On Monday evening I held the January meeting of the depression support group which I run. It is a fantastic little group full of great people.
The nature of the group is that although I, and my fellow organisers) organise the group we still contribute to the group and are just as much a part of the group as other attendees. During Monday evening’s meeting I made a throwaway comment about myself which got me thinking, which I realised I could learn from, and which I thought might be worth sharing with you.
I was describing a particular situation from a couple of months ago. A situation where I got angry with my CPN. How I acted. What I said. The way I behaved. And I made the comment ‘Yeah, there’s a side to me that you haven’t seen. She sees the real me’.
But that comment got me thinking. And on reflection it’s incorrect.
It’s not that she sees the real me. It’s just that she sees all sides to me.
The sides to me that other people see – they are just as much a part of the real me. It’s not that I only have one side of me and that the other side that other people see are false and that she sees the real me. All sides to me are equally real.
Who am I?
I am a mental health trainer but this also is me: I am a mental health patient.
I am a mental health patient but this also is me: someone who can easily maintain a professional side, a side that is equally real, a professional side that I seem able to maintain no matter how my personal side is feeling.
I am a strong, independent capable person but this also is me: someone who has low self esteem and has much less confidence than outer appearances would apply.
I give too much of myself too easily but this also is me: I get hurt very easily.
I get very angry when I get hurt but this also is me: I often still care very much about the people I am angry with.
I feel incredibly worthless and this is something I have struggled with since a young age but this also is me: I now at least realise that I am not worthless and that even if I feel it, it doesn’t mean that it is true.
I struggle with my mental illness much more than outer appearances suggest but this also is me: I keep that front up for a reason, because ultimately it helps me to do so.
My thinking can be very black and white at times but this also is me: I recognise that nothing is ever completely black and white.
I feel that everyone gets fed up of me in the end and that all friends get sick of me eventually and want nothing more to do with me but this also is me: I at least recognise that just because I feel this it doesn’t make it true, and that no matter how much I convince myself that experience proves this that, no, that is not the case – there is always a bigger picture.
The temptation to overdose and do other self-destructive things is very strong sometimes but this also is me: I am proud of my record of not having overdosed for 15 months now and I am determined to continue that record long into the future.
I am determined to continue not self harming, and to continue to use positive coping strategies instead but this also is me: I accept that I likely will self-harm again at some point and that that is ok.
I hate my illness, the hell is has put me through and the pain it has caused me and others in my life but this also is me: I love my mental illness and the many good things it has brought into my life and the positive affect it has had on others.
There is no real me. There are many sides to me and every side is a real and valid side of me.
Filed under: mental health awareness