I’ve been meaning to write this post in a while. Everytime I write a post or read someone else’s blog about their mental health or comment on their blog a little narrative pops into my head. I suspet Fi would call in Bitchface talking. You may call it something else. Anyway, it seems right to get it written down, then maybe I can move on…
My confession. I am a fraud. I have no right to write this blog. You should not be reading it. You would be disgusted if you knew what a fraud I am. I am not on any medication, I have never been admitted to hospital, I don’t have an official diagnosis, the one time I saw the doctor about my anxiety he had a little chat and sent me home. I cause my own problems by being so disorganised and then make them worse by running from them instead of facing up to them and then I have the audacity to call this anxiety. I am an insult to all those brave bloggers who have genuine and serious problems and are working hard to cope and make their lives better whilst challenging stigma, raising awareness and campaigning. I am lazy and whiny.
There, I think that’s about it, I may have left something out but you get the general gist and it’s of my cheast. Feel free to be utterly disgusted and never read this blog again.
So why am I still writing rather than hanging my head in shame, shutting down the internet and doing some long overdue cleaning and paperwork? Well, there is always another side to the story. I find it really easy to read other peoples blogs and fill with compasion and write (over)long comments about how they need to ease up on themselves and cut themselves a little slack. So I guess I should do the same for myself. Unsurprisingly, this counternarrative of myself is harder to write, but time to stop the prevaracating….
I am not a fraud. I have never claimed to be more seriously ill than I am, to be on medication I’m not on. Mental health issues are not a competative sport. The experiences I write about are real. Yes, this blog does give a twisted view of my life, seeing as how it focuses on the problems I have with anxiety when my life is so much more, but that’s the point. To think about the anxiety, be aware of it, stop forgetting about it on my good days/weeks, disect it, unpack it, find strategies to do stuff better. And whilst it isn’t my whole life, it is a part of it, sometimes far too large a part. Last summer I nearly went back to the gp after hubby pointed out that if I was in paid work I would be off sick and have had to gone to see the gp already. (I put it off 2 weeks until school started to ease childcare/gp issues and then got on an upswing so changed my mind). And I need to get used to the idea that it’s a big part of the reason that I left my last “proper” job to be a full time parent, even though it wasn’t officially on the list. There are other ways it’s impacted my life, but I’m not up to a list right now (that last one was hard enough). No, I’m not writing an amazingly inspiring blog that is stigma busting, awareness raising and campaigning. I probably never will, but then hey, no one has to read it if they don’t want to. And right now I don’t think I could if I wanted to, because I can’t even talk to anyone face to face about this apart from my husband and that communication is patchy at best.
I think the real reason I started writing this blog is because I couldn’t find one I related to. Neither the GP nor I think I’m depressed (which is good), so as interesting as some of the blogs about living with depression are, I don’t completely relate to them. And I don’t have social anxiety, I’m not anxious about talking to people face to face (unless I think I’ve let them down) or going out in public (OK, I was once really anxious about walking through town, because I was convinced I was going to bump into one of the people that I was sure I’d let down and so was avoiding, but that’s not normal for me). I think I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Actually what I have is something bad enough to periodically cause knots of anxiety so big in my stomach that they skew my thinking and ability to cope and generally screw up my life and my sleeping patterns and make me cranky and shortempered (sorry family) and yet mild enough to pretend its not there the rest of the time, hide it from the world (fairly successfully I think (although how should I know) apart from infuriating people who are trying to get in contact with me at the wrong time and presumably think I’m really badly disorganised or just plain rude) and generally pull off an act of being a fairly functioning member of society.