Some people describe an illness of the mind as a nervous breakdown or a breakthrough of the mind, or madness, or “Oh he / she has problems with their nerves “!! all the usual cliche’s made by the unknowable / unacknowledgeable people in society who, without realizing the actual damage that they are doing to the person they are referring too.
In reality it’s called creating a stigma
I always refer to my recent encounter as my breakthrough, as an illness of the mind, not unlike any other illness I have had through my life, and I have had many, all of them life threatening, but none more so than my illness of the mind.!!
An illness of the mind in all cases is challenging to the sufferer, who becomes detached from the world around them, and their family and friends.
This is manifested by withdrawal from reality by way of sleeping all day, loss of motivation or purpose, loss of self esteem, loss of concentration, loss of self worth, and a conviction that whatever I do its wrong.
While the above does represent a number of sufferers but not all and certainly not the most serious of cases, there can be people who suffer from psychosis / Schizophrenia, and bi-polar depression but the one thing that is common among all sufferers is a feeling of unity as we are all ill of mind and we all suffer from a lack of understanding from people who have not had the misfortune to suffer an illness of the mind.
It is estimated that at least 30% of the Irish population will suffer an episode of depression in their life time.
In many cases it explodes into their lives without warning or without the sufferer realizing it or understanding the reasons for it.
That is until in many cases they are hospitalized by their GP ( as it was in my own case). I had all the symptoms of acute depression but as I was convinced I had a physical illness my focus was on a medical cure for my chronic back pain, which I was convinced was as a result of a major surgery I had in January 2015 which led me through 2015/16 having every medical test possible to try and discover the cause of this unbearable pain but to no avail, as this pain continued unabated and in many cases and on many days it got worse.
For me my loss of energy, concentration, sleeping for long periods during the day, being angry at those around me, feelings of uselessness and a burden to those who care the most for my welfare, this pain was so severe that I wished my doctors would tell me I was terminally ill,
Unknown to me I was terminally ill but not as I had suspected, I was suffering from a different type of terminal illness it’s called extreme stress / depression/ anxiety.
This was to lead to a serious and acute bout of depression, which can lead, and sometimes does to a person making a terminal decision with regards their own life.
My initial response to this event was one of fear, a fear of the unknown and the future, what would people say? what would my neighbors think ? what would the in-laws and out- laws have to say or think ?!!
After a couple of weeks in hospital I was to understand that it did not really matter what they said or thought, because at the end of the day this was my illness and mine alone.
I could lie down under it or I could turn it to my advantage, I could make the decision to accept responsibility for my own recovery with the help of my medical team .
It was at this point that I decided that my life had to change, I needed to unconditionally accept my illness and do my share to achieve a full recovery.
AND SO I WAS TO BEGIN MY JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY.
During my journey I was to discover who I am;
I AM A FATHER.
I AM A HUSBAND.
I AM A GRANDFATHER.
I AM AN UNCLE.
I AM VULNERABLE.
I AM COMPASSIONATE TO OTHERS.
I AM VALUABLE TO OTHERS.
I AM LOVED BY OTHERS.
I AM NEEDED BY OTHERS.
I AM SPIRITUALLY ALIVE.
I AM EMOTIONALLY ALIVE.
I AM AT PEACE WITH MYSELF.
I AM RECOVERING AND I WILL ALWAYS BE.
I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THE TUNNEL OF DARKNESS, AND I AM OUT INTO THE BRIGHTNESS OF A NEW DAY AND A NEW LIFE.
I AM NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH
I AM ME !!