When You do Too Much in This Mental Illness Life

When I came into my current graduate courses I was riding a perfect high. My new novel was coming along, and I was finding a real balance between work (writing and freelance) and school. My memoir was in the publishing phase, and life was good. My grades were at the highest it could be for the first few semesters, and I thought I was going to continue to breeze.

Then somewhere depression and mania decided to hit one right after another. It happened first with mania, or it is possible it started with hypomania, but I was on top of the world. I was not sleeping well, and I was averaging somewhere between 3-5 words a day on my novel. I thought for once I was balancing my life. Then my grades started to slip, I almost quit graduate school, and my depression decided that it was time to pay me a visit.

That was about five weeks ago, and since then I have been battling a long depression cycle–again. It sucks because when you get out of a depression cycle, you feel so much better than before, and this will be a good thing because it is good for your mental health. I had one early depression cycle, and I usually have them until April, but the months of March, April and May everything was relatively okay and depression free.

I am not good at dealing with stress, and I am a perfectionist when it comes to school. I graduated summa cum laude with my bachelor’s degree because I was relentless to be the best. When it comes to facing some adversity, especially with school, I run and hide because dealing is not something that I do well, I have to ulcers to prove it. I was ready to end my graduate career over one bad grade.

When things spiral for me it sucks because school is my fallback, and so is my writing. I had to reshuffle my life. Refocus on school. Take a step back from writing every day. I finished the first draft of my novel last week, which is great, but I can’t seem to shake this depression. I am trying, and I hope to get out of one of my classes, Literary Theory, with an A, or at least B. Perfection is the untenable thing in my life but it gives me control. I am the worst version of myself when this happens, and I came close to buying a bottle and drinking for the first time in four years–just to forget.

Life will give you reminders when your overloading and I have to get better at figuring out these triggers in my life because I can’t continue on this up and down rollercoaster. Just when I think I have this mental illness life figured out, my life changes in unexpected ways. Where to go from here? I am not totally sure, but I know things have to continue to change in the right way. I have to take “me time” for my mental health.

I am work in progress, and it seems I always will be.

Always Keep Fighting


9 Replies to “When You do Too Much in This Mental Illness Life”

  1. I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way, but I think you’re doing an amazing job with your life. Upstream the whole way and still somehow making progress. Be kind to yourself if sometimes you have to pull the boat to shore and rest before you keep going.


  2. James, you are an epitome of bravery and strength. These two attributes defines a warrior in my books. Like the Lion King in the Jungle, winning the race is a guarantee, though I understand it is not a walk in the park. You will continue to remain a tower of inspiration to countless others around the globe. Great post.


  3. I can definitely relate to this on some level. I have also done Masters in English Literature. I have tons of ideas swirling around in my mind but I can never sit down and write them because of my ADHD. That is why I am not able to update regularly on my blog. There is one phase in which I post two-three articles and then nothing for months. I cannot sit and concentrate for long.


  4. HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This resonated with me. I have been listening to Audibles about trauma and about mental illness and our environment and what we have going on. I understand being on that chasing the dream high then that plateau of I am such a loser and depression, for me, takes over!!! HUGS!!!!!


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