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Lost: Behind the Scenes

Lessons learned

By River JoyPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 5 min read
Photo by author: author is wrapped in plastic wrap and covered in paint

Edit: the photo is more than a decade old, I made it when I was in college. I'm well aware of the dangers of plastic over faces. Do not attempt it at home.

I wrote a poem recently, lost, in which I dance around depression through metaphor. After telling my friends over and over again the past few weeks "I'm okay" or "I've just got to get my head on straight", I'm realizing that I've been lying to them because I was lying to myself about how I was feeling.

Now the fact that I'm writing this means I have weathered the worst of it, but it still feels weird stepping out into the light after feeling like I was spiraling somewhat out of control. I have dealt with mental health crises more than once in my life and each time I learn something more about myself. For example, I realized just today that the seed of this was spending the first two weeks of the new year very sick. I lost my routine, I lost my exercise, I even lost the few days a week I have at work.

Add a crumbling world, a cut in hours, good news (I'll get to this later), a very triggering incident (I won't get to this later), and fucking hormones and you end up with the perfect storm of isolation and an unwillingness to break it. Even when breaking it ends up being the thing that wakes you up. I realized just how willing I am to downplay my own pain to both protect myself from further medical intervention, and to protect the people around me from me. There is deep trauma with the psychiatric healthcare system that I don't think I will ever write about, and I'm frequently afraid to be too much. It is not rational nor is it true, the people in my life, my people, are the best I could ask for.

After all of these years I still am learning how to advocate for myself both in professional and personal and medical situations. I am bad at it. I will go to battle for my people, but I am bad at advocating for myself.

I have a friend who would always tell me "you give good face kid, until you can't". Meaning the mask is great until it's not. Each time I find myself in the dark, lost, I will flail around blindly instead of calling for help. I will walk over glass instead of calling someone for shoes. I accept a lot of pain. The thing is just because your pain tolerance is high, it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be treated just as seriously as someone whose pain tolerance is low.

This time, I took note, usually I don't, but I'm just comfortable in my life enough that I am confident this will not last. I recognized a few patterns that I hadn't uncovered before despite the years of therapy. I rationalized a lot, I still am, this article is rationalizing the situation. Poems are my experiences unedited. Nonfiction prose is the way I put things into boxes. This is just a box for this last bout of melancholy (I feel like we should bring this back, it's so much more romantic than depression a little glam for the sad times!).

To the good news! I don't think this is an only me situation, but for some reason anything good is very anxiety provoking. Sometimes more than bad things. I think our brains are a little numb to the bad things right now. However the good news is very good news so I'll share it with you vocal family. I was approved for top surgery! Which is infinitely exciting and I will write more about this after I have my first appointment with the surgeon!

Okay, back to the point of this piece. I didn't realize how depressed I was until literally two days ago, and that's only because I felt a marked difference on Saturday. I felt better. Depression is slow and sneaky and sometimes it's like a sort of bad smell, eventually you get nose blind to it.

So no, I was not okay, and yes, I am going to be okay. To those of you who reached out when you noticed I was fading from social media with very little explanation, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means more than I could ever express. To my partner, I cannot imagine stumbling through this life without you.

I'm going to be okay, and this was pretty short by my standards so maybe it's looking up. For now I'm going to get my room into a slightly more livable experience, I'm going to actually write what I want to say to my doctor tomorrow instead of winging it, and I'm going to ease myself back into the land of the social. I have turned a corner but I am still adjusting to the light.

As usual I can't promise any consistency for posting here, I will say I'm working on a book, slowly, and I'm very excited to be able to jump back into the land of social media and reading all of your beautiful works every day and coming up with a little prompt every day on discord. I'll be there, I promise. It just might be a minute.


About the Creator

River Joy

I make things with paint and words and light. I was once described as an asshole with Mr. Rogers vibes.


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Comments (5)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    First of all, congratulations! I'm so happy that you're approved for surgery! Now, at the risk of sounding dumb, what is top surgery? Does top here mean best? I'm so sorry that your depression has been bad. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

  • Plastic wrap, melancholy, paint & photography. Sounds like the makings of a snuff film. Risky to say the least. I'm glad you're feeling better, River. Pulling oneself out of a deep funk can be difficult, especially if you have become somewhat comfortable there. I'm glad you have good people around you for support. And congrats on your good news! Blessings to you, as always.

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    Quite moving, and please be careful with your photo set-ups.

  • Mother Combs2 months ago

    Love you, River. Always here if you need me. <3

  • Oneg In The Arctic2 months ago

    I have so much I want to say, I don’t even know where to start. But we’ll talk in private. Not only glad you’re starting to feel lighter, but that you also realized it cause that’s big. 💜

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