All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


18 Comments

I Forgot to Remember to Forget

victimblaming

For the last several weeks I have been considering ending my blog for a myriad of reasons, most notably because I am tired of being told that all I need to do to rectify over twenty-one years of mental health problems, trauma and abuse is to simply ‘get over it’.

Over the years I have done my best to describe the difficulty of living with mental illness but in recent weeks I’ve come to realize that my writing is not good enough to explain the complexities of these conditions and the challenges some people face in order to live more contributing lives.

Living with unsupported (not by choice) and un-medicated (again, not by choice) mental illness is beyond difficult – especially when that ‘living’ is done in abject poverty and isolation.

In recent weeks the ‘get over it’ mentality that has been thrown at me has caused tremendous distress and self-hate. It has fuelled my descent into alcoholism, my withdrawal from the world, increased self-harm and confirmed my belief that I am a failure; that I am simply weak because I have been unable to move past the (multiple forms of) abuse I received.

I am all too aware of what I need to do. I am not an idiot. I am not stupid. I am not lazy and I am certainly not someone who doesn’t work for a better future. If it was as simple as just ‘getting over it’ I would have done this years ago.

All I have done for six years is work myself to the bone for a better future (my years of fighting to get off the streets, my years of battling for support and mental stability, my years of trying to break free of social isolation and poverty, my years of combatting the trauma of abuse, my years of trying whatever therapy option I can get my hands on, my years of trying to improve my education and employment opportunities, my years of trying to raise awareness and help others who are suffering to realize they are not alone in this war) when it would have been all too easy to give up and drink myself to death.

But telling someone to just ‘get over’ trauma is naïve, pretentious and deeply insulting. It is akin to telling someone suffering from depression to just ‘cheer up’ or a victim of rape to ‘forget about’ what happened to them. A counselor I saw a few weeks ago described it as victim blame mentality, for it shows a complete lack of understanding of mental illness, abuse trauma and how these two issues feed into each other. It minimizes the effort someone is making to overcome their illness and blames them for not being strong enough to just ‘get over’ whatever is happening to them.

Three days ago I woke up following one of the most visceral dreams of my life. A dream so vivid I thought I had Quantum Leaped back into my July-2007 self! Upon waking, the pain I had relived was so intense – so real – I promptly vomited over my bed, bedside bookshelf and books. I haven’t slept since because I’m too scared to do so.

I cannot control my subconscious dreaming any more than the next person can, and no amount of telling me to just ‘get over’ these events is going to stop the constant parade of nightmares that constantly hurl me back into those times, especially without support or distraction.

Many people struggle to fight issues of mental illness, abuse and homelessness when surrounded by friends, family and professional support – let alone someone who has spent almost every minute of the last six years (bar six months in 2008) completely on their own.

So if this failure to just ‘get over’ my illness and trauma makes me weak, useless, pathetic, lazy, selfish, worthless and someone who isn’t working hard enough – all things people have called me for not being able to fix myself over the years – then I guess that’s who I am.

Personally, I prefer to see myself in a different way.

But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Postscript:

I haven’t decided whether or not I will be ending my blog yet. Although the reasons are real and valid (in addition to the above: I’m a bad writer, I have nothing original to say, I’m effing tired of life, there are many people who raise awareness far better than I) with all I’ve been through over the years I am more than aware my current depression is the central voice beyond this thought. I have made irrational decisions based on my mental health in the past – such as the instigation of my suicide plan in 2006 – and do not wish to make a firm decision whilst lost in this state. Until I’ve made this decision my blog will remain and I am going to try to post more frequently than I have of late.

As for other areas of my ‘life’:

  • I have made efforts to begin dealing with my current alcoholism (however much I hate to use that word, I can no longer deny it, for I have consumed more alcohol in 2013 than I have in the five years between 2008-2012 combined! Hmmmm? Does that mean people will now begin accepting me as ‘Australian’? :p)
  • I am also trying to seek psychiatric care but have been told an appointment will not be available until March/April at the earliest as I’m not in ‘crisis’. Yay the mental health system in Australia!
  • I have also begun working with a new therapy called ‘Mindmapping’, which I will explain in a post later this week (hopefully).
  • My internet connectivity is still buggered. I humbly apologise to people who have emailed me over my lack of reply. I am not deliberately avoiding doing so. Sorry.
  • This is the first time I’ve logged into my blog for weeks, so more apologies for not responding to comments that have been left. I will endeavor to get to them soon.
  • Current 2013 smile count = 3½  (upon receiving a Christmas card, listening to Amy MacDonald, upon waking following a dream about Stephanie and whilst watching the Doctor Who episode ‘School Reunion’ – although this was a bittersweet sad smile upon seeing Elisabeth Sladen (RIP), hence the ½.)

Here’s hoping you’ve all had a better start to the year than me :)