I’m just over a week into my festive holidays, and am very sad to report that I am struggling with the battle against my mind.
I am not writing to seek sympathy, in fact with me there is very little anyone can do for me when I’m in this state. I wish I could say that hugs and kind words from friends make me feel better, but I’m afraid it’s the polar opposite. I won’t even let my husband hug me when I’m this low, probably because part of me is so ashamed at feeling this way, and sad that I am not managing to control it.
I have never tried to write when I feel this down, and I thought the exercise may do me good, so here it goes….
The only thing I can use to explain the transition in my brain is likening it to a switch going off in my head. One minute the lights are on and I’m fine and can see clearly, the next they go off and it’s dark. I can no longer cope with anything. My mind is like a delicate eco system, one that I spend inordinate amounts of time trying to keep balanced and running smoothly. I manage it quite well most of the time now, however sometimes there are things that threaten the environment of my healthy brain. Some things are small and chip away at the environment, like pollution they build up and ruin the healthy eco system over time. Some things are big and catastrophic, like a natural disaster that whirls in and changes the landscape of my healthy eco system of a brain.
Most of the time I am managing the small things. Trying to not let them fester and accumulate and become over bearing to a point where I can’t manage them anymore and they win. This however is incredibly tiring and requires so much mental hard work that’s sometimes its draining. Like running a 5k race everyday!
I guess this week is me losing that battle and I pretty pissed with myself to say the least!
I’ve worked so hard and it makes it so much more crushing to admit that I’ve not managed it, and it’s all got on top of me. I’m tired, drained, I’m not managing or coping I’m simply broken.
Now this is unfortunate at this time of year as society has certain expectations of you, especially if you have a husband, 6 year old step daughter, and crap loads of family and friends to go and see. Imagine for a minute that your light has gone out, you can’t see properly, and the delicate balance of the eco system of your head has been polluted with thick black smog. Imagine it consuming your brain and your thoughts, now try and fulfil your Christmas social schedule and see if you can do it with a smile on your face. Anyone that knows me will know I hate acting, I work backstage for a reason, however thinking about it I at times can be the greatest actor worthy of an award. This week has been one great big exercise in slapping on a smile, gritting my teeth and trying to get through. I wish I could say I have managed it, however at times I’ve not even managed to hide my inner despair.
Sometimes my head feels like it’s going to explode. My brain is a complete mess, my eco system is in disarray, and inside my head is chaos. I have found this week that if the chaos is amplified outside my brain it all becomes too much and I can physically feel my head and body wanting to shut down. The noise of people, the need to have to listen and engage and think, the mess around me, it all gets too much to handle and I want to run away, no I correct that I NEED to get away and find a dark cocoon to go and hide in.
On many an occasion this week, (too many for my liking) I have felt the need to do this, and it breaks my heart that I have not fought harder and won. I am sometimes my own worst critic and I beat myself up over the fact I can’t cope, it makes me so angry that I can’t overcome this bloody cruel illness. I loose days, and weeks to this horrible dark despairing mood. It ruins planned days, and always seems to come at the most inconvenient times. Although I have long learnt that there is never a convenient time to feel like you no longer want to carry on. I have found since I have been managing better that the lows are that much harder when you have spent so long feeling ok. It’s like a nasty punch in the face, a swift blow to remind you that you are still plagued by this illness.
It changes who I am, so much so that you start to question if this is the real you, and whether you will ever return to feeling better? I start to retreat into my mind, consumed by the despair and disruption. It’s over whelming, and so over bearing that you just want it all to go away and end. Dealing with all of this is such hard work that the thought of seeing friends or family is simply overbearing. I can’t cope with the expectation to chat, to laugh, to drink coffee or make small talk. It’s all too much.
This thought simply crushes my soul and breaks my heart. Writing it, and re-reading it makes me cry, because I am so lucky, and so blessed to have a loving husband, and amazing family and friends. This condition is not rational at all. When I was alone I thought I would get better if I had someone to love me. I have that now and I still suffer these attacks, it’s an illness, a chemical imbalance inside my brain. The people I love don’t deserve me ignoring them, ducking out of gatherings and events, and acting all weird, yet I have no control over the fact this happens. I don’t want to be this person that flips and changes sometimes. I wish this didn’t happen to me. My brain doesn’t function properly and from time to time it likes to remind me that I have an illness. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t embarrassed by my condition, although there is so much more awareness around mental health problems than ever before I am scared people just think I’m antisocial and rude sometimes. I promise you I am not. Nothing would make me happier than to function like the normal person I am most of the time. To not have these episodes of life where my light goes out and I spend weeks trying to regain the balance and calm inside my head. It’s cruel how the switch to darkness can go out so suddenly, yet it can take me weeks to slowly start to light torches and adjust to the light.
it’s New Years eve and I leave you with what I have learnt this year from both group therapy and self-analysis…… I am Mig, I suffer with mental health issues, and my brain doesn’t work properly. I am aware of this, and do my best to manage it. It means sometimes I act weird and can’t see people, and for that I am very sorry. I don’t do it on purpose and it’s cripplingly painful for me. When I feel better and can see you again I promise to make it up to you ten fold.
To all those fellow sufferers…I know you are the strongest people I know. You battle every day. If you’re losing at the moment, get up tomorrow and fight that bit harder. My sorry ass is going to run my 5k park run at bushy park, I will spend the time trying to switch back on the light in my brain. If I can do that I can defeat this illness, and you can too. Be strong.