Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mental Health

Apparently today is a Mental Health Awareness day in Canada. So, for those who don't know, I suffer from severe depression and severe anxiety. I was only diagnosed maybe six years ago, but looking back I have suffered with it since public school. They are compounded by my physical issues, as the affects of my fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, narcolepsy, etc feed my depression and anxiety, while my depression and anxiety can trigger my physical issues.

I think the worst part of the whole is the deadening of emotions. I never feel excite or joy (though I have at times come close). I tend not to smile or laugh, and I try to make a point of TELLING people I am glad to see them, or that I appreciated something they gave e, because my body language is not conveying that message. I know (especially to people who do not know me well) I come off cold and aloof, when I am actually a very emphatic person. In fact, other people's emotions deeply affect my own.

I think it is important for people who suffer from any mental illness to feel that they can be open and frank about their condition, without fear of stigma. This is why I have always chosen to be open about my condition. I can't control having the D or A, anymore than I can control having blue eyes, and I should not be made to feel as if something is inherently wrong with me for having them. (Of course, knowing something and believing it in your core are two different things. I can talk the talk, but its not always easy to walk the walk.)

As a bonus, here's something very few people actually know about my messed up brain. I continually trace shapes and outlines with my eyes. Letters on signs, the median on the road, faces on TV, patterns in carpet. When I became aware that I am doing it, it becomes extremely distracting. To date the only thing that seems to put a damper on it is walking my dog. I have no idea why.

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