World mental health day

As yesterday was world mental health day  and others were talking about it I thought I’d do some inward reflection on the subject myself. Men are terrible for talking about stuff, possibly a fear of showing weakness or other such nonsense that appears to be part of our genetic make up. Who knows, I do know that even though I  wear my heart on my sleeve I bottle a lot of stuff up.

I often feel very alone and down about the life I’ve found myself in, with stress from my home life and stress from work factoring very highly. I often feel compromised by the things that I’ve allowed to become part of my day to day existence, the things I put up with ‘for an easy life’. Even though I’m surrounded by people clamouring for my time most days I often feel quite desolate and alone. I have many restless and sleepless nights and it’s during the small hours I tend to distract myself by writing blogs in the hope of quieting my thoughts so I can go back to sleep. Sometimes this works, often it doesn’t and I feel like I’m walking round in a zombie state a lot of the time, just functioning and getting through the day. I’m rarely happy and my moods are so changeable.

I use humour, sarcasm and wit a lot, probably as a coping mechanism more than anything else, if I can make light of things it can stop the irritation and anger that so often rises. Make a joke of things, bit of banter to try and quell the inevitable explosion. I know I do this and I often think back and cringe inwardly about things I’ve said as it’s often cutting and inappropriate. 

So whilst going through this inward reflection I thought I’d take a look at symptoms of depression. Here’s a few of them:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Change in sleeping patterns – more or less
  • Anger or irritability
  • Crying more
  • Change in appetite, or weight loss or gain
  • Isolation
  • Loss of energy
  • Reckless behavior

Now I don’t class myself as depressed but on reflection I certainly tick a lot of those boxes and need to be more aware of that fact. I’ve inadvertently worked on my coping mechanisms over the years to deflect at every opportunity, but sometimes I do feel like breaking down and having a good old cry. Do I ever go that far, very rarely and certainly never with anyone around. Maybe I should let it go and release the welled up emotions, but I usually find something to distract myself and stop it. This has probably being going on since my parents died, something I’ve never openly admitted. I have so many regrets around how I acted and treated them and in hindsight wish I’d noticed the unconditional love they poured out on me despite my behaviour. Not much I can do about that now other than try to do the same with my kids, which is often very hard. Living with a child with behavioural issues is hard, especially when it feels like their only goal is to rip the family apart. There is obviously some karma going on here!

Over the past few years running has become probably my biggest coping mechanisms. More so recently as I’ve become more social with it over the past year. Instead of running on my own all the time I now go to parkrun, which has become a big thing in my life, arguably I may have let it become too much of a thing, but at least I have focus and have met so many wonderful people through it. I’ve also joined a social running group on a Wednesday evening where I get to meet lots of other people who share the same love/hate relationship with hills as me. I look forward to my Wednesday night runs around Queen Elizabeth country park, as I’ve said before, it’s food for the soul. These things make me happy whilst I’m doing them, it is a much needed escape.

Running and being outdoors lifts my spirits. There’s nothing like going for a run or taking in a bit of fresh air to clear the head. With running the endorphins play a huge part of releasing the pressure valve, as does being outdoors, things always seem better when you’re outside. I try and run every other lunchtime at work, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. I feel I often need to or I’m going self destruct with a completely unprofessional outburst or rant. Sometimes I don’t quite catch it in time and end up having to back track and apologise for my words or actions, but usually it’s no way near as bad as it could be if I didn’t exhibit some modicum of self control. At least I’m aware of it bubbling under the surface most of the time.

I think outwardly I mostly seem to be smiling, but I could just be kidding myself there, the facade may not be as good as I think it is. The biggest thing I’ve learnt from all this is that we all wear a mask of some kind. You don’t know what others are going through so try to be patient and understanding, be kind. Hard I know, especially when people appear to be purely out to push your buttons. I try and often fail miserably at this. I let my temper get the better of me and can be cruel. I need to work on this area, a small gesture of kindness, even when you don’t feel the situation warrants it, can change the outcome of your interactions dramatically. Equally it may not, but don’t let that get to you. Be the bigger person.

I wasn’t going to write about this but as I’m getting things off my chest… I haven’t seen my son in over three months. He lives with his mum and I used to have him every fortnight for the weekend, this has been the arrangement since he was two. He won’t talk to me to explain why he wants nothing to do with me or the rest of my family. It’s tearing me apart, I’m welling up just writing this. There’s a lot going on in our household at the moment and I appreciate it’s not always the nicest of environments to be in, but without talking about the issues they can’t be fixed or even worked on. Im not really ready to talk about this too much more, but there it is, it’s out there now, I’ve not even talked to my sisters about it. It hurts, its raw, its painful. I live in hope that it can be sorted out as I miss him more than you can imagine.

So there we have it, I’m going to stop now, enough ramblings from this idiot. Hopefully my thoughts won’t offend those close to me who may read this, that’s not the intention. I do know that I am loved and do appreciate it even when it doesn’t feel much like it. This isn’t a dig at anyone, I just felt I needed to get a fraction of what goes through my head down in writing so maybe I can make more sense out of it. It is good to talk about how you’re feeling and get these things off your chest, something I perhaps need to do more, I need stop bottling it up inside. I feel a little bit better for writing this down, so I think I’ll continue to delve into my emotional state and work out what adjustments I can make to achieve some happiness (other than running or dressing up in fancy dress and running!).

Peace and hugs x

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