It’s a strange topic to talk about today because I’m pretty happy. That’s because today is Mine and Mrs G’s third wedding anniversary. Even though we are not even out of the good anniversaries yet (this one is leather) it still seems like a long time. That is meant in a good way.
Often this blog is very flippant and doesn’t take things seriously, hopefully readers understand that and don’t think I’m just some random angry little man with access to the internet (surely if I was I would be more active on Twitter). One of the reasons for this is that I have been in a place where I have let life become too serious and feared it would take the heart of me. That now seems like even longer ago.
Just like many other people I have had moments where my mental health has not been as robust as it could have been, I have been treated for depression. I look at it as just another illness I had, and just like asthma or hay-fever I had treatment for it and got better. Even so, I still take precautions to make sure I don’t have another bout of the blues.
I have no stigma around the fact I had depression, if someone was to ask me about it I would be honest with them even though at the time it was horrible for both me, my family and friends. Just like any illness where you are unsure of what to do you can let it destroy your life (which it nearly did, it certainly cost me a job) or you decide that today is not that day. This day I fight.
I won the fight, and come out much stronger because of it.
The hardest part is picking yourself up to fight in the first place, when I was on the floor I was kicking out at those who would help me get myself up and nearly losing them in the process. Even if they were holding out their hand I would ignore them and bury my head. I was the tree in the woods, if nobody saw me and I didn’t acknowledge it then how could I be depressed.
In the end I needed something to flip the switch in my brain, thanks to the support of those around me (and a bit of medicine) I was able to say I felt better. That’s the important thing, to feel better. In the same way that when I can breathe normally it doesn’t mean my asthma has been cured I have to be aware of the other illnesses I may have. It doesn’t mean I go around shouting about it, or telling people, after all I never go “Hi, I’m Matt and I suffer from being unable to breathe sometimes”.
The best way to combat mental illness is to make it normal, and the best way to do that is to talk about it when you have it and not sensationalise it when it has had a great effect on someone else. When someone dies from heart disease or cancer it is not headline worthy, nor does anyone tell someone to tell them to get their cells under control and stop metastasizing.
So this is a normal post, it is not some special episode, if you are affected by any of the things mentioned here my advice is go ask for some help. If you need to see a doctor it is not a failure, if you need to take some pills it is not a failure, if you want to talk to someone about it…it is not a failure. Just like if you had a more famous malady you wouldn’t sit around hoping that it got better, so you should see about getting some assistance with depression.
For those I know, and those I don’t, my thoughts are with you. The fact that I am celebrating today with my wife and daughter (a combination I never expected) shows that the feeling of helplessness need not last for ever.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.”
Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?