MY JOURNEY FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH (part 1)

I feel like it’s time to start talking about my journey a lot more, not just in the sense of fitness, but in the way of recovering both physically and mentally. I’ve not been ready to discuss anything with those around me, I don’t know if I am ready yet and the truth is that I don’t know if I will ever be ready to discuss it with those around me. But I know that in order to do better for myself, and for my kids once I have them back, I need to talk about this stuff. So why not do it here right?

It’s not an easy thing to admit that you’re struggling, and it’s even harder to admit just how much you’re struggling. When it comes to your mental health, especially things like depression, it can really creep up on you. When your mental health goes downhill, it will stalk you from the shadows for a while until it knows it’s too late. Once it’s too late, and it’s managed to follow to where it seems like there’s nowhere to go, that’s when it really strikes. It holds you down and it will do everything possible to keep you down no matter how hard you fight. The worst part is not being able to admit to those around you how hard you are fighting, even if you know they can see you’re struggling (even if they don’t realise how much).

You see, we try to hide our feelings (especially men), but it doesn’t matter how much we try to hide it as our eyes speak a lot louder than our mouth. Those closest to us will know we aren’t ok, but we don’t want to burden them. I know that is how I always feel. I know my friends and family have their own struggles, have their own problems and hardships, so I don’t want to burden them with my own struggles. There is no one who knows exactly how much I am struggling right now, not even my psychologist knows the full truth.

For years I have been tormented without even realising it, being convinced that if I allowed myself to feel anything then I was weak and pathetic. Whenever I ever tried to talk to her about things she would scream at me and tell me how weak I am and how I just “had my precious little feelings hurt” etc. Eventually I would lie to her about being ok, and if she continued pushing it I would finally end up talking about the little things that weren’t bothering that much. Because I knew how she saw me when I talked about those things… Weak…

For some context, she would never be ok, having mental breakdowns at all moments of everyday and then she would use that as an excuse to yell and scream at me and say all kinds of things. Things from as little as I hate you, you’re pathetic etc to things like “you deserve to die” and “I wish you would just kill yourself”. In the beginning I tried to be understanding. I would tell myself she didn’t mean those things, she will be sorry afterwards, she will regret it and it will be all ok. The mental breakdowns would always get worse if I ever had to leave the house; whether it was for work or just to see a friend for a couple of hours. I would have to race back home, would lose countless jobs because of never being able to go and do the jobs. Then I was told that I was always losing work because I was just too lazy, told I was making excuses to not work etc. That’s how it went, but after the first year or so it never got better. She refused to get help, always making excuses not to get help. Still, I kept trying to convince myself she didn’t mean those things and it was just her own personal demons. It wasn’t until years later when she finally left me that I suddenly realised the truth.

She was never sorry, she never regretted the things she said, she never felt bad for the things she said.because if she did feel that way then she wouldn’t have always made excuses to not get help.

After years of having someone telling you how you’re so weak, pathetic, a horrible person and made to feel like the smallest thing on the planet; you start to believe it.. When she left, I was relieved. I was absolutely shattered about my boys not being here anymore, but I was honestly relieved that she was gone. I was basically on a high for a few days there, realised I finally got to live my life and do things for myself. Then everything started coming back to me, and I started thinking;

“Hang on, if that’s what she actually thought of me then maybe it is true. Because if she didn’t actually think those things of me, then surely she would have felt bad and regretted saying it. But she didn’t want to stop saying it.” So then I convinced me all over that she was correct, that all the things she had been saying to me were correct and that maybe I needed to hear them. Then I wasn’t sure what to think, I wasn’t sure how to feel, I was lost and confused. I told no one about this, until now I still haven’t told anyone anything like this.

But even now after she’s been gone for a few months, there are still times where I try to take the blame when I’m talking with my family or friends. I will still tell them things are my fault. I will still struggle to understand that her actions weren’t ok.

The thing with mental pain that is caused by what happens to us in our life, is that it is worse than physical pain. I remember reading this quote a while back; I can’t remember all of it but it started with this line:

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain.”

I read that line, and all I think is that whoever said that must not have ever suffered with any real mental pain. Because I can tell you now, there is no physical pain that has made me want to kill myself. However there are many days where I wish I could because of my mental pain. I never would, because I know my boys will be needing me and I already hold enough guilt towards them, For allowing them to be treated how their mother used to treat them, screaming at them for simply making a sound just because she was having one of her breakdowns. She would say things to them like “You’re just like your father” and other things like this, then she would turn to me and scream at me saying “look at what you made me do” etc and always blaming me for what she did.

Then I allowed her to go and take the boys with her. After which she told me she had made DV accusations and was now in a DV shelter so I wasn’t allowed to see the boys. (I now have a lawyer trying to get them back). Her abuse continued even after she had gone until finally I got the courage to say that I wanted no more contact from her. Even then I still ended up saying that it was so I could work on bettering myself etc, because I was still under her control at this point. I still am to an extent, I don’t know if I will ever be able to completely break free of what she has done.

When I say that I don’t mean I would go running back to her or anything like that. I mean I still think that if I talk to someone they will see me as weak, or pathetic, or selfish. I feel like I would be a burden on them if I let them know how I was feeling. I worry about what they would think if I told them how exhausted I am all the time, that it’s such a struggle just to get out of bed each day, how the reason I sit there playing with my knife all the time isn’t just because I like it.

It feels like every single thought I have is a battle, and sometimes I wonder if I have the strength to keep fighting. It feels like I have been knocked down in the ring, and I just don’t have the energy to keep backing up.

I wish I had talked about things sooner, no one even knew what was going on for all those years until she was gone. I wanted to talk about it, I still want to talk about it. I wanted to scream and yell. I wanted to shout about it. But I couldn’t, all I could do was tell those few who did see me that I was fine. I would just say I’m tired from working etc. Because I had been convinced that having feelings made me weak. But if you’re reading this and you understand that feeling, just know that you’re allowed to feel like you’re messed inside and out. It doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means you’re human, and we all have our own struggles.

Sometimes I think about the past and I miss the old me. Not the one who made the mistakes I’ve made, but the me who was always happy, always smiling and laughing. But that version of me is long gone, to never return now. It creates a real shallow, empty feeling like just existing is a full-time job. That’s the thing though, no one ever tells you that emptiness weighs more than anything else on this planet.

This feeling is like the opposite of having a nightmare. I remember having a dream a few weeks back, about the boys and my family and we were all spending time outside running around. Then I woke up.. Unlike a nightmare where you’re relieved to have woken up, it was like I woke up into the nightmare. I felt that gut wrenching sickness of the broken heart the day I came back home and those boys were nowhere to be seen. I felt like I just wanted to disappear, leave this place and never look back. It wasn’t until later that day that I realised it wasn’t that I wanted to disappear, but it as that I wanted to be found. Except no one could find me because no one knew that I was missing.

All of these mental problems, they are wounds that will never show on your body. But they will cut deeper and be far more painful than anything that bleeds. But masking that pain in silence, won’t make those feelings disappear. I have tried that, I am still trying that. Despite the fact that I already know it doesn’t work. Even now, there are days where I just want to give up and even though I know I have people to reach out to. I don’t, because I know they have their own problems and I feel like it’s up to me to be strong for everyone else. It’s up to me to always be ok, so I can carry those who I love on my shoulders without them having to worry about their weight breaking my own back.

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