So I’m writing this on Microsoft Word on the fourth of February. I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to post it or not. A month or so ago, after being filmed by a house-mate eating fish fingers and custard, I was all for coming out and telling you who I was, where I was from, when I was born. Everything. It was slightly self-centred but I thought that if people knew who I was, word would get round and more people would read what I have to say.
But last term something happened. And I haven’t really told you. I’ve eluded to it and, for those of you who follow my twitter feed, I’ve posted some little titbits that relate to it. But I haven’t actually said it out loud. Yet if I told you my name I wouldn’t tell you my secret. Because I don’t want people to know. A few people, yes. Select people. Those close to me, those who care about me. But not everyone. Because it’s like cancer, or any other chronic or stigmatising illness. People treat you differently. They try not to but they look at you funny. They tiptoe around you. They’re careful about what they say, or don’t say, or how they act. Sometimes that’s great, especially because they make it easier to get better. But you become associated with your illness. You become the illness. It’s like we get taught at medical school – are you a diabetic or a person with diabetes? How much do you want to be defined by your health?
I’m going through stages. Sometimes I want to shout it to the world because then people will be nicer, or stop being so whiney and I’ll find it easier to get well. But other times, most of the time, I want it to be the other way round. The world can’t constantly change to fit around you. You have to fit into the world. You can’t send out a memo before you go anywhere warning or informing people that you have breast cancer or bipolar disorder. If you hold onto the disease and use it to mould yourself then you won’t get better. Perhaps. It works both ways. Obviously you have to accept that you’re ill. But you also need to acknowledge that you can get better.
I’m going round in circles.
But this blog was set up so I would have somewhere to vent. So I could talk about what was wrong. So I could rant. So I could tell all the dirty little secrets that I otherwise carry around with me. Or something to that extent. And I want to tell you. I want advice, and help, and, dare I say it, sympathy. I want someone, somewhere to know, so I can be myself sometimes. So I can scream my upset to the world instead of smiling, putting on a brave face and answering “I’m fine” whilst people complain about their bad backs or other things. Other people’s problems are important, and I don’t want to seem callous and mean but at the moment the fact that I’m comforting other people when I want to be comforted is driving me crazy. It’s selfish, I know. But maybe I need this. Maybe the reason I feel this way is because I’ve been too strong for too long.
On the 19th November 2010 I was diagnosed with clinical depression. On the 20th November I started taking anti-depressants. I’m getting there. It’s a steep cliff but I’m getting there. To paraphrase Doctor Who and Steven Moffart – “I’m half-way out of the dark”. Hopefully. Inshallah.
There. I shouted it to the world.