Friday, 12 February 2016

Standing Up for Mental Illness

Standing Up for Mental Illness


  If you have just one message to convey in a medium such as YouTube - how would you proceed? Is it simply enough to display a poster with your message written on it - to force the viewer to engage the video enough to read your message?

  Probably not, YouTube is already saturated with people telling their story through written cue cards. A single message would be nothing less than a reason to click unto the next video.

  I chose an unusual tactic; I stood for 4 hours, 5 minutes, and 9 seconds holding a poster that read,"Living with mental illness is painful enough...without the judgement," for my YouTube video.

  All that standing is the point, I wanted to take an unusual amount of time impressing my message upon the viewer. I wanted the viewer to mention my video to others, and how I took an un-necessary excessive action to make my point. Surely I did not need to stand there for 4 hours - 15 seconds would have been more than enough time for any one to read my poster.

  I don't expect anyone will watch the whole 4 hours, but I suspect some will see the video player timeline of 4:05:19 and wonder what am I doing for all that time. And subsequently start skipping through the video timeline.

  I think, its a video that is not only unique but also invokes thought. And making people think is part of spreading the message.

Living with mental illness is painful enough ... without the judgement

"What do you do (what do you do for a living)?" It's the question that strikes terror into my heart. I usually reply with, "I live on disability for anxiety, and depression."

  I do my best to hide my escalating anxiety as I wait to see if they accept my answer with approval or they decide to further interrogate my position.

  If they decide to go through with the interrogation, it becomes a most nerve wrecking experience. One were I'm forced to face feelings of shame, guilt, and my many insecurities. There have even been a few people who have verbally assaulted me with condemnation upholding the theory that I am a parasite enjoying the vacation of a lifetime at tax payers expense.

  Do people not realize that I have been assessed, tested, and diagnosed by a multitude of doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and counselors?  Or are they quick to forget that working 9 to 5 requires a certain degree of emotional and psychological stability. Not to mention coping skills that allows one to effectively deal with social interaction, and the stresses associated with work demands.

How I really feel

 I remain psychologically fragile, which brings into question just how much about myself I should reveal in a public forum. My esteem, and confidence can and have been devastated with a single negative comment.

  But this blog post is my contribution to society; the sharing of my experience with mental illness for the benefit of others. However, there remains an inherent reluctance within me to share my plight for fear of judgement.

  During my worst moments I have felt as if I were the ugliest, and most worthless man on Earth. Its an awful feeling. It feels as if no-one would ever perceive any true value within me. Like I am genetic garbage that falls short of all the qualities everyone else values and shares.

  Not only do I feel socially awkward in the company of others, I also feel a real disconnect with people. A lot of that disconnection can be traced back to being bullied in high school (My Blog about how bullying impacted me).

 Its truly difficult for me to explain this,'disconnection' with people in general. Part of it is that there is a lot I simply don't understand about people, and conversely a lot people don't understand about me. Often I've felt like an alien in this world. A lot of times I simply feel as if people are naturally dis-interested in me and I am under appreciated.

  I find it increasingly difficult to make friends, although I do have a few good friends of which I trust. I fear that if people learn about me in my entirety they will look down upon me with contempt and/or disapproval.   

  I reckon this would make a fantastic online dating profile (joke).

  These are just a few of the thoughts associated with my ongoing depression. This is my existing state while I face the world of which I'm part. However, I do my very best to conceal my damaged self in my day to day life.

Anxiety, Paranoia, and Worry

  My anxieties and subsequent paranoia motivate me to avoid certain social situations. I really don't feel safe in public alone without my wife or a friend. Anxiety also interferes with those things of which I wish to do, like working-out, going swimming, my daily routine of cleaning myself up.

  Simple tasks like taking a shower become a real chore for me, I think about undressing, getting my new towel and clothes ready, all the body parts I have to wash, drying, putting my new clothes on, fixing my hair, shaving, brushing my teeth - ugh! 

 Many times I find myself lost in indecisiveness, should I work on this or work on that. There's no shortage of things to do. And too many times I find myself paralyzed with mental anguish, confusion, and being overwhelmed.

  Last summer my anxiety was so bad day after day, week after week that I simply could not relax. It would start in the morning with a rapid heart rate, and a deeply uncomfortable emptiness in my chess (which could be best described as an electrical storm of stressed nerves) which would eventually become tolerable in late afternoon. It was the worst summer of my life.

  I'm no stranger to panic attacks, which have lead me to the hospital a few times, and an eventual cardiac stress test (I learned that my heart was indeed healthy).

  Because I don't respond well to stress I have had many sleepless nights tossing and turning, praying that I'll eventually sleep. 

  I have too many worries, I worry about bills, money I owe on credit cards, my health, the mess in the house, what my step son is doing, my relationship with my daughter, crime in our low income neighborhood, my wife who needs to be on oxygen, and has a crippling arthritis, and whether the future will be good or not.

  I even worry about what time I have left on this Earth, and what i should do with that time.

  There have even been many times, when I have truly felt like I couldn't appropriately take care of myself and considered checking myself into Alberta Hospital (short term residency for the mentally ill). I even have thought that maybe someone should take care of me if I were to find myself living alone.

  Because my life, at times is barely tolerable.
 
  Conclusion

  Please understand that this post is not a plea for help or advice. But rather this is a snap shot of my life with mental illness. There are other issues and challenges of which I did not mention because of possible consequences to other people involved in my life. And other challenges which are hard enough for myself to come to terms with.

  More importantly, I don't need the judgement. I'm not a criminal, I have not broken any laws. I don't drink or do drugs. I have achieved a few notable goals in my life. I take care of what I need to take care of. I've done my share of volunteering and helping others. I'm a good husband to my wife. I participate in my therapies. And I strive to be productive in my own capacity. I'm a good person.

  Mental illness is painful enough...without the judgement.

  If your interested on reading my article to do with bullying you can click on the following link;

 http://www.darryllearie.com/2014/10/how-being-bullied-changed-my-life.html
 

 
 

 

 

  

 
 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Comment (anyone can comment) ...