A Month of Getting Worse, Actually

by thethreepennyguignol

I’ll be honest: I’ve been avoiding writing this.

I wrote about wanting to make this year Better for my mental health last month, and I meant it. I still do! But I swear to God, I clicked publish on that article, and got hit by just an absolute fucking truckload of The Bad. Anxiety, depression, the lot.

In short: it’s fine. I’ve dealt with a lot worse than this, and I’m not in any danger physically or mentally as a result of the mental health nonsense that’s going on. But it has posed a little bit of a problem with my blogging plans (God, don’t you just hate when The Symptoms get in the way of your writing goals?), in that I’m not really getting better right now, I’m just maintaining.

Honestly, when this all started, I was pissed. I wanted to improve, dammit! This wasn’t improvement! This was barely a D-grade fail! But over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to shift my mindset on that, and see some improvement in the way that I deal with a setback like this.

Annoyingly, my mental health issues didn’t resolve once I had gotten all the appropriate character development out of them. I don’t know if they’re always going to be with me, but they’re certainly not about to spontaneously dissipate anytime soon. Normally, that pisses off to an insane degree. It’s hard not to let it get to you: why can’t your brain just do the thing, make the chemicals it needs to so you can get on with your life? I want to feel good. I want to be grateful. I want to enjoy my life. When I feel like I can’t, I’m prone to turning that anger on myself, which doesn’t exactly help to improve the ongoing clusterfuck in my head.

So this month, instead of viewing it as a setback, I’m trying to see it as a neutral. Does dealing with a bad period of anxiety or depression make my life better? No. But it’s also not a reflection of my own personal failing. I am not a worse person for not being able to find the button in my brain to make the right amount of serotonin. It sucks, and there are things that I can (and have!) do to stop it from getting worse, but it is not a moral imperative for me to be magically healthy and to be angry at myself if I’m not.

The getting better this month might not have looked the way I thought it would. But accepting that these flare-ups are going to happen, and not spending every second of them beating myself up for their occurrence is a W I’m willing to take right now. Sometimes, improvement just looks like acceptance. Here’s to a month of slightly-better getting-better.