On my way to therapy this morning, a man I had never met before stopped me as I was walking and said “just smile, it ain’t that bad.” Part of me wanted to slap him in the face, but I chose instead to keep on walking so I could get to my appointment on time.
Smile. I have smiled before, in the few moments of genuine happiness. But happiness is not something that comes easily to me. I’m not the kind of person that can force fake emotions. I can’t just smile if I’m not really happy. I am aware that a lot of the time, I look sad, miserable, and worried. Because I am sad, miserable, and worried.
I’m not smiling now, because my mind is racing with anxious thoughts about school. What if it’s too hard? How am I going to get the text books I need? What if they find out about my DID?
I’m not smiling now, because I’m worried about how I’m going to pay my rent next month, how I’m going to stretch my grocery budget so I can feed myself until September, what bills are going to have to be put off for next month, and what credit card I can max out so I can get my bus card.
I’m not smiling now, because I’m exhausted from work, a job I am lucky to still have because I get so stressed out sometimes that I dissociate and have trouble getting my work done.
I’m not smiling now, because I’m tired of constantly living in fear of my mother. I’m tired of having to calm younger parts and convince them we are safe, when sometimes I can’t even believe that myself. Fear takes away any smile.
I’m not smiling now, because I feel so alone. Even when I am surrounded by people, my ability to trust others is so shattered that I live in a constant state of fear of people.
I’m not smiling now, because I sat through my therapy session earlier this morning and cried as my therapist talked about inpatient hospitalization. Because I am a mess. I’ve been dissociating so much that I don’t even know when and if I am ever fully here anymore. Last week was so bad, that people were actually scared of me. And I don’t remember a thing.
I went to therapy last Thursday and barely remember what happened. Apparently it was obvious that I was not present. That seems to be the theme of my life lately. Not present.
I saw the concern on my therapist’s face. I tried to listen to what she was saying, but my mind was just going to other places.
The sinking feeling in your heart when you know your best isn’t good enough.
The hopelessness you feel when you realize you can’t be helped.
All of these things went through my mind. I’m not good enough at life. My therapist can’t even help me. She wants me to go to a hospital, and they’re not going to be able to help me. Then what? I can’t even miss work. I can’t afford it. This is a lose/lose situation.
Despite my doubts, I understand where my therapist is coming from. She is concerned that one little thing will happen and push me off the edge. Next month, when I start school again, it just may be too much for me to handle. I am on a roller coaster ride and she cannot ride with me. She can’t be with me all day, every day, to deal with issues as they come up. And even though I am (barely) managing that on my own, it’s not going to be that way every time. I am headed for a breakdown.
So no, I can’t smile. And yes, it is that bad.