What if we treated every illness the way that we treat mental illness?

I saw this graphic yesterday, and it struck a chord with me.

mental illness

I have regularly been battling my own demons, and some days I manage it better than others.

Depression and it’s related posse – which are usually socially phobia, general anxiety disorder, alcoholism, or some sort of substance abuse – is not an illness that ever really goes away.

You get given a respite, a few days grace, but then the bitch is back and you get to start the cycle from the beginning.

I do understand how exhausting this process must be for family members, loved ones, partners, parents, children and the sundry of others who love, like and have a relationship with someone “struggling with depression.”

I would imagine it is a bit like helping someone who has a broken leg.

It is all “fuck I am sorry, how can I help?” then you help them carry their books, shuffle to the toilet and back, make them some tea, and pretty much help out where every you can – at about the point when you think “yikes I am tired of this shit” .. then the person’s leg heals.

The cast gets removed and they are “on their feet and back in the swing of things.”

Then you go to the shop to buy milk and a loaf of bread, get back and the person has broken their leg again.  And you are like fuck that shit.

Repeat the loop 3 – 6 times a year, and in the end, everyone is about as sick as crap with you and your stupid broken leg, and really just wishes you would stop breaking that shit.  What is wrong with you for goodness sake.

It is starting to look a bit reckless, and that you might actually enjoy wearing a plaster of paris cast, and not being able to function.

Swap broken leg out with depression and you can sort of see how everyone gets exhausted with you being exhausted.

mental lllness

Depression is a cruel illness. It strips you of your ability to care or relate to anything around you.

It fills your mind with emptiness – and it’s all you can do to blink without giving up.

I have noticed that with each cycle there is an element of “darkness”that gets blacker and more dense in my mind.  An unwillingness, or an inability to face it again – the constant gnawing cycle of self loathing, self doubt, pain and well …. bleakness.

I think I have got better, as I have got older, at being able to soldier on through the “bad patches” to where few people do not even notice that I am in a bit of a low space .

The reality is the cycles are cycles – they keep on coming and as soon as this one is done you start sensing the new wave building, and you are never sure if this will be the wave that crashes on the beach, or tears through the country like a tsunami.

The ebbs gets lower and lower, and then “the big one” arrives that makes me doubt who I am, my worth, my sense of self, and more importantly by ability to put one foot in front of the other.

black_dog_days_2

living-with-a-black-dog1

pointing-out-lovely-weather-is-annoying-and-pointless

I posted this originally on the 10 January 2012

That creeping sensation that things are not quite as they should be.

The whispers of self-doubt.

The gnawing sensation that everyone is plotting against me.

The hiss that people are talking about me.  Incessantly.  Always in the negative.

The worry that I am doing something wrong.  Everything wrong.  About to be “caught out” for doing something wrong I have not even done.  At all.  Ever.

The sounds of whispers and innuendos and recrimination.

Small sounds reverberate in my eardrums as echos.  My children’s chewing that sounds like the brass frkn band going off tune next to me.

The mental arguing and cross-questioning and “should I” or “what if…” and “maybe you need to go and fix that….”

Unfortunately it has all started again.  It was so lovely when it was gone.  It was so lovely.

And it is back – the swishing tail of my black dog against my legs.

images

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Please vote for The Reluctant Mom as Mommy Blogger 2013 – every email address gets one vote.

Voting close at midnight on the 15 December 2013, and then the fat lady has sung.

It’s not really for a good cause, there are really no prizes, just bragging rights and a shiny badge.

And then everyone goes home.

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6 Comments

  1. Beth

     /  December 16, 2013

    This post is so true, and brilliant. Thank you for putting the words to exactly what I suffer from, and experience.

    I am also a cancer survivor, and no one ever told me it was all in my mind, or to pull myself together, or that I didn’t need the chemo and other drugs. These are all things that have been said to me about my depression and the drugs and treatments needed.

    Reply
  2. Reblogged this on From Nasima, with love and commented:
    Love this!

    Reply
  3. Katherine

     /  December 15, 2013

    this is probably going to be a reeeeaaaallllyyyy irritating comment, so feel free to delete it, or regard it as stupid. Just a few things strike me. Given you’re on anti-depressants, and they seem to offer some relief sometimes, but you’re still suffering from what seems to be cyclical depression, then it may be that you actually have bipolar, and not just straight up depression. I’m not sure if you know much about bipolar (sorry for telling you stuff you already know if so) but there is bipolar 1, and bipolar 2. 2 is characterised by very little mania, and mania which is really low key – some people might not even notice you’re experiencing it. But its main characteristic is recurrent depression. And if it is bipolar 2, then anti depressants alone can exacerbate the condition (each spell is worse than before), and it can make the cycles come more frequently.

    I’m sure this comment is probably irritating because you probably have a very good psychiatrist and possibly therapist who have both eliminated it as a possibility. However bipolar 2 is very very hard to diagnose – can take years until a diagnosis is arrived it.
    The only reason I am being so irritating is that I know that with the addition of a mood stabiliser to your anti depressant, you might feel much much better, and you might not have to suffer through the cycles – and I know quite how dispiriting they are (I have bipolar 2).

    Just a thought – I’m sure you’ve already considered it.

    Apart from that I just wanted to say I’m sorry you’re feeling like this – this time of year can be really horrible for those of us who have mental illness. Sterkte.

    Reply
  4. I just want to shoot that friggin dog. And I’m an animal lover, honestly. Hoping, hoping it’s one of those beach crashing waves you speak of.

    Reply
  5. Ashley

     /  December 13, 2013

    I have been reading your blog for years, it is nice to know someone out there feels the same as I do at times. Stay Strong. And if all else fails, go buy a new book series and read/drink tea in bed! That’s what I do!

    Reply
  1. Things Aren’t Always What They Seem | Just Another Running Mother

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