Confession time. Consciously or otherwise, I’ve been censoring my writing this last few weeks, possibly longer. Why? I’m embarrassed, and I’m ashamed, and I’m incredibly self conscious about what people may be thinking. Mostly this is around work. As I’ve said before, I have no idea who is reading this, and no way of finding out (apart from coming straight out and asking people, which might be a tad awkward to just slip into the conversation over coffee). I’m scared of being judged. I don’t want people to feel awkward around me, or that they have to treat me in any way differently. Honestly, unless you know me well, it’s unlikely you’d know there was a problem, I’m quite remarkably good at happy face. Mostly the only change you might notice is that I’m less sociable and less inclined to make eye contact. That and words bigger than marmalade tend to confuse me.

So why am I writing about this now? Because when I started the blog, I wanted to be honest. It helps me figure things out. But, in censoring myself, I’m hampering that process. The last couple of months have been as rough as hell between med changes, side effects, lack of focus, lack of concentration and rapid mood swings. On top of that, the blog hasn’t been working as well for me, because I’ve been holding back.

I learned something new just now. Honesty is also a plant. 

As I see it, I now have two choices. Stop writing entirely, because really, if I’m not going to be honest, then it defeats the whole purpose of doing this. Or, keep going, but take the blinkers off (or as Therapist so eloquently put it today – don’t do the sesame street version). For some reason, this seems a scarier prospect than starting out with the blog in the first place. But, I need this space. I need the focus that it gives me, the chance to think things through, or else just get rid of whatever it is that’s on my mind. And, I want to keep showing people what the reality of depression (or whatever other label may be coming my way) actually is. All of it. The tears, the frustration, the obstacles, the side steps, the hills, the seemingly never ending struggle to just manage it and get on with life. But also, the learning that’s coming with all of that, and the slow gradual process of finding a way of living with this that works for me, and my family. I want to keep working towards normalising it, both for myself and anyone who may be reading. I’ve fallen back into the old trap of being ashamed of having a mental illness, and trying to keep it hidden, and that’s given Bitchface a voice again. I’m starting to genuinely believe again that this is all my fault, that I’ve brought it on myself, that I’m not trying hard enough, it’s not depression it’s just me etc etc etc. (This thought process is on a continuous loop and it’s wearing me down big time). I have to turn this around, now, before things get any worse, because right now I’m on extremely thin ice.

So, here’s my decision. I’m going to keep going, keep writing. Censoring myself is perpetuating the very stigma that I’ve been working so hard to do away with, and it’s starting to impact on how I’m doing in a big way. It’s rubbish constantly having to write about the hard times, but unfortunately that’s the reality of where I’m at right now. I have to be honest. It won’t be like this forever, but I don’t know how long it will take to work things out. So until then, there may be posts that are less than optimistic, but I’m hopeful I’ll find a silver lining somewhere. There will still be interludes of irreverent silliness over on facebook.

For any of you reading this, work folk or otherwise, please feel free to talk to me about this, any time. I’d rather there were no elephants in the room, it all gets a bit awkward and doesn’t help anyone. I promise I won’t cry on you!!

This article has 12 Comments

  1. Bravo! You are the voice of many. Youre doing what we cant and are such a help. Please keep writing as I/we need you, you just nailed it on the head – we think (at times) that its our fault and were just feeling sorry for ourselves, but its not our fault, so you bloody better keep writing!! x

  2. Very well said. Please keep writing, for yourself and those of us who now more than ever need to feel we're not alone. Negativity is the order of the day for me with a side of frustrstion and crying at the drop of a hat.

    Tomorrow will be better for us all, it has to be.

  3. Fi, don't underestimate the huge contribution being made by the season. You've got all the normal weights plus this miserable grey weather and the madness of Xmas/family arrangements. These things are enormous pressures to add to everything else in life. You'd have to already be so strong for them not to have some additional effect.

    After a couple of years of respite, it's all piled up against me and now I'm back down the hole. It'll be better in Spring, when there are things to look forward to.

    1. You're absolutely right. Going to take a back seat now and just let things unfold, Christmas will happen anyway. Minimum fuss, minimum stress is going to be my mantra the next few weeks.
      Hope you get out of the hole soon.

  4. Only somebody with depression could have written this wonderful piece, it crystallises the essence of depression.
    When you talk of thinking it is your fault, that you are not trying hard enough, it is just you, not depression- that is depressions sneaky sting in the tail. It is hard to explain to somebody who has not experienced it let alone for them to understand it. When it hits you are already coping with the nothingness, the emptiness that depression brings then wham this condition slaps you in the face with 'it is your fault………' depression is a cruel vindictive condition. The first step is to recognise this self blame as a symptom of depression.
    At this time of year of festivity and celebration combined with the stresses of the season and poor weather depression is a particularity bad bed fellow.

  5. Keep up the writing, it's already helping other people as well as giving you a forum to get your thoughts in line, figure stuff out. And when Bitchface shows up, punch her in the gullet. Tell her to fuck off and die if necessary. I used lie awake at night, thinking how shit I was and all the stuff I'd done was stupid, and how people were only my friends because they felt sorry for me. Then I read somewhere the expression: Just because you think it, doesn't mean that it is true. It has resounded with me – I may think all that negative stuff, but it's not necessary to believe it. What you're writing is important, and what you're writing about is important, so keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Úna, really appreciate that. I think I need to get that tattooed on my hand to remind me!! Funny how we believe all the negative stuff, yet it's so hard to believe the positive. Hope you're doing well now.

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