Answer to comment

Thanks for the comments. I’m surprised anyone is reading this at all. I almost didn’t intend it to be read; I was just writing into the void. But it’s nice to see that people stumble in on Blogger anyway.

About the answer to the first comment on the last post (and thank you for commenting and please do again): well, you must not have been there. I have, in the past, let other people see my horrible side, my breakdown. And they fled. Fast. Leaving me in even worse shape: exposed, humiliated, then abandoned, and even more convinced that that side of me is intolerable. And the kicker is, I even understood it. It isn’t fun to hang out with a depressed, hopeless, irritable person who cries all the time and who can’t be helped by anything. That was pretty much the sequence of events that led up to me deciding to fake a normal personality and never let anyone see the real me again.

Now, I’ve built a decent life for myself by hiding all of that, and I couldn’t bear to lose it. And people who are involved in normal lives, who are normal themselves, just don’t get this kind of thing. And freak out about it. And don’t want to be around it. And…I don’t blame them. There is a big line between people who have felt like this and people who never will. My recent experience of living a normal life has shown me how huge that divide is.

People who are kind of crazy often are in social circles that are similar. Lots of their friends are in therapy, have been on and off drugs (both licit and illicit), etc. But when you cross over into the sunny world, where people have real jobs and not arty jobs, and get and stay married and do all that stuff, this kind of problem is a true freakshow to them. It is out of their realm of experience.

And yes, I know that lots of people feel bad, and you can never really know how unhappy someone is from the outside…but you sort of can in the people who have never been that way.

And I’m better off like this, with normal friends and a normal life (even if it feels boring to me, or is fake). I don’t want to fuck that up. I don’t want, as Dr. Evil says, for the moment to come where we realize that “Things got weird, didn’t they?” I don’t want to lose what I have. That’s why I’m writing here instead of talking to Jake. But thank you for listening instead.

I rested in bed most of today. Then I read web pages on suicide and so on. I actually wanted pages about how to talk to your friends about that kind of stuff, but there aren’t very many. They all end up being those fact sheets and lists of people to call.

The only useful thing I found about actually telling someone was this set of questions:

What is the Reason? What would it benefit you by telling someone? If you don’t experience any personal or professional benefits, why tell?

I’m not sure I have a good answer to this with Jake. Just because I sort of want some sympathy. I’m not sure that’s a good reason. Someone in another article made the point that you should never tell unless you are in sort of a stable state – sort of like the “don’t make major decisions” advice.

What is the situation for telling? What is the reason? Is it a good enough reason to tell someone?

Situation would be that I’m feeling bad now and people are pressuring to know. Not a great reason.

The Person Themselves -How much does the person you want to tell understand and empathize with those people with mental health disorders? Do they stigmatize others? Are they naïve about these issues? Do they know others with these disorders and not treat them differently? Are they a supportive type? Are they understanding? Are they absolutely not going to tell anyone else? What do you think their response would be? It could be quite different from what you imagined.
I don’t know. Jake can be kind of old fashioned about things…but some of that is cultural, no political correctness at all…definitely not a “feelings” type of guy…and we are in a small community where no one ever can keep a secret anyway. I can’t be sure he’d not tell anyone, because these normal type people think it’s the right thing to do, to “get help.” They have little to no experience with how ridiculously bad a lot of that “help” is (i.e. psychiatrists/counselors).

Anyway, I think this is kind of showing me that my motives aren’t the greatest…and that I don’t really want pity or to not be taken seriously or anything. Or for things to be awkward. So even though my gut wants to tell, I think it’s probably better not to.

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2 Comments

  1. You’re right, I never told my friends I was depressed when I was feeling my most vulnerable. I didn’t want to scare away the few friends I had! The one time I plucked up to the courage to go to the doctor’s, she gave me a packet of homeopathic **** and I was so depressed I never even went back to her! So I’m a fine one to talk 😀

    But I guess I was comparing your inability to open up to people with my own inability: for a long time I was unable to hold conversations with people. Now, I’m able to do that pretty normally, and am just “on the shy side”, even though years ago I felt I was, by nature, simply unable to behave as normal people do. I would have loved to have been able to create the illusion you’re managing to keep up (!) but I thought I wasn’t able to, and would end up in the kind of unpleasant company you describe. But: even with the least possible amount of get-up-and-go, I did manage to change my nature – maybe you can change yours?

    How about, instead of actually showing people your darker side, you just tell them about it? Would that help? When you are having a good day, whatever that is for you(!), you could say in a cheerful voice, “Oh by the way, sorry about last week, I was on a down. I get this depression, and it can be a real pain in the arse sometimes. Thank goodness I’m on a high today, ha ha!”

    Sorry if my suggestion is completely inappropriate to your situation! 🙂 I’m just a nosy cow …

    This column is good sometimes BTW:
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLJ,GGLJ:2006-36,GGLJ:en&q=%22Blue+notes+site:society%2eguardian%2eco%2euk

    Do you think you’d really kill yourself, or is it more that you wish you weren’t alive in the first place?

  2. Thanks for coming back, Anne. It’s nice to know someone is out there.

    There have been times I haven’t been able to keep up the front. Right now I’m not that bad off, surely not as sick as I could be or have been.

    I just read something yesterday about the “post-depression shame hangover” – like you go back and think, God, what did I do during that and how did I humiliate myself and in front of who? I’d rather avoid at least that, if I can. It’s a lesson hard-learned.

    I have also been humiliated by doctors before…and never gone back. I don’t even have a shrink at the moment, just got the GP who is prescribing what the last shrink recommended about 5 years ago. I think I may need to go on lithium, which would mean finding a shrink. Which I hate, because they are usually quite mean and contemptuous of their patients.

    What did you change about your nature, and how?

    The link you left isn’t complete.
    Do you have a blog of your own?


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