Posted by Anonymous.
There's this thing in my head that I can't bring myself to talk about. Oh, I'll talk about the very big burden that sits on top of this thing, that everybody knows about. But nobody knows about the thing in my head. The thing is part of the bedrock of my mind. It is not a challenge to be overcome. It is something that is; something that has been there all along. Sometimes I can tap dance right over the top of it, completely disregarding it's existence. Sometimes I can steamroll it with a series of events and activities. But the last six months have torn away at the bedrock, flipped it over and exposed all kinds of things, gouging at the familiar landscape of my mind and completely changing my perceptions about myself.
But what to do with this thing? I am not a secretive person by nature. I like people to know what's going on with me. If I struggle, I don't mind people knowing that I struggle. If I'm happy, I like to share it. If I screwed up, chances are you'll hear it from me first (if I'm aware of it). But I don't know how to articulate this thing, and I don't want to know about it. But the longer I don't speak it, the larger it looms and the more distorted my perception of certain situations becomes.
For a year now I've been trying to write a thesis. I have not made much progress. This lack of progress makes me feel foolish, stupid, worthless, unprofessional. I know I am none of those things. I am a wife and mother, daughter and sister, friend and coworker. I know I am loved and valued. That is what keeps me from telling anybody about what actually has been going on inside my mind for the past six months. The thought of trying to finish my thesis actually sparks recurring thoughts of cutting my arms or of swallowing handfuls of pills. I have never been suicidal in my life. I don't want to die. I have no idea why these thoughts take shape in my mind, but I can see them vividly. They impress themselves upon me multiple times a day.
When I'm not feeling the pressure, the thoughts are not there, but when I am, they are frighteningly present. Just yesterday I went to the bathroom medicine cabinet and checked to see if we had razor blades and did a quick inventory of the medicine bottles. Their presence comforted me. And all of this I did rather matter-of-factly. I did not contemplate it. I just up and walked in there and did it with the same absentminded mechanics as one gets up to reach a ringing telephone. It was what the moment called for, it seems.
I know that some people who know me, who are around me, can see that something is wrong. A couple of dear friends have told me so. But what they see is the surface--the stress, not the depths--the darkness. And what they probably assume is that once the thesis is finished the stress will go away. What they don't know, what I hesitate to tell them, is that I don't know that it will. I am scared that it won't. I am not a fearful person, but that scares me. Some things, once their strength is tested, are forever weakened by the test even though they pass. I have never thought of myself as weak, but I do now.
I try not to feed these thoughts by worrying and wringing my hands about them. I use conversation, television, blogging, Facebook, obsessively cleaning my kitchen, and basically the daily activity of life to try to simultaneously avoid it and make sense of it. I want to be clear: I have NO intention of carrying out what I see in my mind. But I fear what might happen if I don't find a way to deal with this. Getting out of one's own head is not an easy thing to do, especially when the landscape is so unfamiliar. It's a very strange and disconcerting to feel truly lost in one's own mind. To not recognize one's own tendencies or desires or motivations. The temptation is to explore, to try to figure it out, to solve the puzzle. But the landscape here is rather scary. I don't want to know where it leads.