For those unaware, I am currently writing a book sharing my battle with depression, social anxiety and OCD (in the form of obsessive thinking). The book is coming along nicely and I start it off by talking a bit about the person I am.
The main aim of the book called ‘A darkened path’ is to look at why I have suffered with depression, the triggers, why certain behaviours take shape as well as the thought and sometimes lack of thought process. It is not a self help book but to help people understand what it can be like for someone to suffer with such illness.
In the very first chapter I talk about the person I am. Not an easy task! I am a quiet introvert who is rarely modest. It took some deep sole searching and I actually had to listen to the comments people have told me and accept that I am actually one of the good guys.
I recently wrote a poem during the lowest period of my illness called ‘What do you see’. It went a bit like this:
What do you see when you look at me?
Is it an unlovable man whose loneliness consumes his heart.
What do you see when I walk through life?
Is it a man with demons whom ruin his soul?
What do you think when you see my scars?
That I am a overweight, greedy arse.
Do you see my troubles or do I hide them well?
Is it noticeable when my soul has been wrecked by the dog and I fight to carry on?
Do I see what you see when I can’t keep going?
Sleepless nights and hurting days, some filled with numbness and little if no desire.
Why can’t I feel what you feel and see what you see and why can’t you see what I see and feel what I feel?
Through this storm I leave scars on my soul which weaken my life.
The darkness that overwhelms and brings no joy, continues on.
Below is a wonderful reply from a friend to the poem.
Just read your poem. What do I see? I see a genuinely nice guy (there’s not many about believe me) who is devoted to his parents and his sister. I see a carer. Someone who puts other people before himself. I see an amazing guy that does StreetSource and charity fundraising. I see an intelligent man with good ideas and sound business sense. I see an attractive man who’s rather pleasing on the eye. I see a man with skills in the kitchen. An eloquent man who can express his feelings in creative words. All I see is very positive. Now I know about your struggles, I see strength in you too. Take all of this to heart as its true. I know the dark moments will still come, but challenge those thoughts and read this message again and believe that you are amazing, because you are. X Celine.
Wonderful words but ones I have often failed to accept. I now understand the affect of bullying through my childhood has had on my self esteem. Other factors such as loneliness (being single) can knock the mind pattern and kill any self worth that I have had. I have had relationships but yet to meet the one. I remain hopeful but an extendable period of being single really does raise the questions, why am I so unlovable? Why do the good women not like me?
Apart of getting better from the mental illness, is to learn to love myself. An illness like depression really likes to feed of the negative thought patterns that you can have. I have had to accept the following and truthful positives about myself:
- I am a good guy. Truly one of the good ones.
- I am someone who naturally cares. I guess something that comes from being brought up with a disabled sister.
- I am someone who gives their own time for others without thinking twice.
- I am charitable.
- I generally have a good, kind and loving heart.
- I am loyal.
- I am trusting.
- I am a good listener.
- I am understanding.
- I seek equality and value the simplicity of life.
There are more qualities but of course I still have my faults. I am by far not perfect, as no one is. I know in my personal life I can be too sensitive and although this can be a negative, it can also compliment the compassionate side that I have.
One of the reason’s why I have decided to share this today, is that there have been a lot of new people come into my life. Although no one has made any comments, I have witnessed in the past how not everyone understands my intentions or the person that I am from the start.
I am truly a person who gives without wanting to receive. It is very rare for me to ask for anything in return. I naturally care, I have peoples backs regardless to who they are. You could be a friend or a homeless drug addict. I will be there! That said, I still value boundaries and respect them if and when set.
Please do not think I am being pompous in writing this. It actually feels foreign to put myself in a positive light. With years of negativity, you come to a point where you believe it and even live it. For years, I have been told to love myself a bit more and finally I accept that this can be done without breaking the good character that I have.
By the way, if you are single, between 25 and 45. You can put up with my sense of humour (99% of the time pure genius), female, does not want a chauvinist (I am a feminist!), enjoy similar interests (running, cooking, walks, Dogs, cats and meals out). Then let me know 😉 We could go out. End of random plug.
There is one thing I have recently learnt to hold onto. I am bloody Strong! If you have read just some of the depression articles that I have written, which reveal some of the battles I have gone through. Then hopefully you will understand, that anyone who has gone through this, has had to have strength to pull through. This is not a statement of arrogance but realism and acceptance. I have faced the wall of despair, swam up from depths of darkness to still be here today.
As with many illnesses, it takes great strength and often more strength than someone realises they have to recover. I have always seen myself as weak and you then have the stereotypical ignorance of people, who regard someone with depression, as being selfish. Selfish is one thing that I am not! To write the book, I am having to relive not just the illness that I have battled and still recovering from but many of the triggers that have built up to cause the suffering.
At 16 years of age, I gave my only full day off work up to volunteer at a Cancer hospice for the next 4 years. Tasks involved, listening, cleaning up sick, making a grand cuppa, being a shoulder to cry on. I mention this part of my life not to brag, it was no doubt one of the most rewarding but hurtful jobs I have done. I share it because it was a contribution to moulding the person that I am. It is not easy watching anyone die but I know I was there to bring a little comfort and joy through the suffering for the patient. Many of whom who touched my heart and still do. Bob who loved his doughnuts, Mandy who always made the same awful joke about there not being much room, when eating mushroom soup. I grew up, I saw real life. (stops getting emotional).
People out there will try to destroy you. That is why I stand by this:
“There are so many bastards out there. There is no room for another one. I refuse to fall into that group and be the person that I am and that is, after everything. Still a bloody good chap.”
If you feel low, battle depression, another mental illness along with self esteems issues. Stop what you are doing. Stop listening to everyone else and look at the person who you are. Write down your good features and remember those.