The news that another member of my family is experiencing mental ill-health was a bit of a blow I have to admit and another restless night wondering what the hell is happening to us all. And by all, I don’t just mean my family unit. I’ve never known so many people ‘on the pill’ (Prozac).
Mental ill-health. We’re all at it, self-included.
God knows what it is like for those that really suffer, but waking up in the morning (for me) is rotten for at least 30 minutes. The weight and misery of the world piles in, which is ridiculous because here I am living a typical Western-type, lifestyle. Extremely comfortable with all the basics. Heat. Food. Light. I have no religious fanatics telling to believe in a God who wants to go all out to destroy His own creation and I (and believe it or not, my children) am not being bombed by a fanatical Government who want to get me round to their way of thinking. Like many over-privileged Westerners, I have the misery symptoms but none of the misery. Symptoms without a Cause. It goes by the title of ‘Anxiety‘.
Of course, the temptation is to say, ‘Pull yourself together’ . If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, ‘pulling oneself together’ doesn’t work. For two reasons. First of all,
- I’m not a pair of curtains/drapes and…
- I don’t have that kind of control. As hard as I try, the misery appears to be an almost separate entity.
However, in my case, the pills appear to work, and I can only say that because when I attempt to come off them, even in a measured way, things get worse. The depression and anxieties deepen.
Dealing with it.
As I said, the pills work, so, why? I hear you ask. Would you want to come off them?
The answer. I don’t like taking them because it is in my addled brain a sign of defeat. I want to beat this thing without any artificial help. But, I know that ain’t gonna happen.
I’m told by those who know about these things that there is, a chemical in my brain that is misbehaving. Why it’s misbehaving I have no real idea although I’m led to believe that it was triggered by some past life experience that only an expensive therapist could help explore and maybe repair. Like many others, I can’t afford the therapist, so I have no choice. It’s the pills for me. And the pills take the edge off it, whatever ‘it’ is.
[Personally, and I’d appreciate it if you kept this to yourself, I believe my ‘problem’ is to do with the time we live in. As I alluded to above there are various unpleasant things happening right this very moment to a large part of the Human race that are NOT happening to an equally large part of the Human Race. IT IS JUST NOT FAIR. As human beings we are connected in many ways that are known and unknown. Taking that into consideration, I believe that those of us who mental problems have been mis-diagnosed as having ‘Anxiety Problems’ and are in fact suffering from…GUILT.]
There are ‘moments’.
Moments of peace and quiet when ‘it’ seems to leave me. Rare, and far between these moments are, I’ve learnt to take advantage of them, relax in them before the onslaught begins again.
Something I have discovered quite recently is the ability ‘to answer back’. I read somewhere about someone who uses a mantra (a form of words, a sentence, anything) to go on the defensive. So, for instance when I feel the darkness coming in and on and my brain has begun its regular delivery of doom and gloom, I tell it (aloud) to ‘stop lying’ or in simple terms to (excuse the French), to ‘fuck off and leave me alone’. (Of course, the best place to practise this is in the privacy of your own room).
Do not keep it to yourself.
For me, and this happened recently, finding out a good friend was having similar experiences helped. A bit wimpy I know, but for a while I didn’t quite feel so alone.
To sum up.
Mental ill-health of the type I am describing and so often labelled ‘Anxiety’ is I believe, a consequence of the times we live in. It is, in part, I am convinced caused by our ‘picking up’ on the sufferings of our fellow human beings. It is, real and destructive. A future ‘cure’ will rely on justice and on the way we treat our fellows.