When you’re at your lowest the only way is up or under (and I don’t mean in the bedroom) but when you have children relying on you, only one of those options is viable; why does it feel so damn hard to find the ladder?
Mental illness sucks! I could leave it as that but it would make for a pretty short blog post.
Mental disorder is a really sad thing, it affects so many people and ruins too many lives. It can cause someone to be completely fixated on a ludicrous idea that with a clear head you know is ridiculous but you still cannot shake it. Or it can make you feel like a roller coaster stuck on the sharp bend ready for the decline, knowing at any moment you will plummet into a downwards spiral. The worst thing about the disorder is that it can make you lose everything you have worked for, miss out on life-changing opportunities because you don’t feel good enough, or push away those you truly love. Despite this, it is still not taken seriously because you do not look physically disabled.
The symptoms are so widespread and different for each individual, but the most common symptoms talked about are low mood and fatigue. A tiredness that if bottled, could knock out a horse, yet come bed time your mind is on overdrive and a very familiar insomnia kicks in.
I have personally suffered with depression for many years now, I found the diagnosis embarrassing, almost as if I had been told I had a sexually transmitted infection (only without the fun part to catch it). For those who have loved ones who suffer with depression or anxiety, the only way I can describe it is like a constant weight somewhere deep in your gut, similar to the feeling when you are at a job interview and you are so nervous that you don’t know if you want to poo or spew. A constant worry, daily, hourly, wondering when will it come out to play again; like a devil on your shoulder.
For the sake of this blog I’m going to name my devil Bruce. So in short, Bruce is a dick. We have an on-off relationship, I despise him deeply but I’m grateful that he’s made me stronger as a person. As soon as Bruce can see that I have clawed my way up from the bottom for a short while or am having a productive day he takes his heavy seat, rests it on my shoulder, cracks open a beer and scratches his nuts, thinking “what can I mess with today? I could start by telling her that no one loves her, her friends are talking about her behind her back, or that her kids are better off without her”.
The last one is the one hurts the most. As a parent, that is your worst fear, that you’re not doing right for them, that they might get everything they wish for, somewhere else, that they might grow up crazy like you and you wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Relationships are hard too (even without depression). I think that Disney films do not help matters, the typical storyline in a Disney film is that the princess has a hard time then gets whisked off of her feet by a handsome (and presumably well-hung) prince and they fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. I can hear Bruce belly-laughing now!
So at the wrong side of twenty with mental illness, a divorce and a number of failed relationships under my ever-tightening belt, I have come to realise that I am more suited to the role of Ursula, looking after my poor unfortunate souls. But hey, She’s still pretty fabulous!