Monday, 2 March 2015

Written in the Scars

Something I've never been able to understand, even from a very young age, is why mental health is still such a taboo subject. 
Especially today, in 2015
This was meant to be the decade of hover boards, robot policemen and flying cars. OK so, some (all) of those predections didn’t quite make the grade, but the idea of advancements in technology and invention was always considered a thing of the future. It's so upsetting then, that it seems so many of us are still stuck in the past in terms of what we consider to be acceptable subjects to talk about. It's always been pretty obvious to me that we should look after the health of our minds in the same way we do with the rest of our bodies. 

I've never been a fan of shrouding my life in mystery. I'm probably too much of a 'sharer' if such a thing is possible.
I deplore lies, and favour people around me who are open, honest and enthusiatic. I am judgemental in my own way, which is something I wish I could eliminate and something i judge myself for, constantly, but I don’t believe in maintaining silence over something that causes you so much as an ounce of sadness or pain. Be that internal, or external.

I suppose chronic illnesses such as IBD go hand in bowel with poor mental health as they share a lot of the same nasty foibles. They both go widely unspoken, are 'embarrasing' and generally considered uncomfortable to talk about. But why is that? Because we don’t talk about them!

I'm not ashamed or embarrased to admit my own mental health has taken a startling decline since my diagnosis. 
As my physical health declined when I was in my early twenties, I felt I was too young to be so unwell and to have so much of my life changed so suddenly and outwith my control. I hated losing my independence and having major decisions made for me by seemingly abject strangers in white coats. At the exact point I was 'finding myself' as a young woman I was being forced to make choices that would ultimately affect the rest of my life. I didn’t realise at this point just how mentally, as well as physically poorly I really was.

Hopelessness is a common feeling associated with long-term/incureable illness. Because there is no end at the light of the colon it can feel as though there's nothing to aim towards. When you get into this mindset you start to focus on the negative and cancel out any positives when they do arise. It’s frighteningly easy to fall into a state of depression as you begin to survey the situation around you and your potentially bleak future. That’s one of the worst aspects of depression; not being able to see past the negatives life throws at you. Seeing everything in black-cloud tinted glasses. I've been in the unfortunate position of feeling so low that even cuddling a kitten for more than 30 minutes hasn’t been able to rouse me from my glum-ber.

It's a strange feeling. Knowing you are in the midst of this doesn’t make it any easier either. It can be like quicksand; the more you stuggle against it the deeper into it you fall. This is why I am a massive advocate of talking about your feelings. So what if you make someone feel uncomfortable? Who cares? We are all adults, not delicate little flowers who curl up and die at the sight of a tear on a friends' cheek. If the person you are sharing your fears and worries with flinches or just doesn’t understand, then help them to help you. 

Just start slowly by talking about what's on your mind. It can be amazing what that simple act can do. Maybe you are really anxious and troubled about everything (or nothing at all) and talking with friends and family wont cut it; that's ok too, visit your doctor and let them begin to try to help you. there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in opening up about feeling unhappy.

Everyone at some point in their life will feel hopeless, it doesn’t make anyone less of a person by sharing the load. Incureable illnesses are hard, nad made even harder by cruel, ignorant and intolerant people. Surround yourself with love and kindness and it will stick to you like a plaster will when that kitten you've been hugging for 30 minutes has lacerated your arm trying to escape. 

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