So yesterday was Time To Talk day which was all about talking about mental health. I got diagnosed last year with mental health issues and it was terrifying. Because although I had answers about the way I was feeling, I also knew the stigma that surrounded it. And at times that stigma was given which made me worse. But I am not ashamed to say it. There is nothing wrong with it and I am tired of being made to feel like something is wrong. Time to talk is about raising awareness and getting people to understand to accept that it is not something that we choose, it is something that chooses us and is something we struggle to deal with on a daily basis.
At the moment I have only been diagnosed with depression and anxiety but my doctor is looking at bipolar and OCD, due to on going issues that I did not disclose to them before hand due to being scared of being judged an the problems I would get it I admitted them. But if they come back positive then I am going to take the medication they give me and get the right support. And now there is support out there. There are groups, counselling sessions and medication – all of which can help a person to deal with the stresses that come along with having mental health issues.
The one thing that I find frustrating is constantly being told to cheer up and that I am just having a bad day. This is not the case. It is not just a bad day; it is feeling that there is no point in continuing, and even one some of my worst days, feeling like I hadn’t woken up and wishing a black hole would swallow me up. On these days I am barely functional – I lie in bed all day due to not having the energy to move, I don’t eat or drink because I do not feel the need to and that would require energy that I do not possess. Saying to cheer up to a depressive person is like telling a person with a heart problem to get a new heart. It does not work that way. A depressive person cannot just make themselves happy or cheer up. It is difficult and requires more energy than we have. Yes, we can slowly work ourselves our of the episode but it is not going to be done by you telling us to cheer up.
Another frustrating thing is people asking why are we depressed. Saying we have no reason to be because our lives are going good or we have people who care etc. Again, it does not work this way. Depression does not decide colour, age, race, gender. It feeds on anyone regardless of the life they are living. Look at Robin Williams. To us, he had everything most of us could dream about and yet it consumed him to a point. Don’t ask why we are depressed because the answer is we do not know. We do not have reasons for feeling the way we do. Waking up and wanting to not wake up again is not a conscious choice – it is what the depression makes us feel.
It is different for everyone. Not one person has the same experience. I learned this in my support group when we had to use a word to describe our depression. For me, it is a male cloud. Someone who wants to take me into his world and take away the pain. I can feel him shrouding me at times and I know he is always waiting. Always watching. Biding his time until he can take hold of me again. When he does take hold I can feel it. My body becomes weak and tingly and I become his. I try and fight him but he is stronger and the fight becomes exhausting.
Luckily, with the medication and the support. and with this new move, it hasn’t been as bad. I have had moments where He takes over and I feel like I do not want to make the effort anymore but it lasts between minutes and hours now instead of days and weeks. We are learning to live side by side. I know he has to feed, the same as I do, and that I am his reason for existence but that does not mean that I am going to let him consume me. He can take bites here and there but he will never have a full plate.
I decided it was time to write about this because it is a huge part of my life now. And has been a huge part of my writing and now I am doing better I am finding that I do not write as much. But it is due to friends that I have the courage to say ” I have mental health issues and I am not ashamed.” I know a girl online, Jade, and she is such an inspiration for me. She has bipolar and other health issues and she fights daily to say “I’m alive” and that is a sign of pure strength. She hasn’t let it consume her and she is an advocate for everyone who is in the same boat. so Thank you Jade, you are amazing and I am so grateful for you.
Yes mental health is a tough subject but take the time to ask people about it instead of ignoring it because that makes it worse. So take the time to talk to people about mental health and help us spread the word. There is nothing wrong with needing some help from time to time!
All the best