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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

Down came the rain.

In 10 months I have written 3 hours and 44 minutes worth of blogs and so many of you have read each and every minute; all 244 minutes . So many of you have reached out and shared your own private struggles; so many of you have reached out and shared your strength and compassion. Some of you are negative Nancy’s. I have struggled with responding to many of you and am so appreciative of your grace.

These 49 posts could rival the turns on Lombard Street in San Francisco. Lord knows this blog should come with similar warning signs. I would like to think I have learned something about myself and

my journey through these words. I have learned I am a stronger writer than I ever realized. I have learned that being vulnerable isn’t terrible. I have learned that letting people in won’t kill you. I have learned that even when you do all the things you are asked to do when healing, relapse can still happen. This last point is a real kicker.

I’m a quasi rule follower, slightly more on the beg forgiveness side of things. My intentions are always honorable, I’m just impatient. If you’re one of those avid readers, I have shared nothing new. If this is your first time reading, google Lombard street and buckle up.

My illness comes with stigmas, lots of them. I have openly discussed those stigmas. It’s a reality. There are absolutely advances in the acceptance of mental illness and the normalization of these disorders. With that being said telling someone you have diabetes earns a much different response than telling someone you have severe depression. Both are illnesses that need to be managed and both have dire consequences when non compliant. Gracious, both can have dire consequences even when compliant;

these two illnesses are no joke.

I consider myself a compliant individual with my mental illness. I have weekly talk therapy, regular contact with my physician, still on medication, I blog, my self care game could be stronger however, I am doing all the things. With all that being said I still relapsed. The past few weeks I was giving my all to push through it. I am still pushing through it but down came the rain.

I have high functioning anxiety and high functioning depression. I am able to get out of bed and go through my day. Us high functioners typically have no idea how to cope. We struggle at asking for help, even if it’s simply quiet companionship. We can fly under the radar because we aren’t wearing all black, laying in bed, listening to dreadful music; pick any stereotype you fancy. We are also a group that slides into major depressive states unnoticed; yet we still show up the next day. This isn’t something we’re proud of. We know this isn’t a way to live. We’re high functioning not stupid.

One could argue if we’re so bright we’d get our act together; mental illness doesn’t work that way. We go to therapy and supplement if medication is needed to learn how to have more good than bad. We learn coping strategies. We learn how to ask for help. We also learn that we will have set backs.

This is my first true relapse in 538 days. That is less time than an elephants gestational period; OSHA would likely give me an award if I’d gone that long without an injury on a job site. It still sucks. I still show up. I’m still angry as hell that I’m not 100% back to normal. I need to accept that normal for me isn’t going to be what it was.

While my profession is far from mental health I do work in healthcare. I can’t stress to you the importance of building a care team you trust. In a conversation with my team this week we made changes to help get me back on solid ground. The hard part is these change can take weeks. So I get more frequent check ins added to my calendar. I have a physician who has been incredibly supportive. I saw this same physician prior to my suicide attempt. If I had just been brave enough to say something sooner , I wouldn’t be entertaining all of you with these witty words of wisdom. As I know the power this illness carries my goal is never to come across as a Cosmo “how-to“ on how to beat depression in 10 easy steps. It doesn't work that way. My 10 steps could be 20 for you and 73 for my nextdoor neighbor. Depression and anxiety are not one size fits all. We all process and cope differently.

In a quiet conversation with a friend earlier this week they mentioned admitting is the first step. While they were being light hearted in their delivery they also know my history and appreciate the strength it took for me to share. For me to be open and honest. We both also agreed that the outcome of my healing is up to me. Whether that is engaging my care team, the safe space of a friendship, or finger to key...for an illness that feeds off of isolation, only I alone can determine the successes.

No pressure.

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