five minute friday, mental hell

when mental illness changes your routine. {five minute friday}

Almost a week late. Oops. Apparently, after a month of taking care of my mom’s health, mine has decided to falter. thought it was just a toothache, but then my face and ear started throbbing, and my nose got stuffy,  and I started feeling just plain crappy… so I’m thinking sinus infection/some sort of annoyance causing the right side of my face to throb with intense pressure. it’s so! much! fun!.


So, writing has been on the bottom of the totem pole, but I liked this week’s word, so I’m powering through:

I’ve spent most of my life living and dying by routine. As a kid, and as an adult, my days have tended to be marked by the plans of the everyday.

School? Routine.

Dance class? Routine.

Work? Routine.

Chores? Routine.

Life has always been based around a calendar, a schedule, a routine– something concrete to hold onto, something to look towards for guidance.

I spent four spring breaks in college on a mission trip to mexico. One of my favorite aspects of our team (and team leader), was the way our trip was scheduled, basically down to the minute– there wasn’t a time where you shouldn’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. I was so comforted by that.

I’ve thrived with routines, plans, and schedules my whole life. When plans go awry, schedules get changed, or routines get messed with, I freak out internally.

But then, mental illness happened.

And every routine, schedule, and plan I had laid out lie useless before me.

I could plan every event of a week down to the minute, but if I wake up pummeled by depression, or if I spend the night prior up in a panic, that plan’s gone out the window. What used to be a normal routine has become a distant memory.

Life used to be so normal, with my ritualistic routines, plans, and schedules that kept me busy. They kept me sure, certain of what was going to happen next (because it was written out for me).

But mental illness invaded my normal. It crept in with days of darkness so thick I couldn’t see what was coming next. With anxiety and panic attacks so strong I was scared I wouldn’t see tomorrow.

When your days are so unpredictable as mental illness makes them, the only routines that are regular are the ones where depression keeps you in bed, bingeing Friends all day instead of facing the world.

There’s no space for every day routines when you don’t know what kind of day you’re going to have. Any plans or schedules I have could change in an instant, thanks to this monster.

My new normal has forced me to give up my life of controllable, planned-out days and dreams, and my routines that kept my life quiet and easy.

I miss when life was so easy and predictable. I miss the routine of life before mental illness took over.

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