Friday, 13 January 2012


Hello all

The title of this post was inspired by a friend who came over this morning for a coffee.  We talked about all sorts, including my mental health diagnosis, and of course my friend was lovely, as I knew she would be.  I have confided in lots of people recently, partly because I want to get my Rethink group up and running in the near future, and I will need support to do that (and members).  The more people I tell, the easier it becomes.

The day may well come when somebody runs out of the front door screaming 'Help! Schizophrenic!' after I have confided in them, but it has not happened yet.  They may be screaming inside, but I think it is unlikely after they have sat down at my kitchen table, coffee in front of us, with Toddler in the next room watching Scooby Doo.  I am obviously not a threat, or unstable (well, not unduly so).

Anyway, friends are good, and I believe that the more we talk the more we learn, about ourselves, each other and the world.  Women are lucky in that way; we find a lot of reassurance in our friendships, a lot of strength in solidarity.  And, of course. friendship brings fun.

After my friend left, Toddler and I went for a long walk to the beach and back.  On the way home, I stopped by the house of another friend, one who I haven't seen much of recently, and arranged to walk the dog with her on Monday.  So that is potentially another long chat - although it might not turn out to be that way.  I feel quite wiped out just now by the intensity of the last talk, and I certainly could not embark on another right now.  I'll see what happens on Monday.

I don't want all my friendships and relationships to be overshadowed by the spectre of mental illness.  I have built most of them on the understanding that I am just like everybody else, although internally I felt different and therefore inadequate.  Although I realise now that in fact I am just like everybody else, I have to recognise that some people might not see me that way if they knew my diagnosis. 

I am sure that if I had declared my problems at the outset - i.e. after my first daughter was born when I first started to make new friendships, most people would have been wary, I would have felt nervous and worried about their perceptions, and the friendships would have been stopped in their tracks.  And I don't want people I know to start seeing me as broken now - although if anybody does, and shies away from me as a result, I know I could cope.  Because I am not broken any more.

I suppose it is still early days for me with all this.  Hopefully I won't feel this exhausted every time I talk to someone about the dreaded diagnosis.  But on the bright side I now feel that one more person in the world understands a little more about the stigma and the unfairness of it all.  Maybe that is the way to change things - one step at a time.

I have to be somewhere else in fifteen minutes, so I had better sign off now. 

Louise x

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