A Mental Health Story: Part 3

Do you know what it’s like?

Course you don’t. How could you? You are not me. I am not you. But at least we can get a little bit of an understanding underway, right?

John would wake up every morning not wanting to get out of bed. Like most, but for him… it was harder. Tough to say for sure if it was, but from his point of view, getting out of bed was the hardest part of his day, and the part he despised the most. Why couldn’t he just go back to sleep? His dreams were a lot more enjoyable than what he constantly woke up to.

Nevertheless, out of some God-given miracle, he got himself out of bed. Though, this miracle didn’t lend any euphoric sensation, but rather a draining of energy. Like everything virtually was. No matter how he went about it, no matter how he thought about it, whatever task, it was emotionally and physically draining. Such as when he finally relaxed and settled to eat his meals, a time one would think would be nurturing, especially with the improvement in his diet, but that wasn’t the case. When he was still his body vibrated and even worse, his mind revved on like a bloody chainsaw. You should be doing this! You should be learning! Bettering! Improving! Racing! Racing! RACING!… to what, he didn’t exactly know. All he knew was where he was was not where he wanted to be. Then, following that line of thinking, where was the place he wanted to be? And how do you even know it’s a physical place, rather than an emotional or spiritual one? The latter would obviously prove more effective in helping his situation. You can’t run away from your problems Johnny boy. They’re just gonna keep following like they have been… You can’t outrun this!

Trying to rationalize these thoughts in his head always turned into a horrible cycle. The more he would try to figure it out, the more he would find unanswered questions, the more he would try to figure it out, resulting in even more unanswered questions and better yet, unanswered feelings. These feelings turned into, let’s call them symptoms, of depression, anhedonia, fatigue, lack of sleep, aggression and irritation, self-loathing, and suicidality. Probably a host more but the lines between mental health diagnoses are so blurry sometimes. The DSM might as well come with pop-ups and colouring sections. Anyway, these symptoms, contrary to popular belief are on a spectrum (like the diseases themselves) and therefore, like any other untreated health problem, got worse and moved along said spectrum. But how could depression and suicidality and and and, get worse… well, my friend, with the simple increase in quantity and quality of those horribly fascinating concepts.

“The worst part about hell is not the flames, it’s the hopelessness.”

I want to die, seemingly all the time.

I hear, see, and feel everything.

I see no reason to live, to reproduce.

My mind is a torturing timer, tick, tick, tick, tick. With the gears like a six-cylinder engine.

I am incapable incapable incapable of being happy.

I’m so selfish.

Please, I want to stop wanting to die.

No matter what John tells you about how he felt, prior to the medication and treatment, do you really think you’ll ever understand him? Do you think that you’ll see from his point of view, grasping the intricacies of his nature, his personality, his wants and desires, dreams and woes? It’s doubtful. But that’s the case with anyone. That’s the case with the mind. We will never be able to see his thoughts, his dreams and his wants. We can measure them, sure, but that’s not the same as seeing and feeling them for yourself. And that’s just a part of being human and part of having a mental health problem. Like a broken bone it takes time to heal, like a damaged organ, it takes treatment to get better. Like anything that is genetically bred or that has experienced trauma, there are repercussions for leaving it unattended – it’s especially more difficult when you can’t directly see the problem. (The lack of understanding we have towards these types of issues reflects in how we live and what we value).

John sees, or at least previously saw, very little in terms of things that nurtured him. He clung to find some sort of understanding, with himself and with others. The doctors didn’t get it, his family didn’t get it and none of his friends did either. But with all those unanswered questions he may have found one possible solution. That it’s not about finding all the answers, it’s about living with the fact that you know you never will.

It seems we all yearn for an understanding. An understanding of pain as much as grace. But we’ll never hit the target dead on. We may come close, sometimes. There might be that person that connects and seems to get it. Or you might find it in yourself. Wherever you do find it, perhaps that’s why we chase it all along, because it’s something like love feels like. As John swipes right on a pair of beautiful eyes.

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