I last wrote about this two years ago but didn’t give an update last year as I didn’t really feel I had much to write about then. Today is Time To Talk Day, a UK-wide campaign to encourage people to talk about mental health – our own experiences living with it, or living with those who do, and the unique struggles to challenge the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.
I try to be honest about my mental health and that’s relatively easy to do behind the relative anonymity of this blog. I also feel fortunate that my issues are relatively low level compared to others. I admit it’s not quite so easy talking to friends and family. To date, only about 4 or 5 people know I almost took my life in 2012. A few more know I have been on anti-depressants more than once. I don’t usually talk about it because I am not sure everyone understands or will understand, but there is also an element of feeling that I am not mentally ill enough to warrant it.
Yes, I had a very bad time between early 2011 and late 2012. I feel I had low self esteem and undiagnosed depression for most of my life and can think of several occasions where I should have talked to someone about how I feel, with anti-depressants and therapy likely required as courses of treatment. Yet I feel in that grey area between “deserving” of help when needed and realising it wasn’t recognised early enough.
It’s strange to say, and the fact that I have been off anti-depressants for three years now has added weight to this feeling of limbo. I sometimes have to remind myself that I do have a history of mental illness, even if I have been stable and on a general upward trend for the last few years. It’s not all sweetness and light, and that’s another thing I must remember. I still have anxious days – anxious about work, anxious about feeling like a fraud, anxious about moving in with Mirror Image. I still have low mood days, days when I wonder if I am doing the right thing in giving up my job. I still have days when I wonder if I am doing enough or chasing enough work.
That is usually nothing that CBT and Mindfulness techniques that deal with though and I am largely keeping on top of that.
Today. I vow to do my best to continue to be up front about how I am feeling, on this blog for certain. In person, I know who I can and can’t trust. I have a loving girlfriend who gets it. I have a small close knit group of friends, some of whom have mental illness themselves or know people who do,