Living with mental illness is hard enough without outside interference, but no one can avoid the outside interference of everyday life. Whether you work full time, go to school, have hectic family lives, or any combination of these things; they all add more weight to what you’re dealing with already when you wake up.
Recently, I mentioned how tired I was to my grandmother. I said that I wished I could have just one day to myself to not have to worry about anything. Her solution was so simple. She said that is what Saturday and Sunday are for. Sounds so easy, right? Sure, my daughter stays with her and my aunt on the weekends and I am home alone most of the day Saturday, but that is when I try to get the things done that I was unable to do during the week. My responsibilities don’t stop just because it is the weekend.
I didn’t really expect to be understood, but I certainly didn’t expect to be mocked either. That tone of “poor pitiful you” was just too much for me. I lost my cool. “Wow that is so supportive”, I stated with infuriated sarcasm, and walked out. I was so disgusted with the whole situation. I spend almost every weekday running around town for a majority of the day. My aunt and grandmother know how many appointments and meetings I have. There are even times when I will have one every day of the week, or multiple meetings in one day. With this in mind, they still ask me to do things for them that they are capable of doing themselves. I know they are older, but they are not entirely incapable, and they have more free time than I do. But saying no to them is not an option. It isn’t that they won’t accept a “no,” but it is how they accept it. I feel guilty enough as is when I need to say no and their looks and tones certainly don’t make that guilt any easier to deal with.
My daughter was invited to a birthday party this weekend. Great. She’ll be with them, so I told them they could take her to the party. When they asked what I would be doing that day, they seemed shocked to hear that I would be busy. Again, I point out that I am usually very busy during the week and use the weekend to catch up on work around the house and my personal work. Again, that mocking tone from my grandmother, “Just do those things during the week.” It’s as simple as that. Today, that was coupled with this look of irritation from my aunt. No, I wouldn’t call it irritation, but contempt. At least that is what it felt like to me. I want to be understood so badly that I keep trying, but I keep ending up hurt.
I am tense just thinking about these events again. Writing about it makes me feel like I am on some witch hunt. They know I have bipolar and anxiety. They know how difficult social interactions can be for me. They know, yet they do not understand. They also know I am already extremely stressed just thinking about how many kids and adults will be at my daughter’s birthday party next weekend. It is still terrible that I can’t drop everything and take her to the one this weekend, even though she won’t even be at home with me.
Some days all I want to do is stay in bed. I want to pretend the outside world doesn’t exist. These are the days where the thought of getting up and facing the world is enough to make my anxiety so physically painful that it hurts to even move.
I set goals for myself so that I can achieve my dreams, in spite of living with mental illness. It isn’t easy, and sometimes I just want to give up. When I start to feel this way I remember that these experiences provide the fuel for my fire. I get up, and I face the day because my mental illness doesn’t control my life, I do.