Tuesday, 16 May 2017

State of Mind Part 2 (or swimming alone in the sea at night)

Just to highlight the point of my previous post about mental health (published this morning) - that no day is the same, and that my current understanding doesn't leave everything neatly wrapped and tied - here's another update, written tonight, an attempt to capture some of what was running through my head today...

It's like someone or something is sat on my shoulders, forcing heavy sighs and muttered "fucks" from me. Especially when I'm alone and in the car. Often I just sit in the car when I get back from work, grinding my teeth and trying to muster enthusiasm for the next thing I'm doing. AImlessly scrolling through social media feeds. I use my phone too much. There's too much noise, everywhere.

Maybe having more time on my hands is a bad thing. Evenings with no plans make me feel guilty. Pretty much everything makes me feel guilty. Not working full time. Not wanting to go on the trampoline with my employer's daughter. (But going on anyway). Not getting up as early as I plan, every day. Not writing that poem.

I don't know why I feel blue-grey today. I'm not pre-menstrual, I've not been stressed. I feel lonely but with not enough social juice to hang out with people. I wonder if I am just too much a sponge and have soaked up too much of other peoples' sadness this week. I want to hide but I have nowhere to hide. I think maybe swimming will help but the pool isn't available. I tell my housemates I'm feeling down. They love me and are kind. But I don't want to get lost in cigarettes and TV so I go out on my bike as the light fades. The sky is grey, the sea is grey, but soft. There is a streak of pink on the horizon, I thank God for it.

State of Mind: a reflection and update for Mental Health Awareness Week



Since it's mental health awareness week this week (well, last week, now), and after a thought-provoking evening with the Share Your Story community in Brighton on Wednesday, thought I'd reflect a bit on my state of mind, and how things have changed in the last couple of years - or, since I wrote quite a bit about depression and my journey of starting to take medication, which was actually five years ago. Jeez.

One of the talks on Wednesday was a particularly powerful reminder about the limited nature of words and the damaging (as well as positive) potential of diagnoses. Five years ago, being able to call what I was going through "Depression" was very helpful. At the same time, I know I'd experienced similar thoughts and feelings at other times in my life without calling it that, and currently I don't know if I would use the same language. Similarly, someone else talking about depression may actually be describing something very very different. Just think it's good to bear that in mind, especially when we talk about mental health. 

So, where to start?

Medication

I'm not taking any mediation (Citalopram) at the moment. I haven't for over a year. Maybe two. I'm not sure. I've thought about re-starting several times, when I felt like I couldn't really cope with life, but decided against it as I explore other factors that might affect how I feel. Or should I say how I think? What does mental health even mean? In my experience I don't think I can separate thoughts from emotions - both can be powerful, overwhelming, sometimes scary and sometimes barely existent.

I'm not against medication, wouldn't rule out taking it again in future, it definitely made the lows less low, but at the moment I'm up for carrying on without it.