Oh my, that’s the thing about mental illness, isn’t it? You never know from one day to the next how you’re going to react to anything that everyday life, however humdrum, throws at you. Sounds fun but it really isn’t.
In theory it ought to be going all well. The job, the security of bills being paid, that feel good factor, after all these years, of being to afford to buy decent Christmas presents and give more and more to the causes than mean the most to me, it’s all there. And yet ….. gah, why do I do it to myself?
At work, there’s still this almost implacable lack of belief and confidence in myself despite my performance, so far, being comfortably above the expected standards. It’s that voice telling me how useless I am still there, whispering away, hinting that a cataclysmic error is just around the corner. I get so annoyed with myself for thinking that too.
It’s got to the stage where, although I haven’t put anything in writing, I’ve told people there I’ll be leaving at Christmas and moving hundreds of miles away. Is that the action of any sane person, a couple of months into their first paid job in half a dozen years?
The thing is, though, is that at the time, my mind was made up. It’s certainly true I find living in the area I do unbearable, but that’s down to something other than work, my inability to get over my ex. Maybe moving out of the area but still able to get into work was logical. But to say the move was not only out of the area, but to a different country? That’s pretty much running away from a problem which won’t go away in any case. And making things worse in the process.
I’ve gone back to the doc and, as ever, filled in one of those ‘Scores on the Doors’ forms so he could measure how stressed, depressed, anxious and screwed up I was. The points were totted up and were fairly high, into the 20’s. Apparently I needed help as soon as possible. Again.
Of course, when I rang up the therapy service, it was a case of ‘Sorry, still too soon, come back just before Christmas’. Meanwhile, my GP continues his search for an antidepressant that doesn’t react with all the other pills and potions I take to keep the body ticking over.
The obvious response to this would be some retail therapy. It’s a strange thing though. When I’m getting something for my lad, or giving him a few shekels to see him through now he’s swapped his summer work for the college year, I get that warm glow of knowing I’m providing.
Yet when I’ve bought something for myself, latterly a weekend city break away with friends, a terrible sense of guilt overcomes me. I somehow get this feeling that, after so many years of living frugally, spending on something for myself which isn’t an essential or £10 or less is a frivolous waste, an unnecessary extravagance. This morning was spent chastising myself. Yet again.
I need help. That I do know. So what do I do when I can’t get it? Nine months ago I simply dissolved into tears. Which was also something I did, admittedly, three days ago, but on a much smaller scale. Today, though, it was the turn of harmless, gentle films to lighten the mood and my mind.
What usually does the trick is the loose tale of an Idaho man’s teenage years. If you’re a fan of those high school prom and reunion films like Clueless and the sort, this one isn’t for you. But Napoloeon Dynamite, despite me being way above it’s target audience age, never fails to make me laugh, smile, and feel good.
I love the fact there’s no swearing in it, no drinking or drug taking, no teenagers dressing like prostitutes or rent boys, but instead an hour and a half of laughing with dysfunctional brothers rather than at them, poking fun at vanity and selfishness, and a tale which shows that sometimes, just sometimes, good things do happen to good people. It’s lovely and gentle, and when I’m down, is exactly what I need.
So while I sit here, knowing that I don’t know what to do with my life or my mind, I’m happy in my saddened state. Of course, life isn’t one long gently humoured film, but every so often, it’s lovely to simply step out of life for an hour or two and treat myself. With something that cost under £10, too, so no guilt afterwards either.
What will the next few days bring? I dread to think. I love being me but I hate my mind. If I want to get better, that has to change.
Of that I’m decisively, happily, certain of.