. I read. I write. I try.

But trying won’t cure my depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

A digital illustration of Alyssa’s face looking straight at the viewer. She has dark makeup and a buzzed head.

Anxiety makes it hard to focus enough to complete more complex tasks (like a thoroughly researched essay). Depression makes it hard to have energy to do anything other than rest. And PTSD makes it hard to exist in the world without wanting to just duck and hide from it.

I’m so much better than I was before. Except when I’m not. And that’s just the nature of mental illness.

You see, there’s no cure for these things. We just get treatment to help us cope. Medications help our chemistry remain more balanced and therapy helps us practice tools to use when those meds aren’t working like magic (so basically all the time).

Okay, maybe not all the time. The sign that your medication is doing its job is when your symptoms come less frequently and/or with less severity. And my meds have done both for me. But that doesn’t change the fact that whether the shit hits the fan with hurricane force winds or just thunderstorm severity, you’re still trying to navigate piles of shit falling all over you.

And there are moments where I feel that being “better” is actually kind of worse. Hear me out: me being better, but not cured, means I get a taste of normalcy. I get a glimpse of what things can be like when I’m well. I get to do the things I want to do. And then a shit storm comes and takes it away. At times it seems like it’d be easier to just stay down and have no expectations of a positive life. It’s pessimistic as fuck, but it’s an honest thought.

Of course I don’t want to stay down. I want to stay up! I want to see the shit storm coming and have a plan to tackle it before it all piles on. I want a shelter of safe space to run to when I need time to plan before dealing with the storm. I know life brings storms for everyone, and that’s fine. I just want to be able to face them with confidence knowing I can handle them because I’m okay.

And I am. I am okay. I can deal. That’s why I get up everyday and keep pushing through. But what I wish is that I could do more than just push through. I wish I could be more than just okay. I wish I could thrive so that when a storm comes blowing I can stand tall and say, “Bring it on, bitch. I can take it.” Because great and powerful as that storm may be, so am I.

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