I wrote this some time ago, but I think it’s important to share during mental health week for others to see my journey.
To look at me everyone thinks I am okay. Some days I keep busy, go to lots of events, and see family. Then there are the dark days no one sees. Having this illness since a young child makes it even harder to explain to adults and family around you.
Employers don’t get it, when someone constantly nitpicks and makes you feel like your rubbish, it affects your mental health. For six months, I have had since the day one I walked through that office. Maybe I think I went back to work too soon?
Maybe I went for the wrong job? I worked for free for six months, I could have been six months applying for jobs I actually wanted to do. I am a people pleaser, it is easy for me to do things for others to keep the peace. I have always been since I was a child.
Being told as a child, you’re a “secret squirrel” as you didn’t say much about your feelings. Having your secret diary read by your mum, your secrets laid bare. Having a sense of anxiety, constantly as a child.
As an adult, everyone just expects me to get up and get on with it? Despite what I have been through, being isolated from your family is no fun. For sure, he preyed on me. Problem is, it’s coming up to two years since that happened. All the crazy train journeys go through my head, all the isolation and brainwashing he told me. Telling me I had demons and him and her trying to exorcise me. It is easier to be alone than to let anyone into these thoughts.
Yes, men, they have always liked me? My family don’t know the years of sexual abuse, rape, and I said no, but I meant yes, I have endured. They don’t know the pain I hold, which often makes me feel numb and that I cannot literally feel things most days. Sure, I have had interviews in the NHS, I didn’t get to some? Why do you ask? You’re clever and intelligent.
The man at work, he’s taken that all away. He’s made me feel worthless and small and that I am stupid. It brings it all back, all the abuse, all the empty feelings of worthlessness. No one could take that away, if they could, I wish that they could.
My mental health has been fragile since the age of 25, that is when I had my first breakdown, I literally wanted to put a pillow over my head. I was having counselling at the time. I was then put on antidepressants.
What caused it? Being unable to go with my boyfriend to Swindon and feeling exhausted working nights and running around looking after his kids and all the rest I had to do. I have had partners tell me I’m lazy and that I will lose my jobs if I don’t get out of bed. I have restless nights, I have not slept properly for years, even as a child I would lay awake, overthinking into the night.
So it’s been two years since I was in Lake Sunart with the crazies, hearing of my nephew’s birth and feeling so far away. Sending baby things but feeling distant. My family all tease and joke about me, but they don’t realise the inner pains they cause me. If I tell my family what is going on, they expect me to snap out of it.
Thoughts of will I lose my job? How can I face that bully? It’s the third time it’s happened, I would rather a job I worked alone. Like a night support worker, just me, myself and the individual in my care. People overwhelm me. This world is too much for me.
The daily realities I have to face. People’s love of money annoys me.. what about the bigger picture? Global warming, climate change? The governments? The erosion of our liberties? Brexit? No one cares. We have become a selfish society. It upsets me so much.
Yes, I am lucky that I am sitting here in my cosy flat and I have a car outside and I am intelligent. But I feel I am wasting inputting data on the computer, and if it is not accurate I get scolded, like a naughty child. I am the only one in our office, who has her work double-checked. I have dyspraxia, yes I have trouble concentrating. Like I said, maybe a job when I’m totally alone would be better for me.
This illness affects my relationships, everyone leaves me or can’t handle my mood swings. I feel alone a lot. Why do I have comfort from my cats? Even being around family I can feel misunderstood, to be honest with you I find it really draining. So what am I to do with my life?
Age 34, this is not the way to go forward? Well, I enjoy writing and poetry. If I could write for a living I would. If I can help impact this small world in some way then it would make waking up less painful. How is it to carry the burdens of the world on your shoulders since a young child? Burdensome, exhausting and challenging. My job at the hospital was great, but like I said maybe I did it to people, please.
I was desperate for a job, desperate to get off universal credit. Now it is not challenging my mind, I feel brain dead and frustrated. Everyone is impressed that I am earning good money. But is life all about money? I am humble, I pay back what I will owe but I won’t stay in a job where I am not kept busy, where my character has been put down to such an extent that I cannot even attend a job interview I may have gotten because I feel I’m a failure.
Since I was a child, I felt I failed, failed at being someone my parents wanted me to be. That stuff stays with you as an adult. I love both my parents, but sometimes they misunderstand me. I think also I may have been misdiagnosed, with all my issues put together I might have Aspergers. I show all the signs.
My social anxiety is so bad, even at parties, I get loud and embarrassing. It is not on purpose it’s just how I cope. Then I get told off for my behaviour. Then I want to hide away. As a child I would hide away in a dark cupboard, I found it comforting. For all I have been through I still am here. But I’m slightly broken and sometimes, that glue I have repaired myself with it melts and I have to reglue myself.
The time is now to think about my needs and myself, not my friends or family’s ideals of me. So long as I do that, I fear that I will remain unhappy. There are so many creative events going on in Swansea that I want to attend, if only I let go of my anxieties. Instead, I would rather stay indoors watching historical documentaries on television.
The thought of meeting new people and the questions they ask how I ended up in Wales. Even that triggers me. To be living in refuge with those drug and alcohol addicts, parents with social services on their back? No one gets it, they bow their heads in shame at me. For I am the shameful one. The one who is 34, single with two cats for company and with mental issues I cannot explain except by writing it down.
I have always been a loner, it’s easier than to let anyone into my head, who wants space in there? In between anxiety, barely functioning some days and suffering from dysthymia low mood disorder? It is time to take back my power and I won’t let this one man get me down, but it has given me time to re-evaluate my life and what I want.
Do I want to remain in a job? Just as the pay is good? Or should I take a lower paid job with more hours but which is better for me as it’s something I enjoy doing? I love kids and animals more than mundane office work. I just wish I could express to my family and friends how I feel, but no one understands me except for Lilwen grace, who hugs me when I’m down and Deri Thomas who follows me about and keeps me company and makes me laugh with his chasing paper straws around the flat.
Without those two I really would be lost. I am tired of being misunderstood though, tired of fighting. I worked so hard for six months and all for what? But life is a learning experience, I will not put my family to shame, but they need to understand my health and when I don’t talk. It’s because I don’t want to talk. I can’t stand the phone, it triggers me. When the house phone rings and it’s my mum, the noise triggers my PTSD of my psycho exes mum calling us constantly. So yes my mental health is fragile that the vase needs repairing. Only I can do that.