From within the mess.
I was 11 when I was first made aware that my sadness and nervousness was perhaps not ‘just a phase’.
The doctor mentioned it was probably depression and my mum sobbed.
I’ve felt like an outsider for the majority of my life but there’s nothing quite like being told your brain chemistry is wrong at such a formative age to make you feel even less ~normal~. School was a write-off. I didn’t leave my bed for 3 years. This disease had well and truly taken me under it’s wing and I was stuck. I wanted out. Out of all of it. But I worked my way through the slurry and shit every time.
Some 12 years later and I’m currently in the midst of a pretty bad patch. The black cloud is back (don’t like calling it the black dog because doggos are far too great to be associated with it). I wouldn’t usually openly say that in fear of not keeping up appearances, even as someone who is as transparent and probably way too TMI about mental health. I don’t usually divulge when I’m in the middle of a bad episode because even though we’ve moved forward with the stigma, there is still so much work to do.
There’s still a line about how much we can talk about it. How much is too much? What if I say something and a potential client thinks I’m too ‘unstable’? Am I being too negative? But I’m done with that. I’m talking about it from in amongst the mess because I’m not defined by my brain chemistry. Being ill doesn’t mean I’m bad at my job or that I’m a bad person. And the same goes for you; You are not defined by your mental health or your brain chemistry. You’re defined by your interests, your passions, and your skills. You’re defined by the way you love and what you value. Those are the important bits and the reasons to stay here on this planet. So yeah, this is the face of someone who is holding on for dear life. Who is getting through it one day at a time. I said no to the pills until I was 20, and can now genuinely say they’ve saved me over and over again. Same goes for my work. It’s given me a purpose and a love. I am ok. You can listen to Episode 49 of the One Girl Band Podcast to hear the things that keep me going.
One little thing though; if you’re becoming overwhelmed and triggered by #worldmentalhealthday posts like this one and the episode, you’re allowed to tap out. You’re allowed to put your phone away today and prioritise you and your mindset. You’re not backing away from the conversation, you’re just looking after you, so if you’re not in the best frame of mind at the moment, leave this episode for a day when you’re feeling a bit better.