Waiting for noon. I pray at noon every day. Just a simple prayer but part of my spiritual discipline. I have been up for five hours. I am tired already. I was tired when I woke up and I’m still tired, maybe in another ten hours I might not feel exhausted. My head aches. It feels as though my very bones ache. Just a normal day. What is really unhelpful is when people say to me you are looking well.
That’s the problem. They see me sitting in an armchair putting on a bit of an act and when they ask how I am they don’t really want to know how shit things really are inside. That’s the problem with hidden disabilities. When I had to start using a walking stick to prevent me falling over, things got a little better as here was a visible sign that all wasn’t well. When I had to use a wheelchair things didn’t improve they went downhill, how quickly I was ignored, they talked to my wife not me – the worst culprits hospital receptionists. Still that’s all over now. I get a once every four week review appointment with my GP. I sense sometimes she gets frustrated waiting for me struggling along the corridor to the consulting room. My wife has offered to wheel me along in my wheelchair but I have resisted that for just now. That’s my outing every month. That’s it.
But what no one sees is the inside of my mind. There really isn’t a vocabulary for that only metaphors. My mind is broken but no one sees that, there is no stick for that! Not that I am looking for sympathy but understanding would be good but that only comes truly from those who have or are suffering with mental illness.
What worries me in the current climate is the tendency to conflate mental health and illness so that grief becomes an illness, it isn’t, its a natural part of living and loving and I do know how hard it is and in a past life I have spent hours with the dying, the grieving and sharing the pain they suffered and providing the support needed. But it is not a mental illness. Perhaps it isn’t helped by the fact that there are two types of depression, reactive and I think they still call it endogenous. Mine is endogenous i.e. without cause. It isn’t a response to a life situation. I was happy then boom as quickly as that I was in the dark. Today I am in the twilight. That counts as being pretty good for me.