Anyone, Anywhere …Anytime
I am one of the 25%
A quarter of everyone at some time in their lives suffers with mental health issues. There is a huge range of what qualifies as a mental health issue but we all know someone, whether we realise it or not, who suffers.
In my case I have suffered with it the majority of my life. I can recall suicidal thoughts for certain in my early teens.
Probably as a result of bullying at home and school coupled with regular health issues (and my sexuality), I felt isolated. Rarely did I ever quite fit in with anyone.
These experiences shattered my self worth
My confidence in my abilities in activities involving others was most often negligible. I was that kid who had the ball taken away more often than I can remember and who was ridiculed for being short and not able to do the highjump. I was good at Cross Country running but, that wasn’t the cool thing to be any good at so there was no pleasure in it. PE teachers would save all their praise for their muscle bound achievers. Swimming I did enjoy but constant ear infections meant I always had sick notes not to do it. I was the loser standing poolside alongside the lazy kids. Not that sport was something I could actually see to do. I was made to remove my glasses every session then shouted at because I didn’t hit the spot I couldn’t see on the trampoline. I didn’t have hearing aids then either so I was known to be running for a goal, ball at feet after a whilst had blown feeling like a total idiot even without the comments enforcing that opinion afterwards.
Having learnt no social skills at school I found the workplace a disaster. I think others made an effort for me to be involved but I was too stupid or insecure to recognise it at the time. I was quite good at being social down the pub though, I remember fun times doing that, happy times.
The good times
Life wasn’t all awful. Sadly, because they are stronger I think I recall the down moments more than the positive ones. Am trying really hard and not many positive moments are slapping me in the face! There were some though, this is quite obvious. I cannot have lived through that time without some good times.
My first ever serious relationship was with a guy. I think I would have spent the rest of my life with him very happily but, that didn’t happen. Happily Ever After for gay men in the provinces wasn’t really a thing in the 80’s.
I did fall in love with a woman in the 80’s, we got married and we had children. Although there was love I was fighting every day with my sexuality. A gay man living in a heterosexual world acting it out. It’s hard going mentally. I lived on a knife edge of deceit making a very good job of convincing the world I was someone other than who I was. I am sure this took a much great toll on me mentally than I had ever realised.
My experiences with blood relatives was toxic at best. Mum died in 1986 when I was 23. She had been my rock, one of the very few who was there in my corner when the world was scary and tough. A few horrible years followed where support came at a price too high to pay.
The straw on the camel
With two of the children mentally handicapped I was struggling. I realised how tender my mental health was when in 1991 on a trip back from Norfolk to Essex the car I was driving was rear ended by a Land Rover towing a trailer of bricks. It shunted our car forward two car lengths. On checking the rear it was plain to see how close to disaster it had been. Three children in the back and the boot of the car we were in had gone! Were it not full of loose clothing the result would have been fatal.
I tried to cope with it but my brain wasn’t managing it at all. I was a milkman at the time, you know, crazy early starts and people thinking I just worked a couple of hours a day. I had over 500 customers on my round. I could quote not only what their order was but also their current balance. I went into work two days later and couldn’t even remember what way to drive out the depot. The experience was a disaster!
I wasn’t able to work, couldn’t do it at all. I was in bed most of the time or crying. My wife did go out to work but, effectively that was the last job I did back then. The caring side was too much anyway so I went onto State Benefits. You know, ‘benefits’ are appalling. ‘Normal’ people really feel that they own someone receiving them. It added to my feeling of acting. Already stuck in the closet not really able to talk about my sexuality I now had the added taboo of trying not to share my life on benefits. Disabled kids was another thing people didn’t want to hear either.
The feeling of shame was always there regardless of what I tried to change it. Like I was hiding a secret, but important, defining parts of my life … no, I actually wasn’t a thief, that was just a visual prompt.
During this time I visited a Psychiatrist who had the opinion that all my issues would be resolved if I overcame my need to be penetrated! To this day this has never been a ‘need’ I identified with particularly. The psychologist I saw told me that I understood too much about psychology for him to be able to benefit me at all.
People without mental health issues may not understand.
One of the issues I have had is that friends or acquaintances have said to me before that I can’t really understand what they mean because I have never really lived their life. I have not had their experiences so I wouldn’t know.
We are our own worst enemies! We hide our life experience which makes us all feel so much more alone. Don’t get me wrong, I probably needed to see those experts just so as I knew that they couldn’t help me! That in reality they knew stuff but they didn’t know me. They were offering solutions which could apply to anyone but not, as it happens, to me.
The psychologist discovered I had terrible nightmares and he thought it would be good to teach me a technique to control my dreams. Very successful it was too. From that point on I was able to control my dreams to the point that I didn’t have dreams I couldn’t control eventually, I was always in control and, as such, I wasn’t dreaming any more! I was aware of everything going on, I was controlling it and eventually it became apparent that in my sleep I was mentally working as much as when I was awake!
The dreams I get now are totally screwed up. Not fantasy dreams or anything like that. Either total nightmares of losing someone close all thought out, checked and declared credible possibilities or I have dreams, as I mentioned, just reliving current issues I have to deal with. Both types are horrid. It sadly makes no difference if I try and add fluffy bunnies into the equation. I’ll find a way of making a safe and stable enclosure for them, worry about how I am going to manage cleaning them and tally up the cost!
I have travelled a lot to many wonderful places on my own and never did the feeling of loneliness feel stronger than at the times when I had so much to share.
There is a saying:
Someone with depression never feels more alone than when they are surrounded by people.
It’s difficult to explain it. Is it even possible to explain it to someone who has not experienced it?
My perception is that everyone else could see how I am feeling if they only looked and could just love and support me but, they don’t see me so it feels more like they’re laughing at me.
I am going into too much detail of aspects of my life which, whilst actually supportive of this ‘book’ are making it long winded and for that, I apologise but, more often than not, those with depression over think and here we are!
I met, fell in love and married Dennis, it was amazing. In my mind I was the knight on shining armour who was going to change his life for the better, give him a quality of life here like he’d never known.
In reality, I got myself in a lot of debt, more than I can handle. I became ill with a debilitating condition and now he works on a not very highly paid job to support me. He is never happier than when on video chats with friends back home. I can only hope and trust that he loves me enough to stick this out. One of my recurring nightmares is that he just isn’t there anymore.
Very Low times
Loses and major moments in my life of difficulty.
- Losing mum in 1986
- Discovering Zoey was also developmentally delayed in 1991
- Losing Tony (friend) in 2005
- The whole Javis thing between 2008 – 2014
- Being cheated on in 2011
- Falling in love to someone who didn’t love me back in 2004 & 2012
- Losing my friend Claire in 2018
- Losing Second mum Kay a few weeks ago.
One thing I remember someone in a care home told me one day ..
Now I have to accept that I am on the list of those losing people all too often.
The latest is, of course, this pandemic which is affecting all of us.
My depression is creeping up on me again and the past 36 hours or so have been very difficult for me indeed. I cannot see to find anything to distract me away from it and things I try to do have made me feel all the worse. Reality is, I don’t have the ability to play fast paced games that younger people I have. My inability to reinforce how much I am loved by those I am playing with means that each time I hear them enjoy killing me in a game it feels personal. I know it isn’t but depression doesn’t have room for rationality.
Needing to feel wanted
I feel like I need to be part of a team. I was getting some of that feeling by creating quizzes, I felt needed and wanted. The interest in those has dropped away though. Participants are responding so far apart that those who finish first have little interest by the time everyone has taken part. I have a new quiz lined up but several households have two quizzes already sitting there waiting to do. So, that seems to have died a death.
Last time I actually went shopping tired me out completely for two days.
I am getting so fat I despise looking at myself. Dennis insisting on two main meals a day is certainly not helping. He has an advantage over me, he can exercise. I am just becoming Nelly the fooking elephant.
The growth on my right eyelid is starting to affect my eyesight again. I only have one good eye, on the right! Anything which changed my ability to see in that eye is a big deal.
Reading the above, I know I have every reason, some may argue, every right to be depressed. Knowing that doesn’t help at all sadly.
On reading this some may feel awkward, some will say ‘me too’ and others, probably most, would say, why do you always have to make everything about you?
But this is me. I am not a rock, more of a squiggy jelly. I don’t have all the answers just a lifetime of experiences which might coincidentally help you out. Try as I might, pulling myself together never seems to relate to something I can do. I have made huge, stupid mistakes in my life, some of them I still have to deal with, some could still place a level of stress on me I cannot possibly handle. Annoyingly, I wouldn’t be the person others seem to have feelings for without all the dire stuff which has happened to me.
Mum would say, “people get dealt the crap they alone can deal with” … hmm, I don’t know about that anymore mum.
I have seen many strong people weep. It is not a weakness, it’s truly experiencing the full range of emotions we have. Crying is an essential release for our inner boiling point.