I was listening to Ruby Wax and Paul Gilmartin on Radio Headspace. Headspace Daily has done a series of shows they call their Depression Pack and this was one of the shows in that series. I have been an avid listener of Paul's show, The Mental Illness Happy Hour, for about a year, and it has helped me so much. I found Ruby Wax a couple of years prior to that when she did a TED Talk she entitled What's so Funny About Mental Illness?.
I remember feeling an immediate kinship with Ruby, even though I was still a long ways off from a mental illness diagnosis. In the subsequent years, I would experience a dramatic manifestation of my own mental illness, and in hearing the interview with Ruby and Paul, I was struck by something that Ruby said.
If I tried to quote it exactly, I'd mess it up, but she said something along the lines of "You can't expect yourself to be the person that you were before." I don't think I had ever considered this as a truth before. A major part of my recovery process has been trying to come to terms with the fact that I am not the person that I used to be. I am no longer the person that can put on a facade and pretend that everything is fine while I power through whatever I'm facing in life.
I was explaining to a longtime friend recently that it feels like I just broke. It feels like the entirety of who I thought I was imploded, and I could no longer be the person that I used to be. I have spent over a year feeling shame about this, rather than accepting it.
So what did I expect? I had to jump through a few hoops to get into The Mental Health Center of Denver in order to start treatment. At that time, I still didn't realize that I was dealing with a mental illness, but I knew that something was wrong. I expected that I would bounce right back. I expected that I would just go through the motions of seeing a therapist and psychiatrist, but ultimately I would just get my shit back together, get another job, and put my life back on the right path.
I never expected that I would go down a rabbit hole, deeper than I could have ever imagined into depression so deep that I would lose all interest in the world. I never expected to spend more than a year unable to cope with day to day activities, wanting constantly to die, wanting the discomfort, pain, and shame to come to an end.
I will never be the person that I was. Somehow that's what I expected. I think I'm fortunate though that I will never be that person again. That person was deeply flawed, desperately lonely and unhappy, living a facade.