This may sound bizarre, but I feel like people can't really know me unless they know my demons. I mean, it's not like if a random person catches my eye in line at Starbucks I feel the need to blurt out, "I EAT AND PUKE!" But rather...if I'm going to get to know people, like really get to know them, I feel this weird compulsive need to warn them of my diagnoses and neuroses as if to give them the chance to run away from me while they still can.
Case in point: some of my co-workers at the nursery school. I love my job. I absolutely love, love, love my job. It's my sanity, my 6.5 hours a day where I'm outside my own head, my excuse to hug and kiss sweet toddlers and to run and play and be silly. It's my time to practice my patience (deep. breaths. GOOD LORD.), to learn from others how best to handle tantrums, biting, and hitting. It's my time to get served sand-pancakes by eager two-year-olds expecting dramatic YUMMY reactions every time. I love sand-pancakes! Just look away, kids, while I secretly dash the sand out onto the ground while you think I'm eating it!
My co-workers are amazing too. I feel so lucky to work with a group of young, talented, passionate women. And lord help me, it's SO NICE to interact with adults during the day while taking care of kids!!!
But as I've gotten to know to a few of my co-workers, I feel like I'm hitting an invisible wall, an invisible barrier, that I have to break down before I can get any closer to them. I feel like they need to know that I sometimes eat huge amounts of food and then throw it up because it makes me feel numb. Or that sometimes I don't eat for a really long time because it makes me feel in control. Or that sometimes my anxiety takes over so much that I become a really, really shitty friend. Or that my depression was so bad when I first started my job that for the first, oh, month or so, I cried in my car during my break every day. Or left and threw up.
See? See, co-workers? I have mental illnesses. Yes I can do my job, yes I can be great with the kids, yes I can still function as a human being. But look at me! Before you become friends with me, you should know I'm fucked up!
If my wonderful therapist were reading this, this would be the point at which she would look me straight in the eye and say in no uncertain terms that everybody is fucked up and I need to stop making such a big deal about myself.
And I know she's right.
Sometimes my anxiety makes me a shitty friend. (Cait knows all about this and for some reason, she still loves me.) Sometimes I use unhealthy behaviors as coping mechanisms. Sometimes I can't push away the depression while I'm at work.
But you know what? Often, I'm a good friend. I'm fiercely loyal, and I will make terrible jokes to make people laugh, and I'm a hard worker. I know I have demons, I own up to them, and I'm getting through them with the help of my therapist, medication, Cait, and the sheer benevolence of the universe. Often, I feel like I can be a pretty good person to get to know.
So, to my co-workers: Hi. I'm fucked up, but probably so are you. Want to be friends?