I was perusing the #timetotalk hashtag on twitter this morning. Reading about other peoples experiences with depression – and I started to feel slightly better. When you start to understand depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain – and that actually you are indeed human. Personally I feel that helps. That one is not alone despite ones surroundings.
*Looks around – nope am definitely alone right now*. Cue Tiffany ‘I think we’re alone now…’
The problem with feelings in my opinion – is that I can tell myself how I am going to feel… but that actually never relays up. “I’m going to write this and I’m not going to feel ashamed or embarrassed about it” I whisper to myself.
Half an hour later I’m in a corner in a shame spiral.. (chk out Brene Browns ‘The Power of Vulnerability’)
2018 for me was a pretty crappy year. I was training for a half marathon a few years back. One day – I started limping. And that was that! Wear and tear of the joints took it’s toll and I couldn’t walk properly anymore.
“There’s nothing wrong with you!” my GP initially pushed. “It’s all in your head” another friend urged. Fuck you. My mind silently replied as my body screamed otherwise. Don’t listen to them..keep pushing..
And it got worse. And it got worse. And then. Out of the blue. My friend got diagnosed with stage four cancer of the oesophagus. At just 34.
“I kept going to the doctor over and over and they just kept giving me Rennie..” he told me. “I said to the nurse I don’t understand why they didn’t pick it up. She said it’s cos of my age. They don’t expect it at my age”. He passed away Sept 2018. RIP Michael.
And that was all I needed to start to freak out. I made a 20 minute at the doctors. “You can only bring one thing!” the GP always states. But what if they’re all related my mind argued back. So in my next appointment I talked really really fast determined to fit in all my issues and concerns without her cutting me off short.
No one warns you about life in your thirties. I have friends that love it. But in my opinion it kinda sucks. All your friends start dropping like fly’s – as they become impregnated. Fun friend holidays are cancelled. And in my case every guy you date assumes you want their baby… like seriously get over yourself.
“Hmmm shall we use two condoms just in case?” you smile at each other. “Let’s up it – why not make it three…of the extra strong ones”. Actually forget it might as well just use the vibrator.*Takes out the 10 incher.. *Bend over then..
The problem with social media and mental health issues in my opinion is the pressure to make out that life is perfect and that everything is going swimmingly. *Compare and watch your mind go straight to despair.*
For instance one of my best friends of over 20 years. Well in my opinion. Had the perfect life according to his social media posts. No one sees each other as often as one gets older. Life gets in the way as people are mating and procreating. So sometimes one relies on seeing peoples social media posts.
Ryan: Married check! Lovely huge house in the country – check! Job? Check! Ok he hates his job. From what I can see. But then a lot of people do. Right?
Then – last summer – one day I received a card in the post from him and his partner. A really nice card urging me to keep being open and to keep talking about life issues. Out of the blue.
And two days later. He took himself to the summer house in his backyard. Put a towel over his head. And hung himself.
And then he was gone. Just like that.
It was around this time I decided to admit myself to rehab. My walking was getting worse and I was becoming more and more isolated. “Patience!” ordered by the doctor wasn’t working that well for me. I was feeling isolated. Bored. Frustrated.
I wasn’t getting much help from the mental health services (or family for that matter but that’s a given) and felt I needed some support.
Of course I didn’t want to go. A ‘proper’ rehab is hard. Plus you have to share a room. And the fear of who you’re going to be sharing with can be very off putting. Thankfully I was bloody lucky on that front. But many weren’t. Take one of the hardest ex gang members who’s icy cold stare would simply make you sweat as you end up becoming her subservient servant out of fear. And you have her standing over your bed in the middle of the night. You look up.. “Erm so…how many people did you say you stabbed?”. “Stop snoring!” she spits. Showering you in her saliva.
“I will not get close to anyone” I had told myself. From experience it’s not the *best* place to be making reliable healthy friendships.
But of course life has other plans.
And when you’re in a huge house with 20 or so others for two months without a TV/mobile phone/computer and anything that links you to reality. Well. Things don’t always turn out how you plan.
Despite the drama and confrontations I also met some great people. And also fell in love a little bit. With the wrong person.
“Oh look a silver fox has arrived!” my friend and roomie exclaimed one day. I uninterestedly glanced over at the new guy as he walked past. “Hmmm yeah” I replied returning back to my book.
And then I don’t know how it happened. But the days accumulated and we started to get closer. And ended up talking a lot. But he was married. And he also had a history of taking viagra behind his wives back and swiping on tinder. And when someone shows you who they are believe them the first time – as Maya Angelou says..
Cringing I confided my lustful feelings to my designated male therapist. “You’re using on your feelings!” he exclaimed as I sunk lower into my chair. “It’s just reproduction in it’s rawest form!!!!” he pushed. He was pretty brutal sometimes.“Do we have to talk about this??” I replied wanting to disappear, staring at the clock ticking slowly behind him. It always ticks slow when you want it to move fast.
DEAR FEELINGS: please fuck off. You’re making my life harder right now. This is NOT in the plan..
And then one night as I sat with the silver fox in the now empty living room. We looked at each other. And. And well if I hadn’t have been in a rehab and if he wasn’t married this would have been one of the most romantic experiences. As he moved slowly in. In to me kiss me. My heart missed a beat. And a butterfly fluttered in the pit of my stomach.
And my moral conscience pulled me swiftly back. Forget what you feel – remember what you deserve.. forget what you feel.. remember what you deserve. And I got up and walked away.
And I thanked myself for that when I returned to my home alone. I thanked myself for not being that girl. And in all honesty I could of really done without meeting him. And on his leaving day he approached me and cradled my face in his hands. And looked into my eyes. And smiled. For that would be the last time we would see each other. For the best.
And that’s life. Out of the blue. Life can change just like that. Like a whirlwind. But you must always come back to yourself.
And no job is worth losing your life over. And no person who has hurt you is worth self destructing over. Stick up for your own health. And you’re own heart. No matter how hard life gets.
Because life can change just like that.
And sometimes for the better. Out of the blue.
I am now on crutches but I am trying to remain positive whilst awaiting a hip replacement. Is the end of my troubles in sight??? Keep on keeping on. Cue. EYE OF THE TIGER…
Let’s face it. It’s not a joyous topic. But fact of the matter is – whether you like it or not – it affects one in three of us. We headed down to the Big Mix in Shoreditch to have a chat to Treetop Flyers, Newton Faulkner, CocknBullKid, Kid British, Clare Maguire, The Pipettes, Yunioshi, and Tracy the Information Officer to find out a little more about this global disease and to hopefully get a few tips on how to live life a little more healthily.
This video has been created with the upmost care and is meant to be a light hearted discussion about what is a heart wrenching disease. We hope that it does not offend and that it merely exposes the fact that no matter who you are/how famous one is/what you do – no one is unaffected. The tips offered are not guaranteed to be a prevention and are only a suggestion on how to look after oneself.
If you need more information please contact 0808 808 00 00
Thanks to Stephane Massey on camera and everyone else that helped out!
Thanks Becki Bx