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They say I'm mentally ill..

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Robald, Dec 9, 2008.

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  1. Robald

    Robald Active Member

    Just a second ago I was lying in bed with the intention of sleeping, but instead I was blinking furiously and resisting the urge to scream at the top of my voice. That would wake my housemates so I don't think it'd be a good idea.

    Anyway, a few thoughts past through my brain which gave me the idea to post this before I have another shot at sleeping.

    I have been diagnosed with depression - medical professionals and close friends/family who trust this way of thinking therefore say I am mentally ill.

    I think I'd prefer to say that I'm mentally injured.

    My depression started in an instant one day when I received some news. Overnight I went from being positive and cheerful to suicidally depressed. It didn't build up gradually over time and it certainly isn't caused by an innate chemical imbalance in my brain. It is caused by the circumstances I find myself in and my reaction to them.

    The term 'mental illness' puts me in mind of diseases and pathogens. As if depression is something that you unfortunately contract or develop. Perhaps something contagious, perhaps something congenital. But I wasn't born this way, I haven't caught a bug from someone and it didn't spontaneously arise within me.

    An injury happens when your body is damaged by an exterior force. To an extent it is obviously possible to injure yourself (see the 'self harm' section of this forum!) but in that case the active part of your body counts as an exterior force to the part that is subjected to the injury. If you punch yourself in the head, your fist is an exterior force to your skull! But the point is that an injury is caused by physical trauma.

    The night when I first tried to sleep after receiving the news that turned my world into a living hell, I lay my head down and tried to start coming to terms with what I'd just learnt. As I tried to understand what had happened, I could swear I felt something breaking inside my head.

    It was like a huge piece of hardwood, like a roof beam or a fencepost, was being subject to massive contrary pressure. Splintering and tearing with a great noise, desperately trying to hold itself together as it was wrenched apart by a force too great to withstand.

    Something broke inside me that day and I have never been the same since. That night I started crying for the first time in years and continued every day for months. Every train of thought eventually leads back to that terrible realisation and from there into darker places still. Everything in life prior to that point is detestable for leading me to it.. and everything that has followed since is detestable for having led from it.

    I've suffered a few physical injuries from which I've recovered almost completely and now only possess a scar to remind me of the event. But the mental injury I've sustained was more like losing a limb. It's completely changed my experience of everything in life and seems (from my perspective at least) to be stuck that way. Friends, family and mental health professionals all keep telling me that mental illness is curable and that my depression will lift. But if I had lost a leg would anyone be reassuring me that it would grow back?

    I guess if I want to pursue that analogy... instead of telling me that my leg would grow back these people would be reassuring me that I would find ways to cope and to get around. I could pursue a prosthetic leg, or try out a wheelchair.

    I actually heard a woman speaking on the radio not too long ago about her experience of losing both her legs in one of the 07/07 London bombings. She is a passionate musician and still pursues this love regardless of her circumstance. I remember her saying "I decided that I wasn't going to let a little thing like not having any legs get in the way of my life".

    I guess that should be inspiring. But it's not working that way for me. This lady, despite being a deprived of two limbs, is evidently radiantly mentally healthy. On the other hand to say "I'm not going to let a little thing like being severely depressed stop me enjoying myself" is almost a contradiction in terms. I am fully aware of the remedial benefit of engaging and/or social activities and indulge in them as much as possible. Yes- I can still enjoy myself in a way- but behind every laugh and smile is a melancholic dread and I reach the end of every day wishing that it could be my last.

    As long as I believe that I'm never going to be happy, it'll be true.

    Even now I am not totally without hope. A quick estimate would put my chances of overcoming depression at less that 0.1%, but what use is that?

    I'm on antidepressants. At some point soon I'll be getting regular therapy. This is all well and good, but I don't believe it's going to help me. The crucial part that is missing is me believing in my own potential for recovery.

    My brain is broken and I don't want it glued back together. I want it thrown on the waste heap and burned to ashes.

    Terminal mental injury. Fuck this life.
  2. Oak

    Oak Senior Member & Antiquities Friend

    Robald, i like how you describe your feelings. Life is a cancer that grows slowly attacking parts of our bodies. It is deadly i agree on this, our time here is limited, but as in any illness or cancer, with treatment one can either heal or have what is called a 'remission'. Do not despair over what seems broken or damaged, with proper help, they will provide with 'glue' (medicine or therapy) what you need to put back together the pieces. It wont be new as it has been once, but it will be whole and that's what counts.

    please be safe and stay well.

    if you need to talk, pm me or add me on msn
  3. Stranger1

    Stranger1 Forum Buddy & Antiquities Friend

    Hey Robald,
    I am glad to hear you are going to start therapy soon. It will take a little time for them to earn your trust. In the mean time offer up some of the small stuff about whats happening on the side of the real problem. Like they say take baby steps and gradually let more out a little at a time.
    In the mean time they will teach you coping skills and how not to discount the positive thoughts. You will eventually have to spill the beans so they can work out a plan of action with you. Everyone is different so they need to know. Good luck and I wish you well. Take Care!!~Joseph~
  4. plates

    plates Well-Known Member


    I relate to everything you said, only with me, I've had that continuously happen in my life. Lots of people are really amazed that I've come through all this and am still alive (and I'm not too depressed right now and have a lot of hope).

    I used to feel so much like you about the antidepressents and people pathologising my feelings.

    I don't know what has scarred and hurt you so deeply. What you said about the survivor of those bombings is so true. The difference between being mentally healthy and mentally injured- like what you're expriencing now. A lot of people can survive, but are not alive, you know? Or maybe they are feigning sweet healthy "life," because they are ashamed of the pain/anger, who knows...

    I have found that with a therapist , (and not all therapists are the same, I had to search long and hard for someone who spoke in my language) that I learnt to deal with injuries, to scream, like how you want to, rather than stifle it all down. The MH system can completely suck the life out of you, can silence you, and make you try and forget the injury and speak their language, which is another one of silencing (not addressing the problem because it's too complex and will make them feel uncomfortable as they are very medication orientated).

    I've for years, felt like you. I dealt with those feelings through artwork and recently have been really screaming, because those feelings, that you describe sound horrific.

    I suppose it's about language, how to create a language that will help heal that wound, not only heal, but articulate it. Or, at the very least, not stifle it down anymore. I've found through this year (I've been looking at my injuries) that the more I cover it up, or the more ashamed I am, the more I try and compromise myself for other people by doing what they want me to do (for example 'be happy') the more unhappy and depressed I am.

    Your feelings, the severe depression you experience is completely understandable. I can go through periods just like you, but I've managed over the years to cope with that much better and process whatever I'm going through rather than fighting it.

    I know this was really long but I hope that helped you somewhat.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2008
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