I am nearer to 50 than I am 40 and that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is feeling trapped by my mental illness. Most people like to be around me because I make them laugh and I know I can be funny at times. There is a huge part of me however that wants to hide away and shut people out. Unfortunately, its the ones we love that inevitably get pushed out and hurt. I have four children and a wife and they mean the world to me. I am surprised they still want me in their lives which I find difficult to understand. When I have been suicidal I have genuinely believed their lives would be better without me. I sometimes wonder if its everybody else who is mentally ill and I am not. At times I couldn’t care less about the people I should care for in my life. Maybe, I detach from them and do the things I do to stop them caring for me. Its true what they say I think that the saddest people are the ones who try to make everyone happy. Looking back I have moments where the madness has taken over and I want to make everyone laugh and I think they feel obliged to laugh.
After several trips to hospitals, seeing different psychiatrists and CPNs I was diagnosed with moments of bi-polar and recurrent clinical depression. Then 5 years ago the list was added to with PTSD following an accident. I went to the Regional Affective Disorders Unit (RADs) and I have to say they really listened to me which helped. They did not judge me and they recognised how difficult life had been for me. Knowing those diagnosis hasn’t helped me although I know it helps others. I still feel like every day is a battle
The bear with a saw head rather than a sore head, links a little to my sense of humour and the fact I am OK at DIY. I hope that writing a blog may help me as I can air my thoughts and feelings that remain trapped inside me and I hope to help others. I struggle to socialise big time but I am forced to in the school yard when I collect my two youngest children. I look forward to seeing the kids and getting them home as quickly as possible. As quick as possible is difficult as I have to escape the school yard! Most of the smiling happy mums thrive on running the school yard obstacle course. They are eager to talk to me which is kind of them. I do get to listen to some of the interesting gossip without usually participating in the conversation. A few of the mums know a little about my mental illness mainly due to my being admitted into the mental health hospital. My wife is keen to be honest with a few people much to my dismay. On reflection, (I should have got a job in a mirror shop) those few mums have supported me and my family. My wife isn’t ashamed of me or my mental illness. In fact, she speaks of mental illness openly and would love to go into schools to get mental illness talked about more. My oldest child has and is suffering with mental ill health. Her ill-health battle has been made harder by peoples lack of knowledge, understanding or empathy which leaves me hurt and angry. Don’t get me started on the children’s mental health services in our area which are unable to provide a good service through years of poor funding. Which inevitably means children who don’t get help end up in adult mental health services. For young people this is a nightmare and a missed opportunity for the children’s services.
I feel ashamed and embarrassed about my mental illness. I am a father of four children (by choice), in my 40s, so maybe by now I should know where I am going with my life but I don’t, I feel lost. I had a trade which I started learning at the age of 15 due to my physical health problems I carn’t return to that. I find, I feel less of a man admitting I have mental illness. I would have attended a men’s shed group if there had been one in Sunderland albeit with a lot of encouragement and persuasion. I was going to attend sessions at a local music venue organised by the local mental health team but there were issues and that seems to have fell through. I don’t want to go to groups where I sit in a circle and talk. I came home more messed up than when I left. I know they help some people but sadly not me. The thought of attending a group fills me dread and I feel physically ill.
People have said pull yourself together and I think ‘fuck off’ (sorry for the swearing) what do you think I am a pair of curtains. (please excuse the old joke) I don’t choose to feel the way I am. I have held down a job through many years of my mental illness. I think I have had mental health issues stretching back to when I was a child. I used humour to hide it in a way, hiding behind a clowns face like other people do. There was always a black cloud hanging nearby or over me. I feel things are suppressed and its difficult to even write this. Mental health in my family was never talked about and I think it was misunderstood. It was a case of get over it and keep it hidden. I tried constantly to push the way I felt deep inside and eventually it could not hide away anymore. It was like a black mass of hatred, a demonic possession which would not stay in the shadows anymore. Its always with me then again it is a part of me. Horror films don’t scare me (they terrify my wife) as what’s inside of me is more terrifying.