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  • Alex Hillenbrand

Mental (S)ill(y)ness

When you have anxiety and a tendency for depression, it can be common for people to misunderstand what that means. Like, the amount of times that a person has just told me to 'not focus on the bad', and 'be happy' is ironically hilarious. Just "be happy". Okay? (crazy, forced smile) I'm cured! I'll never feel pain again.

Clearly, that person has never woken up with heart palpitations at the butt crack of dawn. Wondering why I cast myself as Ms. Darbus in a 1st grade play expertly directed and performed during recess and how that correlates somehow to everyone in my life hating me. Or when I aggressively belted "Stick Season" in the bathroom at work while I restocked the folded towels, and then I came out and saw my manager staring at me and immediately said "sorry". OR, when I was in the pick up line in the second grade and told my second grade teacher "can I have a playdate with Grace?", instead of "I see my dad here to pick me up, bye hoe!". The latter would have been priceless.

Maybe it's because to someone with the capability to tell themselves that those aren't productive thoughts can't understand how another person couldn't. Like, I was obviously Ms. Darbus because I could deliver an Oscar worthy performance and commit to the heart of her eccentric, musical theater energy. But, it's not always that easy. Or, potentially, (and don't tell the 'just be happy-ers' I said this), it might be easier to lean into the negativity instead of taking the effort to challenge the instability. And there's a lot of instability.

In todays' culture, there's so much media aimed at self-improvement. Self-care, self-love, well, how about self-sabotage? A little self-sabo never hurt anybody! Except for 99.99% of the general population, especially if you have this tiny little thing called imposter syndrome and another self: self-loathing. People always are throwing podcasts at me like dollar bills at a strip club. "Listen to this, it will change your life". Maybe I don't want to change my life. Maybe I'm totally content listening to the Glee version of "Teenage Dream (acoustic)" and Taylor Swift "This is Me Trying", while taking sad girl walks during brisk dawns. What can I say, I better have a career in writing because I am definitely qualified as a dramatic person. A starving artist, if you will, and only if you're implying that I'm starving for attention.

I want to wrap this up on a positive note, mainly because my therapist is subscribed to this blog and I don't want to cause alarm. But also because I am not a negative person and don't want to leave anyone with any feelings of unease. Life is tough, for sure, but if it weren't tough then I would never have anything to write about, so that's a major PLUS. Besides, anxiety and depression are not a walk in the park by any means. If they were, though, at least that walk is accompanied by my 30 Spotify versions of "The Feels" playlists and a beautiful, perfectly dramatically scenic view of the sunset for me to maladaptive daydream to.


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