The big question.. psychologists and medical professionals have spent years conducting studies through focus groups, experiments, focus groups to try and delve deep in to the minds of the participants in order to determine what makes us tick. What separates us from the animals. Why do some people develop mental illness and others don’t. What triggers people to become sociopaths, murderers, rapists, paedophiles? I don’t think we will ever get to the bottom of it to be honest since actually opening up people’s brains and digging around is unethical.
Even if we were to find out how one persons brain works, every single persons brain functions differently, we all have different triggers.
Some studies and articles have suggested that intelligence can be linked to mental illness. I appreciate there are other sturdiest show the contrary and I am not being big headed but I think that in my case it could be true.
The assumptions and judgments
Before anybody knew what I was going through. I heard people talking about what they thought of people who suffered from depression, anxiety or mental illnesses they didn’t understand. They need to “snap out of it” or “get a grip”, “just be positive”, “what are they afraid of”. I have heard people make assumptions.. Saying things like “they are just stupid to let stuff get to them”, “they’re weak” “they’re pathetic”,but until you actually experience it or really try to understand what we go through.
I had to sit through all those conversations and grin and bear it and pretend like I wasn’t angry and I didn’t want to scream at them and tell them how ignorant they were! how pathetic and judgmental they were.
It seems to be easier for some people (not all) to just make their own assumptions and not bother actually finding out the facts, which is really frustrating at times because even though we tell ourselves we shouldn’t care what people think about us, especially when they don’t really know us. There is always a small part of us that does care.
I don’t think that the media helps very much. A lot of the time any news relating to mental illness is someone committing a crime. If they don’t seem to have a valid reason for committing a crime or doing something it is automatically generally put down as ” a mental health issue”. Regardless of what people think the media does play a huge part in our lives and if people grow up reading stories about people with mental health issues jumping off a building and taking her babies with her, or some random killing then they are going to assume the worst.
You may have to take a seat for this bit as it may surprise you… Brace yourselves..
There are a variety of mental illness that are vastly different from one another. Not all people with mental health issues are going to turn in to mass murderers..I know.. shocker eyy.. Take a moment to digest that huge revelation.!!
I could spend all day listing mental health disorders and the differences between them but that really would take me all day.. maybe longer.. it may even turn in to a book… (ooo i have an idea..).. I digress. If you really are interested though go look it up.. (I am serious about this part)
What people don’t realise is that we are well aware that our anxiety, the majority of the time is just an irrational fear. It is not logical at all but it doesn’t change how our body reacts to the thoughts that creep in and take hold of our mind. The dark places it takes you to. It feels like a hundred thoughts run through your head all at once and feel like you can’t breath, You then panic further because the thought of suffocating scares you to death , which only makes things worse. Trying to get out of that headspace and pull yourself round and calm down takes a lot of strength. Sometimes an attack only lasts a few seconds but it feels like a lot longer and for that period of time the fear that you feel is awful.
The people that I have met tend to be very creative, the mind is always active. As I said before this may not be the case for everyone I am just speaking from my personal experience. Some people have been in to music, some love art, some are physically active, and others love creating things with their hands.
Unfortunately I am not the most physically active. I have been told I am an all or nothing kind of person and I tend to agree. When I am fully invested in a task and I am on track I can do really well, however when I go of course I don’t just go off slightly: I totally de-rail, Roll down the hill, flip over a few times, crash in to a wall and burn ( I also have a flare for the drama.. can you tell???).
Even when I am my lowest point my mind is still going at full speed. As soon as I have an idea I have to write about it or say it before it goes. I am constantly thinking about random things,, my mind is never just quite. I tried meditating before but I ended up on my laptop researching the pros and cons of meditating and the history of mindfulness (seriously). I hate the thought of going on planes. When my family went on holiday without me I was constantly worried and thinking of the worst case scenarios until they landed. I do go on holiday but until we are up in the air I am constantly thinking of the difference ways I could die, What if my family died and I didn’t, would I want to carry on, What would I do by myself?.. Yes this seems irrational and dramatic but those are the thoughts that run through my mind and I struggle to push them back.
I worry all the time, about everything. I may come across as being loud and happy but it is mostly just a front. I am always thinking, What if this happened? I am always thinking worst case scenario. I always worry about going outside. Are people staring at me? Why are they looking at me? Even when I am happy the thoughts are always there in the back of my mind, all the different ways I could lose it.
It is a struggle to stay positive every single day but with the help of my family and my close friend I am doing a hell of a lot better than I was 2/3 years ago. It is difficult to do but I just take every day , one day at a time and try to focus on there here and now and enjoying the time I have with the people I love. The best way I have found to cope with this crappy illness on a day to day basis is when I wake up think of just one positive thing, one thing that makes me happy, one thing to keep going for. For me it always comes back to my family. Watching my nephews grow up, spending weekends with my family, how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life. I don’t always show it as much as I should but I love the so much, I don’t think they will ever know how grateful I am for them. I started the 100 happy days on my Instagram which helps too.i also keep myself busy drawing, reading, and now blogging.
I have lived with this for over 10 years. Some days are worse than others. I can’t imagine life without it, which I know is a strange thing to say but I have accepted that it is a part of my life.
For anybody going through a similar thing just remember.. you may suffer from depression or anxiety but IT DOES NOT DEFINE WHO YOU ARE.. YOU ARE NOT YOUR ILLNESS. I think that can be applied to any illness really but I feel it is am important message.
One last thing.. always remember.. ITS OKAY TO TALK.
Thanks for reading.. I know this was quite long so well done if you got this far
As always any thoughts or comments are welcome
This was difficult for me to write but I felt it needed to be said.