August 18, 2014

Warning, this blog may be triggering for some readers.

Naomi

Hello I’m mad, mental, a looney tune, a nut-job, doolally, bonkers, a fruit loop or crackers – pick any. 

I personally like to call it wonky brain syndrome. And I can call it what I want to as it’s my brain. It's not politically correct but I’m not offended by words. I find these words actually more of a term of endearment to myself.

Mental illness is shrouded in stigma

Living with any mental illness is tough. It’s shrouded in stigma and smeared with negativity so most people keep it hidden away scared of what others will think. That sucks. We shouldn’t be worried about what other people think. Be proud of who you are, mental bits included. I was always told not to show emotions or feelings or talk about mental health ‘issues’ as this shows you to be a weak person. I actually think to be able to do this is a sign of strength, not weakness. Yes I have a wonky brain, and if anyone has a problem with that it’s their problem not mine.

Everyone's mental quirks are unique to them

Everyone’s mental quirks are unique to them. We’re all different even though people try to put us into neat boxes. Do you suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder? Well actually I’m quite greedy and have a tiny little bit of everything. A mental health buffet.

Depression? What have I got to be depressed about? Nothing – that’s not how depression works. I go to work, study for a degree and look after myself and my daughter. How can I do that if I’m depressed? Depressed people suffer and function in various ways. For me I paint on my functional face and act the part – fake it until you make it. Some days I make it and some days I don’t. This can be quite draining and sometimes requires a down day under a duvet watching Murder She Wrote to reboot myself.

My brain likes to play games with me

I’m not suicidal but most days it wouldn’t bother me if I died. This is very difficult to explain if you are not in my head. This is how detached I am to myself. It bothers me that my loved ones would be upset though and that is why I’m not suicidal. But hey, the plus side is that if you’re ever in a hostage situation with me and they start shooting I will take a bullet for you as I value your life more than mine. Win.

I have many anxieties due mainly to my over thinking and distorted cognitive processing in my brain. My silly brain likes to play games with me and distort information like a melting kaleidoscope. I cry when I go down the escalator at Waterloo underground station as my brain tells me I’m going to fall and plunge to my death – I know logically this isn’t going to happen but my brain overrules logic on occasions. Many occasions. If someone tells me I’m stupid, ugly or useless, my brain confirms this as truth and then adds more insults. My brain throws selective OCD out at me; my DVDs have to be in chronological order yet I can leave my washing up undone for a day. Or two. Basically my brain is an idiot.

Being open about my mental health was the first big step

I am learning to live with this idiotic brain though and have many coping mechanisms. Being open about my mental health was the first big step but one I would recommend taking.

Tell someone. I don’t mean just go up to a random member of the public and tell them ‘Hey I’m mental’, although they would probably panic and agree with you pretty quickly, but talk to a friend or family member or anyone you feel comfortable with. Talk to a doctor if you think you might need more specialist help. Talking about mental health is a huge step. It can feel very daunting but once you’ve told people you have mental health issues it can feel incredibly liberating. The more people talk about mental health the less of a taboo it becomes. BT got it spot on with their advertising catchphrase ‘It’s good to talk’ – oh, they weren’t meaning mental health?

Accepting that I have a wonky brain and embracing it is the way forward. Fighting my wonky brain and trying to pretend it is all neat and tidy is unproductive. Instead I will be working with my brain to be the amazing person that I know is hiding inside and I know that because we are all amazing in our own wonky ways.

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Comments

Great Article

May I say that this articles has not only been written beautifully, but balances both wit and charm with solidly useful information. Having been touched by some of the subjects raised in this article I find the authors bravery in being so open and honest not only inspiring but a tribute to her clear devotion to raise awareness and help others with similar experiences. Bravo!

thank you

thank you for your very kind words Christopher :)

new to blogging

I feel that I have an interesting story (life) and would like to discuss and share with others who may be dealing with the same things... I recently turned 25, and I'm learning so much about myself that I just wish I could've figured out at a much earlier age. I normally keep my life private and have never felt comfortable talking about myself, but I'm learning to accept myself as well as accepting the fact that others may not even accept myself. Looking forward to starting a new journey with friends who may also be interested in sharing their thoughts with me along with engaging in the details of mine.

Thanks :)

I like this :) thank you, I read your post and think 'gosh she's like me' and that makes me feel a lot more hopeful. I'm very open about my mental illness and I have friends who are very supportive of me being so open but some times I do just get this look from them of 'she must be joking' when I talk about the odder sides of my brain. But if I'm anything like you then I feel happy that I may be a bit 'odd' but to some people I must be interesting :) and that's ok.

thank you

Thank you for your lovely reply Manda. I too feel happy that i am a little odd, I'd hate to be too 'normal'! :)

naomis blog

It really lifted me reading your blog, made me laugh and made me cry. Never have i read such a succintly honest and accurate description of those conditions, especially the bit about valuing others lives and how you feel about dying. It literally feels so good to know you are not alone. Thank you

Thank you Franny, you are

Thank you Franny, you are never alone as more people feel like us than we realise. That's why I think it's important to talk about our brains so we don't feel isolated. Just knowing that someone else understands can be a huge help. X

naomis blog.

I have "shared" this with my sister; she has finally come to terms with the need to seek support other than medication from her GP and I think this sums up how she feels a lot of the time. Thank you, Naomi

thank you

Thank you Smiffy, your sister is lucky to have you supporting her x

Depression

There is nothing to be sad about yet nothing that makes me want to be happy, i feel as though I see the undertones of emotion in every situation and see that people expect me to react and behave and in particular ways and just because I can, I feel the urge to not do what is expected, and say very very little. Sometimes I think, they will somehow understand, they have an inner subconscious that will recognize that there is just nothing I see wrong, I just don't see the point. But because I know well and truly that I am capable of saying something in return, It is almost as though what ever I could say would sound obvious and is then unworthy of telling. I realize how detached I am from the world outside I am so filled with worries and self doubt, but there are flickers of time when I feel alive again, and it seems as soon as I am consciously aware that I feel good, Ill start to have anxiety again. I know that the only way out is to just go for it, but waking up in the same negative feeling place, or have I made it feel negative. Made myself feel out of place, seem out of place, just because I could, why can't I just act as myself. I cant think clearly, I don't feel clearly. Feels like I am always waiting for someone else to make the decision, I wait for answers to come to me rather than thinking through a situation, and when the answer doesn't naturally come I only get frustrated with myself. Why am I so stupid, I could have been able to, I would have been able to before, whats wrong with me. I feel like I punish myself, I see things I do and react as though the person took offense to what I said or did, and I then get massive waves of guilt. Even tho rationally I see all that I do and all that could make all of it better, but that is almost the worst part, that it should seem so easy. It used to be so easy, but if before you talk you get bombarded with misplaced emotions that seem uncontrollable, even when my brain is saying all the right things. I dont feel like I have much of a chose. i am moving back soon, back to where I'm from. I will have my own place with him, rather than sharing with others, this now doesn't quite feel like home. I think I will feel better, feel like I can wake up and go, independent. we'll see.

be kind to yourself

Hi Isobelle, Believe in yourself that you will feel independent and in control. Be kind to yourself and not quick to judge yourself. I know this isn't easy and it takes a lot of practice. I find it helpful to keep a little notebook by my bed and at the end of the day i jot down all the things I managed to do and anything that made me smile that day. It doesn't have to be big things, on my 'managed to do' list sometimes is getting out of bed, doing some dusting and cooking some food. The things that make me smile list doesn't have to be big things either, sometimes it's just seeing pretty clouds in the sky.

Thank you

Thank you for reading Scott.

Thank you

I absolutely love your blog, I came unto the website to encourage myself, I've read loads of blogs and was going to rest my eyes as they started getting fuzzy. I'm so happy I got to read yours. I love your humour, it is so refreshing. I hope I get to read from you again, brilliant. Thank you again for sharing Naomi. I 've had three bad days and think this was the first time I've laughed in that time. All the very best for your future.

Thank you

Thank you Anny, I'm so pleased I made you laugh, that really means a lot to me. I hope you have lots more days full of smiles in your future too.

Sounds familiar

I recognized so much in your blog, I paint my face & hope today I will be able to ignore my wonky brain when it tells me I've done something wrong, why do I believe it? I have had anxiety which leads to ocd for some time but do not feel the need to hide it anymore after joining the time to change campaign & reading blogs like yours. Thank you

Blog

Thankyouu, it really helped to know that someone else is roughly going through what I'm going through. I feel like less of a freak now, so genuinely thankyouu

Thanks for sharing so

Thanks for sharing so honestly Naomi. My 19 year old son appears to be a carbon copy of you, everything you said rings true for him too. He has been suffering for years and trying to keep it secret so as not to hurt me, a few months ago he was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and OCD (with possibly a bit of bi-polar thrown in for good measure). He's now getting help, the meds really help to make him feel more in control, his GP is very supportive and his counsellor is amazing. He recently lost his job as the meds meant he couldn't concentrate and was sleepy all the time, but they have said he can go back if he improves. So great to know he isn't alone in the way he is feeling. I'm going to get him to read your blog, I think it could really help.

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