(This has been crossposted to Patreon, quinnnorton.com/said, and Kickstarter)
Over the last several years my mental state has steadily succumbed to despair, disassociation, and fragmentation. Not all the time, not everyday, but enough. My mind has tattered into pieces of attention, drifting off the edges into oblivion. Sometimes my mind is swimming through the past, while my body functions, oblivious of what’s around me. Sometimes I am taken over by a sadness I can’t fit in words. Sometimes everything is blank. Sometimes I wake up, and I can’t remember where I am, or who I am, or who my loved ones are. Sometimes I wake up and stare into the dark around me, not sure where I am, but sure something is trying to kill me. Most days, my mind is scattered. My days are at once full and empty, always behind, never sure what I’m behind on.
There are people who know about this — those around me. They’ve watch me drift away. They know that I don’t sleep much. They have watched me lose my confidence and my connection with the world.
If you want insurance codes to talk about what’s happened to me, it would be: treatment-resistant Major Depression, and Post Traumatic Stress, with intrusive imagery and suicidal ideation. None of these diagnoses are new, and they are interlocked inside me. What is separate clinically, is, for me, a continuum of experiences.
I ignored the symptoms too long, starting in 2011. But I have no insurance, and besides, ignoring the pain is how I got this far at all. When it finally became undeniable, something I couldn’t just white-knuckle my way through anymore, was when I stopped being able to think a piece of writing through to publication. I lost the thread of my ideas too often. The thought of writing in public, after a decade of doing it, became terrifying. I’d withdrawn from the world, without even the courtesy of telling myself.
I’ve tried to re-engage with my career, and my personal commitments, I’ve tried to exercise and look after myself — all with mixed failure. What I have left to give is going to my family, and what I have to go on emotionally is coming from them as well.
I don’t know how this story ends yet. I’ve been seeking therapy, but so far I haven’t had much success. I’ve decided to talk about this, to take you with me in this story, if you want to come. Partly because I feel I owe it to the people who have read and supported my work for so many years, at least to explain what happened to me. But also, it’s because doing this on my own hasn’t been working.
So, here we are.