Seven years ago tomorrow, I had the “breakdown” that led directly to me writing the blog in which I revealed that I’d suffered from a mental health condition since the mid-1970s.
So much has changed (almost all for the better) as a result of that blog, and the subsequent work I have done to try and raise mental health awareness; but the reality is that I still have the same condition – a mild, but chronic form of depression – and it still affects me to some extent every single day.
Most of the time, it’s fine; I just need to find the best way of dealing with the feelings until they pass – and they do pass. However, there are occasions when I recognise I’m struggling, and I’m just not strong enough to fight off the negative thoughts and feelings.
Such has been the case these past couple of days. I’m able to talk when I’m at home, but if I happen to be at work, I still instinctively go quiet and isolate myself – I’ve really needed my trusty mp3 player this week – but when the emotional release comes, as it inevitably will, it can be really difficult to hide what is (or at least feels) glaringly obvious, from those around me.
Although I know that support is there, I’m equally aware that nobody comes to work to see me in a state, and on those rare occasions when my condition temporarily gets the better of me, I’ve become very good at making sure no one notices.
And no one noticed this morning…
I know that I keep saying how important it is to speak openly about mental health, yet seem to have done the complete opposite – but luckily I was able to reach Elaine by phone to get the reassurance I needed. That said, maybe the instinct is to avoid a whole group of people realising something’s not right, as opposed to the security that comes from a more private conversation..?
Seven years ago tomorrow was the “worst” (and I accept it’s all relative) day that I’ve ever had with my mental health. I will never forget how I felt that night, and it’s right that I don’t, because I never want to take the support I received (and still receive) for granted, or forget just how far I’ve been able to come .