The Cycle of Mental Illness

Even though I am not in going through a crisis right now and my situation is fairly stable, I feel like my mental illness is controlling most of my life. I’m sure there are people who would say that I am making excuses and being lazy and there’s a part of me that worries it’s the truth.

It hits me as soon as I wake up. I’ve never been a morning person, and my depression and anxiety seem to be at their worst first thing in the morning as of late. Nothing is more appealing to me than 5 more minutes of sleep, so I hit the snooze button until I absolutely have to get up. I’ve been working on laying out my clothes and everything I need for work the night before, which makes things a little easier. However, I’m a pretty scatterbrained person, especially in the morning, so I’m constantly setting things down and forgetting  where they are or walking to the car without something and having to go back to get it (forgetfulness, inattentiveness, distractibility, etc are associated with depression and BPD).

So then I’m on my way to work and because my morning has not gone smoothly I’m either irritated, anxious, weepy, or full of self-loathing (or all of those together). Some days this results in poor job performance. Other days my job is a beautiful distraction from my emotions; I’m lucky and have a kick-ass job. My work days are fast-paced, though. I work with kids and at the end of my time with them I have 15 minutes to clean  up, take data, and send progress notes. Then I travel from one location to the next in half an hour. Thanks to BPD I’m often easily overwhelmed, so traffic and the stress of being in a hurry can set off mood swings.

After work I’m tired physically from being on my feet a lot of the day playing with kids and worn out socially from interacting with people and being “on” all day. I really do love my job, but it does make me tired. So at that point I can’t handle something like going to the grocery store at 5:30 when it’s going to be full of other people who just left work. I believe I am a highly sensitive person and an introvert, and I don’t like crowds. Plus the bright lights, sounds, and crowded space of stores is too much for me sometimes.

Again, maybe I’m just a lazy loser, but I don’t exactly feel like exercising after work either. A lot of the time my back and legs hurt from being on the floor, kneeling, picking up kids, etc. I get sinus headaches 8 days out of 10. All I want to do after work is sit down and read/knit/play video games/hang out with my boyfriend/hold my cats.

And this whole time BPD is doing it’s adorable thing. My mood is changing 97 times a day. My inner critic is spewing negative self-talk every 13 seconds. I feel guilty for every mistake I make, I worry about people abandoning me, I resisting impulses to hurt myself or spend money on stupid shit. I’m fighting a dragon all day.

Some days I do well. I eat healthy things, I do some housework, I ride my exercise bike. I go to bed feeling like I’ve been a regular, productive person. But most days, I can’t muster the motivation or I spend my evening trying to regulate my emotions and handle distress. Then I go to bed feeling ashamed and guilty that I’m not making any progress in life and I get a shitty night’s sleep.

Then the cycle repeats itself. Sometimes I’ll have a few days of energy and get things done, but then I’ll get tired and emotionally raw and fall down again.

I want to eat well and be in better shape. I want to have a clean house. I want to apply to and enroll in grad school. I have so many goals, and I feel like BPD and MDD are keeping me from accomplishing them by stealing my motivation and sapping me of all my energy. So many articles, books, people, etc say that eating better, exercising, committing to valued acting, etc will help with depression and BPD but those things require effort that I don’t have the energy and motivation for.

I’m sorry that this post is a big ball of complaining. Can anyone relate? Am I just a lazy piece of shit?