If you have ever felt just a little bit off, but had to carry on and get things done, you have probably “just put a brave face on it and got on with it”. For some one with Mental Illness we develop a great skill that actors spend years and years perfecting and garner shelves full of awards for. We develop the ability to put on Masks. We mask the pain that we go through daily, hourly, every minute of every day we hide behind intricate masks that we dare not let slip for fear of someone seeing the real struggle we are going through and see us as weak and vulnerable.
I had decided when I had started to get better that I wouldn’t let a mask build up again. I had spent far to many years hiding behind a mask that portrayed me as being a jolly fat man who could handle whatever the world threw at me. I would only let the mask slip in the early hours of the morning when I sat in darkened rooms in front of the computer alone and in chat rooms taking with others who had taken off their own masks for the day. I didn’t want to burden my family with the pain I was in, they had their own troubles and they were worried enough about their own daily life without having more of me adding to it.
When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet – Act 4 : Sc5
Regardless of my best laid plans of 9 months ago, my mask building skills are proving to be still in quite good form it seems. I know they are because I I see myself looking from the outside onto my fake face smiling and trying to pull one more smile out of the bag to get through the next interaction with someone who I really would rather not speak too. I would much rather just be hidden away, deep down in a hole, as far away from the real world as possible. The only sad side to this is I know this is wrong, I have this self awareness that is pulling me up by my bootstraps and keeping me going. As hard as I try and cut those straps just to let me fall and maybe try and stop, my mind won’t let me.
The mind that is creeping in the darkness of depression will not let me stop and heal. It doesn’t want me to Keep Calm and Carry On:
I get this day in and day out. In the evening when it’s time to spend time with my family, I sit and stare at the TV in the hope that something will click in my head and I’ll start to enjoy myself. There are one or two things that will spark something in me, but it is fleeting, a passing moment in the grand scheme of things. For the life of me I couldn’t sit in front of a screen and watch 24/7 Mrs Browns Boys (as much as I would like too).
I have decided that I need to see my GP about what is going on. I don’t know what he can do about it, I have read my Care Plan that I was given when I was discharged from the Mental Health Team last year, and I know what they say should happen, but it’s been almost a year and as you may have noticed out “beloved” government have cut even more money from local adult services in the time since I have been out of their care I have no idea that they would even answer the phone if I were to call them. It is a scary thought not knowing what will happen next. I guess it’s just one step at a time.
Until Next Time…