So there’s a funny thing about living a very long time with untreated mental illness: I have no idea what normal feels like. I’ve been looking back and realizing that I’ve probably been dealing with this for a lot longer than I initially thought – my mental health struggles started when I was 16, over a decade ago – and I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I’ve been mentally unwell for the entirety of my adult life. And now that I’m receiving treatment I feel like I’m on uneven ground, because I have no idea what normal is, or what normal feels like, or if what I’m feeling is even what’s considered normal for most people.
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. It’s… odd.
I’m bored. With everything. Nothing is fun, nothing is exciting. I’m not depressed, I’m not sad or having feelings of self-harm or anything, but I’m not really feeling anything. I just feel flat. All the time.
I have so much energy. So much capability. Every day I’m setting out to-do lists that would have taken me all day to accomplish before I was medicated, but now they’re only taking me a few hours. I’m able to focus on the task at hand and I’m able to switch gears without missing a beat. My house hasn’t been this tidy in at least two years, and I’ve even started taking on more tasks and responsibilities. As far as my productivity is concerned, I’m at 110%.
The medication has stopped my maladaptive daydreaming, too. I’m more present and engaged with the world around me. Not out of choice, but because I can no longer just tune everything out and live in my head. So for the first time in a long time I’m living the life in front of me.
But nothing makes me happy. The things that used to make me happy? I’m indifferent to them now. I had so many tricks to keep myself okay and give myself a boost when I was unmedicated, now they don’t work. Animal Crossing is just a game, Matt Smith is just a man, Doctor Who is just a show. They’re all enjoyable but enjoyable is where the line ends.
And I don’t know if that’s because I’m experiencing a normal range of emotions for the first time in over a decade, instead of experiencing everything in extremes, or if there’s something wrong. My psychiatrist seems to think it’s just me adjusting to feeling “normal” but I guess I didn’t realize “normal” was so goddamn dull.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice not to feel soul-crushing sadness all of the time. It’s nice not to feel hopeless, or like I want to die. But there were good moments, too. I miss being so happy I couldn’t contain myself. The highs where all I could do was dance around my house? The euphoria? It’s gone, too, and I didn’t realize I’d miss it.
I know. Being sad about not being manic seems counterintuitive. But I’m wondering if I wasn’t slightly addicted to it. The rush, the pure dangerous joy. It was so beautiful and so glorious and now I can’t find it.
Perhaps it’s just a crisis of self. I spent most of 2020 getting really in touch with myself, how I react to things, how I felt about things, and learning who I was. Or, rather, who I thought I was. And the medication has changed all of that. I’m less sure of myself, as a whole. I no longer know the limits of my ability. I don’t know what’s too much, or why everything feels like too little. It’s like I’m having to learn a whole new person. It’s a transition. Throw in the fact that everyone else is also in transition from their own pandemic selves back into the real world and it’s… I dunno. It’s a lot. It’s like I’m constantly walking on shifting sand.
I actually had a bit of an existential crisis recently. I was minorly obsessed with death in a not-healthy way. Got to the point where I felt like life, and everything, was completely pointless because we all die. It was grim, and I think it was fueled by the fact that a part of me isn’t sure I’m ever going to feel truly happy again.
I’m hoping it’ll even out. Because I’m not thrilled at the idea of living a life where I just work my days away and sleep and am… fine… with it. I want to feel joy. I want to feel pain. I want to feel the whole spectrum of emotion. I want to do things that challenge me and excite me. I don’t want to be flat forever.