The Truth About People With Mental Illness Who Have It "Together"
It's easy to assume some people have it "together" by looking at them on a surface level.
But is all as it seems with mental health problems or is there a hidden level beyond the surface?
I've written blog posts raising awareness and bringing forward some truths but I wanted to write this one from a pure, honest and personal perspective. To show that the people that others think are strong, have it all sorted and are nothing but positive also have another level.
It's always hard for me to go down this route because of the things i do. Promoting positivity, promoting that things can get better, offering hope to those that have lost it. it's hard but necessary to show that me, and all the others like me who have their own mental health issues are not unbreakable.
I get told so much that I look like i have it together, the way I speak, portray myself and offer help and hope to others. it's then hard to show the more vulnerable side and say that that isn't always the case but I think that it's important to show that it is possible for someone to be those things and still be in a dark place yourself. It's possible to come across as one thing and actually be feeling another. This was part of the reason I set up my DWP PIP #StopTheStressDWP petition because it's very easy to make judgement on someone from things that show on the outside.
I have been having a shitty time. My mood hasn't been great for a while. Since my last hypomanic episode the depression has come and gone in waves but not totally disappeared. It has not been helped by many things.
Firstly money has been tight. By tight I mean non existent - like actually realising that there isn't enough for a bottle of milk. Since the DWP took away my PIP we have struggled financially. Things haven't been the same and it's taken away the little independence that I had. I watch my partner being the bread winner in a single wage family and it makes me feel like a failure. I hate that I can't work. It's always been a terrible sore point of mine and as soon as the DWP took away that money It highlighted it tenfold. Having minus numbers in your bank in the six weeks school holidays then goes on to make you feel like a crap parent. Having to close my Etsy shop because I can't complete orders in a timely manner meaning less money. Put that on top of depression and you are suddenly the worst parent in the world...which makes you snap at your child making you feel that bit worse......Nice viscous circle that goes on.
Secondly My generally shitty stomach has been generally shitty....literally....but I wont go in to details, i'm sure no one wants to hear about that! Basically my latest flair up started about 4 months ago.....back and forth to GP.....nothing really happens. Finally I get referred to have a CT scan and I cling to that hoping, that maybe they might find something or if not i can move forward and try something else. I wait 2 months for an appointment ( by which time I had been living on plain rice, plain chicken and plain pasta - that is literally it for 3 months so my minerals and vitamins are non existent - massively not a depression booster). I went two days ago to turn up and be told that actually the person behind the desk had looked at the GPs notes and seen it as unjustified for me to have a CT scan and so I ended up with a pelvic ultrasound (that I have already got a date for on the back of a different referral) instead and when I expressed that I had two days ago been to my GP to tell her I can't live this anymore, am really struggling, I can't eat anything and I am struggling so much that I have been referred for a CPN (which I vowed I'd never do again) I was told to go back to the GP and she'd have to re refer.......so another two month wait?!
I currently don't leave the house due to this gastro issue, it has made me extremely depressed and a virtual recluse so when I turned up for that long awaited scan to be told that I wasn't getting it, someone may have put a spear through my heart.
It's the six weeks and I can't take my daughter out because A) I have 0 money....by 0 money i mean -0 and B) because my tummy is a mess permanently which means I'm so anxious about leaving the house and If I do I'm wondering instantly where the nearest toilets are.
Slowly slowly I have found it harder and harder to fight the dark thoughts and they've crept up on me, as is the nature with bipolar disorder but throw in the above to the mix and it's really done a number on me.
Each morning currently I wake up and wish that I hadn't, I struggle to get through the day and feel like i don't really know what to do with myself and I also battle frequent thoughts of " Why don't you just walk out of that door now and vanish?" The truth? I've really thought about it recently. It has been a viable option that i've squirrelled to the back of my mind in the "Use if absolutely necessary" box. Regardless I push through, I try to do things with my daughter and I still put on my make up, do my hair and get dressed ( As much as The DWP think this automatically excludes you from mental illness it does not)
Today I got up, wished I hadn't, had a shower in a daze, got dressed, put my make up on, spoke as I should to my daughter, looked at the -0 bank balance, gave some crap to my daughter as to why we couldn't go out anywhere, ended up risking a packet of crisps because I was starving and then regretted it for the rest of the day and ended up here:
Staring out the window looking at the sky thinking 'do you know what? I REALLY don't want to do this anymore"
Bipolar, depressed,anxiety, I can't leave the house, I can't remember the last time i went out, I have no money whatsoever and to top it off i can't even eat any food. It's all got to me. BIG TIME.
But what others will have seen is that i have created a petition, it has over 4000 signatures, I am doing a suicide prevention project amongst other things and people think I have it TOGETHER!
The truth is I DON'T a lot of the time!! I'm not magically healed and recovered and I help other because I am totally fine.
I help others and do the things I do BECAUSE I'm not perfect. Because I have tonnes of empath oozing from my pores because I know what it feels like.
Yes I've learned to manage my illness better but no that doesn't mean that It works for me every time.
Some might ask why on earth I would still be doing some of the things I am right now feeling the way I do, how can I help others or spout hope and positivity when I am struggling to see it myself?
The answer is because everyone has to have a purpose, everyone has to have their string of hope and mine is doing what I do. By helping others I also help myself and by standing up for what i believe in I also give myself strength. I am so passionate about mental health and making a difference that I will always try to carry on with that and in a weird way the blackness in myself makes me realise why it's so important. My own suicidal feelings make me realise who suicide awareness is important, my lack of money because of the DWP make me realise how many this affects, not just me.
So people may SEEM like they have it together but really it means nothing until you peel back layers. I don't let many peel back mine and very few - let alone the likes of the DWP see it but that does not mean it's not there still lurking under the surface.
So, don't look a round thinking "All these people have their shit together" because the likelihood is that they really don't. We all have have crap, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
Be Kind. Always.