Mental health is a peculiar beast.
More often than not, you, or someone close to you, will be suffering or will have suffered from depression and/or anxiety at some point in their lives.
The funny thing is, is that when the sun is shining its brightest, can be when you feel at your darkest.
Depression, anxiety, and mental health, in general, have become more widely discussed topics of late, and we are slowly but surely breaking down the taboos that surround them. This is thanks (in part) to celebrity endeavors such as Prince William and Lady Gaga who worked jointly on a campaign. Also due to the increasing capacity and funding issues with health organisations and charities that support people who are struggling, we hear about it more and more.
There isn’t however, the acknowledgment that the happiest times can sometimes be the hardest. This doesn’t seem to be part of the discussion. The paradox is clear and is the reason why many cannot get their head around this. Why is it that when you are the happiest you have ever been, you still suffer? The answer is simply the fear.
Many who struggle with their mental health in these ways have been through some kind of trauma at some point in their lives.
This can be anything from parents splitting up during your childhood, to domestic abuse, or bullying (school, workplace etc.). It can usually be traced back to an event, which then leads you to be fearful of returning to that state; how that made you feel, made you act, and made you think.
It is this negative pattern of thinking that rears its ugly head as soon as you get things straight; on track; as soon as you get happy. Happiness is a blissful place, but it too means there is more to be lost. It is that fear of loss that sees the dark creep in and consumes you in your brightest days. What is most frightening is that people who themselves suffer sometimes don’t even acknowledge this.
That you live with these conditions for the rest of your life, pushing back against the darkest parts.
These are the people that continue to offload onto you, and use you as a sounding board, without asking how you are feeling just because you appear to have everything good. Which makes it all that much harder. Feeling blue when everything is rosy is petrifying because you feel so stupid, you feel bad for feeling bad when there are people who have it worse, and this is how people treat you too.
It feels like being on a paradise island with everyone you love dearly, but you take a walk through the forest and start to get sucked down into some quicksand. You don’t want to shout out, as you worry about ruining everyone else’s time, so instead, you just sink until you can’t breathe, and then someone finds you and grabs you just in time. They struggle to understand.
I am a big believer in the saying, “no one person’s shit is worth more than the next,” and this is why I am writing this I guess. To say to everyone out there, who has the wonderful happy life but still feel like they are drowning in the dark some days, that your feelings are valid, you are important, and it is ok to feel lost in the dark whilst the sun is shining.
You are not alone.