high-functioning

Sometimes I wonder how severe my mental illness is but who is to say except my psychiatrist. In the beginning, things were bad, I mean really bad. I really don’t know how I got through those days. How I was able to live on my own, keep my job and have pets to take care of and at the same time, no one in my family knew what was going on with me. This was before I was even diagnosed. As I went from psychiatrist to psychiatrist waiting for someone to say they would help me, some of them said that I wasn’t sick enough according to text book. Some would ask why am I able to drive myself to a doctor appointment and why is my family not with me? At the same time I wondered, am I really making this up? Almost as if I just lost my mind for a while and just waiting for it to go away, but that wasn’t the case. Oh how I wish it was. A lot of times I feel like I’m making stuff up and I can’t tell the difference between what might have been a dream or did it really happen. I question if I am still seeing ghosts or random things that are not there or am I really hearing something other than what is really going on.

I don’t want to stereotype but what society has labeled someone with a mental illness is that they need constant supervision, are not able to live on their own or able to keep a job, and the list goes on. Since the beginning of all this up until now, I have lived on my own, kept a steady job and still have my pets that I take care of. I read about it and I’m what they call “high-functioning.” There are many people out there with other mental illnesses who are also high-functioning. It doesn’t mean that our mental illness isn’t severe or at whatever level you want to put it at, it’s just that for some reason, we are still able to do our daily activities even though we have our mental illness.

Every time I have an episode, depending on the severity of it, I still question if I am even having an episode because I am still doing my normal daily routine. I’m just a little off or however you want to put it. After a while it starts to hit me that it actually is happening. By then, I’m deep in one and I just have to ride it out. It definitely is harder to do daily tasks in the middle of an episode. Hygiene seems to go out the window pretty fast. Eating too. Then come the dishes, laundry, keeping up with friends or going out. All I want to do is sleep. Sleep all day if I could. But then you run the risk of not being able to sleep the following night because you’ve slept so much already. The list goes on. They say you should look out for the signs so that you can prevent an episode from happening but sometimes you think it’s just that you’re being lazy and that it’s nothing so you ignore it until it’s too late. And who is to say you can prevent an episode from happening?

This is why high-functioning is so hard, you’re dealing with your normal daily life but you have to constantly worry about if and when your mental illness will come around and decide to act up. It’s always in the back of my mind, afraid of it happening at the worst moment. I feel like I’m okay most of the time but there is still that constant fear. Things could be going good for a year or so with no episodes and then BAM! it hits you like a ton of bricks and you are out for the count. I have never felt that sigh of relief that I won’t have any episodes or have any symptoms that arise, even though they are just little things here and there. They happen, I just don’t say anything. Why would I, it’s just a blip that really isn’t worth mentioning. I just don’t know if I am supposed to pay attention to them in risk of having an episode. Like I said, it’s never ending. It’s an ongoing cycle of I’m okay for a while then I’m not okay then I’m okay again and repeat. I wish it would just be okay for good.

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