I have resisted writing anything so far because it makes me uneasy. Words and images spiral around my head a thousand times making me dizzy. My chest tightens, my vision blurs, my stomach churns and my hands go numb. Do you know how hard it is to type with numb hands?
See, things have not been so good lately, and I am most definitely not OK. There are a number of factors, but the cumulative effects of a year of stress: watching my precious Tricky have two lots of surgery, my Dad having major open heart surgery (that has fixed only one of his heart problems) and seeing my grandfather get sick and watching him die a few weeks ago have contributed. That's three of the four major male players in my life. I tell Map Guy he should watch his back, he's the only one who has been fine. So last week, after two years drug free, I started taking medication again.
Surely, someone like me, who has spoken, albeit briefly and not in any detail, about having a mental illness, would be jumping on the bandwagon straight away, right? Sharing my tales of woe and recurrent hospitalizations and then the subsequent triumph, the survival. Beating my drum about how the stigma of mental illness needs to be torn down brick by brick with great celebration. Quite possibly even involving David Hasslehoff singing on the sidelines. But I just can't.
I applaud those who have been courageous enough to share their stories, but I must confess I have trouble reading them. Their words bring it all back for me so vividly I can taste the desperation that was my constant bed fellow for so long.
The brain is a funny thing, you see. Especially in someone as broken as I am.
One of my peculiar quirks is the inability to have any sort of closure. Every emotion for every significant event is just under the surface, despite years and years of therapy to try and "get over" things, it all remains there, waiting, just below the surface.
For me, talking about any of my trauma is like picking a fresh scab. The moment I think about it, the mouth of the wound will yawn open and fresh blood will pour out. There is no toughened scar tissue yet, and unless you count my Red Hot Chilli Peppers CD, there probably never will be.
My story, even though the biggest, scariest chapters are a few years old, is still too fresh. The wounds too raw... and, they will always be that way.
So no, I'm not OK, and I never will be... and that's OK (but what is OK anyway?). Don't feel sorry for me, I have accepted that this is what my life is. Therapy, medication and having to be constantly vigilant for triggers. Sometimes I succeed at this, sometimes I don't.
I hypocritically encourage you to share your stories though, ask R U OK? and to answer honestly when someone asks it of you, even though I can't.
R U OK?
If you're experiencing a mental health crisis at the moment
contact Lifeline on 13 11 14
contact Lifeline on 13 11 14