World Mental Health Day

Heya, it’s World Mental Health Day, and I pledged to talk about my experiences with mental health to raise awareness and reduce that stigma. Even so, I’m going to keep this short.

I have not put scissors to my skin for a while. That doesn’t mean I’m not tempted – temptation fills me almost every day – but my control over the abuse is returning, and I have faith. My worst times are when the veil falls over my mind; and I cannot concentrate, cannot breathe through the anxiety clustering my chest, without marking my left palm with my right thumbnail.

Not relief – resolve.

Sometimes it’s a need, but it has become more of a decision. Can I overcome this? Yes, I can now. Surprising how the triggers for my depression have softened, almost becoming triggers for manic phases, for internal euphoria that I can never share.

But that took me a while.

When I have been depressed, the crow was my symbol. Robed in black and strutting through life, their pompous hearts were all of which I could think. I think I once had no dress sense and no attention to detail – thank goodness that nowadays my crow-like soul has shrunk, and I can see the beautiful birds for all they are: beautiful birds, and not symbols of a heart in mourning.

Mourning I still am. I’ll be a while, because nobody should expect an overnight recovery from these sorts of smashed and stolen souls. But, with my characters hovering on both shoulders, and new kinds of living on the horizon, I think I have something more for which to live: and hope.

I guess I can say, for the most while, the thoughts have dimmed, and days like these touch my soul; to see organisations raising awareness for the 1-in-4 of the population who have a mental illness/troublement. Having been one of those people, I know how vital it is to feel – and to give – support.

It’s time to talk. It’s time to change.

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11 thoughts on “World Mental Health Day

  1. I think you’re really courageous to share this. I have bipolar disorder and although I’m well now and have been for the best part of 10 years, I’ve been severely ill 3 times and I’m still being treated for it. Mental illness still has a stigma attached to it and it’s only by being open and talking about our experiences that we can seek to change people’s attitudes.

  2. I had a friend who sometimes cut herself. She said it was relieving because then she had an excuse to be feeling pain. I was grateful to her for being brave enough to not only explain but share. There’s a lot to be said for having to keep things secret and the negative effect it can have on you. I’m glad the world is more open to talking about these sorts of things these days. Maybe we can get to a place of healing in the near future (if not already). Thanks for sharing.

    • That’s understandable.
      Mmm, so much has changed from the times when a mad king was tortured to ‘heal’ him, or even of those times in the last century when homosexuality was considered an ‘illness’. Talking definitely helps. I don’t think we’re at a place of healing yet – stigma and prejudice still exists – but the more we work together on raising awareness, the more we’re likely to succeed.
      And thank you for your comment. I appreciate that you’ve shared your own experiences here.

  3. I used to cut myself during my second year of university.

    Some people have this idea cutting is a call for help, but I do not feel that. Friends, staff, and others all saw the marks but no-one chose to involve themselves, so I knew almost immediately that it would not bring outside support.

    • Interesting. I think one of the reasons I started WAS because I wanted help with my depression, but, like you, no one intervened/tried to help until it got to the point where I had to tell someone.
      There’s definitely an emotion-based reasoning to the actions, but each individual must have their own ideas about why.

      Thanks for the honesty, Dave. 🙂

      • The first time I probably expected intervention, but I cannot remember that for certain.

        I suspect each person has a slightly different expectation from it; a mixture of signalling to others, asserting control over an aspect of their life, externalising pain, &c.

        And underneath there might well be a different unconscious drive.

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