Over the course of time, I have become a bit better at pretending. I am honest as hell about revealing my emotions, my mood and swings when it comes to putting my thoughts on paper, but in person, I can shove a half-assed smile on my face and pretend everything is okay or gradually zone out (unsuspectingly) until someone forces a question on me. I need to, otherwise, I cannot go to work, I cannot function in relationships/friendships, and I pretty much cannot even function at home – basically all the things that are expected of me. Sometimes the people you love the most are so busy that you need to shove a smile on your face so they have one less thing to stress about. It’s not that I don’t want to be sincere, but I don’t want to completely burden the rest of the world with how shitty I feel, or how negative my perspective on everything is over brunch and dinner. I can burden the rest of the world here and to my doctors.
The only problem with this is that I start the cycle again of accumulating everything that feels wrong in my head. And after accumulating enough in my head, after a while it explodes. I drag my feet feeling like a complete zombie, trying to ‘function’ for a few weeks at a time, and then I just break down crying again in the washroom stall at work one random day because nothing feels good, I feel empty, and I feel like it is all pointless and there is nowhere to go from here. After 15 minutes I have to hit my head quietly enough to find the willpower to stop, put on zombie face, and drag my feet back to the next meeting hoping that people will not pick up on the fact that my eyes are bloodshot red and that my voice is slightly shaky…that my hands are slightly shaking. And then I have to hold and hold and hold until the end of the day where I can then sprint home and cry and feel genuinely hazy….for the next few hours. The release, or however much time I can hide all of this from someone who loves me but who doesn’t need the added stress of finding me in a mess.
The doctors can shove as much drugs down my throat as they want to numb me out but I still have these days. I feel like a zombie for 24 days out of 30/31 (give or take), and then there are those 6/7 really painful days, where I just want to give up; where the wall (of drugs) that will not let me cry some fucking tears for goodness sake breaks down piece by piece. I just want to sleep for 24 hours and disappear from everything and everyone, but obviously I cannot – there is work, there is some sort of social plan, there is some sort of reason I have to leave my house. I wish I gave myself that chance last summer. I instead entered only 50-60 percent reclusiveness. I kept on trying to push myself with people, with activities, with finding another job, with pretending everything was okay. In actuality, people with mood disorders can actually just sometimes disappear off the face of this earth – they don’t answer their phone, they don’t answer to anybody; they allow themselves to just disappear. Some days I just want to do that – figuratively, literally. I just want to hide in a hole for two or three months; and if I come out and nobody wants to deal with me anymore, then that was meant to be.
I am not sure how anything is ever going to sincerely feel positive or how I can ever truthfully say to someone that “life is good”, or that “I am okay / It’s good”, because if I did that, it would be a lie. I guess I must have told a bunch of lies then this month for every social gathering I tried to test myself out with. I put on a smile when I see people because it makes them feel better – better to be positive than negative right? Nobody wants negativity, especially over dinner or brunch or whatever. Nobody wants to talk about depression, anxiety or feeling suicidal over food – right? I intake everyone’s good news, and share some positive surface stories of trips, getting back into the swing of things at work, just to make conversation – I have to. –>How’s work?- to the person who is trying to actually just get through to the next day without having a breakdown. Not the greatest question, but yes, let’s go with that.
Better still is if JH is there as my safety net, so I barely have to talk at all. I can zone out completely and it won’t matter as long as my eyes stay alert, I listen enough to ‘laugh’ at the right cue, and I ask a few questions an hour. Then everyone is spared the burden of tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, and washing their hands of talking about it at all. I can feel hungover and useless without saying a thing.
I keep on proving to myself again and again that there are few people who will actually understand the loneliness in my head…..a bleak loneliness where there are billions of people moving around me like a wind cycle, laughing and interacting, but all I can focus on is calming my heartbeat down because it is the only noise I actually hear. I have shut everything else out, or rather, the racing heartbeat from anxiety has. And at this point, I am of the solid belief that nobody will or should have to understand. I need to continually work on separating my negative distorted perspective – ‘mental health’ side from my “normal…..ahem “I bake cakes, I go to work, I have some trips planned, la, la, la”- normal side”. But hey, 24 days out of 30/31 is not bad just to feel like a zombie. Then for 6/7 days, I will just have to feel like the loneliest person in the world because at that moment in time (no matter how many people out there say they care about and love you), only I alone can ‘get it’ and understand ‘it’ because only I am experiencing and feeling ‘it’, and I alone, have to somehow work through ‘it’, because no other person is feeling my exact ‘it’ at the exact same moment. At that moment in time, I cannot tell myself it will be okay, but I will cry it out because…really, the next day I have the belief that I can get back to ‘zombie’, and I won’t end back up at St. Mike’s because I wandered back into another suicide attempt. And well, at least that’s something.
And well maybe there will be that one day this year where I feel strong enough to say that this is the one day I do not want to feel broken. I do not want this fuck-up in my head to hurt me today. Anti-depressants and anti-psychotics do not define me today. I feel like that day might come one day – who knows. After all, it’s Mental Health Week this week, and I have been all too loud about the monsters in my head. (It is also World Maternal Mental Health Day today – so to all the mothers out there fighting post-partum, my thoughts are with you, let’s also be all too loud).
I, on the other hand, have not been all too loud about these ‘cruffins’. I only make croissants once a year. I made them already, so I was not about to make croissant dough again. So, these cruffins cheat and use puff pastry. It creates the same flaky, buttery layering effect, and if you end up buying farmer’s market puff pastry, it is the easiest, cutest dessert (or breakfast) you can make in just about an hour.
The Not-So-Secret Secrets:
- 1-2 sheets of puff pastry (homemade or when you are lazy, buy it from a Farmer’s Market or a bakery. Do not use supermarket puff pastry).
- 6-8-10 turtles, coarsely chopped
- Popover pan (does not need to be greased)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut the puff pastry into even triangles.
- Scatter the chopped turtles evenly across all the triangles.
- Roll the triangle like you would a croissant.
- Press the first rolled triangle into the bottom of the popover pan. Roll another triangle, and fit it on top of the first roll. The first roll can be a bit more pressed down. Spread the sides of the top roll onto the bottom roll. This helps with preventing the top from falling over when the pastry rises.
- Continue with the rest of the triangles. It creates 6 cruffins.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown. The insides should be flaky and warm with melted chocolate and caramel.
- The cruffins should easily scoop out of the pan. I use a spatula in case they are too hot. Best to eat fresh.