When I got to a certain age in school, a lot of my friends got into the same kind of music, wearing the same kind of clothes, and getting the same haircuts. Essentially you could call us the “emo” group. Skinny jeans, massive fringes, bracelets up to our elbows – the LOT. But there was a much deeper common thing they all shared aside from how they dressed. Many of them claimed to have mental health problems, some of them would self harm, some of them would be going to counselling. But it was also at an age where people said things to get a reaction and occasionally show off about how “fucked up” they were, when in reality it was all a stupid facade created to seem cool.
It’s a very strange thing to look back on now. At the time I was around 15 and this August I’m turning 21, and it all seems so surreal to me because it never affected me in the way my friends claimed it did, back when they were so young and impressionable.
It’s this naivety that always makes me question when people casually say “ugh, I feel so depressed today” or “I’d rather die than do *blank*”. And I’m no better, because I’ve always said things like this without any thought of the weight that these words carry.
Around this time when a lot of my friends suffered, I was always the one who would tell everyone to “stay strong and smile” and to “never give up!”. And even a previous partner I was with, who was diagnosed with depression, I would always tell him to take a breath and read a book. It never occurred to me, how deeply these feelings and symptoms of a mental health problem would ever affect a person – until I experienced it myself.
It’s been around a year now since I started feeling low and stuck in a rut, and it’s taken me that long to actively make a start on helping myself first, over everything else in my life. It started off with me always being quite a lazy person, I’d always put off doing homework and just preferred to sit around “relaxing”, when, in reality I was actually just wasting my time. When I started my first job (an apprenticeship) I felt like a lot of the time I couldn’t cope with the work load and would often get myself so worked up to the point of tears. It seems like there’s always been this innate trait within myself that just makes me feel like everything is too much.
These feelings are still very present and more noticeable now that I’m a “grown up”, and have responsibilities such as going to work every single day, and paying rent, and doing shopping, and cooking, and cleaning. It all builds up and feels like a tsunami about to crash down on top of me. So I take the safe and stupid option of just turning myself off to the world. I’ll sit and stare into space, feeling absolutely nothing and absolutely everything all in one go, while my partner does his absolute best to comfort me, when in reality I couldn’t care less about my existence.
However my partner has helped by introducing me to Insight Healthcare, who are a free Mental Health organisation who offer “talking therapies”, to which I’ve just self referred myself to, as a first step in getting help. I’m still in the process of having my first consultation so I can’t tell what it’s going to be like yet, but I’m both excited and very apprehensive about going through it. Although I think it may help, I also have the mindset that leads me to believe I’m just a dramatic little shit who needs to stop getting so worked up over the little things. But then again, the feelings, thoughts, and mental outlook I do have, are a cause for concern of the people around me.
I can only hope that this talking therapy goes well and if it doesn’t “help” it may give me a new perspective on things, rather than being stuck in the same place for the next few years. But right now, I feel so stupidly delicate and vulnerable for even considering I have a mental health problem. All I know, is that talking about it has REALLY helped me. To my partner, friends, and even my boss at work. There was a day last week when I woke up and just couldn’t cope with the stress of life, so I called in “sick” and made my way in a few hours later once I had calmed down enough. I was honest with her once I got there, and told her exactly what’s going around in my head – surprisingly, she completely understood and even told me to update her on how the talking therapies went once I start them.
It’s just a very strange topic to talk about for me. So many people I’m around use mental health problems as almost an excuse to get away with many things, and it’s surreal for me to experience what it feels like in first person – because I honestly have no clue where my life is going right now, or how I’ll feel in another year or so. I just hope things are slightly different to what they’re like now.