Today has been quite a scary day for me. Recently I’ve been battling with some personal demons of my own. My depression seems to have become an incredibly annoying and stubborn form akin to a pubescent teenager mixed with a spoilt two year old constantly on the brink of throwing a tantrum.
Basically, I’m going through a phase where I’m having to struggle against my desire to self-sabotage. It’s seems really stupid, why on earth would I want to stop myself getting better? The thing is, when you’ve had years and years of practise putting yourself down and telling yourself that you are worthless, it’s extremely difficult to break out of the cycle. Now my depression is targeting the exact things that make me feel better by rebelling against me taking medicine or going to my meetings with the psychologist. It even convinced me that I needed to break up with Burly because if I stayed with him I was condemning him to a life of misery. Thankfully Burly is a very sensible person and knew that what I was saying wasn’t really coming from me. It’s as if the depression sweeps over me like a wave or a thick billowing fog. Whilst I’m trapped in there my depression takes over my brain and mouth, making me believe that all my fears are true. It doesn’t matter that Burly is right there in front of me repeated pleading with me that what I think isn’t the truth. At times when I’m trapped up in the depression wave the only thing I can do is kick and fight as hard as I can to reach the surface and regain my brain again. Once I finally break through it I instantly know when I’m back in control, but then the realisation at all that I’ve said whilst my depression had the reigns comes crashing down on me. The guilt and shame I feel is unbelievable and frankly I think it’s incredibly unfair! My bloody depression comes barging in uninvited, throws a strop and smashes everything up and then just buggers off, while muggins here is left to put it all back together! Just rude, plain and simple. Apparently what I’m feeling and how I’m struggling is very common amongst depressive self-punishers like me. It’s just another way to put yourself down and deny yourself happiness as you believe with all your heart that you don’t deserve it.
Anyway, so I’ve not been having the best of times as it is. Happily I have been a little better this week as both Burly and the Doc have been looking after me. I’ve been quietly working away, keeping to myself whilst picking myself back up again.
Then I heard the sad news about the Germanwings Airbus crash.
Before I go on, I beg you please not to miss understand me. The loss of the 149 people involved in this incident is just tragic and I feel nothing but the most heart-felt sympathy for everyone who are now grieving for their loved ones. I think that I can safely say that no one is in any doubt that this horrific incident should not have happened and that the 149 casualties were victims of a system that failed them. Nothing that anyone could say would ever change that.
But have you seen the way that the british media has reacted as soon as there was the faintest whiff of scandalous and dangerous mental illness in the air?
They actually used the word ‘Madman’.
Just take that in for a second.
I’m sorry if I seem patronising, but I honestly and truly didn’t realise that I was living in a society that would allow a person who suffered from mental health issues to be publicly labelled as a ‘madman’.
The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror also seemed to have something to say on the matter…
Even The Guardian, though trying to hide behind more ‘tasteful’ wording, made sure that no one could forget that mental illness was involved here…
Why are they fixating on the fact that the co-pilot had mental health issues? To me this headline is pure and simple fearmongering. The message is to fear those with mental health issues as based on this one event they are all clearly a threat to society.
But guys, it’s me who’s scared. Seeing all this negative response to the co-pilots condition has made me so afraid.
I’ve heard on the news today such phrases as ‘Should people with serious depression be allowed any job?’ and ‘How can the general public be kept safe in future’ from such ‘Criminal, crazy acts’? Depression has been the buzz word in many of the sensationalised tag lines.
Is this what people honestly think of those suffering from mental health issues?
As I said before, what has happened is truly tragic and should have been avoided. But here’s the real issue that I find the most disturbing.
It actually seems like the reports on the airbus crash are no longer focusing on the loss of life. They’re not focusing on how the families can try to move on and heal. They even seem to be just fleetingly talking about what safety methods can be put in place in future to avoid such incidents from occurring again.
What they are pumping all their efforts into is announcing the fact that Andreas Lubitz had mental health issues. And they are doing so in such a way that it is harmful to others who also suffer. They are parading his mental health issues as an example of what ‘normal’ people should fear. They are taking us back to the days where members of the public where taken around the insane asylums to view the inmates as exhibits.
Please, please don’t think I’m being flippant, but can you imagine if this occurred when being homosexual was illegal and it was discovered that the person who caused the crash was gay? Would the head lines read like this?
‘Suicide pilot had a long history of homosexuality. WHY ON EARTH WAS HE ALLOWED TO FLY?’
‘Killer pilot suffered from HOMOSEXUALITY’
Or even what if we went back to when black people were banned from many jobs. Would The Sun headlines have read like this?
‘BLACK MAN IN COCKPIT’
Some of you may think I’m being dramatic, but what I have seen and heard today has made my blood run cold.
I know that people who read what I write understand that I my main goal is to be honest about what I feel and experience with my depression in order to reduce stigma. I lay myself bare so that people can get a glimpse into my life and maybe find something that might help them.
But based on the reaction I’ve witnessed I can’t help but stop and think, am I putting myself at risk now? It’s no secret that I’ve have attempted suicide before and still battle suicidal thoughts, does this mean that people will be afraid of what I could do? Even with job applications, I’ve always been determined to disclose my mental health issues on my application, despite some people advising me not to. I’ve always believed that if a company won’t hire me then I don’t want to work for them anyway as they won’t support me. But now I feel like I’ve seen a glimpse into what people really think about mental illness. Do people look at my application and dismiss me because they’re afraid of dealing with me? God forbid if at some point I’m involved in an accident, would my past battles with depression be dragged out for all to see as proof that I was unfit to be amongst human society in the first place?
I feel as though a black day has occurred in the fight against the stigma associated with mental health. We were just finally getting to a stage where people felt brave enough to stand up and be honest about their struggles and where non suffers felt comfortable asking for more information on the subject. Maybe I was naïve but I thought we were winning the battle.
Now after all that has been said I’m scared.
What can we do now guys? I guess we just pick up from where we left off, though I know that my heart feels a little heavier now.