One of the biggest frustrations I experience with it comes to my depression and anxiety is trying to explain how I feel and how it affects me, especially on a day to day basis. No one day is the same in fact no one hour is the same at the moment.
I have been open and honest about my troubles, feelings and emotions yet to some the concept or understanding of my situation appears alien at best. What could be an easy task one day is impossible the next, when going to the shops is ok yet the next day stepping outside the front door is a step too far. To understand that there is no continuity that can be relied upon and that is a luxury I dream about at present. Yet no matter how many times I repeat myself, especially to those sat at a desk focusing on numbers rather than the real issue at hand I still get the same questions and demands. Having to repeatedly offer the same information or sources to their questions is proving stressful, you get the impression they are either not listening or there is disbelief about the situation.
I am frustrated at the perception that having a mental illness is seen as an easy way out by some; after all it is an invisible illness hard to quantify or measure. That is until it is too late and the ultimate price is paid by those who find the battle too much. Why does it have to require a physical act to make condition real, how many people of ended their lives because their struggles were not understood or heard. Why it is that help is only forth coming when someone self harms or suffers extreme physical reactions to their struggles. My levels of anxiety have been so high that I have suffered fits in the past that have left me unable to move or control myself often requiring the assistance of paramedics or a trip to A&E. Of course those who struggle with their battles do it for attention, we are attention seeking NOT. The idea that I can smile, laugh and joke does not fit the persona of someone battling a mental illness yet deep inside buried away but ever present is a voice that says you’d be better off not being around.
For me that voice is distant but it is still there and makes a good job of masking the small but positive steps I make each day. Whether it is stepping out into the garden, going to the shop or even doing some housework it does a pretty good job of covering up these achievements. I am lucky to have the support of my partner, people close to me and friends who provide me with gentle reminders that am I valued and do have something to offer and have a place.
I am not afraid to express my thoughts and feelings on my struggles and I am becoming increasingly aware that more of those who struggle need to speak out and share their thoughts and experiences. Not be afraid of what those who do not understand or care to understand think. I respect the medical profession and our Nation Health Service and I am fully aware of its struggle to support and care for those whom seek help, especially with regard to mental health. I have personally experienced times where I have been in consultation with a medical professional only to be met with a blanket stare, well timed nods of the head and shallow and meaningless comments. Where I received the line “I am sorry but you do not qualify for that level of help. Not because the professional is being personal but because the system is not robust or strong enough to support those who need help. There is never a more appropriate saying than “Prevention is better than a cure”. Yet how do you prevent people slipping into the depths of an illness that is all consuming to some? How do you educate and support people in a world where external influences shout louder and have more control? We are continually bombarded with news, information and those seeking to exploit our personal situations, the news, social media and unrealistic standards and goals. We have become a society dominated by fleeting moments, unrealistic standards and false promises. Where values change to suite, where people are afraid of standing up for what they believe in and where to conform at any cost is the easiest and most acceptable option.
I am not in a good place and I am struggling as much with myself as with those who do not listen or take the time to understand. I am making a big effort to make my messages consistent and from the outside that might not be apparent. It is a challenge when my emotions are in such turmoil and it is difficult to remember one day from the next. I do take strength for the support of others and especially from talking to other people who suffer and have similar experiences to me.
It is never my intention to hurt or upset anyone, that is not in my nature but I know I do when I struggle to communicate my feelings and emotions. I am sorry and I am trying my best to limit the times that happens.
To those who find themselves in my situation I say this, never stop shouting, telling people how you feel and do not give up. If you want an ear to talk to I am happy to listen, happy to be a vent for your frustration and share experiences. I intend to blog a lot more about my struggles in the hope it will help in some small way to help with the fight against mental illness.
If you have to take life 10 minutes at a time do so and do not be afraid to share your experiences.
Until next time take care.