I don’t often post from my own page about my mental health as I have come to terms with the fact that not everybody gets it (including close friends and family) but i’m hoping by posting this I can reach the one person i want to help.
Someone in my friends list has told me that if they get help or take medication for their mental health then they are a failure. see the thing is – depression is the curse of the brave – it’s those that push themselves that are at risk – a bit like an elastic band – if you keep stretching it and stretching it – there’s a strong possibility it will snap. the elastic band is like our limbit system (hope i’ve spelled that right) when it breaks we need either therapy or medication to bridge that gap and for the lucky ones – the limbit system can repair. for others, the break is permanent and therefore we need permanent therapy/medication to keep the circuit going.
If you were diagnosed with diabetes – would you see taking your insulin as being a failure? or would you accept that your body doesn’t produce this hormone and therefore you have to take it to survive. The problem we face – is that people “assume” depression means you’re miserable all the time – and that you’re taking a tablet to be happy – and therefore say unhelpful things like “get a grip” “count your blessings” “but look at what you HAVE got” – truth is the tears are merely a visible release of some of the emotion we’re experiencing – and for the majority – it’s a hidden disability.
Depression is so much more – it’s complete lack of emotion – it’s losing your drive and just not caring about anything at all – especially when it comes to ourselves – of course we love our family; our children; but we just feel vulnerable and empty and often get angry that we just don’t have the emotions we once had. someone could knock on the door with £1m and i just wouldn’t care. a friend could be celebrating a major birthday and i wouldn’t care – wouldn’t feel like celebrating – someone could be telling me the most amazing news and it wouldn’t even break a smile.
It’s not that i don’t care – it’s not that i’m not happy for you – I’m just emotionless and that is so frustrating. it’s hard being at work and having to put on a brave face when you feel like everybody is staring at you like a goldfish in a bowl – waiting for you to squeak or do something silly because if you’re mentally ill – you must be crazy! It’s also hard for my loved ones who want to help – want to fix it – want to make it better but don’t know how.
I had people telling me if I didn’t sort myself out I’d lose my job; my kids would be taken away from me and I’d lose everything – I wonder if they’d say that to someone in a coma……. anyway i have my bag of tricks – my tool kit – a bit like if we were going to climb Mount Everest – you’d take your survival kit – you know it’s going to get cold up there – but if you pack your thermals at least you’ll survive when it does get cold.
In my tool kit is:
- fresh coffee
- clean bed sheets
- chocolate with a high cocoa content
- bridesmaids (film)
- a run!
- and some good songs to sing to
It’s OK not to be OK you know – it’s OK to have a bad day and wallow in your woes and just be – to feel how you want to feel and not bottle it up to please others – but on day 2 it’s time to start fighting – to survive.
Men in particular bottle up the tears and that then leads to anxiety – the punishment for biting our tongue. Holding back your tears is toxic and poisons you from the inside out. We are effectively harming ourselves to please others.
So – my name is Vicky and I suffer with my mental health – I take medication every day and will do for the rest of my life as my body doesn’t produce seratonin on its own.
I’ve had more therapy than hot dinners and the meds I take don’t stop me being ill and don’t guarantee I’ll smile every day but by taking them I have my emotions back and I carry my tool kit close to my heart for when it’s raining hard.
I run most days as when I’m running I’m free from my negative thoughts – I’m free from the pressures of everyday life and it’s my time away from everything. My door IS always open and I want all my friends and family to know you’re never alone – I might not be able to help – but I’ll come and be by your side when the clouds are grey.
I was proud to tell Prince William I am a mental health ambassador and I fight for support and understanding in the running community and in my club you will ALWAYS be welcome. #headstogether