Just Another Blogger - Blog 3 - 19/11/2020 - Safe Space Movement

Just Another Blogger

Just Another Blogger – Blog 3 – 19/11/2020

Just Another Blogger

This will sound familiar to a lot of you I’m sure, and for anyone who hasn’t experienced it, then maybe it’ll give you an idea as to how it feels when you’re trapped inside your own mind. I can feel on top of things for days, weeks, sometimes months if I’m lucky, and then I’ll wake up one day and feel the shift. It’s similar to looking through two sheets of glass or clear plastic; put them together, hold them still and you can see just fine. Put one at a slight angle or move it a small distance away from the other and the image is distorted.

This is inside my mind though. I feel heavier, I have little energy, a feeling akin to toothache permeates my mind on top of my normal headaches and makes the simplest tasks mammoth.

I’ve felt pretty good over the last couple of weeks. I’ve kept routines up, been exercising regularly, eaten well and generally been able to do all the things that I know I should be doing. Then earlier this week I struggled out of dreams one morning and felt that shift. Dreams often go hand in hand with this feeling. When I’m doing well, I don’t tend to dream much but when the shift happens, I dream pretty much every night. Vivid dreams, full colour and sensory experience to the point that when I’m woken from them, I can’t work out which reality is the real one and I go around for the rest of the day with a nagging sensation that the dream world is the one that’s real. I look in the mirror at a familiar visage that at the same time seems like a stranger with dead eyes looking back at where I am, riding around in this stranger’s body. My wife tells me that my eyes seem to change their colour depending on my mental state, from their usual blue through to shades of grey and green or my pupils will dilate and look blacker than anything else.

That blackness perfectly shadows my general mood. Any positivity is gone. There’s no satisfaction in getting tasks done, no enjoyment at normally enjoyable things. I nod and twitch my mouth into an approximation of a smile when my wife or son speaks to me as I struggle to care about whatever it is that they’re saying and when I walk to pick littlun up from school, I shamble up the paths with eyes fixed to the floor, not wanting to meet anyone else’s gaze. I meet him and run through a script of questions about his day, has he eaten his lunch, any dramas today etc., all the time wishing that time would just speed up and I can get to bedtime and relief from the pain I feel.

When I was working and interacting with colleagues who thankfully had never experienced the pitfalls of mental health, I rarely talked about any of this as when I did, all I generally got was awkward silence or the standard “aww it can’t be all that bad mate. You’ve just gotta look on the bright side.” It’s apparently not acceptable to kill colleagues, so I’d mostly just stuff all this down deep, smile when necessary and just get on with my work. That kinda works until it doesn’t and it all comes pouring out.

How do you deal with this?

How do I deal with this?

I deal with it at the moment by recognising that it’s happening for starters. That may seem screamingly obvious but for years I didn’t even know why I felt like that. I’d put it down to events, or work, or a girl, or the dog, or any one of the justifications that my mind would present to me. There’s a reason why so many people who have personality disorders become familiar with the justice system. I say that I’d never let myself go that far but I have had screaming rows with my wife or shouted at my son past an acceptable point. Shame and guilt are normal associated feelings when talking about this sort of stuff and they can also add to the weight that you carry around.

So, I recognise that I feel that way when I drag myself out of bed. I tell my wife and son that I’m having a bad one today and that lets them know to either give me a bit of space or to just be aware that I may be snappish or more withdrawn than normal. Then I attempt to go about my day as best I can, but I also accept that I may not get done everything that’s on my to-do list and what does get done will be slow and painful. I find that my reactions are off when I’m like this, so I find myself getting frustrated because I’ve fumbled something or keep dropping things or knocking items off the table. It’s really easy to let these tiny events rise to become titanic and then the frustration builds and the anger rides in on that wave. It’s a vicious cycle, but if I’m aware then it makes it easier to stop that cycle before it becomes an issue.

Today’s a perfect example of this. I’m ignoring anything that isn’t a priority, lunch is leftovers from yesterday and littluns dinner later will be something based around fish fingers. No thought and little effort required and he’s not going to turn down fish fingers, chips and peas (it’s been homemade soup and curry this week). The cleaning can get done tomorrow and my wife will help me do it in the morning before she goes to work that afternoon anyway. I’m writing this (although it’s taken a lot more blankly staring at the screen than normal before anything coherent appears) and then, later on wandering up to the school to pick up the boy. He and I will attempt a workout because I know that it’ll make me feel a bit better however little I want to do it. All through the day, I’ll have a history podcast on the go about the Persian Empire which should help to drown out the noise in my mind and give me something to focus on.

That’s gonna be it for this week but feel free to comment with your coping strategies or experiences. The more that we talk about all of this, the more that the stigma gets worn down and we share with each other what works and what doesn’t.

Just another blogger

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