Yesterday during a conversation with my partner the subject got around to my passion for mental health, how most conversations seem to come back to me and mental health in fact she even said that I seem proud to have a mental illness. Okay before anyone starts jumping to my defence or hers for that matter I did have to spend the night pondering this, am I proud?
I have a history of becoming intensely involved in things and then letting them fade away, this time though it’s different. You see I have known for a long time something was wrongY with me, I just never had the courage to do anything about it. When things changed a few weeks ago I did promise myself that I would never lie about my feelings, emotions or illness again. So I have gone from telling close family (well most of them found out when I was taken to hospital) and then I started joining forums, I used this old blog and twitter account I had set up a few months previously to talk.
I still have no diagnosis so I am Depression NOS, One day they will give me my label but that’s not the point, the point is I am proud of being open about my mental illness, I am proud that I go on forums and offer comfort and support. I am proud that I get out of bed, make it through the day without screaming at people, tearing the flesh from my bones and act normal. Am I wrong to be proud? Yes I talk about it a lot, spend a lot of time on twitter and Patient and other site and most of all I pour out every ounce of me on this blog.
Do I think it is cool to have a mental illness? Well it is not like we get anything cool to show off is it, we look just like everybody else, oh maybe quieter, maybe even more extrovert. Oh and if your really lucky you get to show off one of your super powers like having a panic attack, or becoming so paranoid you don’t even know right from wrong, yes mental illness is so very cool. Earlier today I had a mood swing where I shouted at my daughter because she couldn’t find her onsie. ” Well if you didn’t leave your F@$*ing stuff everywhere you’d bloody know” this was to a nine-year old, I sat on the end of the bed and sobbed, she had gone back to her room as if nothing had happened, she knows me well and my illness.
I do try to make light of it with family and friends, poke little jokes about myself being mad but they probably see through this. I have been told I am nicer now well I am on Peroxetine, Diazepan and Zopiclone so I should be. Some days though I will admit to taking extra to stabilise but the doctor did say this was okay (though the fact I can use Zopiclone during the day and function fine does make it a funny sleeping tablet). I know though that right now I am stable and that is it, I could go one way or the other at the flick of a switch. Tomorrow I find out how much I have been paid, full wage or SSP? if it’s SSP I got a lot of stress coming my way, get my bed ready on ward 5A I might be back.I read so many forum posts and twitter posts from people who actually thank me for speaking out, for telling people what it is like to have a mental illness, I think “why thank me” and I realised that many people seem to identify through what I am saying, I was shocked to learn how many people are as afraid of the stigma of their illness as they are the illness itself. I have even started a survey (please take two minutes to fill it in) to try to gauge how bad the problem really is. So in answer to the question ‘am I proud of my illness’, the answer is NO, am I proud to speak out about it HELL YES!
Peace and love