The best way for me to think is to write. I know this, I’ve known this for a long, long time. I’ve had so much to think about the last few months, and yet I’ve written virtually nothing. Maybe it’s because I have nothing earth shattering to share, so it doesn’t seem worthwhile. For a while there I was making huge leaps almost on a weekly basis, and those leaps seemed interesting to write about. Now there aren’t so much leaps as tiny little wobbles forward, almost unnoticed, and certainly not with enough momentum to maintain them. I haven’t leapt backwards at any point, but I’ve definitely wobbled in the wrong direction.
Part of me feels a little like a fraud to be writing about mental health, now that I’ve moved on from labels and drugs. I worry that I have nothing worthwhile left to say, nothing that you will identify with, that I’m being repetitious and boring. And yet when I was writing about the same problems over and over again – depression, anger, hopelessness, the relentlessness of my obsession with Therapist 1.0, the impossibility of moving forward – that was ok, or at least, that felt ok, because a lot of you identified with it. But isn’t now actually the most important time to write? It was ignoring my mental health, or not even ignoring it but being completely unaware of it at all that got me into so much trouble in the first place.
Today I’m at home with 4 dogs and no people. My house is quiet, properly quiet, for the first time since the kids got their holidays. I’m not waiting for the front door to burst open with requests for (insert whatever), I’m not thinking ahead to dinner, or to what we’ll do later when it starts raining again, or whether they’ve had too much/not enough screen time/time with me/time alone/time dealing with being bored etc etc etc. I’m not wrestling with my usual guilt about all of these things, I’m not worrying about whether or not the house will be in an absolute gimp by the time himself gets home. All I have to do today is mind the dogs, feed myself, and let my brain rest.
I am an absolute demon for not giving my mind space. I know the signs that I’m about to run into trouble, and yet I persist in putting everything else first with the kind of determined martyrdom that I suspect can only come from being raised in 1980’s catholic Ireland. When I was really depressed, I made space for writing as and when I needed it. Yes, I felt guilt about it, but I still made the space because I needed the outlet. I’m not managing depression any more, but no more than anyone else, I’m managing life. Why don’t I give that the same importance? Is it because there isn’t a label attached? Because there isn’t a ‘real’ reason, it doesn’t seem worthwhile? That makes so little sense, because without giving myself space, I’ll head straight back to depression again. Any of us who deal with the challenges life throws at us by blocking them out will head the same direction.
Maybe that’s the purpose of my writing now. To keep myself away from depression, and to show you how I do that. You’ve kept me company on such a huge roller-coaster – do you want to stick around for the next part? Maybe some day it’ll finally sink in with me just how important my time alone without noise or distraction of any kind is. Maybe it’ll sink in with you too. That would be fun 🙂