The Floor isn’t Really Lava: Jumping Again When Falling is Easier

Photo Credit: Aricka Lewis

Photo Credit: Aricka Lewis

As I lay on the floor crying, my only thought was “What the hell are you doing?”

I probably shouldn’t have been on the floor. It’s hard and it makes your ribs hurt if you lay there too long. No one should spend any serious time on the floor without sex or yoga (or both) involved. Regardless, that was where I found myself. My mind managed to convince me that not only did I deserve to be on the floor, I should stay there for half an hour.

My son found me first. He sat down next to me and asked if I was okay. I told him I wasn’t and he rubbed my back for a while. When he was bored, he turned on the Xbox and started playing Sonic Generations, (one of the better Sonic Games.) Considering he’s autistic and empathy isn’t his strong suit, I’m glad he managed to care about my pain for that long. I probably scared him.

Eventually, my son told my husband I was laying on the floor. He came in and talked me into laying on our bed. It’s much more comfortable than the floor. I cried and apologized until I fell asleep. He listened and assured me that I had nothing to be sorry about.

This is the part where I’m supposed to talk about overcoming my mental illness. I’m supposed to say that days like this are few and far between and that I’m getting better every day.

Surprise! This isn’t the case.

Depression and I have been very close buds since I was around thirteen. My days are always dampened by my personal raincloud that follows me around. Some days I can force it into submission. There are days when I can laugh and joke with the best of them and nobody would even suspect that I was perpetually miserable. Other days, I am much less pleasant to be around.

Black women aren’t allowed to show any kind of weakness. You are leaving yourself open to attack if you do. My own relatives were not good examples of how to mentally take care of myself.  The only emotions that my mother ever displayed publicly were either anger or indifference. I didn’t want to be lumped into the raging bitch category, so I shoved my feelings down and tried not to feel anything.

Spoiler! That shit is hella harmful.

I spend hours online with all manner of triggering stories presented to me in the media. Anytime a Black person is killed by the police, I must take a little internet break. No social media and no news. I lose myself in grief otherwise. I consider myself an empath and I’ve become very good at absorbing emotions that aren’t really mine. The week featuring the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile killings was particularly hellish for me.

It’s not as if I haven’t tried to get help. I’ve been in therapy and on various meds on and off for about fifteen years. I would feel like I could manage on my own and stop taking the medication when I was younger. I wouldn’t always go to my therapy appointments. Sometimes, I felt like I didn’t need to. Others, my paranoia kept me from wanting to talk to her. Eventually, I would end up in Relapse City and I would feel worse than before.

I don’t have great coping skills and I used to take a lot of mental health days off from work. I never lost a job because of it but my work performance was terrible. On the days I would show up, people could tell that I was going through the motions. I’ve gotten better at faking “okayness” over the years. I force myself out of bed and down the highway to work nearly every day. I wear my mask and make nice with my coworkers. I bet only one or two could ever guess I was depressed because there were doing the same thing.

I’m back on the wagon for the time being. I’m taking my medicine daily and have started talking to a therapist online. It’s not the same format that I’m used to, but I like the informal framework. I can take my time with responding without being judged and it’s cheaper than going to sit in a clinician’s office once a week. If you are having problems with finding someone to talk to locally, there are several online options to choose from.

Every day is a struggle and I’ve accepted that. I can’t promise that I won’t end up on the floor again because summer is coming and the floor is much cooler. As long as I manage to pick myself up again, I’ll be fine.

One day at a time.

Lilly Nightshade, at your service. I'm kind of nerdy blogger here to share her emotional journey with the world.  I like sunflowers, bumblebees, crochet and giant fighting robots. Be sure to check out my blog!