If you’ve read my book “It’s Life Jim…” you’ll be familiar with how my mental state was affected by my life of battling sexuality with religion and the constant fight with depression and suicide ideation.
When my wife died it all came to a head and I had a “meltdown” or whatever you want to call it. The symptoms were a relentless combination of heavy depression (like walking around covered in a wet dark blanket, unable to think beyond the pain and confusion that keeps pounding your head), Intense anxiety attacks (that created a physical gnawing in the gut, confusion, a strange disassociation from my environment and a feeling that I was about to burst into tears), and an escalation of ADHD symptoms (lack of focus, restlessness, confusion, thought’s racing etc). The suicide ideation thankfully went!
This lead to counselling and medication and living on the benefit. There was no way I could hold down a job!
Nearly six years later I’m doing pretty good, but there’s the legacy that I just have to live with despite my best efforts. All of these symptoms are still around. Yes, I get days where the depression hits (although nothing like it was) and I still get anxiety attacks, and the ADHD symptoms are the bane of my life.
I’ve learnt the triggers (mostly) and how to handle it all. I can sense better when I might take a nosedive, and I know how to “roll” with it and not be fearful.
But it’s still there. This is the legacy of a life ruled by religious control, cognitive dissonance, self loathing and emotional abuse. Will it ever go away? I’d like to think so, but I’m not holding my breath.
It’s like this for countless others. We are presumed to be over it and “all better now”. Sure, we’ve moved on and even enjoy life in ways we never dreamed of. My life is fantastic and fulfilling. But the legacy quietly lives on, reminding us daily.
Be gentle with yourself.
Learn your weaknesses and accept them.
Roll with them, don’t fight them.
Find the best way through it – socialise or retreat – talk to people or hide in your cave… there’s no right or wrong, just whatever enables you to move through it safely.
Get help if needed, any time, don’t be a martyr.
Life is good, no matter what the past has done to us. Life is rich and full of wonder and love.