There is Something Wrong with Me.
I feel empty.
There. We got that out of the way now.
And it’s not like a “I have nothing to live for” empty, so please don’t be alarmed or worried about me. It’s just… An empty empty.
I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.
-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
It’s the kind of empty that no one really talks about. The kind that just appears because you are either over stressed or overworked or your hormones decided to be – juusttt – a little off (which thanks to a lovely little condition called PCOS happens to me a lot recently). It’s the kind of empty that makes you question what the hell is wrong with you because you have no logical reason to feel that way… You just do.
At risk of being a bit gross here, we (my partner and I) have linked this reoccurring feeling to my menstrual cycle. Because every time I feel like this it’s usually around my “time of the month”, but that doesn’t negate from the fact that every time it happens I lose my ever loving shit trying to understand how someone who is naturally so driven and motivated and full emotion can suddenly, like the bat of an eye, feel so hallow. And we have also brought up the idea that it all may be linked to my borderline personality disorder. That during that time it just decides “Aye, yo… Uhh… You gon’ freak the fuck out now. Kay byeee.” But even though there is a general idea of a culprit, I still feel a sense of annoyance and anger at feeling this way.
Because no one ever talks about it.
No one talks about the “lost” feeling. About feeling unmotivated or like nothing is quite working the way you need it to. Part of it is ignorance towards mental health (I live in a state that is – veeryyy – against providing resources and education on mental illness), but part of it is also, I believe, a lack of willingness for adults to voice when they feel low or having a hard time because they are worried about being viewed as weak. So many (at least where I come from) believe that mental illness is such an “adolescent” occurrence, and by the time you are in your twenties you should have “grown out of it” and moved on with your life. You’re supposed to “stop crying for attention”. Which is so goddamn far from the truth it’s sickening.
They don’t want to talk about how it can make you question things: Debating on dropping out of school, questioning the love you have for your partner, wanting to just be alone… yet… not wanting to be alone.
It’s terrifying. It’s uncomfortable. It’s everything I never want to be.
I will be Okay Again… Eventually.
Inside I know that I will be okay again.
Yeah. I will.
It might not be tomorrow. Well… It most certainly won’t be tomorrow. Maybe next week. Most likely. But I know I will be okay again.
It’s that thought that keeps me going. That thought that one day I won’t feel this way and I will be back to “normal”. Or at least whatever that looks like for me.
And I’m lucky.
You may have to fight a battle more than once.
I’m lucky I have Dallas, my partner, who stands by me and reassures me that everything is okay. Who hears me out when I’m in a panic, regardless of how many times I bring up the same concern. Who has never made me feel like my concerns were insignificant or unreasonable. Even when I, myself, am being completely un-fucking-reasonable.
I’m lucky I have a few friends who understand. Or at least try to. Who check in on me when I’m not being myself or when they haven’t heard from me for a few days. Who remind me that it’s okay to be distant and dissociate when I need to, and that they will not abandon me when life gets too much sometimes.
Because I think the one thing that they really don’t tell you in adulthood, is that it’s okay to not be okay. And it’s completely okay to not feel normal. Or to feel empty. You are entitled to that feeling. But one day it’ll be okay again. It won’t be tomorrow. Or maybe even next week. Hell… It might not even be until next year. But you will be okay again eventually.
And it’s okay to talk about it. To make how you feel known. Feeling lost or empty doesn’t mean you are weak. It just means you need some time to feel okay again. And there is nothing at all wrong with that. I know it’s cliché to say “You aren’t alone”… But really… You aren’t. It’s something I’ve had to learn and understand over time. That there are more people in this world that are fighting the same fight I am.
We are all soldiers in the same army.
Just… Sometimes our wars looks a little different.
A Repetitive Sermon
I know, at this moment, I’m repeating a lot of things that are seen on social media like… Every. Single. Day. Literally everyone on any platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, Pinterest, etc.) is talking about mental illness as a way to bring awareness to it.
Which, don’t get me wrong, is a good thing.
Yet, while there is such an increased discussion on the recognition of mental illness and the normalization of being “abnormal”, there is still such a hush over what it feels like to have a mental illness. How… if it is so natural to have a mental illness (shout out to my millennials cause Lord knows we have a shit ton of them) then why do I constant feel like this is the most unnatural thing I’ve ever had to deal with.
Because no one talks about it.
No one talks about the – details – of mental illness. They just talk about having one. No one talks about the self isolating feeling that comes with wanting to talk about it (because that is what you’re supposed to do) but somehow not being able to because of inability to verbalize the feelings you have even about having the feelings you have.
Still with me? Okay good. Thought I might have lost you with that last bit there.
I know what it’s like to be afraid of your own mind.
-Dr. Spencer Reid, Criminal Minds
It’s the parts that no one else seems to understand (or at least you think they don’t) that no one talks about. And when they do talk about it, mental illness is almost romanticized or pitied like those of us affected with it are some poor defenseless creature who needs saving.
I don’t need saving.
I just need to talk. To be heard. Even if you don’t understand. Because these are things we… The world… Need to talk about. In order to better understand each other. In order to better love each other.
I don’t know man…
We just need to start talking to each other about the emptiness. Especially when we are feeling empty.