In Blackest Night – Disclosure & Addenda
I’m feeling rather lost lately. I had my last appointment with my MIND counsellor last week and the loss of that crutch seems pretty pertinent lately. After some minor highs and some right kicks to the balls (the reasons to which I cannot go into because of other factors that preclude me from free speech), metaphorically, I’m left feeling pretty bewildered and I’m still trying to come to terms with my disability (or disabilities, as the case may be). I feel disgusted, dismayed, disappointed, betrayed, fucked over and fucked off.
It occurred to me that, when I refer to my “Depression” or my “Anxiety” it is said in a similar fashion to me talking about my wife and kids. It’s like the tone and ownership have given them this status of being more than just in my head. It’s almost like I’m talking to someone who looks at me as if to say, “Aren’t you going to introduce us?” And then I oblige, “Oh, by the way, this cheeky little rascal is Depression”.
I’ve had a number of conversations which have steered towards me and how I’m doing and it feels like I have to make a little disclaimer about my condition(s) just to clarify/excuse certain things I may do or say. Kinda like when an embarrassed parent will say, “Don’t mind him, he’s special.”
In hindsight, it’s a horrible way of belittling or trying to excuse something that one shouldn’t have to explain or justify. But that’s the self-awareness kicking in. We know what it’s like to feel uncomfortable by situations and try to consider others in our every day-to-day activities. It would be easier and less anxiety-heightening to just hand them a dossier with everything to save addressing or even mentioning that elephant in the room. I find it feels like (how I’d imagine based on seeing it in movies and TV shows) getting up to speak in an AA meeting – Hi my name is Craig and I suffer from social anxiety, general anxiety, depression and agoraphobia (to a degree).
I was asked recently what I’m like on a ‘good day’. The very notion of a ‘good day’ makes me laugh (in more of a ‘you haven’t got a fucking clue’ kinda way). A ‘good day’ would be none of the aforementioned issues. No such luck. So, as I’ve said before, a ‘better day’ is where the anxiety and all the internal workings and physical manifestations of it are less than usual and I don’t keep fantasising about how I want to die or generally just cease to exist. A ‘better day, could very well involve me looking at something and working out the pain/success ratio but I daren’t mention that because, to the uninitiated, it seems to extreme and cannot possibly be a ‘better day’.
The irony of the situation is that I know I shouldn’t bottle things up and should be open and express myself in a constructive way so as not to tumble down the deep dark hole again but to get by on a daily basis I have to choose what I say carefully so as to avoid awkward conversations or concerns and so I end up bottling things up again. It’s a very contradictory cycle to try and fly low on the radar to keep the virtual men in white coats away. Every day becomes an increasingly difficult test of will and mental ability, applying tension to simple conversations and experiences where the only reward is getting through another day even though the noose will become tighter tomorrow.
I’ve seen a number of things on TV and online covering mental health and the importance to talk and offer/accept support and, while I appreciate the efforts of those fighting for the cause, it seems society is still not ready to openly accept the hard work that that entails. And because folks like me know this, we hold back which makes the demand for such a thing seem a little less than the stark reality would show. It’s easier to say I’m okay than it is to say I’m not doing so well. Why? Because the response to “I’m okay” is something along the lines of “Okay, good.” If I gave you the honest answer, your mind would be like “Oh fuck, I’ve opened a can of worms here, how do I close it again?”
It’s such a shame because now, more than ever, we need to be talking about these things and I do find it helps but because I don’t have a strong support network around me, I minimise my thoughts and concerns and that drives the negative feelings to spiral out of control. If only you could just read the notes that accompany me to save me from having to explain it all again. If only.
Despite one in four people in the UK likely to be affected by mental health issues, the level of ignorance and lack of support is astounding. It’s like a cosmic joke that we are made to feel isolated considering our conditions cause us to feel that way anyway. If only our thoughts gave over and let us enjoy the silence.