Leecy Looks Around
Written by Elice Smith on October 21, 2018
A SERIES OF CONVERSATIONS ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS
I’m Depressed and I have an anxiety disorder. I find simple tasks difficult to the point of impossibility quite often. I freeze, panic, and cry at ridiculous things that a lot of people do as a matter of habit. I come off as scatterbrained and difficult. I’m really not. I forget things easily, not because I don’t care, but because I can’t retain the memory. This is a direct result of the chemical makeup of my brain, which has been directly affected by the traumas I have seen. I need an antidepressant, an anti anxiety, and a serotonin enhancer. Some Ginko for memory would probably be good, too. One would think that having such a clear eyed view of the issue at hand would make it easier. But, no. I’m going to give you a glimpse of what it’s really like, substituting physical injury for mental illness. Let’s take a walk, shall we?
I have fallen and broken my ankle. “You should just get up and walk.” I can’t walk. I have a broken bone. “But all of these people are walking. See them walking? Some of them might have broken bones but you don’t hear them complaining, do you?” They have a Walking Cast that supports their broken bone. Can I have one of those? “Of course not, those cost money. And besides, you don’t really need this. It’s just a matter of walking. Quit being such a baby.” But, it hurts and it’s a little ridiculous to expect me to just walk. “Ugh, fine. You’re probably just faking it anyway but this charity might pay for a few yards of Ace bandage. If you beg.” Ace bandage is good but a cast would help me heal. “Now, don’t be ungrateful.”
My car failed. I spun out into traffic. I am sitting next to my totaled vehicle with my head in my hands. “Well, how did this happen?” The brakes failed. I couldn’t stop. I could see the red light. I pumped the brake. Nothing was connected. I just kept going. Now everything’s in ruins around me. “Oh…are you going out tonight?” No, of course not. A whole chunk of my life is screwed up. I have to figure out how to fix this. “Ugh, can’t you just put it away for one night. Don’t ruin everybody else’s good time.” I can’t just walk away from this. It’s really important.
“You just don’t want to have fun. I’ll bet you did it on purpose. I’ve heard that women fake car crashes all the time just to get attention.”
I’ve fallen off the boat. I’m treading water but the waves are getting a tad choppy. You float by on your life raft. “Why are you so unhappy?” Um, don’t you see me treading water? My limbs are tiring and I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. “What do you mean, drowning? You know it’s all in your lungs. This whole drowning thing is just a fad. Everybody’s drowning all of a sudden. You should be more stoic.” Ok, maybe throw me a floatie? “You know, if we just gave floaties away, soon everybody would want one and we’d just have all these freeloaders floating around, not taking responsibility for their own drowning. Ugh, why are you such a snowflake? Back in the day we didn’t have all this ridiculousness about floaties. We sank and drowned or swam on our own. Sure, some people were forcibly drowned and some people got swimming lessons in infancy, but it was the good old days.”
Mental Illness is a physical disease. The Brain is an organ, like the Heart or the Lungs. To treat Depression and Anxiety as “All in your head” is to treat cancer as “All in your Pancreas”. But I don’t have time to fight this fight anymore. There’s no floatie for me. I have to stitch my own. And no one’s gonna help with that.