Well as the title says “I thought I was getting better” but clearly there is still a lot of work to do.
I’m not saying that I am back exactly where I was and I’ve made no improvement at all – because I have – but just not as much as I thought….
I’ve gotten much better at talking about things. Explaining things on my blog and even privately to a few close people but that’s really as far as it goes.
I can talk about things. I can explain the facts in great detail. I can talk about mental health issues and champion positive moves in mental health care but when it comes down to me and my feelings then I’m just as bad as ever.
This never really occurred to me until right now but I really haven’t got much better at all about talking about how I feel.
I still fall back on the same old safety net “yes I’m ok thanks” “I’m fine just really tired” “I’m exhausted but other than that all is good!”
It is literally an automatic response. I don’t give myself a second to think about the “How are you?” “How are you feeling?” questions at all. I go onto autopilot and it happens so quickly that I’ve just never really notice it happening.
Even to very close people I know I can trust I just don’t stop to think.
I think it’s because I’m scared in all honesty. Scared that I might open up too much and frighten them away. Scared that I might cry and then never stop. Just scared of the unknown.
Saying out loud does sound a bit stupid I know but I’m genuinely scared. I can’t imagine being sat with a friend or loved one and telling them exactly how I’m feeling. *shudder*
But why? Why can’t I tell them that things have turned bad again? Why can’t I tell them the suicidal thoughts have returned. Why can’t I tell them that I’ve been so down I’ve thought about leaving, disappearing! Why can’t I tell them I was in such an awful place I self harmed!
I think it’s shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. Again it’s being scared that they’ll leave.
There is such an awful stigma still surrounding mental health issues. There is also, still, very little understanding.
Please know that if we don’t ask for help we are not doing it to be difficult or selfish. If we don’t open up and tell you how we are honestly feeling, it’s not to purposefully shut you out or be secretive. We find it so so difficult. More difficult than you will ever realise. Impossible in most instances for me. We need to know that if we do that terribly scary thing of being honest about how we are feeling, that you will not judge. That you will listen and support us. Just be there for us. We don’t expect you to have all the answers or try and ‘fix’ things. Just being there when we need you is all we ever ask.
Maybe there is someone in your life that you know has struggled but they always seem ‘fine’ when you ask how they are? Maybe you could pop them a text and ask them again? Let them know you are always there to listen. Keep telling them. You never know you could end up saving someones life – I have had first hand experience of this.
Be kind, always. You never know what battles someone might be facing.
Love Amy x