Looking at my past blogs I’ve realised there is a lot of chat about tools I use to stay healthy but I’ve really drifted away from sharing my own story day to day. I guess in one way this is because, as I’ve known from the very start and I’m sure a lot of people who share this type of journey know, talking about mental health can be difficult.
From looking at some of the stuff I get up to on social media it can be easy to say, “This guy isn’t depressed, look at the stuff he’s doing.” or as I hear a lot from friends, “You always seem so happy, I can’t believe you suffer with depression.”
Well I’m here to set the record straight – I am a happy and positive person but there are many, many times when my mental health struggles present the biggest of road blocks.
Whether it be anxiety in a social situation or feeling fine one evening and waking up the next with an overwhelming sense that staying in bed all day is the best option. So it’s time to try and find that courage to share a little more about the here and now…
Today I’m having a good day – actually the whole weekend has been pretty great but had you asked me how I felt last Thursday I’d probably had told you, “yep, I’m good” but that would not have been the truth.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a good four or five days where my mind feels like a deck of cards or spinning plates – I have one part of me that sets out all these expectations; today you need to train hard on the bike, you have to get that project done at work, you need to cook a great dinner, don’t forget to meditate, oh and lets start planning that next blog post, what about trying to catch up with friends, don’t you have to sort that car insurance payment as well and on it goes.
I guess like most people we pack our day (and our expectations) to bursting - it’s just that when my mind ain’t playing ball it becomes overwhelming. Then when I don’t meet those expectations a dark bubble descends, a bubble that consumes me more than is comparable to the size of the task I may not have done and when looked at logically not in any way fair towards what has actually been achieved.
The problem with that bubble is that it starts robbing you of the very tools you need to get out of it – “Well, you clearly can’t keep up this pace so you might as well stop completely.” Or worse, “Well you didn’t do those things today but you can add them to tomorrow.” – and all of a sudden tomorrow seems insurmountable. Before you know it you’ve binge watched a whole series on Netflix (The House on Haunting Hill), eaten your weight in Dominos pizza and then start beating yourself up about that as well.
Having depression sucks but I'm here to say it isn’t crippling.
A few years ago these thoughts and feelings would have done more than left me like a log on the sofa for an evening but would have taken a toll for far longer and in much greater depths. Time off work, friends ignored, fun plans ditched would have been the norm. In the intervening years I've had therapy, shared with friends, read books and more.
I still struggle (and in more situations than that listed above) but with hope and all the awesome people out there I love life. Next week I'll release a blog giving an overview of all the tools I've developed over the years to get me to a place where life is again fun, inspiring and worth every second in spite of the continued bad times.
For now though, I just want sit with the fact that life is crap sometimes but sharing with each other is the only way we'll heal and fight back against the stigma of mental health. It's ok to struggle!
Anyway, time to sign off, not set any more expectations for the day and feel a little smug about what I have done today. I’m off to the beach (sorry non-Australian readers)!