A friend of a friend has written this on facebook and gave his permission to share it. This is from Ed
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
I’ve written that down, and I’m staring at it. I want to write something that encompasses that experience. I want to write something that will help those outside to grasp what that means to those of us inside.
I don’t know if I can.
You either get it, or you don’t. Until you’ve actually been on the other side of that veil, you’ve genuinely got no idea how incredibly debilitating it is. That’s sort of where the whole mental health stigma springs from, I suspect, the root of the attitude that people should just get over it.
Trust me, if we could, we would.
I would dearly like to be able to dig my way out of this by myself. I would love to wake up in the morning and not have to check how many spoons I’ve got before I even get out of bed. I would love to be able to live without the deafening roar of my own thoughts turned against me, the constant background static of anxiety and second guessing that clutters my head. I would love to spend just one day not battling with my self-esteem, not desperately seeking just one small fraction of hope or proof that life is actually worth the colossal effort it seems to take just to get through each day.
I would like to be able to pick up the phone without it being a struggle to break through the wall of silence that depression wraps you in.
I spend so much energy keeping myself together, keeping myself going, that you’d think I’d sleep like the dead each night. Yeah, not so much. Depression, anxiety and mental health issues also tend to induce insomnia, so you go to bed tired, and wake up tired, which as you can imagine really helps the following day.
And I can explain this until I’m blue in the face, but it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t look ill. I don’t, generally, act ill. I laugh, I dissemble, and I hide. I wear my game face every day because it helps me cope, and because I have to.
“How are you?”
Well, my life feels like a train wreck, my internal monologue is generally screaming noise that fails to distract me from the gaping void inside me, and quite frankly, getting hit by a bus would be a mercy.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There is professional help available, and the drugs do help. There are people around you, whether you realise it or not, who DO get it, and who will try and help the best they can. It is possible to talk to someone like that even if it’s just to lance the sense of isolation it all tends to breed in you. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends who understand, and who do their best to help, and I’m incredibly grateful for that, even when I don’t seem it. Trust me, if your friend is low, they appreciate you making the effort to bridge the gap, even if it doesn’t seem that way. Every little bit helps, and please don’t ever stop making the effort… every little shred of it is a lifeline to someone literally drowning in their own head.
To others in my position: start talking to people about it, and don’t stop. The silence kills, quite literally. Once you start talking, you’ll be a little startled by how many people turn around, and say “Yeah, me too”, or have a family member, a friend, affected by it. I was. It helps. You’ll also be startled by how much easier it gets to talk about it, and how much that eases the burden.
I’m not looking for sympathy here. This is not a “Poor Me”. Part of dealing with this is treating like any other long-term illness. It’s not going away by itself, so I have to acknowledge it, and treat it accordingly. I have to be aware of how it influences me and my reactions, my interactions with other people. I have to own it, because ignoring it doesn’t work, at least not for me. Compared to two years ago, I’m head and shoulders above where I was, my quality of life is much improved, thoughts of suicide pushed to the back where they belong.
But it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and I honestly couldn’t let that go by without saying:
“Yeah, me too.”