Simple Math

Our past influences our future. Our genetic code is influenced by environmental factors, our past behaviour is learned into habits which become our mannerisms, and our memories influence our a behaviour to an extent… right?

I have 3 parts to my life equation that I felt that made me, and grew exponentially to show me in the future. These 3 parts are 3 life experiences of violence, depression and death of a loved one.

Violence came into my life unexpectedly from an ex. I used to think that the violence came and left like the song he sang me “If you walk away, I’ll walk away”. But the waves of flashbacks of him kneeling on my chest, as I struggle to catch my breath, just like I did then.

I was with my Grandmother when she passed. She stopped breathing just moments after I was panicking about work. Work. I had been sending emails next to her deathbed. I feel this is the worst sin I have ever done. I’m willing to do Hail Mary’s until my death to rid myself of this guilt.

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The last of the 3 ghosts to visit was depression. This was depression that made me hear the clock ticking extra loud when I got home. Depression that made me so detached from the real world that I didn’t care about deadlines on Monday…. I probably wouldn’t be there then. Depression that made me thankful to talk to the Samaritans.

The Simple Math of these experiences used to equate to me, that I would be, and always be: alone. Living with an old experience of domestic violence, gives panic attacks and the other two experiences further cements my belief that I will always be alone. I believed it without even thinking about it.

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Yesterday I thought; what if I was wrong. That my past cannot equate to my future? I can create new thought patterns, by not trying to silence my past. By trying to add new thoughts to the equation. These new patterns allow me to change the way I react to triggers of flashbacks, and when an episode of depression happens. I feel that I am not depression. Depression is something that will come and go, and these instances will be less and less. This is because I have overcome it so well in the past. Through changing my thought pattern, I will change out of my own predetermined future. I now feel more in control of my triggers, depression and my future.

You Already Know

Every day is a challenge for a person with mental health issues. I get up for my morning cup of tea in the office. Oh no wait there is a person in the kitchen…

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I stutter and I stumble through awkward silences back to my desk. I’m trying to quieten down my inner voice of “you can’t just end a conversation like a normal person?”.

My emails and spreadsheets lull me back into a daze… Someone touches my shoulder and this sends an electric shock through my body. I’m triggered into a place of 12 years ago. It’s odd I don’t see it, but I feel it. The shame, the panic, the loneliness, oh the panic.  Whilst I’m finding my way back to reality, I hear that same person saying “oh you don’t like to be touched do you?”. I feel bad for my strange requests. Why can’t I just be “normal”?

Glancing onto instagram confirms that I’ve not hit the life markers of baby, or marriage at the age of 32. Or I’m not out there in the sun, or winning competitions, or my make isn’t perfect. Which compiles onto body image, and life image anxieties. Thankfully I’m now onto the “I just don’t give a shit” stage of my life. I just wish it was possible for so many other people.
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People with poor mental health don’t just have anxiety or depression or bipolar. They are a mesh of all sorts or mental health issues. Throughout the day they can be triggered in all sorts of different ways, either by social media, situations or the people around them. It is important that we show understanding and care of each other, and we speak out about mental health.

Not speaking out is ordinary – Roman J Israel esq