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
I’ve learnt a lot about myself and others during my current crisis with my mental health.
This particular battle began around four years ago. I’m not sure when I began to loose control of the battle because sometimes the chaos sneaks up on you without you realising. What I do know is I got to a place where I had nothing left to give and I had no desire to fight it any more.
Right now I feel like I’m still stuck at the bottom of the well but I’ve picked myself up of the ground of despair and I’m starting to grab at the sides, preparing to start the long climb out. There are moments when I fall back down and question what exactly it is I’m fighting for but those moments are daily occurrences which are shorter lived, rather than my very existence.
It’s hard to recognise how far I have come in those moments. It hurts to look back at things I wrote only a few months ago but I think they are important to acknowledge and accept as they remind me how continuously I was feeling them then, without reprieve, otherwise I would never have risked putting them on paper. The truth is in those moments, I didn’t believe I would be around to regret anyone seeing them. This I wrote on 31st March 2017:
“I can’t see an answer any more. I know it will cause so much pain and that’s the only, and I mean only reason I didn’t do this years ago. But now I’m so so tired and I can’t pretend any longer. This means I haven’t been hiding it from you like I used to and I can’t bear hurting you day in, day out any more. You deserve to find life again. I’ve sucked it out of you for too long. Hate me with everything you have, then move on, grow again, be everything I know you can be that you couldn’t be with me around.”
I’m sharing in the hope that if just one person reading this resonates with this, they can see that the fight is not futile. I certainly believed it was when I wrote the above – I was wrong. I was deep in the dirt and I have a long fight yet, but I’m already not quite where I was then.
Keep going. Not just for those around you, but for YOU!
YOU deserve another chance.
Said goodbye this afternoon to the place that’s been my home for just over the last fortnight. I’m Pleased to be back were I belong but was also suprised by how sad I also was to say goodbye. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt a community spirit like it … we fell apart together and picked ourselves back up together and then did it all over again. I met people whose path I would never have otherwise crossed – all ages, all walks of life, all suffering in their own ways and all uniquely special. The openness and rawness of conversation was something I hope I can take with me for the rest of my life because it was so real and uncensored. I can’t thank some of the care team enough but most of all I’d like to thank all of the other lost souls who were the ones who really saw me through. I hope you all find the light in your darkness and thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤