The Weekend (Just getting to editing this now, and by editing, I mean skimming over it as I need to put myself to bed.)
I’m going to admit something that probably won’t go down too well with other bloggers and the “blogging community” which is seemingly full to the brim of people only too willing to share their experiences, pain and advice. I’m one of them, that makes me cringe. Jesus, do people read this and think, “Hey Car Crash Girl, save your dirty laundry for your therapist!”?
I, in my tower built out of psychiatric and psychological acronyms, like to think I’m above, or at least apart, from other mental health bloggers – and I’m thinking of one in particular who really pisses me off – who are constantly gloomy and wittering on about their private therapists with no humour included in the pack. Humour is the battery that lights up my depression: make a snarky comment about self harm and my toy puppy starts barking or my Barbie house doorbell rings. Take the humour out and I’m Ross and not Chandler.
Remember the movie Batteries Not Included ? I don’t remember the details but I do recall having it on VHS, or more likely, due to my Born in the Eighties status, on Betamax which I sometimes mix up with BMX but that was a bike. I had a blue one and I once cycled after an older boy I liked (I was six – yeah, I know: from little acorns…) and crashed into a parked car. I really should have stored that memory away as a metaphor for my future relationship trajectory: chase a boy you like: crash into stuff and get hurt.
How did I get onto that? Oh yeah, sad kids’ movies about robots and aliens, like Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2. Nobody ever mentions those films. It’s always ET but I still quote SC2: “KO Derf” just like I might quote “Ok, last hug” from Big Hero 6 which I accidentally watched (yes, it’s possible to “accidentally” watch a movie) with Elsadaughter last night and, to say that I boo hooed would be a huge understatement as I sobbed uncontrollably not just at the empowering emotional acceptance at the end but pretty much throughout the whole thing. I blame my new Pill.
My new Pill is Cerazette which is the combined pill or the mini pill? Shit, I should know which it is shouldn’t I? Or are they the same thing? Mini pill. The one with no oestrogen, or progesterone. Oestrogen, yes. Maybe. I could go and Google it and pretend I am a conscientious patient and that I listen to my doctor but that would be lying and, as I’m listening to Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please on audio and I like her honesty about shit she gets wrong and doesn’t know, I’ll be upfront and say I don’t know what the Pill I’m taking does to my body other than I won’t get pregnant (fat fucking chance last couple of weeks anyway) and there’s less of a chance of migraines and stroke, which is always a good thing to hear from your health care professional. I wish Baymax was for real. *sob*
Because I was on Yasmin for years and with the migraines coming back and the fainting and the heart palpitations, my doctors (I have a team) took me off that and put me on this new one which I’m not sure I like because I probably won’t get a period.
Why wouldn’t I like that? Periods suck. Yes, they sure do but not having it feels weird. Maybe it’s habit, or something like the lunar cycle: when the moon is full everyone goes a bit freakoid and lets off some built up monthly gravitational tension or whatever and then we go back to a nice peaceful succession of calm nights during which the crescent grows and then we all lose our shit again.
There’s another admission, I have no idea how the moon works. That might just be the stupidest sentence I’ve ever written. I don’t get gravity and tides and the whole moon/sea thing. I can write poems about them, sure, any dipshit with a thesaurus can do that but understanding the actual *makes twirly gesture with right index fingers and rolls eyes to sky*, nope, not a clue. I could Google it but then I’d be pretending to be smart and know stuff that I don’t, and Amy Poehler wouldn’t like that.
As I write, I’m hearing the words in Amy Poehler’s voice. If I ever wrote a book about my life, I would want Amy Poehler to read the audio.
I realise that I started this post promising an admission which I haven’t yet given despite a stream of other admissions.
I don’t read a lot of blogs.
There. I said it.
I read articles and OpEds and columns and books and poems and plays but I’m not a fan of blogs, even though I write one myself. My lack of reading other blogs is probably why this one has contained itself in a fairly small readership with a steady but limited social media following compared to the ubiquitous presence of certain other mental health blogs which, excuse the pun, do my fucking head in. Also, I have no money to promote it.
And this is controversial but I wonder are there people out there who write about their “journey” with mental illness as a career, or for… ssssssh, attention? Is that super cynical of me? Am I judgemental and maybe begrudging of their popularity or even worse, the attention they get? Could I be that horrible a person?
Why am I annoyed by their posts and articles? Because it seems like they aren’t putting enough effort into getting better. It’s like they want to be sick so they can keep writing about how sick they are and then get loads of supportive comments telling them how brave they are and how strong they are. Fuck that. You can’t be this fucking miserable all of the time. Where are the highs of your condition? Can you do nothing to drag yourself out of it, must you always cause a scene and rely on someone else to pick up the pieces?
Yeah, I’m part of the problem. I’m fighting stigma with my own stigma coming along for the ride. I’m basically telling others to “snap out of it” when that was the one thing I couldn’t stand to hear. I’m judging others when I couldn’t bring myself to look people in the eye, talk to people on the phone or go outside for fear of their judgment.
I am stigma.
Or has “mental health” become an emerging market? Has discussing our mental health and opening up about our depression and anxiety and stress and PTSD and BPD and Bi-Polar and self-harm and suicide ideation become an economic bandwagon: the horror stories and tearjerking recoveries a commodity to be traded for online hits, the new celebrity craze or for sponsorship or advertising space on the blog page.
I suppose what I’m worried about, and I’m sure I’ve discussed this before, is that I’m afraid that depression and all the emotional and physical offshoots that spring from that hackneyed word has been hijacked by the media and writers and artists and musicians as the cause du jour and when something becomes trendy the mass popularity of it takes away individual agency, or responsibility.
We each have a responsibility for our own health: you can’t expect to smoke forty a day and your doctors, friends and family to form a lung cancer barrier around you while you keep puffing away. I can’t expect my mother or my friends or my psychiatrist or Pieta House or the Rape Crisis Centre or my GP to fix everything in my head. Yes, they could help me to stop quit my metaphorical smoking but it’s up to me, with their secondary encouragement, to strengthen my body and my mind, and to get better.
You have to want to get better and reading some of the stuff out there, there are some people who seem determined to revel in the gloom.
I also worry that when another issue comes along, the plight of those suffering from depression will be forgotten: Haiti; World AIDS Day; Sudan; MND – will #endthestigma #timetotalk and the Green Ribbon be another bumper sticker hashtag thrown in the bin when we open the discussion and choose a colour for our next viral objective?
Let’s hope not.