I am not a great believer in coincidence but in the last 3 days I have found myself talking to very different people who have suffered mental breakdowns, something I know I can write about as I have been there. I was living in Plymouth and Teressa well she was about 4yrs old I would say. I had by that time already had 4 separate investigations by different departments as to why I was ill and all four came back as nothing wrong with me. I have mentioned this in bits’ here and there throughout my blog and went into shaded detail about trying to commit suicide, before being committed into a psychiatric hospital where I displayed clear symptoms of MS, even then I still had a problem of writing the total 100% truth, I still held back and for one reason only, the stigma attached to admitting that you lost it. I didn’t just try to kill myself once, I tried several times over a period of about 25 or so years ago, all of them came down to one statement that I used and told the doctors I was a nutter, ‘I can’t cope’. As I said in my previous post, you try coping with an energetic 4yr old by yourself whilst in a full blown relapse, I would guess anyone who has been there or is right now ‘I can’t cope’ would sum it up well.
Talking about something that was so long ago is easy as there is a perception in life that as you get older you become more sensible and you should understand the world better and be able to deal with all that life throws at you without question, well like a lot of these assumptions they are complete rubbish, I am no more able to deal with things now than I was them, the difference is I have the words now, I have the experience and I have my diagnosis. As I said the other day depression for me vanished then as I at last knew what was happening to me. What I missed out was a huge area in the middle and areas which in many ways were harder as I was according to the doctors cured. In that time I labeled myself as being ‘of a depressive nature’ and I would go to the doctor for help and they put me on a new course of antidepressants as it had helped before, it really does help with pain I know that.
Talking this week though made me realise that depression is still seen as something that still has to be hidden, I don’t think I hide it, I just don’t talk about it unless it is relevant at the time, I realised this week though it is always relevant. If you arrived at work tomorrow looking tired and not at you best and when asked if you were OK, they expect you to say that you have had a bad night or you are a bit off colour, if you turned round saying you had spent the night getting drunk and looking a box of tablets, they would immediately run to the boss and get what they think is the help needed. There a millions out there right at this second who did just that last night, it doesn’t always mean they are even really thinking about killing themselves at that second, it just means that last night was a bad night and there will be many more like them without a single pill being swallowed. They need help, yes most definitely, but not to be labeled as a nutter, not to loose their job or be judged by all the non medical people around them, or avoided because people don’t know what to say.
I sat for many nights and days in that exact position, on three occasions I actually did take the tablets, the doctors didn’t understand exactly how I survived the last one other than I was lucky as I through-up and most of what I took came out, but they thought I had destroyed my liver, it clearly recovered. On the times I did try it, no one could have stopped me, I was always in a bad relapse and at the point where I couldn’t manage to deal with the pain, the numbness, my eyesight and all the other MS joys I wasn’t depressed, I was desperate, but that is splitting straws.
I wen through it and I am here, it never stopped me functioning as well as I could, it never caused me to harm anyone other than myself and it made me just as disabled as MS and all it’s friends have done to me now. That is the point though, all that has changed for me is the name and personal understanding, huge changes and although not the facts that fit everyone, some of those out there right now looking a the bottle or box may well be similar. MS hasn’t made me a leper, why should depression make them one?