The news that yet another member of my family is experiencing mental ill-health was a bit of a blow I have to admit and another restless night wondering what the hell is happening to us all. And by all, I don’t just mean my family unit. I’ve never known so many people ‘on the pill’ (Prozac).
We’re all at it, self-included.
God knows what it is like for those that really suffer, but waking up in the morning (for me) is usually rotten for at least 30 minutes and then, if it’s a bad day, sporadic intervals over the next 24 hours. For some reason the weight and misery of the world piles in and takes up residence in my head.
This is of course blatantly ridiculous because I live in Stratford upon Avon.
The Taliban don’t have a base here (as far as I know). There hasn’t been a locus swarm to wipe out our crops in living memory so we’re not starving, and at the moment, I’m not called upon to sign up to the army and go abroad and conquer foreign lands. So all in all, everything is tickety boo and Bristol fashion.
I am living a very nice (I was going to say European – wash my mouth out with soap and water) lifestyle. We’re extremely comfortable with all the basics. We have heat, we have food, we have electricity. I have no religious fanatics telling to believe in a destructive God and I am not being bombed by a fanatical Government who want to get me round to their way of thinking. What I do have is a problem when I wake up in the morning.
Like many over-privileged Westerners, I have the misery symptoms but none of the actual misery. Symptoms without a Cause that goes by the name of ‘Anxiety‘.
Of course, the temptation is to say, ‘Pull yourself together’ . If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, ‘pulling oneself together’ doesn’t work. For two reasons. First of all,
- I’m not a pair of curtains/drapes and secondly…
- I don’t have that kind of control. As hard as I try, the misery clings on as though a separate entity.
However, in my case, the pills appear to work.
The cutting, razored edge of this mysterious misery is dulled and for a while, tamed. (It must be the pills because if I attempt to come off them I come over all doo-lally and fall once again into the pit).
As I said, the pills work, so, why I hear you ask, ‘Why would you want to come off them’?
The answer is simple.
I don’t like taking them because it is in my addled brain a sign of defeat. Deep down inside I want to beat this thing without any artificial help. But, I know that ain’t gonna happen. I have to reluctantly turn myself over to the pharmaceutical giants.
I’m told by those who know about these things that there is, a chemical in my brain that is misbehaving. Why it’s misbehaving I have no real idea although I’m led to believe that it could have been triggered by some past life experience. To get to the bottom of this puzzle and go some way to finding an answer and maybe a cure, I would have to employ an expensive therapist but like many others, that kind of solution is not something I can afford. I can’t afford the therapist, so I have no choice. It’s the pills for me and thousands of others like me.
[Personally, and I’d appreciate it if you kept this to yourself, My own personal diagnosis says it’s something to do with the time we live in. As I alluded to above there are various unpleasant things happening right this very moment to a large part of the Human race all while another part of the Human race goes relatively untouched. THIS IS NOT FAIR. I believe that all human beings are somehow connected. Taking that into consideration, I believe that a large number of us diagnosed with mental problems and are in fact suffering from a form of…GUILT.]
Dealing with it.
There are in my case, moments of peace and quiet when ‘it’ seems to leave me. I’ve learnt to take advantage of them, to relax in them before the onslaught begins again.
Something I have discovered quite recently is the ability ‘to answer back’. I read somewhere about someone who uses a mantra (a form of words, a sentence, anything) to go on the defensive. So, for instance when I feel my brain beginning its regular delivery of doom and gloom, I tell it (aloud) to ‘stop lying’ or in simple terms to (excuse the French), to ‘fuck off and leave me alone’.
(NOTE: The best place to practise this is in the privacy of your own room as it is quite possible, in these times of great misunderstanding, for it to be construed as a conversation with invisible friends).
Another good way of dealing with it is not to suffer alone. If the therapist route is for you and you can afford it, then good for you. Use it. For those of us poverty stricken odd-bods. Find an outlet. Call a friend. Talk to someone you trust. Don’t let it fester.
To sum up. My theory.
Mental ill-health of the type I am describing and so often labelled ‘Anxiety’ is *I believe, a consequence of the times we live in. It is, in part, I am convinced, caused by our ‘picking up’ on the sufferings of our fellow human beings no-matter who or where they are.
- my own personal theory/just a feeling that’s never been raced or rallied.