Sunday, July 26

All along, not so strong without these open arms. Hold on tight. All along, not that strong without these open arms. Lie beside.

I had a mental breakdown. A nervous breakdown. A mental fuck up. A meltdown. Whatever you wanna call it.

For people who've never been through one, and I would never wish one on anybody, it's very difficult to explain. Very, very difficult for other people to understand.
Everything that's affecting your life (even some normal day to day stuff) builds up. Into something black, bleak, blurred, out of control, the absolute biggest mountain to climb, the deepest pit you've ever been in, the most impossible force, an unimaginable force, an unbeatable thing, throws everything off course.... Things that shouldn't even affect you, do. It's the worst case of a 'snowball' effect that you could ever imagine. And you change. You turn into something....somebody that's far removed from your normal self. You become....out of character. It's more about anxiety and internal panic than feeling low and depressed. Yes, depression is a different feeling.
And the worst thing about it, is that you have no idea that you're suffering with the breakdown. Imagine going through deep depression, but on a much larger and wider scale. A very different scale.
You hold on to 'other things'. Things in your life that you can deal with, that you enjoy. Routine things, sometimes monotonous things. These other things help see you through. They become something you can focus on, being able to temporarily put all the bleakness, pressures and anxiety aside. While you're focused on these other things, your mood becomes a little more lifted. Your internal chatterbox changes from it usual angsty formula and instead of constantly repeating all your issues and problems and telling you that you're pathetic and can't deal with any of them, it begins telling you that life ain't so bad and that maybe you can deal. But of course these 'other things' don't last long enough and the temporary uplift ultimately gets completely drowned out. And more often than not the negativity comes back and hits you ten fold.
It's awful. It's just a terrible thing.
The smallest thing, which in other people's eyes may be something insignificant, becomes an absolutely impossible wall to climb. The panic attacks. The lack of control. The feeling of helplessness. The feeling of isolation. The feelings of intense pain and loneliness, even though you might be with a partner.
I can't speak for anybody else who's been through a breakdown. All I can do is see things from my own eyes....my own perspective.
I knew I was having down days. And I was all too aware how it would affect others around me. So I withdrew into myself. On my down times, I would want to deal with all my problems myself and not show others that I was suffering. I absolutely hated other people seeing me so low. I went quiet, I curled up, I hid my tears, I become robotic, I tried to be as 'normal' as I could under the circumstances. I tried so hard to 'protect' the others around me. But I failed, miserably. Instead of showing the others around me that I could deal with things, that my withdrawal and quietness was my way of not hurting them or adding to their own problems and issues....instead of that, I was seen as an unhappy, unloving, uncaring, unsociable person. A person who didn't want to be there. A person who had given up on the relationship. I had absolutely no idea that that is how I was being seen. No idea at all.
I've said time and time again that suffering a breakdown changes a person. Of course it's still them....the physical person. But the mental person, no. Their personality goes through such an intense change and no matter how hard you try to fight it, there's just no strength left anymore. And perhaps most importantly, at the time of the breakdown, they have no idea that they've changed so much because all they're doing is trying to survive.
I guess a good example would be Britney's breakdown. It was still her....still Britney, but her meltdown caused such changes in her mental state. She partied all the time, she shaved her head in the public eye, she lashed out at people, got into fights, checked in and out of rehabs frequently, flashed her pussy on numerous occasions, finally got committed to a mental/health institution and did countless other things that she's since said she's ashamed of, because she wasn't 'herself'. It cost her the custody of her children.
Another example would be Vanessa Feltz when she had a meltdown in the Celebrity Big Brother House. Again, she lost control of her normal mental state, acted and did things against her normal character. It cost her countless work contracts and her marriage.
And of course the list goes on; Anne Heche, Whitney Houston, Micha Barton, Lindsay Lohan, Martin Lawrence, Hugh Laurie, Owen Wilson, Winona Ryder, George Michael....I could go on. And of course how many other countless thousands who aren't celebrities suffer through this too. The numbers are probably horrific.
I feel for them all.

The first step to recovery is to seek help. With depression it's the same. That first step is without doubt the hardest to take. No matter how much other people around you try and want to help, the person who's suffering simply has to reach that certain point of their illness where only they can make that first step. And then there's the acceptance, which is very difficult. Having to accept that something like this....a 'mental breakdown', something that happens to 'other' people has happened to you. But once you accept it, you're already well on the way to recovering.

Nothing....absolutely nothing can change the past. And no matter how much you want to change what you became when you went through your breakdown, the fact of the matter is it was you. A mentally ill you, a different and affected you, a warped personality of you, but you all the same. A breakdown should never be used as an excuse. It's something that can affect anybody, that's a fact of life. All you can hope for is that people can try to understand, even though it's very, very difficult for them seeing these things as an outsider.

Me - I'm a very genuine person. I'm honest, open and like to talk about things. That's always how I've been. I'm loving, touchy-feely, sensitive, warm, caring, protective, emotional, sensual, delicate, kind, devoted, generous, considerate, passionate, friendly, tender, loyal, huggy, warmhearted. When I was suffering my breakdown, my illness took a lot of those personality traits away from me. Not all of them, but a lot of them. Changed me into somebody who was far removed from my normal self and the saddest part is that at the time I was ill, I had absolutely no idea that I'd changed, and more importantly how much it was affecting others.

It cost me my relationship with The Girl.
Her feelings for me changed over time. I had no idea how much of a c**t I became, but her feelings for me changed. The love she felt for me melted away. She tried so hard to help me, but I couldn't accept it. My mental illness wasn't allowing me any strength to accept any help.
I became distant, wrapped up in myself, curled up in a ball, trying to deal with things myself, trying to protect her and her family, pushing her away, seeing things that weren't there, things blurring out of proportion, saying things that just weren't true, feeling rejected, alone, lost, isolating myself without proper reason, removing myself....when all along I was still thinking that our love for each other would carry us through. I was wrong.

She asked me to leave, and I can't blame her. Had the situation been reversed, I would have been the same. Something had to give. I don't blame her or hold any bad feelings for her about how she reacted at all. I would have been the same, had the situation have been reversed and I know how difficult a decision it must have been for her. After all, you have to protect not only yourself, but your kids too. So yes, I completely understand that. I've done the right (and I think, honourable) thing for me and for The Girl, and that was to send her a sincere apology to her and her family for my behaviour during my illness. She deserved an apology from me. It completely broke me, but it's the least I could do. And I've told her time and time again that I understand why she did what she did, asking me to leave, and that in no way should she feel any kind of guilt over that. She did what she thought was right at the time, and as we all do that, who could possibly think she did the wrong thing. I certainly don't.

The past is exactly that, the past. No matter what you do, nothing can change it. But we can learn from it. Some people don't learn from their mistakes or experiences, they somehow think they can just carry on, plod on with life. That's the biggest mistake of all.
I've learnt a great deal from my breakdown. I've learnt so much about me, other people, mental illness, the effects and aftermath, relationships....Just so much. And I'm still learning to a certain extent. Everything about the future can be changed and that's the way we all live our lives.

I'm rebuilding my life now. Have been for many weeks. I've got myself regular work, albeit temporary which allows me to pay my bills and pay debts back. I've closed down my Business. Changed the van for a car. Sorted out all the grief I had with my house that was being rented out. Spoken to Companies that I owe money to so they can be more understanding, which they have been. Sorted out my taxes. Stopped smoking weed. Changed my eating habits. Been exercising to stimulate my heart and brain cells. Reading self help books. Meditating. Cut out negativity in my day to day life. Gone onto medication. Been referred to a councillor. Made some new friends. Started to go out and mix with new people. Made plans for my future involving where I want to live. Researching and making headway for different types of work. Resolved problems I had with my own family. Been waking up with an attitude of 'this is a new day, I wonder what it will bring'. Started writing again. Rediscovered the important things in life. Become much, much more happier with myself. Got my sense of humour back. Been able to deal with any negativity in my life with a positive approach. Since being well on the road to recovery, I've been able to tackle all of the issues that caused me so much stress, anxiety, panic and frustration. Put in simple terms....I've become me again. But me in a much better state of mind.
My life now....my personality, my outlook, my love of life, my future, my own state of mind....all a million miles away from where I was when I hit rock bottom. I feel empowered, positive, happy. The personality traits that made me me are back ten fold and I know that I'm such a better person for it. It's absolutely awful that I went through a mental breakdown to get where I am today, but I can't change that. And all the awful hurt I caused, I can't change that either, no matter how hard I try. So I've accepted me, what happened and moved on.
In a way, I guess it's similar to going through, or knowing somebody who is/has gone through bad depression. You can look back at yourself or at that person, remember their sadness, their bleakness, their change in personality, their odd behaviour, whatever, but you can understand and accept that it was the illness that affected them. And more importantly, see them as the good person that not only they were before, but also who they have become.

I was a weak person. I lost my way.
No longer!

I'm genuinely excited about the future.
I feel like an amazing person.

"Breathe" - Bliss featuring Sophie Barker.

10 parlez:

gekkogirl said...

As I've been reading your journey I've been crying. First because I felt some kind of pain for you and then as you describe your ascendancy from the pit I guess they were tears of some kind of joy.

love, love, love and rainbows... xxx

Fern said...

tears.. wow. me too.

it's been a summer of perspective shifts for me and this..your words ...so rich so true

I am amazed...grateful even.

thank you.

Cat said...

This was a brave post, and you ARE an amazing person! Keep Calm and Carry On. xx

lillian said...

brave, honest and very open !!
thanx !

Anonymous said...

You sound like a pathetic excuse for a man. Using a mental breakdown as an excuse for leaving shit on people. You need to GROW UP. Your exgirlfriend obviously didnt love you and she's better of without you draggin her down, she's much happier now.I bet you wish you could see how happy she is lol. Forget about her because she doesn't even give a single thought to you. GET A LIFE.

Fern said...

Anonymous just don´t get it.

Whatever.

It´s tricky business this thing called mental health.
We are fragile beings and sometimes we forget...or just don´t know how to deal with it(that fragility)

bedshaped said...

I want to say thanks for all the supportive comments. Sincerely xx

To anon - You don't know me and you don't know the circumstances between me and The Girl, so kindly keep your opinions to yourself. I say this respectably. but you have no idea what you're talking about.

Fern said...

just came back to read this post again. its like a map or something.

bedshaped said...

Hi Fern,
A map to what....or where?

Kia said...

Hey bs - been away for ages - but have been following your posts for years now, more off than on of late. I've only just read this.

Just wanted to send out hugs. Belated, I know, but hugs all the same.