Monday, 13 February 2012

Attitudes to mental health.

I've not massively thought about stigma before. I mean, sometimes I think about how, had I been born a century or two before I was, I'd probably have spent my days locked up in some asylum or other, but it's a very idle thought. It's sort of like, to me, thinking about how had I been born a chicken, I might be a battery chicken; to be honest, it's just not even an interesting thought experiment. I'll buy free-range eggs but I'm not massively arsed about chickens, nor about how shit could have been- it doesn't change what IS. I mean, by the same token, I might have been born in different circumstances and had an entirely lovely life, not a care or a chemical disturbance in the world. The modern day asylums, the psych wards, that I have seen the inside of, would just be the stuff of films and the occasional 'true life' story. The drugs and the needles and the tubes all completely abstract. That type of thinking doesn't help me nor change anything.

But maybe that type of thinking just makes me accept my lot. And maybe my lot COULD be bettered. There's a lot about at the moment about mental health attitudes and stigma. Or maybe there isn't, maybe I'm just mega tuned into it because it relates to me... if that's the case, please google 'time to change' because I have a lot of time and a hell of a lot of respect for what they're trying to do and I think their adverts are bloody genius. I hope they've made people without mental health problems think, 'cause they've sure as hell got me thinking and I suppose I'm not really the target audience, hahahahaha.

There are so many types of stigma that I'm realising I've been subject to and this entry is about the crap from people close to me, rather than the big wide world, I'll write about other types another time. Some is almost completely harmless. I have quite a big, quite a complicated family, and they all handle it in slightly different ways. My big brother is both brilliant and an absolute knob- you maybe have to have a big brother to understand that sentiment, hahaha. James will simultanaeously look after our mum when I'm in hospital and call me an attention seeker. Ok, to be fair, the attention seeker shite isn't related to my many hospitalisations, it's usually to do with what I post on facebook, mental health related or not. I mean, tonnes of the accusations relate to other shite, but I still don't get it. Sometimes, when I'm feeling shite or whatever, it can really get to me, really make me question how I'm feeling and whether or not I have to right to express it. Whether or not other people agree with him. But by the same... I adore my brother. And I know him calling me an attention seeker is fine, it's what we do. It's completely harmless, even if it doesn't sound it here (you have to remember this is out of context and I know my brother better than you, if it sounds bad.). Other members of my family have destroyed me. Silencing me kills. And I'm not going to talk about them here because they can't defend themselves and it's too raw for me. It still hurts.

I think the nicest thing a member of my family, aside from my mum and brother, have done for me when I've been hospitalised, is when my auntie brought my little cousin Emily to see me when I had a nasogastric tube the other summer. I've written about Emily before, she is one of my absolute favourite people on this earth. She's 10 years of perfection, you can't not fall in love with her. And the other summer, when I was low and in a mess and in hospital with an NG, my auntie brought Emily. That's a big deal- you have to remember that Emily was 8 and so that opened up a whole world of questions. And seeing her carried me through; I don't want to be her cousin who was always in hospital, I want to her cousin who was like a fun big sister, because to me she is my gorgeous little sister, and you can't be fun in hospital. I've never been told what I can and I can't tell Emily, but I hope that my auntie and uncle know that hurting Emily would kill me and when one day I tell her about all this, they know that I'll tell her only with the view of making sure she never sees hell herself. She won't know all this until she's old enough to know she doesn't want this mess. Knowing that they respect me, Emily, and mine and Emily's relationship that much meant everything to me, and still does.

But, needless to say, not everybody is like that. God, there's so much. There was the time I was accused of teaching another cousin to make herself sick, I don't even know where that came from. The men who have added me on facebook, saw this blog and then never spoke to me again, apart from to tell me how freaky the whole thing is. That always hurts. Knowing that, had I been silent, they'd have dated me? God, that opens a whole world. I want to write, I want a book published... but if I do, will employers forever reject me? Will everyone forever reject me?

Because, of course, it's not just men who have rejected me. Some of them, I can understand. The friend who couldn't watch me get more and more ill, when I refused all help? I completely and utterly understand and could I time travel, I'd go give you a giant hug, Rachel. I missed you, but CHRIST I understand. But then, some... I thought we were best friends. Some, I don't understand. I just don't, I tried. I understand that maybe I was inconvenient, but I really hope that I'm more than my mental health problems and that I could have been fun to live with. I hope my beautiful Ellis thinks that. I think that maybe I could have been fun and we all... I don't know. Maybe it's good you rejected me. I know that I can completely and utterly trust my best friends now. It's a test that friendships shouldn't have to face, but they do. And only the best pass.

I understand that, in the long run, it probably works out for the best- I'd rather not hurt people and I suppose when I'm in a bad way, I do. I never really wrote about Daryl, and I'm not going to really now, because I respect him too much, but I went out with him a year and that ended at the end of last year and I loved him. I have never loved anybody in that way or that much. And I saw him last week and he looked a million times better than he did during our last few months, when I suppose he didn't know how he'd find me. That's not stigma, that's real life and real love. This crap HURTS.

I don't really know the point of this, you know. I didn't think, I just typed. Let it be talked about. Let it hurt. But don't punish people for it, please don't. I suppose most of what I've written about isn't even stigma, it's just real life and real attitudes.

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