Another week, another blog. Another chance to get stuff off my chest.
I was to splurge out some things that happen to me when my stress, anxiety, and depression are at their worst.
One of so many reasons mental illnesses like these go un-diagnosed for so long is because many symptoms seem like personality traits.
“You’re always multi-tasking and on the go!” – that’s because I constantly feel I should be doing something.
“You know so much, you’re so intelligent!” – that’s because even when I finally do sit and relax and watch TV it’s always a documentary or a quiz show so I’m always learning something.
“You do so much for charity!” – that’s because even when I had next to nothing I still had something more than others and not to give would be selfish of me
Now, I do want to do all these things and more often than not I enjoy the hell out of them. I love me a good history documentary, and charity is a duty (I feel anyway ha) however there gets to a point where these things aren’t done for enjoyment, they’re done out of fear or shame. The fear I should know more about the degree I completed 7 years ago – you have a degree in it so you should know EVERYTHING. The panic that if I have free time, you don’t actually have free time. There’s always something you should be doing (cleaning, reading, sewing, etc.) so if you’re sitting you should be utilising the time. If I have £10 in my account, that person in the doorway has nothing – you’ll only spend it on a Costa coffee or a Cardigan.
These actions are beautiful things, great things I’m proud of. However, if you take these traits and turn them up to 11 they become damaging. Multi Tasking becomes never resting. Giving to charity means putting yourself at risk of debt. Never switching off leads to exhaustion.
Then this happens…
“HOW can you be tired? You slept for 9+ hrs last night!”
“You’ve been in PJs ALL day?! You’re so lazy”
“You backed out last time! You’re so flakey”
“You complain all the time, think positively!”
“You’ve changed. You’re not the person you used to be. You’re so selfish now!”
The thing is, I never used to complain. Or back out of plans. Or sleep all the time. Or put myself first, for anything really. I didn’t complain about my life even when my home was leaking water through electrical sockets and was dangerous. I was anxious that I had a roof so it would be selfish of me to complain to others so convinced myself it was all fine as some people would beg for a home, even a leaky one. Even when I was in an abusive relationship, I was anxious that there were people dying at the hands of their partners. He only hit me every now and then, and I was sure him telling me about how everyone only valued my body and only he valued my mind was just him looking out for me. So I convinced myself everything was fine because I was ashamed to be seen complaining when so many others had it worse. Now the thing is, for now, someone will always have it worse. This is a sick result of austerity, global politics, sexism, homophobia, greed, and so many other factors. We’re taught to feel grateful for what we have because we could have it worse. So, many people tolerate violence, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and other abuses because “it could be worse”.
I’m not standing for this anymore, and I implore you not to stand for it either. If selfish means putting my health before other people’s convenience then print me a T Shirt:
You can only give if you have something to give. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I’ll always be there if I can – always. If I have something to give, it’s yours. Just let me develop something to give.
I’m terribly sorry if my disability is an inconvenience for you, but I don’t want to ever feel like I did back then. I don’t want to be so exhausted by just waking I want roll back over asleep and never wake up. I don’t want to rather be asleep because I can’t bear to simply exist. I want to be able to go to work, make money, come home, enjoy life, to love and BE loved.
So sue me for wanting to live, and not just exist as a means to your end.
We’re all mad here. You are worthy.
Katie B x
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.