Friday, 10 May 2013

Welcome To The Dark Side

I'm acutely aware of how difficult it is to have a friend who suffers from a mental illness. And, in turn, aware of how difficult it can be to have me as a friend who suffers from mental illness.

I have lived with and in mental illness for so long that it is completely normal to me. This is bad for two reasons:
1) You become completely unaware of how much worse you are getting.
2) You can start to become unsympathetic towards the world.
Both are very serious things in my eyes.

I became friends with someone who also suffers with serious depression and in our pairing we found comfort and safety, two against the world is better than one. But, in our pairing we shut out the rest of the world and cocooned ourselves in the seductive embrace of hatred. This created a 'nest' effect that was reinforcing our isolation.

When I started therapy, this began to change. I began to become more self aware, I questioned who I was and why I had let myself get this bad but without anyone to indicate or monitor it, there was no way I could have known. By saying that, I am not absolving myself of any blame, I am merely forgiving myself for something I now know I cannot control. In learning how to be a little less robotic, I began to see how mental health affected other people in my life and then, in turn, how their mental health affected me. Previously (and sometimes currently as I am not in the clear yet) I was unsympathetic to other people and their issues. I was unfairly judgemental because that is how I judge myself and I was of the mindset 'if I can be better then why can't they?'. Only, I wasn't better. I was unfairly taking out my loss of hope on them.

My friend has attempted suicide once and almost attempted it a few more times in the last year. She seems to be caught in a perpetual cycle of sadness that she cannot escape. She doesn't think she can be helped and so refuses it. I spent four years trying to 'save' her. My emotions ranged from wanting to help her, to being angry that she wouldn't help herself, to trying to save her from herself, to resenting her and then back to being a Savior.  It is more complicated than this (isn't it always?) but this is the general outline.

The point of this is, mental health may be more talked about, there may be a creative genius lurking in the shadows of a depressive's soul, I may be trying to show you a different side to depression on this blog but there is a darkness. There is a reason that mental health has the stigma it does, there is a reason that people think it to be a taboo subject and that is because it can get very messy and somewhat disturbing. 

Who wants to talk their best friend out of committing suicide?
Who can handle seeing a leg/arm full of self-inflicted scars?
What is 'normal' to me would still shock the general population and it is very easy for me to forget that fact. In the rare glimpses I get to look in on my own situation, I begin to understand why I'm so isolated. 

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