it’s 10pm on a wednesday night and here i am, just a while in from having dinner with someone very special and i’m sat in bed crying.
why you ask? or maybe you didn’t but either way you’re finding out.
the reason i’m crying is because i have just finished reading Bryony Gordon’s book ‘Mad Girl’. the book is Bryony sharing her story, her mental health story.
some of the parallels in our illnesses are scary but it made me realise that we, Bryony and I, are the lucky ones. we had people around us, both at home and at work, that cared. that care. that care enough to not give up on us when our demons get too much, that don’t run the other way saying ‘fuck this shit, you’re on your own’ but stand next to us, gently guiding us saying ‘you’ve got this’.
tonight when i was at dinner my friend told me about a colleague she had who had passed away recently, this colleague had struggled with his mental health (his death was unrelated to any mental health illnesses) in the past which eventually led to him leaving his position – by all accounts the management were not very supportive of the days out he needed to take.
(please note, needed is accurate. when you’re depressed you can’t simply say to depression ‘oh well today isn’t a very good day for me to be depressed, i’ve lots on. can you come back tomorrow?’ depression, in case you didn’t know, is a bit of an inconsiderate bastard).
at his funeral she learnt how much having that job meant to him. she said she never realised the impact their day to day jokes and interactions had on him, and on his life.
i’m crying because i realised that i was lucky, i was lucky that back in september i had someone who was able to notice i was poorly before i did – Momma Sophs, you recognised i was ill before i did, before anyone did. i don’t know how but thank you.
i was lucky that, when i was stood on a train platform a couple of weeks later listening to the voices in my head telling me to give up and that me dying would be for the benefit of everyone, that it would be better than the constant battle in my head, i had diane on the end of the phone telling me not to listen to the voice in my head that was telling me that. that it was lying to me.
i was lucky i had my sister to call and make the doctors appointment when i was too ill to myself.
i was lucky i had denise calling me every few hours just to check in, telling me to come to her house after work so she could feed me and let me get some of these thoughts out my head and feelings off my chest.
i had my boss – who i was super nervous to tell i was poorly because, well i was embarrassed, i was embarrassed of being ill again and of how bad it had gotten and what it might make him think of me – tell me that it was a tricky illness but that he knew i was more than capable. he understood why i text him to tell him and didn’t call and then spent time with me on the phone the next day trying to understand the illness, what it looked like for me and help me figure out what my triggers were.
now i have my new boss who was, as well, brilliant when he found out – as i’m still recovering i thought it wise to tell him and it came up very organically in conversation so i was comfortable telling him. parts of our conversation went like this…
me – i don’t run around screaming at everyone that i’m mad but it makes sense you should know.
him – you’re not mad because you’ve got depression…. you just need to make sure you tell me how you’re feeling, keep me in the loop.
(that’s what i needed to hear from him. it was a big weight off these shoulders, i tell ya. also, nb, i often tell people i’m ‘mad’ because i think i’m being funny and most people feel more comfortable when you joke about serious stuff)
i had steph, who always seems to message me at just the right time, who always makes me feel like a better human than i am.
i guess, the short version (i’ve never been very good at getting straight to the point), is that i was crying because i was grateful.
i was grateful for this year and for these people (and many more not listed here). i was grateful for the days when i thought i wouldn’t make it to the next one because, if nothing else, i’ve learnt the human spirit is made of strong bloody stuff.
2017 is the year i realised that i didn’t have to keep all my problems to myself. it was the year i learnt who my friends really were. i learnt i don’t have to keep my cards so close to my chest. i might be a burden sometimes, but then aren’t we all? the ones that think i’m worth it will stay. for the good and bad.
i learnt people need other people.
we really do.
people need other people.
and there’s nothing wrong with that. nothing at all.
p.s if you want to try to understand mental health illnesses and how they make you feel and think please read Bryony’s book. she words it so well, much better than i ever could.