Here goes

Now clearly I am no Ruby Rose, but I have wanted to write about mental health since I began this little venture of mine.

Today I am braving it and there are lots of reasons why. But mainly because there are lots of us out there with really poor mental health, living with it, battling it daily. This post is not for every day we win the battle, this is for the one day we don’t, or can’t and what those battles mean for those around us.

In some ways I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I was able to get help and support that didn’t cost me a cent, that was private and professional and made a significant difference to my wellbeing. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder quite a few years ago. Some people don’t like labels. They are scared of how that makes them feel. Or actually how it makes other people around them feel.

But for me so much started to make sense. My teenage years of feeling furious, terrified and completely emotionally overwhelmed started to have an explanation. My poisonous affair with vodka started to make sense. My volatile friendships that were punctuated with typical teenage angst, atypical break ups, and complete confusion about how these people who were supposed to be my friends made me feel, all became clearer. I was as much to blame as anyone I grew up with, and believe me they all had issues of their own, and then issues on these issues.

So as a professional, educated woman, in a stable relationship I finally had a glimmer of understanding about how I could finally shed some of those parts of myself that I didn’t like, and didn’t understand. Some of the relief came from an explanation that how I felt and how I behaved had reasons, and often reasons I couldn’t help. And to be honest, some of the relief came from the medication. I appreciate being cautious about medication. What I do not, and will never understand, are people who are completely resistant to taking medication that is prescribed by a doctor, proven to work and will have significant results on someone’s health. If we had diabetes, we would take it. Asthma we would take it. A heart condition we would take it. And yet anxiety, depression, or a disorder like me, we resist. We figure we will be okay, or that someone will find out, or the side-effects will be terrible, or like me, that we will never be able to exist without it.

Some of us can manage without it, even actively improve our mental health. But for so many of us, we cannot. It might be Post-Natal Depression that completely swallows us up, or anxiety that undermines every shred of self belief, or like me, emotional instability that has us lashing out, hiding away and disappearing under a blackness that threatens to change us forever. And then sometimes those magic little pills work in a way that is so effective and so subtle that we mistakenly think we don’t need them anymore. And sometimes we don’t. Pregnancy and breastfeeding meant I couldn’t take my meds for two years, and I have never gone back on them. Sure I have bad days, fiery moments, manic highs and the roller coaster in between, but I have got much better at managing it.

But I am aware of it, every minute, of every day. And often a few at night. And that is absolutely the key. I know what to look for, what the warning signs are and what to do about it. I don’t always manage it as well as I should, and I’m sure many people with a range of health problems could say the same. But I am so much better off for what I know. Because doing nothing is not an option. Not for me. Not for my husband. And not for my kids. They deserve the best Mum they can get, and so much of my energy is invested in doing just that. Even if in the future I might need some help along the way.

 

 

 

 



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