When you live with depression and anxiety, swearing seems to come naturally!!
When I look back over my life, since the time I was 9 years old, there doesn’t seem to have been a time when I wasn’t dealing with ‘mental health’ issues!! From my overwhelming separation anxiety to the inability to manage being at school I seemed to always be dealing with ‘something’ that was incomprehensible.
As I grew, I became a troublesome teenager while I dealt with my ‘over sexualized’ childhood experiences. I played with sex, drugs and alcohol in an attempt to be the person I believed I was. The person my, all too horrific and involuntary experiences had determined me to be. The world chose to label me very early in my life, and I was very compliant.
So when I failed to finish high school, took on some menial work and perhaps even before I was fully an adult at 18, was married and quickly pregnant (not necessary in that order), I had (unwittingly) set out to construct a path for my life that would take me in the direction I should go.
I could get all theoretical here about marrying a man who would help me escape my life, but in reality I think I married a man who could help me build my life. Even perhaps find it. But then this BLOG isn’t about him!!
Excuse me for perhaps repeating earlier writings here, but I think it helps to tell you again; before I was 30 I had become so overwhelmed with the symptoms of depression and anxiety that I could see my entire life being washed away in a tsunami of fear and tears. Everything I’d achieved, including a successful marriage, happy children and career prospects, in the space of 10 years had collapsed, seemingly without notice.
When I’d first started experiencing symptoms in my 20’s I was driven to find out why I was ‘like this’. I spent hours, over years, attending assertiveness classes, counseling sessions and psychology visits to get to the bottom of ’this’. Later I was amazed by my unwillingness to tell them about my childhood experiences, seemingly, my shame kept me silent.
Then, when I’d hit the bottom (again) and my behaviour started creating pain for the people who loved me, I was referred (again) to another psychologist and this time at my doctor’s insistence, prescribed medication. I always believed that medication was dangerous and would do nothing but turn me into a weak, incapable, feeble ‘addict’. I was afraid to take it thinking all the time that somehow, the medication would turn me into someone I wasn’t. After all, I was simply an emotional person and the medication would take that away and somehow leave me bland and insipid.
So, once more I turned up for a visit with yet another psychologist and after finally confessing my dark and sordid childhood secrets and the vile activity of my conscious and unconscious mind. I received the ‘clinically undeniable truth’. The carefully measured, scientifically measured truth.
I have, a ‘mental illness’.
Frankly, knowing that there was a ‘thing’ held a great degree of comfort. A ‘thing’ that was measurable; like my house is 17 squares. I had an illness that could be measured and explained.
Sadly, that diagnosis sat at the bottom of my life like an annoying friend. The friend who says inappropriate things at inappropriate times (oops I just realised that’s me!!). It’s the parent who enjoys reminding you of your childhood foibles!! The sibling who makes you wish you were adopted!! It turns up wherever you are, makes a fool of you and then walks off.
I let my ‘unwanted friend’ undermine all my achievements. I let it tell me I couldn’t be more than the weakling I was. I let it make me feel ashamed. Tainted. Unworthy. The diagnosis that put my childhood in perspective and gave me an explanation of my seemingly irrational behaviours would turn into another blanket of shame to lay over the rest.
Now, I had gone from a weakling, to a weakling with a ‘mental illness‘.
I know what it is to be incapable of functioning. The endless thoughts of self abuse and harm. The endless confusion and the complete desperation to empty your head, for just a little while. And frankly, to be successful and still feel like a failure, is the torture of never being able to meet your own exacting standards. Knowing that everyone knows you’re a fraud!!
And forever, I would be ‘that’ person. That pathetic person!
Well fuck you MENTAL ILLNESS!!
In spite of the times you’ve completely fucked up my life, I will not lie down and take it! I will always make you pay. I’ll make you pay by showing you exactly what I can do. Your shame and your continuous attempt to steal my life will not cover up the truth of who I am. Who that small girl would be before she became someone’s prey before she was victimized and discarded.
Because MENTAL ILLNESS, when a girl with a tormented childhood and a MENTAL ILLNESS can construct a meaningful life for her family, build a business from a thought and turn it and herself into an award winners, there’s no room to believe that YOU are in control! Because no matter how many times MENTAL ILLNESS tries to fuck up everything, I will always get back up.
Something from me: Who I am is not who the world tells me I am; it’s who I was born to be. And, we’re all born to be someone!
If you need to talk to someone NOW call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Deb Shugg is an awarded businesswoman, wife & mother, author and a sufferer of depression and anxiety.
To contact Deb click here:
Read more of Deb Shugg’s BLOGs about living with depression and anxiety click here:
If you need help to deal with your symptoms see your doctor.
(Abuse of another person is NEVER okay. If you are being abused or, if you are an abuser please seek help.)