The first thought I have every morning when I wake up is “How is today going to be?”
Why do I ask this of myself? It’s quite simple, really. I suffer from several different mental health conditions that cause my emotions to be unstable. When I wake up, I wake up not knowing if the day will feel like the best day ever, or if the suicidal ideation will come flowing back, begging me to end my life.
That’s the nature of living with chronic mental illnesses, and they have been a part of my life since I was a young adult.
Depression came first, and it was diagnosed after high school.
A few short years later I received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, after a hospitalization for suicidal thoughts and feelings.
The self-harm came next, as I descended into madness, my emotions becoming more volatile all the time. Too many hospitalizations later, I finally turned a corner, and things stabilized.
I went to work in one of the most high-stress jobs in civilian life: working as an Emergency Medical Technician. I thrived at the job. I loved the job. However, the job eventually broke me, shattering my mind, pummelling my emotions, until I was just a shell of what I had been.
The self-harm returned after a significant absence. My sense of worth imploded, coming cascading down on top of myself. I could barely breathe. I could barely move. The depression had returned, and I floundered in the storm of my mind’s own creation.
I was forced to leave my job. Over the next few years, the hits came coming. Trouble with Insurance. A doctor who refused to listen. I ended up back in the hospital on a number of occasions, at the end of rope.
Then a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome was diagnosed. It felt like a weight was lifted off my chest and the storm clouds cleared. A new course of treatment occurred, under a new doctor’s care, and little by little my mental health improved.
All my symptoms, which up until now continually worked against each other, started abating, slowing my mind, pulling me out of the madness.
I am not cured though.
Every day is still a struggle, though little by little the days are improving, and the bad days occurring less often as they once did.
I haven’t self-harmed in over four years, though the impulse to do so still flashes through me regularly. I continue to require regular hospitalization for the stabilization of my symptoms, though the duration is getting shorter each time, and the times between are getting less hectic, and more easily tolerated.
I have grown a lot over the last several years as a person, of that there is no doubt.
Where I used to while away my days playing video games, I now am working part-time, and perfecting my art with words. Instead of hours of television I am making time to create with my keyboard, or my camera; I am working on my mind and my body.
I no longer feel the anguish or the despair that used to grip me tight, however I remember the feeling well, and that is not all right. It’s that feeling that makes me question “How is today going to be?”