Feels Like I’m Going to Lose My Mind
I wrote this last October for World Mental Health Day and shared it on Facebook. I thought I should share it here now for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018.
My story, my struggle, my truth.
I’m not proud of this, but I’m trying hard to stop being ashamed of it too.
I am just coming out the other side of a mental health crisis. I have borderline personality disorder which has mostly been of the ‘quiet’ variety (in other words, I’m extremely good at hiding my feelings and putting on a public facade), although anyone that knows me will know that I have big feelings – a heart full of rainbows for the smallest good thing I see, and a body full of vampires for even the tiniest bad thing! However, the nastiness of my divorce seems to have pushed me over the edge and the anger that builds up inside me has started to come out more publicly. Which is embarrassing for my loved ones and humiliating for me. And probably scary for those that don’t know me or about it. So this year, I finally started getting some help. This has not been easy at all and I still have to really push to get anything. But with the support of my family and girlfriend, it’s started to happen.
I have now accepted that I will have to take medication, probably for the rest of my life, just the same as someone with kidney or liver failure might have to. My brain has some kind of failure in it too (there was no abuse or childhood trauma to explain this illness away, so I’m one of the rare sufferers who seems to have a physical mental health issue, rather than a reactionary one) and without the right medication, I can be seriously ill. No, the illness doesn’t make me vomit or faint or stop me eating or walking, but it does threaten my life. And it does hurt. Pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Because emotional pain can manifest into physical pain it seems. The two are curiously intertwined. But I am lucky. As I said, I have a family and partner that really care about me and 2 incredible children that are the light in my darkest days, so I have been able to get some help and battle through this. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone and some people really are left to suffer alone.
Mental health is still massively underfunded and still has a terrible stigma attached to it. But it can happen to anyone regardless of your age, gender, upbringing, or social status.
Stop making this something to be ashamed of and start treating it with the gravitas we give to other illnesses. Because it is serious and it is life threatening. But no, it isn’t catching and no, it isn’t always obvious. But those that suffer this daily, incessant battle with their own minds just want to know they’re loved and supported no matter what. And that their behaviour can be forgiven because it’s not always intentional or vindictive.
If you know someone who is acting out of sorts, ask if they need help or show them you’re there for them (don’t just tell them; I’ve found a good hug goes a very long way in communicating this), because they might not be able to ask for that themselves. Essentially all they want is love and understanding, even if it seems like they’re pushing you away. They are scared stiff and panicking and completely unable to rationalise events, big and small. Just be there.
And remember,whether it’s you or a loved one: #itsOKnottobeOK