Sunday, April 19, 2015

Depression, Suicide and being me

Living with mental illness is not a holiday from reality.

Public perception appears to label people with mental illness akin to dole bludgers and fraudsters.

If I were to have a broken limb, be bed ridden in a hospital I would receive more acceptance than being the person I am at present.

I grew up in an era where for a man to show any form of weakness was to be seen as less than a man, to be a coward, a sook, a pansy or poof (terms not used much these days).  Living in a family of devote Irish Roman Catholics just added further complications.  Now I should point out that there is nothing wrong with my racial or religious upbringing, I remain proud of being of Irish descent and being a Roman Catholic.

Part of attempting to move forward in my rehabilitation is to go to gatherings of people, clubs or participate with online communities.  This is extremely uncomfortable for me, my first inclination is to run away and seek the safety of my home.  Over my life time I have had to deal with many people and many situations, as such I have acquired knowledge that allows me to assess potential threats to my sanity and health.  I was once able to trust (naively) everyone, give them the benefit of the doubt to believe that it was just a misunderstanding and so forth.  Now all I see are scheming people who are out for themselves, little charity or compassion (unless it furthers goals) and a self protecting attitude and blame others rather than oneself when things go wrong.  Yet there are just a small handful of people I have allowed to enter my life that I can feel safe around.  So all is not truly hopeless, just marginally hopeless.

I am an individual who believes in God and that there is a state of being after mortal death.  My ethics have been created by my upbringing both home and at religious schools.  I now seem to be surrounded by people who believe that any form of religion is the root of the evil that pervades this world.

Recently I have become vocal in my opinions.  It seems that my opinions are unwanted and many have decided to exclude me from online friendships.  I would not have minded this had the individuals made contact with me and explained why they have now excluded me from their social circles.  With no explanation from these people I have been left confused as to their reasons and try to rationalise in my own mind why.  Suffering from mental illness you can see where my thoughts are likely to go - everywhere, with all sorts of paranoid self conceived thought processes.

Out of all of this came a deep sorrow, a sense of loss and betrayal.  I am a generous man, I give as freely as my resources allow.  So to be ignored, excluded, given a low priority of importance can cripple an emotional wreck such as myself.  Which is why online communities are not the best means of social dialogue or communication.

Suicide is not a word many people want to discuss but for me it is an all pervasive thought that dominates my thought processes throughout the day at various levels of intensity.  Most of the time it lies dormant or acknowledged within a compartmentalised portion of my mind.  Only during periods of extreme distress and hurt does suicide become a real possibility.

Searching online you can find much information pertaining to depression and suicide.  Here is just a quick explanation from an online source:

Although most people who are depressed do not kill themselves, untreated depression can increase the risk of possible suicide. It is not uncommon for depressed individuals to have thoughts about suicide whether or not they intend to act on these thoughts. Severely depressed people often do not have the energy to harm themselves, but it is when their depression lifts and they gain increased energy that they may be more likely to attempt suicide.

Suicide is considered a possible complication of depressive illness in combination with other risk factors because suicidal thoughts and behavior can be symptoms of moderate to severe depression. These symptoms typically respond to proper treatment, and usually can be avoided with early intervention for depressive illness. Any concerns about suicidal risk should always be taken seriously and evaluated by a qualified professional immediately.

Source: All About Depression. com

I have recovered somewhat as of today.  I have had three days to recover from my hurt and rationalise my mind to the point where I can function adequately again.  This is the crux of my problem - the period of disability that comes from hurt, disappointment and exclusion.  Even my own family know how difficult it is to reach me when I am suffering these dark moods.  I don't allow others in, my pain is very personal and I do not wish to share my hurt with others.  I internalise my pain, and with time section it off within my psyche and hope that the Pandora's box which is my mind is never opened.

One thing that has come from all of this is that I have started to paint again.  Admittedly it is not challenging work at present, but it is something which allows me to forget for a while all that which troubles me.

So mental illness is not a holiday, it is not a bludge, it is real and it affects me on more levels than anyone can ever hope to understand.  I am not a simple man, I am more complex and unfathomable than any therapist could hope to unravel in their lifetime.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, maybe it might help you understand a little more about who I might be.

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