Feeling good is such a foreign thing. From the time I was small, if I felt anything, it was fear or shame. Even before I learned that feeling was vulnerable and unsafe, embarrassment and anger were mixed in with any positive emotion. Now that I’m beginning to feel good, it’s been a process of learning how to manage myself.
When I started taking medication, I didn’t really experience any side effects, per se, but I had developed habits and coping mechanisms that I don’t need anymore. Previously, I had to push myself past the clouds. None of me would show unless I forced it to. Being myself was a more conscious action. Figuring out which habits I no longer need has been a process. I don’t have to analyze my personality and then decide to act that way. I can exist, and it’s me. There’s still mist sometimes, but it’s not the pea-soup fog I had lived with for so long. It’s strange; I’m happier.
Sometimes I feel like people liked me more when I was more depressed. I was quieter. My social anxiety was more prominent and I made every effort to blend in with the crowd in hopes that people would accept me. In some ways, that seems to be a ridiculous assertion. Being depressed doesn’t exactly make you a good friend.
Quieting my anxiety uncovered a lot of things about myself. I frequently have a difficult time with sensory processing. This had always lead to anxiety attacks before, but now manifests in confusion and irritability. I forget that I don’t have to try so hard to be myself anymore, and I overdo it. Truthfully, I can’t tell if I’m overdoing it or if I’m just a very exuberant person. It’s probably a bit of both.
When mental illness is a part of your life from such a young age, getting healthy feels like becoming a different person. You have to find the bits of you that have always been there, even if they were deeply hidden.