I wrote the following piece a number of weeks ago when I was feeling really bad. Not mad but really scared and panic-stricken. I needed help. Not because I was feeling unwell but because I had a situation I couldn’t handle without outside help. What I got was verbal abuse and rejection. Sometimes suffering from depression and “being crazy” are not an illness. Sometimes they are a reaction to circumstances and how people you treat you. The pain of being rejected and badly treated over and over again by the same people manifests itself in the anxiety and fear and other physical symptoms specific to me that have caused and been caused by whatever depressive illness I have. People I never expected to help me stepped in and saved the day. Strangers offered help. My Twitter posse stopped me from losing all my chill. My lovely kind friend couldn’t have done more for me. I didn’t intend to publish this piece. I haven’t blogged since I went viral. It didn’t suit me. But I’m certain others suffer the same. Sometimes you think you’re depressed. They even tell you that you’re crazy. This piece should be called “It’s Not Me It’s You” because sometimes you are not mad. It’s other people.
Something really good happened to me recently. Amazingly good. I still haven’t taken it in. But as I tap this out, waiting for kick off in Paris where Ireland are about to play Sweden in #Euro2016, I’m fighting to stay alive. I am struggling to take each breath. My chest aches constantly. When I sleep I’m having rambling, anxious dreams and when I wake up from them in the early hours my heart is fluttering wildly and it feels like I’m about to die. My limbs are heavy. It is an effort to lift my arms. My fingers feel to big for this keyboard. When I walk I’m wading through a huge wall of heavy water. Sometimes it’s hot and sometimes icy cold. I cannot eat. When I do eat I can’t keep it in. My stomach is liquid. Today I spent 10 minutes locked in the bathroom vomiting up a sandwich I had forced myself to eat. I am however still alive.
Something really good happened to me. But the bad thoughts are back. They are clamped to my brain with long invisible claws that I cannot prize away. Something good happened but the people I wanted to be happy for me are not. They are silent. I fall back into the abyss of bad memories their silence creates. I am watching the ball go up and down the pitch in Paris and I feel nothing except my heart pounding too fast underneath my left breast.
Something good happened but I am having suicidal thoughts. I am not suicidal. I do not want to die. Thinking that I could ever leave my family makes me howl. My whole body wants to shut down. It’s both trying to protect me by taking away my energy to leave the house, and kill me with the physical symptoms it is imposing on me. I have been here before. I know I won’t be beaten. It is 20 years this year since I last gave in to the bad thoughts and tried to die. I refuse to do that now even though this creature on my brain is crushing me, twisting my chest.
Something good happened to me and if you meet me on the street this week, I will smile and make you laugh and complain about the rain and wonder about Brexit. You will not notice that it hurts for me to breathe. You will not notice that I want to cry. I will go home and help with homework and put on washing and watch the news and tweet. Be kind to the people you meet. There are others like me.
Something good happened but today is a bad day. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up with no pain in my chest and a lightness in my brain. Maybe tomorrow will be the day. I might as well live.
Olé Olé etc…