Mental health. To all ends, it’s something I have struggled with for a long, long time. Despite this, at times I am still unsure what it really means. What does it mean to me? To everyone else?
Mental health. Anxiety. Depression. Psychological distress. For me, the unsettled mind has plagued me to the point I consider it ‘normal’, a part of me that will never be erased. I still, at times, struggle to see myself as someone with ‘mental health problems’, as someone with an illness, as someone whose life has been severely impacted by the way my mind functions.
To acknowledge having poor mental health, or a mental health condition, feels strange. There is still a part of me that assumes this is just the way I am supposed to be, and there isn’t really much else I can expect from life. I have been wholly overcome by the neural pathways sparking through my brain, the distress and confusion this has caused, and an inability to regulate or understand my emotions. The completeness of this is at times the only thing that feels real; at other times, like an alien parasite leeching my energy and rerouting my thoughts into a dark or inherently troublesome place.
The name of this blog represents my own attempt to discover the seedlings of things outside my mental state. I am, and have been, obsessed by my own condition. I have tried consistently and without mercy to control my own thoughts and feelings, for a fear of what might happen if I did not. I have spent years thinking, thinking and thinking until my thoughts are ravelled together like wire wool and I can no longer distinguish where one ends and the other begins; where my ‘condition’ stops and I begin.
Although I have persisted in exploring and being consumed by the most painful parts of my identity, I have also persisted relentlessly to seek treatment, some sort of external validation and understanding that would allow me to move past the rut I have been stuck in. This persistence is the one reminder that there is something or someone else within me – something that wants to change, to push past the dark brambles and to grow.
The complex specificity of this task is exhausting. My thoughts, feelings and behaviour are exhausting. My existence is exhausting. It is something that is almost beyond difficult to describe to others; even more so to allow them any form of understanding. It is isolating and confusing. At times when I am able to function in a manner I consider to be ‘normal’, even I doubt the existence of my problems. I became too good at papering over the cracks, forgetting that cracks continue to grow and cannot be held by paper alone.
As I read this back, it seems as though it was written by someone else entirely. I do not believe a word I have typed. This dissonance, this denial and confusion is something I aim to address within this blog. I want to write down my experiences, how my life has been shaped by the functions of my mind. I want to show others they are not alone. I want to show myself what I have overcome, what I have learned, what paths I have strayed down and stumbled across in both my darkest hours and my attempts at recovery. I want to explore the relationship between mental health and the world it occupies, how my individual experiences have shaped and been shaped by what occurs inside my head.
To attempt this through writing is the only way that feels natural to me. I am able to put words down in an order that makes some sort of sense without having to pick apart every sentence the way I do with my thoughts. It offers me some freedom, a release.
A space to grow.