Thursday, 4 February 2016

On Time to Talk Day.

Today is #TimetoTalk Day.
The day designated to get people talking about 'mental illness.'

As I type I realise that people often focus on the word 'mental',
and don't get as far as the world 'illness'.
And that's half the problem.

I have an illness.
A mental health illness.

I don't have mental health 'issues'.

I'm not 'mental.'

I have an illness.

An illness that doesn't necessarily make me sad,
though sometimes it does.

The symptoms I get make me feel empty,
exhausted,
anxious,
unable to hold a conversation.
and I get marshmallow-brain, or brain fog.

Sometimes I struggle to put one foot in front of the other.
Sometimes I'm irritable and snappy.
Sometimes I can't sleep for night after night,
and sometimes I can do it with my eyes shut....
Sometimes I'm tearful.

Sometimes I can hold it all together to work,
chat,
socialise,
laugh,
do what's required,
and you'd never know anything was wrong.
Then afterwards I'm wrung out like a dish-rag.
Fit for nothing.
At it's worst, it feels like the Dementors have sucked out my very soul.

I have an illness.
I've had it for over 21 years.
It was first diagnosed after I gave birth to my eldest son.

But he, and my other sons,
my husband,
my family,
my life,
my lifestyle,
my work,
my outlook,
my personality,
my character,
my work-ethic,
my levels of faith,

are not to blame.

No-one is to blame.
Illness of any kind tends not to discriminate.

There are things that don't help of course.
I know my limits and work within them as far as possible.

I work with people.
People of all kinds,
all situations,
all kinds of needs;
And sometimes it feels as if everyone wants a piece of me.

But I'm learning to be mindful.
To see the signs.
Avoid the triggers if I can.
And withdraw and rest when necessary.

Prayer sometimes helps.
But often it doesn't.
Believe me I've been prayed for,
about,
with.
People have prayed earnestly.
I have cried,
shouted,
screamed at God.
God has come near, but not healed.

Depression is part of my life.
It's not who I am.
It's an illness I have.
I live with it.
As do my family.

It's not always easy for them.
But they are wonderful, independent, capable men and boys,
who show endless affection to me.
They also cook and do the washing as required!
We talk.
A lot.

On the whole life is good.
I have days when I feel a failure, inadequate, weak and hopeless.
They don't usually last for too long,
but occasionally they do.
The medication keeps me fairly level,
as does walking, yoga and meditation.

I tend to go with the flow these days.
Constant battling is exhausting,
and doesn't work anyway.
I try to be kind to myself when I'm struggling.
Much as I would be to anyone else.

So there you have it.
Life in my world.

I have an illness, not a weakness.
Let's talk about it.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As someone going through similar and having absolutely no idea why or whether it will ever get better, I just wanted to say thank you. I've found something here. Keep going!