Living with high-functioning mental illness is exhausting and quite isolating.
I have been struggling especially hard with my anxiety and depression over the last couple of years but the majority of my struggle has been behind closed doors.
As a therapist, I can easily imagine my list of diagnoses branded to me by counselors and psychiatrists alike
F43.12 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Chronic
F33.1 Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent episode, Severe
F41.1 Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Z63.5 Disruption of Family by Separation or Divorce
Z91.5 Personal History of Self Harm
Z62.810 Past History of Physical Abuse in Childhood
Z62.810 Past History of Sexual Abuse in Childhood
But people who meet me. People who take me in. Really breathe me in. They don’t see these things. It’s not that I necessarily try to hide them- I’m just in recovery. And healed- for the most part. But scars run deep. And some days they rear their ugly head and I’m crying in a parking lot. Or on the tiles of my bathroom floor. Or on my sons carpeted floor.
The high-functioning part confuses people who are close to me.
I work several positions in the helping field. Achieving credentials and new certifications regularly.
I am a doctoral student.
I am a wife.
I am truly the girl who tries to do it all.
However, struggling with the demons of my past while also being a perfectionist and over-achiever can be completely exhausting and isolating.
My highlight reel is *insert 100 emoji here*.
Smiling faces. Matching family outfits. Funny Instagram stories. Perfect skin.
But they are only the highlights.
Don’t be fooled.
There are endless photographs that are never taken. Never posted. Never shared.
Panoramic views of my mascara streaked cheeks on nights when I cry endlessly to my husband that I just can’t do *this* anymore.
Still frames of my toddler hitting me in the face because hitting is really, really entertaining to him right now.
Nonexistent polaroids of me on my knees begging my husband to please forgive my hurtful words after an argument.
These are the pictures I don’t post.
The pictures you don’t see.
Don’t you have these pictures too?
Don’t be fooled by my success.
I. Am. Struggling.
Just like you.
Because having a childhood filled with trauma, monsters, and haunting streetlights can really impact a girl.
But I don’t give up.
That’s the high-functioning part.
I keep going.
But I struggle too.
Do you get that?
Doing both is completely possible.
I’ve learned overtime that being high-functioning doesn’t make my struggles any easier.
Sometimes I’m bobbing along in the ocean. Other times I’m being pulled under, caught up in a riptide and battling the water that is trying to drown me. It may seem as if my struggles are less severe or less intense but its just that I’ve leaned to tread water.
Tread water with me.