I was gunna title this post “The Cruelty Of Mental Illness” but that seemed a little “let’s have a wallow in self pity” and that isn’t the place that I am or should be in at the moment. I should actually be doing a positive post about an award and recognition I received last week, I should be talking about some amazing new contacts of influential people I made at the “Dudley Volunteer Awards 2015” and the possibility of meetings I’ve got coming up and the potential that could come from those people and meetings, but after the high of the awards last Thursday I’ve gone for another little nose dive into depression. I was gunna talk about the cruelty of mental illness but I’d rather talk about the inconsistency and nonsensical reactions we can have to things. For me the meds we take are to keep us on a level, which is both a good and bad thing. It’s bad cus you often here people talk about themselves being zombiefied, unable to feel emotions. It’s a good thing cus the problem with being able to feel emotions you feel the highs and quite often after the high you feel worse because when coming down from that high you go back to that level that’s best to be on and the higher you go the bigger the drop back to the level which although it happens quite often it always seems to catch you by surprise.
The reason I changed the title and hopefully the message of the post is I want to be positive or perhaps more truthfully I want to be realistic….
I believe in order to move forward from whatever form of mental health issue you are dealing with there first of all has to be an acceptance of the issue, whatever that issue is and if you fully understand it or not. My guess is the majority of us don’t now and maybe never will fully understand our issues, we have spent many years getting to this point of our lives and to unpick the issues of life to a point where we know exactly why we are the way we are is very unlikely, so at some point we have to accept we are never going to be able to answer all the questions we pose to ourselves, we have to accept there probably isn’t one reason or indeed any actual answers to the many questions we ask ourselves or are asked in our recovery process by the experts who are trying to fix us. I’ve had conversations with people who believe they have recovered from there mental health issue, I would never question them specifically about it cus it’s there recovery, it’s there life and if they believe that then it’s absolutely fantastic news for them. Unfortunately I don’t believe I will ever be cured of my mental health issues, I believe I will always have a level of instability, I don’t see this as a negative way of thinking about it, I see it as a realistic thought pattern for the way my world is now and has been for many years. I know over the many years I have struggled with depression and then clinical depression and mental illness following my mental breakdown (or major episode) in 2013 has left me with an instability that will always be there in one form or another in my life, what I have to do is change my many incorrect learned reactions to different situations and events that will face me in the future. Having said that if I ever believe I am cured I will shout it from the rooftops….
It’s not enough to accept once you have a mental illness, the initial acceptance is a very important one but we have to continually accept each and every episode. We have to accept the highs, we have to accept the lows, we have to accept the intrusive thoughts, we have to accept the bonkers thoughts, we have to accept the paranoid thoughts, we have to accept the lack of emotion, we have to accept the abundance of incorrect and mis interpreted emotions, we have to accept the lack of energy, we have to accept the agitation, we have to accept each and every unexplainable mood change that comes our way.
Accepting all these things is not giving in, it’s not being negative, it is about being realistic. An awful lot of what goes on in our minds and in our lives make us uncomfortable and uneasy but in order to move forward from these issues we must accept them in order to find a way through and past them.
I say all the time I have no problem in accepting I have a mental illness or have mental health issues but I don’t think I actually have fully accepted. Part of me is still the man who believes men should be strong and be able to cope with everything life throws at us, I think this is hard wired into us. I believe this is why there’s an awful lot in the media about why men find mental illness harder to cope with, why men find it harder to ask for and accept help and why the figures for suicide in men is so high, we believe admitting we need help is admitting we are weak. We are not weak, accepting we have issues, accepting we need help, accepting we must ask for help, accepting that help shows we are strong and believe me when I tell you you will need that strength to keep fighting towards your recovery, you will need that strength to continually accept, sometimes on a daily basis that you have to find the strength to realise you will be able to cope with everything life and life with mental illness throws at you, maybe not immediately but if you keep accepting and keep approaching things from every conceivable direction eventually you will cope with it all.
“There ain’t nothing we can’t cope with…. Eventually!!!!”
(Please understand me going on about it being harder for men is by no means me saying its easy for women, anyone battling mental health issues is not having an easy time)
“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”
Keep going 😉
Jon aka exboozehound
Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)