It seems it can just as easy to slip back into a habit of not talking about your mental health as it is hard to begin to talk about it in the first place. I first realised I was having serious issues with depression about five years ago, and lived with it unknowingly for a couple of years before that.
It has followed me around ever since and, much like many other illnesses, has become something I have to live with and manage rather than get over. I’ve often compared broken mental health to a broken bone, in that it just as much needs treatment and recovery, but a comparison to something like diabetes is more appropriate - it ain’t going anywhere and you need to keep looking after yourself.
One of the reasons I left mainstream teaching to pursue my passion for education via alternative means was how it fits around my illness. When I am under its effects it is like being an entirely different person and, though I fall under its effects much less deeply than before medication and therapy, it can still leave me in a rather pathetic state, unable to do the things I want to do, or to take pleasure in the things I would normally. Invariably, I spend my time attempting to drown out my incessant negative thoughts with a blaring cocktail of television, reading or video games, while attempting to find any valid excuse to cancel any and all engagements that require me to leave my flat. The life of a teacher does not allow for an evening of not being able to work, never mind days.
I have gotten better with time over not attempting to hide my mental state from those around me when I am feeling ‘black’, but even though my logical brain knows better, I tend to lose control of that part of my brain at the time. I am driven only by the animal part - I become like a black dog whose owner has let go of its lead. My mind is attacked by many poisonous thoughts, not least ones that batter my self-esteem to the point of believing that I am not worth anyone’s help, not that anyone would really care. I have great friends, wonderful family and a just-married wife - As I said, the logical part of my brain does not seem to work when it is depressed.
I know that what I have chosen to do in setting up Cre8 has been done for all the right reasons, and in line with everything I believe. Of course, I cannot know that my beliefs and philosophy will turn out right, but it would be entirely wrong to not try to live up to them. And, though I know there are many other and probably worse triggers for my mental health, having my beliefs and actions not in line is certainly one of them.
Happy World Mental Health Day! Just Keep Talking.