Content Warning: Discussions of suicide, self harm, and mental illness.
I have made it another week.
I do not know how I made it. Last week was one of the worst on record in my life. I was close to checking myself into a hospital because I couldn’t handle the pain. I couldn’t handle the world. I definitely couldn’t handle my family’s impending visit.
I stopped myself because I started going through a list of what would happen if I got the help I wanted. I would probably lose my job or at least have lots of issues post-checkout because in this country, we don’t view mental health time in a hospital as a legitimate illness. I would probably have a huge hospital bill too for all the charges for doctors, therapy, nurses, drugs, food, the bed I slept in, etc.
I wondered what would happen to me because I am trans. Would they put me in a straightjacket and call me crazy? Would they lock me in a room at night afraid I would assault cisgender women who were also patients? Would they call me a man and treat me as such? I realize I have protections, but the medical industry on a whole, just like society, does not understand trans things.
I thought hospitalization was also a good thing. Maybe then would my parents finally realize that I have all these issues because my gender identity is correct and society is fucked up. Maybe I could finally get some respite from the constant grind of existing in a cisgender world as a trans woman. This year has just been a constant reminder of all the painful things trans women experience. I didn’t want to be another statistic.
The stigma of mental illness in this country is fucking backward. We treat mental illness as something to be ashamed of, something to feel guilty about. If you needed cancer treatment, no one would question why you would go to a hospital. But if you need the precious respite of being treated for severe depression, fuck it. Go exercise. Eat better. Do things that make you happy. These little phrases needle me. I wish I could just get better and happier by running. I wish eating vegetables magically made my brain have the right amount of seratonin intake.
The shameful guiltiness of being mentally ill is not unique. I know plenty of friends who have had family or friends tell them that they shouldn’t talk about their mental stuff because it might be off-putting. It is even worse when you encounter people who don’t believe in mental illness or think pharmaceutical treatments are wrong. Drugs fucking work for lots of people. One shouldn’t be ashamed to take some pills if necessary. It is a hard road because not every pill works the same way for every person. Brain chemistry is unique, which is why it might take a few different tries to find the right combo of drugs to work for you.
My goal is to make it another week. Another week of anxiety and depression, of list-making, of love. I think I can.