Today was a dark day. An oh so weary day.
Without dwelling too much into this, today a huge amount of my past was chucked back into my face. As a sensitive person, who tries to empathise and rationalise (oxymoronic I know), I’m left at the end of this day still processing not just my present and future well-being but, again having to navigate my past (mis)takes.
I have been processing and a functioning depressive personality for the past 10 years, 6 of which were healthy years.
Like most young teenage ‘sensitive cry-babies’ I sought treatment for the mass of hormonal, social and physical illnesses I was going through. Tried to reach out. Was admonished by family and friends.Acted out in a, what even now I would say was a middle-of-the road, way. Then I resorted to unhealthy patterns. Some vices (drinking and smoking) tame 50s expressions of radicalisation, which as an Asian girl, was the equivalent of being part of a gang or working on street corners to my parents.
After being rejected, mistrusted and repeatedly fobbed off by doctors.I did manage to get two therapy sessions, but by this time I had found a safe plateau on this never ending journey. I worry now that you dear reader will think I am making up my illness. But I really urge you to read this comic by Marina Watanabe that appeared on my Facebook feed via Buzzfeed. My lack of a concrete medical diagnosis and help in containing and managing my emotional ‘out-of-wack-ness’ is an on-going issue and fight. One that I chose to take up now and again. But on the whole I am happier to get to know and manage myself healthily. I know my triggers, I know how I can sort my head out once my buttons have been pushed and I can happily re-enter and work on rebuilding my trust and love for my fellows in society.
There’s still a lot of stigma that I see, from my part I have always been an extrovert. A talker, sharer and carer. I am able to understand, to empathise, and I try (no matter how hard it gets or how much I don’t want to) to find a way forward for the collective good. But I guess I’m also one of those people judged and more likely seen when I fall, just for being perceived to be loud all the time? Medical staff and actually fellow familial suffers have by far been the worst perpetrators of ‘It’s a phase’ dialogue. Maybe perhaps because an an eloquent young women (as one doc put it) ‘I’m sensible enough to know how to get over it’. Or as someone seen to be removed from the terrible issues that have affected them, I have (questionably) been seen to enjoy a site of privilege.
BUT one thing I have realised and do want to say is; mental illness is not a conscious consequence. Mental illness cannot be picked up and worn. It doesn’t come and attach itself like the virus it is, when you may have been careless. There IS and SHOULD BE no blame for the countless individuals who feel it everyday.
At it’s worst my mental illness made me doubt my existence. There not enough words in me right now to explain how twisted and sick I got. How I could robotically engage myself, smile like I meant it, get great grades, be fun, but at the same time be an internal mess. To feel like I did not, could not exist. That I had no worth. I had no space. No .. just nothing. Complete and utter loneliness. To welcome hurt and pain. To be willing to embrace death but morally against self-inflicted murder.
It seems like a fuzzy Crimewatch reconstruction thinking back. I don’t know how I got myself out of that despair. How I renegotiated my relationships, renewed them healthily, which I did two years before leaving the site of my unhappiness for good.
Now I’m back and all those past selves are haunting. Past pains. Those clumsy instances of otherings and self-otherings I went through. The knowledge that as a young ethnic woman, my space to exist could only come from fulfilling bonds of expectation and acceptance. No matter how overt or covert those requests, demands and threats I must follow suit in negotiating their invisibility. In creating my own pains invisibility. It’s all back.
Now all that is left is to see what I’m going to do. Even I don’t know. But this was cathartic. So thank you! I do want to say, I know I am never alone. I also know I will get through this. My guiding light, my God Allah, my faith, my love and my trust will keep me true and get me through this. My hope is that I don’t cause any more perceived offence or hurt as I try and re-negotiate my existence.
Mostly, though, at times like these I wish I could pin-point what it was that made me like this. If only so that I could know where to point my future time-travelling machine. ^.^