Bleak Times, Mental Illness sucks

The past few weeks I’ve been a bit stressy (A ‘bit’ he says). I couldn’t help the way I was feeling. I usually see these things coming and nip them in the bud before they get going but, this one caught me on the back foot and took hold.

I know why, you don’t need to know, not on here anyway but my behaviour during it let me down and hurt people I had no right to hurt.

Most my friends and particularly family have stood by me. I lost some friends along the way but, I think I needed to do that, some unfinished business playing on my mind with some of them.

So, today, 12th October 2014 I am starting again. I did a reboot yesterday which was horrible but today I am ready to go and the man upstairs must know this and has kindly provided some blue sky and sunshine for me.

It’s difficult to talk about mental health issues, it’s not like a broken arm or something visible. Unless someone has suffered from it then it comes across as negativity and selfishness and probably a few other things as well.

Mental Health – I don’t talk about it much but it’s plagued me for my entire life. The first time I totally collapsed to it was around 1992. I’d been under a lot of emotional pressure with home life, wider family, work and sexuality and I was just about coping. One day tipped me. Travelling back from a weekend away we were involved in a car accident. The car was a write off but we were lucky, it could have been a whole lot worse. I got a little adrenalin rush on the day but nothing I couldn’t deal with but, the next morning I lost it. Full blown panic attacks. If you’ve not had that it’s sort of horrible. Heart racing, sweating loads, feeling like something is out to get you from all angles, shaking, quite bizarre to go from normal to that. The attacks happened more and more frequently, many times a day. I got to the point where all I would do was sleep, day and night. I lost my job over it. After a few weeks I got some medical attention and was on medication for two years, it took a good 18 months before the symptoms had totally stopped. Those symptoms included the desire every night not to wake the next morning.

I visited psychologists and psychiatrists and both seemed to conclude the same thing, my repressed sexuality had a lot to do with it but also my inability to express my emotions or control them. One taught me how to control the nightmare (which were horrible) that I was having. I did get control of those nightmares, it’s fairly easy to do but, at a price. It opened my mind up to sleeping with waking thoughts. Each night I go to bed I rarely dream fantasy, instead I dream my life, solve daily problems, live a day during a night. True, I have solved many issues when asleep. But, the side effect of that is feeling constantly shattered like I never get a break in fantasyland.

Along with the dream control I was taught how to recognise the symptoms of depression and anxiety in the very early stages and various techniques of breathing and meditation to stop them. They work too except, sometimes now the episodes come on so quickly I am playing catch up. Whereas I can stop the nasty thoughts dead in their tracks right from the start in moments, once they get going it takes weeks of hard work and, that’s great if I have weeks but, most often I don’t. I need, like many other people, to get on with my life as though nothing is happening.

Just recently I had too much going on all at the same time. I committed myself to a path that, if it went tits up would make me look stupid and hurt loads. Along the way I had someone who shouldn’t have done so, steal from me. I’d got myself in a lot of debt to cover the cost of my life changing commitment and then it all went wrong at a time when I totally didn’t have the time to sort out my feelings on it. One thing just added to another and I’d lost it basically. Unable to use any of my coping methods I spiralled out of control.

So, I needed to shut down and reboot. It’s a horrible experiencing having to do that. Shut away, dark room, lots of tears, shaking, horrible thoughts and desperation. Not a good time for anyone to interrupt. Yes, it would be much easier with someone else just to hug, no questions asked most likely but, it’s not like someone suffering like that can plan it all out. It’s dragging yourself down to the lowest place possible then climbing back up.

The period I am in now is the pretending stage, I act OK, I don’t allow myself a moment of negativity, I smile a lot, I get on and do things and then, very slowly I convince myself everything is OK again. The process takes a few weeks and I am fragile during that time. It’s when ideally I need loads of people to be cool with me, I mean, want me about, do cool things not act like ice cubes! I need to get out and laugh, see what’s right in my life. Without that, I still get there but the process is longer. It is the best possible time for those who understand how I feel to do what they can.

This barely scratched the surface of how it feels but might go a little way to explain it. It could be that, unless you’ve ever suffered that nothing can explain it.

Basically, when I feel like that it doesn’t mean I don’t care it is just I lose the ability to show it in a way that you might need me to. Everything I say is to try and make things better I just screw it up and make things worse.

If you know someone who suffers from issues like this, try not to make their lives harder. Telling them someone is worse off or advising them to pull themselves together is not helpful, not even possible in most case to pull themselves together. Saying that someone is worse off is like telling someone who just broke their arm that they shouldn’t complain about the pain because a broken back is so much worse. When a person feels pain either physically or emotionally then that pain is real to them. They need support and understanding not banishment and ridicule.

Feel free to ask any questions if you’d like to

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