This post is written through the lens of post migraine wooziness… which snuck up upon me after a 6 month migraine free period! I’m not a whinger, but… it seems a bit crappy that their is no limit on how many afflictions you can acquire. Well, I suppose that’s not true. But it does seem like an infinite realm until the equation is finally balanced with death.
It’s a really weird thing, mental illness. If for no other reason that you can have a crap week, declare you’re just ‘in the wars’ and then have a more balanced week following that, and forget that the black dog is merely taking a nap curled up and sedated in a cosy corner of your mind. You get that feeling of freedom, and you go about your daily life and it is just too easy to become complacent again… which is when you’re feel the inexplicable wagging of a tail against your leg, and the panting and whining of stomach that is never truly satisfied. There’s no graceful way I feel I can put this – it’s nothing less than crappy remembering that there’s more likely to be a cure for cancer before any treatment is developed that does much more than mask the symptoms of depression. And while I adore the loyalty of real dogs, this metaphorical dog could happily stray further from the kennel and I wouldn’t be upset about it.
Reading statistics on mental health in Australia is kind of heartening and disparaging all in one. Places like Sane.org and BeyondBlue.org are invaluable in terms of research and support for people and their families affected with a whole spectrum of mental disorders. One that has really struck me is that 1 in 5 Australians will suffer a mental illness at some point in their lives, with depression being the most common, followed by illnesses such as bipolar, personality disorders ranging right on to schizophrenia. Which is one of those things that gives you a sense of ‘safety in numbers’ but also despair at what such a rate means. It seems so bizarre to me that I can sit here writing, still feeling tentative (or, perhaps full on petrified) at the thought of sharing this blog with my extended circle of friends, over an illness that according to statistics more than 100 of my Facebook friends alone will share with me and many more will be touched by it through family and friends.
But truth be told, it is an incredibly scary thing to expose something at the very heart of you when such stigma still exists. I am still afraid of being treated or talked about in a way that I don’t think is fair, and maybe vainly I am scared that no one will care at all. Because I think there’s still a corner of me that thinks I’m whining about something equivalent to a rotten cold, or about just being ‘in the wars’ and that I should just suck it up and quietly accept my burden. And maybe I should. But for the time being, this blog is just me venting to me, and a few select others should I chose to show them. Maybe my black dog will grow a mane and learn to roar with courage yet.