Monday, 20 June 2016

In Case you were Wondering...

I am still here!  I haven't been blogging a lot this year because I have been thinking that I really should move away from mental health as a topic and go forward with my life.  I tell myself that my breakdowns were far in the past, that I have won that battle now, that I have told my story in the hope that it would help others and therefore I have done my bit and can put it all behind me.

So, I have started to explore other avenues.  I started a law course and gave it up.  I tried to write novels and found out that it is harder work than it appears (although I am still trying; in fact I have actually enrolled on a Masters programme in Novel Writing to start this autumn which will hopefully give me a boost).  Over the last year or so I have gone off in several other different directions, applied unsuccessfully for at least two jobs...

However.  Mental health is an important part of my life.  I find it fascinating, as I do all aspects of health.  I don't really want to move on - by which I mean - of course, I never want to be unwell in that way again, but I no longer feel the desire to move on from the subject itself.  I am still learning so much about emotional wellbeing and, to be frank, I am also still failing a lot of the time to put what I have learned into practice.  I am still a work in progress.

What is different these days is that I don't feel alone.  Through my memoir and the work I have done with various organisations over the last five years or so I have come to realise that many people have had the same problems as I have and have also managed to overcome them.  There are many more who still battle their demons.  I have realised that emotional distress is part of the universal experience of human existence.  We are all works in progress.  That's how it is meant to be.

I will never accept or agree with the label of schizophrenia, which has done so much harm to so many people - but it doesn't bother me personally as much as it used to.  This would probably never have happened if I hadn't written the memoir and then the sequel to it.  I needed to look into the whole thing thoroughly, find out as much as I could about the label and about myself, in order to be able to discount it.  I intend to keep writing about it all until the label is done away with.  It is cruel and unjust and it should never be part of any 'treatment' administered in the name of medicine. 

I don't care so much about this label being applied to me though.  I try not to worry as much as I used to about what other people think of me.  There's no point, people have to make up their own minds.  I have lost some friends over the years since I wrote my book but I have made many new ones.  Life goes on. 

The thing is, all human beings are imperfect in some way or another.  Sometimes we go to great lengths to hide this fact, which can contribute to our unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life.  But the way forward, I believe, is to be honest about ourselves and about our experiences, as much as we feel able.  To keep trying to connect.  Keep trying to improve.  It is certainly the way forward for me.

So, here I am again.  I might be a bit rusty, and please excuse me if that is the case, but I intend to start saying my bit on the subject of  mental health again and to keep on saying it.  Because it matters.