Coexisting With Yourself

The past few days have shown me that it is a very difficult thing to have ambition coexist with depression. The electricity that comes with working towards your horizon can barely make it past of the shadow of this strange darkness in your bones. Like calcium, it forms and it hardens, concreting itself into your DNA. All of the sadness and the anxiousness and my lying senses will always be some part of me, even if it’s not meant to.

The hard truth of the matter is that I need to find a way to coexist with that other side. And some days, like the past couple of days, I will fail. Some days my bones will turn to iron and chain me to the closet and I won’t want to come out again. The rest of the time I’ll be working, racing against the clock until the moment my shadow overtakes me and I gain the weight of the sun. Until then, I can carry my world.

 

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My Rap Sheet of a Psyche

I suppose that if I want to write about mental health and awareness then I should go into my own mental head space a tad. Don’t worry, I won’t be giving you every excruciating detail of the fun that is learning you have a mental illness. This is more of a brief summary.

I always thought I had depression and anxiety throughout high school but had never talked to anyone or been diagnosed. During my year at college, my depression seemed to worsen until I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping, and I definitely wasn’t going to any of my classes. While I was used to what it felt like to be depressed, I started to experience things I never had before. I noticed quiet whispers in my ears when no one was around. Dark, blurry figures would dance around the corners of my eyes. I began having strange thoughts about people trying to “get” me. When I eventually dropped out towards the end of the semester and returned to living with my parents, I told them nothing about what was going on. I got a job, I tried to get through each day, and pretended like nothing was wrong.

Of course, that never works.

My parents eventually found out, which was not my decision but that is a story for another day, and decided to take me to the ER. I was hospitalized for six days and diagnosed with major depressive disorder with psychotic features, generalized anxiety, and PTSD. Life after a diagnosis is confusing. I was ashamed of my own brain and I didn’t really tell a lot of people. It is something that I’ve struggled to accept about myself since then and it’s something I’ll struggle with for the rest of my life. I have a long way to go, but I know that I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at.

Although it’s the extremely shortened version of the story, you got all the big pieces of information. Along the way I’ll probably sprinkle in some more details, but that’s all you get for now!

The First Leaf

I know what you’re thinking, why read this entirely new blog that you’ve never heard of that doesn’t even have any good pictures? Well if you ever find yourself bored and want to read about the really weird things that we humans think about, then you’ve come to the right place! This blog is meant to be my way of putting all the things I think about into something that makes sense.

A little about me, my name is Melissa Hirt, I am twenty years old, and I live in Kansas City, Missouri. Growing up in a suburb south of the city, you get used to telling people that you live in Kansas City. For some reason people can only remember the cities that punch you in the face with their skyscrapers and endless potholes that take months to be fixed.

I had a very suburban, very christian childhood. My mother and father are both devout baptists, so I grew up singing Jesus Loves Me and Bless My Soul, decorating tiny crosses, and handing out endless bible tracks. As I grew older and I realized that Christianity wasn’t for me, I found that there are parts of a religion that (almost) every human being can agree with: love your neighbor as yourself, take care of the sick and the poor, be accepting to all. I think when people leave the church, they can be seen as this immoral heathen reverting back to their sinful ways, but that always seemed a little dramatic to me. When I left the church, I didn’t lose the morals that I had been taught, I added to them. I didn’t suddenly become a thief or a rapist or a liar, I only realized that my values can be different from another’s and still value them as a person. This realization opened me up to an entirely different view of the world. I still keep in touch with many of the people I knew from church, and being able to accept another’s views without having to make them your own was very liberating for me.

When I was seventeen I joined the Army National Guard and reported to a unit once a month for nine months before I shipped out for Basic Training. My older brother had joined the Army three years before that and I had always looked up to him so I decided to join as well. My time in the Army was very strange. I enjoyed getting to know new people and I felt like I could belong to that life. I wanted to succeed as badly as I wanted to breathe. I had made a commitment and I was going to the best goddamn soldier I could be. The first couple of months I excelled. My PT scores were passing and I was improving them every day, I met other soldiers that I got along with, and I was enjoying all the hard work we were doing. I don’t remember when the shift happened, but it slammed into my stomach without so much as a hint. I started becoming nervous, my hands would shake anytime there was attention on me, and I started having panic attacks.  The thing about the Army is that you have to be healthy and mentally fit because your job is to defend your nation, an incredibly important and sometimes dangerous task. So when I started developing symptoms of depression and anxiety, that’s when everything started to go downhill. The drill sergeants talked, or rather screamed, at me differently. The people I had become friends with kept me at a distance because they were focused on graduating. I met with army psychiatrists who asked me hundreds of questions. Eventually they decided that I was not mentally fit enough to serve in the Army, and I was discharged a couple weeks after I would have graduated Basic Training.

This is a very difficult subject to talk about because it was the weakest I had felt in my entire life. I used to tell people that I was discharged for the stress fractures in my hips (which is not a total lie, those ruck marches are a bitch) because I was so ashamed of the reason behind leaving that I didn’t want anyone to know. After I was discharged, I attended college for two semesters before I left to work a full time job and learn how to deal with my deteriorating mental health. It seemed as if I was scrambling for some meaning to my life and there were more failures along the way than I’d like to admit.

I don’t know how I didn’t realize that all of the writing I was doing while all of this was happening was a way to claw myself out of this pitiful grave that I was digging. Writing had always come easy to me, I could cough up a ten page paper in a couple days without really worrying all that much. To think that I could earn a living off of my writing is a completely new idea for me. So I started researching, and reading other people’s work, and I realized that this was something that I could do. My goal is to become a freelance writer and be able to support myself and my future family, and that doesn’t come without hard work. But this is something that could save my life during the times when I feel like there’s nothing left to care about. So if this is going to save my life, I’m going to try to make it sound pretty damn good

I’m excited for you all to join me on this journey!