Sunday 16 May 2021

It is Mental Health Awareness Week again

Normally, my posts start when I get inspired by an insight that I wish to share with others. There is a specific lesson I am giving over via a personal experience that I hope others can learn from. Reading over my previous posts, the feeling I get is that I have all the answers and I’m living my best life. As I write this, I am not sure where this post will go but I know it's going to be different to my other posts.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, in the UK. I have heard news headlines and see social media posts all week on the theme. Campaigns to raise awareness and people sharing their own stories. All with the aim of reducing the stigma of having and admitting to having mental ill-health.

In the past, I have written and talked about my history with depression. In fact, my last post was from Mental Health Awareness Week 3 years ago. At that point, I honestly felt that I was at the top of my game. I had confidence and certainty. Ironically, the powerful message that my resilience would continue to keep me strong turned out to be one of the sticks I would beat myself up with. The knowledge that I should be able to overcome my temporary slump causes me the most pain.

For close to 3 years I have been suffering from an episode of depression. My confidence and self-esteem are very low. I have either lacked the insights worth sharing, the motivation to put my thoughts down or simply felt too much a fraud to be helping others. Who would want to read the musing of a guy that doesn’t believe in himself. What of value do I even have worth sharing. How do I follow the might proclamation that I will never suffer from depression again, with I am indeed suffering from my worth episode of depression to date. Can I admit that I am so full of doubts that I’m not even sure about the validity of the principles I’ve dedicated years to sharing.

At this point, I would normally change gear and reveal the wisdom that came to me. The moment it all turned around and became clearer. The realisation that I flipped everything into the positive. I wish I could. I really do. So many times over the last 3 years I have begged for the situation to change. For a shift to occur that will allow me to have a different experience of my situation. Yet it hasn’t happened.

Every day is a struggle. Some less than others. To many, my life is getting back on track. They see happy and positive David. Lockdown life for me looks like that of everyone else. We have all found this last year hard. However, the truth is I am not living, merely existing. I am crippled by the fear that even mild stress still causes me to shut down, for hours or maybe days. My life is such a precarious balance that I am afraid any small change will destabilise me. I artificially try to have at least one moment of laughter each day. A period of lightness to offset the darkness of my thoughts.

So as Mental Health Awareness Week comes to an end and focus moves on to other campaigns. Bear in mind that I and others living with depression continue to exist.

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