Ryan, September 24, 2018

"If you count work as a job you get paid to do, I don't work. But I do work. I work every day to drown out the suicidal thoughts. And I don't get a day off." - Ryan

Today I am going to respond to a social media post about me. I'm going to do it with dignity, and not resort to name calling. I am not going to name the person, or show the post, as I don't think that would help. I will say that it is someone who knows me and doesn't like me. 

Simply, I must write this. I must put my thoughts down to help me process my anger, process my sadness. But also, it highlights again the stigma around depression and mental health in general. This is how I am choosing to deal with it. So, I thought I would answer each of the points in turn, again, not just for me but also for all sufferers:

“It’s embarrassing to be 50 and you don’t work.”

Yes, you're right, I don't work. If you count work as a job you get paid to do. By that definition, I don't work. But I do, I work. I work every day. I have been ill for four years now, and I have worked every day; worked to cope, worked to carry on, worked to try to get better. Sometimes it is a big thing, sometimes it is a little thing. I do as much as I can do, every day. Sometimes I don't do anything, and that's because that is all I can do that day.

But even when I am not doing anything, I am still working. I am working to drown out the thoughts that say horrible things. I am working to drown out the suicidal thoughts. I am working to find ways to ignore the thoughts that tell me I have nothing to look forward to in life. And I don't get a day off. I don't get weekends off, or holidays, or a sick day for being sick. 

I have tried so many things to get better. It is important to me that people see that, even if I don't get better, that I have tried. I have tried counselling (five different counsellors), peer support groups, CBT, exercise for health, mindfulness, guided visualisation meditation and been in an adult mental health hospital. Some days I couldn't attend because I was not well enough, but I have always tried my best. I have not just sat at home waiting to get better or given up on ever getting well.

I also volunteer. I work; for free. I don't have to. I choose to, in the hope that it will help my recovery. I do it because I like it - it gives my life purpose at a time where that's in very short supply. 

So, I take it back. You are wrong. I do work. A LOT. 

“Crying in your room at 50, lol.”

Yes, you're right. I do cry. I cry a lot actually. It's not something that I am particularly proud of, but also, it's not something I am necessarily ashamed of. I cry at more things than I used to, but I also have more things to cry about than I used to. Sometimes it's too much. Sometimes life is too hard. I struggle every day to cope with even the simplest of things. I am SO tired. Four years, non-stop. Relentless. I cry in despair, I cry in anguish, I cry in hopelessness at a situation that I can't see a way out of. I cry in frustration at the things I can't do anymore. I strike myself because I am so frustrated, and I cry when I do that. I cry at the pain I cause myself. I cry because I hate myself and then I strike myself because I hate myself. 

But I also cry because it's good for me to let out all those emotions. The feeling of letting them go is a release to me, even if it is only for a small moment. Because I must. Because doing it saves me. Doing it drags me from the edge, makes me stop tumbling into oblivion, allows me to breathe for a bit. Instead of the edge of a cliff, I sit on the top of a mountain and catch a breath of fresh air. 

So yes, I do cry.

So, please don't judge me. You have no idea what I am going through. Actually no, please do, because I will use this to get better. Your ignorance and stigma will inspire me to continue to fight, to continue to get better, so that one day I can throw it back in your face. 

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don't have words but felt compelled to thank you for yours..

Honesty is a hard attribute to find When we all want to seem like We've got it all figured out Well let me be the first to say that I don't have a clue I don't have all the answers Ain't gonna to pretend like I do Just trying To find my way Trying To find my way the best I know how ((these are lyrics to 'Trying' by Lifehouse... it was a life-line for me yrs ago.)) Thumbs up to all the fighters out there "working" so damn hard on their hearts and minds.

Mental Health Stigma

Well done, Ryan. An intelligent, measured response to an ignorant and hate-filled excuse of a human being. Keep fighting. You're a much better person than the guy who hates on you.

Ryan's blog

I would love to give him a big hug and tell him that he is not alone. People are to keen to make judgments about things that know nothing of. I was out of work due to Anxiety and Depression at the age of 63, it didn't matter what my Doctor said,those at the Job Centre deemed me fit to work,even though I would be a liability to anyone employing me. Having worked for 25 years in a " Caring " profession I found that when I was at my lowest nobody cared. I wish Ryan all the best,and let him know that there are people out there who do care

Can I ask

What happen 4 years ago ? Your message to that judgemental person where perfect so well done


To Jennifer: I don't know if this applies to this gentleman but sometimes 'nothing in particular happened'. For me this was the hardest thing. To feel like this with no reason. Feeling ashamed that others were worse off and guilty that I felt so hopelessly sad. The feeling that it will last forever. The search for a 'reason' so I could fix it and be free of the heaviness. Many sad things happened long ago, I coped, I carried on, I didn't complain. Then one day the damn holding those waters just broke and it all spilled out. Some days I win, some days I wake up in tears and couldn't tell you why. Every day is a new beginning, a chance to start again x

Keep fighting, keep responding to such elements.

Hello ryan, it is excellent reply and inspiration for all that how to respond such people. How we can keep our moral high in any situation. I will wait for your next post. Thanks

Well done Ryan!! Brilliant comeback!

I really admire your courage to put your story out there. What a shame about the unevolved human who feels he/she has to put people down just to make themselves feel good. I can totally empathize with you Ryan, I am 46, have depression/anxiety, also struggle through the days to keep my head above water. Thanks for helping others feel they are not alone.

We have all felt stressed at

We have all felt stressed at work. There are those awful days when everything seems to go wrong, when miscommunication is rampant, and you just can't seem to get along with a boss, employee, or colleague. People are always getting their buttons pushed in the workplace because it becomes our second home and we tend to replicate family dynamics and relationships that mirror those with parents and siblings. It can be aggravating and upsetting.

Thank you for your honesty,

Thank you for your honesty, Ryan. Your story very much resonates with mine. I was fired from my job due to depression-related issues, and remained in work leave for 18 months. During that time, I felt I had to justify myself for not being working despite looking fit to some (including some relatives at times). I also have invested much effort, hope and money in countless therapies. From a 6-year-long psychoanalytic therapy in my (pre-)teens to CBT, EMDR, EFT, (group) talk therapy, Hypnosis, seven different anti-depressants with and without anti-anxiety meds for 5+ years non-stop along with nutritional supplements to fight the cognitive and physical exhaustion, dragging myself every day to do physical exercise, yoga, acupuncture, bioenergetic therapy...you name it. It is a full-time job in and of itself. In my case it is more demanding than any "real" job I can think of: I need to be resilient to despair, agony, helplessness, guilt, shame, self-loathing and tolerate the companionship of suicidal thoughts for extended periods, from a monthly down to a daily down to an hourly basis. Rest assured that I deeply relate to your inner turmoil.

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