Hey, wanna know something super not cool?
My brain sucks.
Here’s the thing, I hate it when people post personal stuff on the internet. I mean, I can’t be the only one who scrolls through Facebook trying to locate all the memes that were funny on Tumblr 5 years ago and injures themselves from eyerolling at all the unnecessary melodrama of people’s posts. Its all ‘here’s some beef I’m starting with my best friend’ ‘here’s some goss about my ex.’ ‘urgh worst day ever!’ followed by people who normally don’t give a crap about you having their curiosity piqued and asking whats up, only to not receive a reply from the original poster. Hence why I tend to keep most of my personal stuff bottled, because I don’t want sympathy or to give someone else something to gossip about. Also because I’m aware of my privilege and I don’t want to seem whiny. But I’ve kinda gotten to the point where I’m finding it hard to keep stuff inside. So… I’m gonna talk about it I guess. Only not on Facebook. I’m sparing my fellow eye rollers that at least.
Here are a few reasons why I don’t like to talk about what is going on with my brain.
Firstly, I am really not comfortable talking about something that I’m not over yet. Secondly, I have a lot of shame and guilt associated with it. Thirdly, on the few occasions when I have tried to talk about it… Well, let’s just say I’ve not exactly had the support or the reaction that I’ve needed.
In fact, we’re only opening this can of worms today because this week, I tried once again to get a GP to listen to me and take my problems with my brain seriously. Because I live in the UK, I got to use the NHS. However because the literal devil is in charge of the country right now I can’t actually go and make an appointment to see a doctor, I have to call and leave a message and wait for a doctor to call me back and decide whether or not I’m sick enough to be worth their time. Long story short, I am still not sick enough to be worth their time. I’ve been going back and forth to a number of GPs at this surgery over the past 8 years with the same complaint. Every single time I have had the rather unhelpful advice of: “have you tried exercising?” like after 8 years that wouldn’t have been something I’ve tried. Yet again I have to sign up to a bunch of free CBT sessions. Most of which are during the day when I am occupied with my job (Which is a whole other thing) and the rest are full. So onto the waiting list I go.
Which is just peachy and has made me never want to discuss my brain with anyone ever again because yet again, it isn’t taken seriously.
As if that wasn’t enough, today I was approached by someone who proceeded to tell me about a young man they knew who had recently taken his own life, only not in the way such a subject would normally be broached, she was very disparaging of this young man, she didn’t think he should have been in mainstream school if he was suffering from a mental health issue. Later on tonight, I found out that the same young man was a member of an organisation that I am also part of. The people there spoke incredibly highly of him and talked of their sadness at losing such a popular and creative person.
Though I had decided a little while ago that I wanted to be better, tonight really made me mean it. I want to be better. I don’t want to continue down this path and have people lament the loss of my potential or bad mouth me for finding a way out. I’m just not sure how. Maybe that’s the point of this. Anyway, like I said, doesn’t exactly make me want to talk about my mental health.
Here is a list of other things that have been said to me on other occasions when I have tried to discuss the problems with my brain, just so you know I’ve already heard them and don’t want to hear them again:
- You’re not depressed, you’re just over reacting
- Stop being so sensitive
- You have anxiety? Haha, but you love getting on the tube!
- What do you have to be depressed about?
- You’re not depressed, stop being so negative, the glass isn’t always half empty.
- Have you tried drinking more water?
- Why are you being so pessimistic about it?
- Pull yourself together and stop being silly, I’m going to be late.
That one was particularly special because I was having a panic attack at the time.
World Mental Health Day was this week and seeing so many people I admire and look up to be open and talk about their experiences had me in awe, but even though it’s 2017 and Twitter has been flooded with people being supportive and sharing, I’m not comfortable talking about my mental health partly because I’ve never actually had it taken seriously. I don’t think that’s anyone’s fault particularly, I just think its something many people are ignorant about or just don’t want to think about. Maybe its because I come from a very working class background and the kind of people I grew up around didn’t have time for things like mental illness, they had mines to mine and unions to join and work had to be done because life was about getting up, going to work, sleeping and repeating. There was no time for emotions or lack thereof. (Fun fact, even though I still think of myself as being working class, I have a therapist and I’ve eaten quinoa which is quite middle class when you think about it.)
But without meaning to, every time someone brushes me off or invalidates my feelings (or lack thereof cos full disclosure, I alternate between anger, sadness and numbness) all you do is add to the overwhelming feeling of worthlessness. To you I am over dramatic, to me, the voice in my head telling me no one cares and wondering how long it would take people to notice if I died gets louder. That one is a particular favourite of my brain, it likes to ask me that question around the moment I’m just drifting off to sleep, which then leaves me staring at my ceiling blankly for hours trying to calculate whether it would take longer than a week for anyone to get concerned about not seeing/hearing from me. It’s a riot let me tell you.
I think my other reason for not being comfortable about my mental health stems from that invalidation because mostly, when I think about how numb or angry or depressed I feel I get a sense of guilt and shame. What have I got to be depressed about? I have somewhere to live, I have a car, I live in a fairly affluent area, I have a regular wage, there are so many people in the world that have it way worse. I don’t have the right to feel like this. Which of course, makes me feel sad about feeling sad.
I’m ashamed because I’m not strong enough to cope with day to day life. I’m ashamed because for eight years I have been crying at GPs trying to explain how I feel. I’m ashamed because my mum lost the ability to walk and there I am completely healthy and yet wasting my life stuck in this black hole. Then I feel guilty for being in the black hole at all.
I can’t keep doing this.
I can’t keep pretending I’m ok. I’m not.
I can’t keep wasting my life in this void.
The bullies I face every day are nothing compared to the voice in my head. The world around me isn’t as vibrant as I know it should be. I’m fed up living life constantly exhausted from having to pretend to be smiley. I started a project in January where I decided to film my life and upload it to the internet a month at a time, so I could look back on all the things that happened in 2017 and remember the good times. I managed to get to May before finding fun things to record started to get hard. I’m pretty good at the hiding it most of the time though. Like, if you watch that video from May, you’ll see me have fun japes with socialists in Brighton. I conveniently left out the bit where I debated jumping in front of a train, thank Southern Rail for being so delayed that the platform got too busy for me to want to do it, I also left out the bit where I sat on the beach for two hours practically catatonic just listening to my mind tell me about how worthless and pathetic I was to have gone to the other side of the country on my own and to have been there for a day without once receiving so much as a marketing email. I don’t want to remember things like that. I don’t want to be writing things like this. I don’t want to make excuses or be pitied, but I do want to explain, because the way my brain is makes me irritable and I snap at people who don’t deserve it. The way my brain is makes me not trust why someone would be nice to me because clearly I am an awful person. Things like this don’t happen to nice people – hey, rationality isn’t part of the deal sadly. The way my brain is makes me not have the motivation to do any of the things it knows it enjoys. The way my brain is makes me dwell on things that are too ridiculous to fathom. The way my brain is makes me doubt everything. The way my brain is makes me sad and lonely and angry and numb and makes the world seem dark which bums people out, so I try to stay away from them. All these things are kinda getting worse, so is this an apology? Who knows.
If you’ve never experienced that, I’m super happy for you. Well, at least I think I am. I don’t actually even remember how to feign happiness any more.
Will medication help me? Who knows. Certainly not my local GP surgery cos they don’t even want to give me the option. I guess I could run more, I guess I could see therapists I probably can’t afford, I guess I could actually talk to more like minded people on the internet. I guess I could try and let go of some of that guilt and shame and open up to people.
Whatever. I hate that I did this. I’ll probs delete it soon. But like, if you know me and you’re wondering wtf is up, I’m just very tired but I want to be better and I’m trying.