I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…but can I?
By Buffy Close
Once upon a time, I was going to do it all and have it all. I was going to be an actress, a dancer, a singer, a business owner, an author, a teacher, and a psychologist. It sounds like the whims of a child and bears the mark of an extremely ambitious five-year-old. Only this was last week. And I’m not five years old anymore.
I am a 36 year old mother of three who spends most of her time scraping her way up a ladder that at times seems insurmountable and at other times appears to be nothing more than a blip in my subconscious.
I can do it all, have it all and be it all!
It’s the kind of over eager optimism that one would expect from a teenager, but not from a feet planted firmly on the ground middle aged woman.
I’ll never have anything.
The same voice that only a week ago told me I could do anything, tells me I am a failure and that I am unable to compete. That it doesn’t matter how many A’s I earn or how hard I work, I will never succeed.
I am plagued by this up and down. By feelings of absolute euphoria that come to a staggering halt before dropping my brain off a 500 foot cliff into darkness and exhaustion. My now husband convinced me to see a doctor early in our marriage, citing symptoms of depression. “But how can I be depressed” I would argue “when I am not suicidal and not depressed all the time?” I hated the drugs that my doctor would prescribe. They made me sluggish, took away my creativity and made me feel stale. Like I was looking in on life instead of living it. Time after time, I would go off the pills and wait for the euphoria to return, to feel like me again.
It would cause me to emotionally recoil when anyone brought up depression as a possibility. I was not depressed. I had plans. Sure, I stopped and started all of those plans repetitively and my will to see anything to fruition was incredibly low, but I would tell myself that was just because I hadn’t found my niche yet. My inability to hold a job for longer than 6 months was an issue as well as my tendency to resort to cutting and bad poetry as a means of escape. But I was not depressed. I was told that I was emotional, I was dramatic, that I just wanted attention and I was one of those emo kids. I was called lazy, unfocused and undisciplined. I jumped around from grand idea to grand idea with each attempt at greatness diluting into yet another black hole which I would only come out of once I had completely burned my bridges. I moved a lot. I felt a compulsive need to reinvent myself every 6 months. Every new opportunity was embraced with zeal and an energy that I told myself was a result of this path finally being the right one.
Until I would fall again. Until I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Until the paranoia would set in and I would become convinced that everyone hated me and they only praised me for their own sick fun, to watch me fail. To watch me fall.
At 36, I have come to terms with the fact that this is not normal. That healthy, balanced people do not have this emotional upheaval and that no, I may not be depressed. But I am something. At 36, I have decided to find out what causes me to peak and fall, and to be open to the idea that medication may not be the enemy that I have made it out to be. So tomorrow I will call my family doctor and I will make an appointment.
I am terrified.
Image courtesy of Buffy Close
Buffy is a Canadian artist who would rather be acting or drinking coffee, it’s a toss up.