There are moments in life that define you. Sometimes they are brief seconds and sometimes they are longer lasting. Sometimes those moments stay yours and yours alone, for weeks, months, years or even for all time. I’m sick of holding those defining moments in. Many I have divulged in dribs and drabs or huge bursts over this past year, some I’m not yet ready to explore. One thing I’ve learnt is that keeping them internally locked just decays you inside. No matter how much you don’t want to share wether due to pain, grief, shame or fear of hurting another or how you might be viewed by others, those defining moments are part of who you are. The power of some moments aren’t always apparent straight away or even for years and others their power smacks you immediately in the face.
One of the later for me, was my recent stay in a psychiatric ward. The funny thing about one of these is the stay itself can be traumatic, defining, hopeful and hopeless all at the same time. I’m not quite ready to divulge all of my experiences here yet but this article from others via the mighty hit home on so many levels and says things I I’m not ready to just yet:
The following points all resonate strongly with me: 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 31, 33, 34, 37, 39, 40, 44, 48, 49 & 50
Some of them are contradictions but hey mental illness often is a huge array of contradictions as is recovery and life in general itself. This one sums up my experience best of all:
38. “It’s lonely, scary, unfamiliar, depressing. But as much as I hated being there, it saved my life. I was more scared to leave the place than I was to arrive. Leaving meant I was being trusted not to hurt myself, but I still had a huge journey before I was on the way to recovery.”
And this one just can’t be said enough:
19. “As a mental health therapist experienced in the field, I can say that there is a serious lack of funding for inpatient hospitals (as well as other mental health facilities), and sadly the people who suffer are the patients. Too many places are understaffed or staffed with under qualified people. If this is important to you I urge you to become involved in your community.”
Today is #worldmentalhealthday #wmhd17 and today I am angry. Anger, just like sadness, fear, shame, pain and even my loves and desires are things I have spent most of my life hiding. Maybe I didn’t deserve to feel them, maybe I was scared too, often I was more concerned with adjusting myself to fit around others emotions. But these emotions aren’t bad things. They are what makes us human and we all have a right to feel and express them. Why am I angry today? Because how ever bad you feel our mental health services are … times that by 100. However much you feel you don’t stigmatise mental illness … question the fact that maybe you have at times, wether at a stranger, someone you know or even yourself. We all have mental health and we all may experience mental illness just as we all have physical health and may experience physical illness. I’m angry about the assumptions that are made when someone suffers illness and the reasons why. My diagnosis is recurrent depressive disorder. Every single person I know has seen me during an ‘episode’, many, more often than they have seen me not in one. My current ‘episode’ has been going on for over 4 years. .. 4 years! I didn’t want anyone to know that. It’s funny that as I began to express what was inside people said you can’t tell you just seem ‘normal’. Yes because I’m still me and this is how I’ve been for so long. It’s funny how the more I expressed the more I suddenly became not ‘normal’. Yet the things I was expressing weren’t new I was just giving them a voice. Its funny how people needed to apply a reason for it. Their reasons, their pain, their timeline for when they knew. My previous ‘episodes’ have generally lasted a year. I’m told that’s pretty damn long anyway but this one has been unbearable. Mainly because I got so exhausted. Exhausted of the pain. Exhausted of hiding it. Exhausted of the pretence. Exhausted of living through it. I will continue to put on a disguise as and when needed but I will no longer disguise my emotions as a whole and let them eat me up. I will show all of me. Don’t be afraid of who you are x