mental health



Something has been on my mind for the past week now and I find posting about it on a blog where no one knows who I am or anything about me the best way to deal with it. See I could send cryptic tweets about it where the people involved may see it and think about the past but where would that get me? It won’t make me feel better about it and if I’m honest I find that way of dealing with matters a bit more suited for teenagers and not someone of my age. So here I am. A little bit of background may be suited and a little bit about myself personally. Otherwise this all may get rather confusing. Most of the time I am a generally happy person, I try not to let things get me down or how everyone else describes me “the strong one.” But even the strong one has to crack eventually. All that I’m about to talk about happened nearly two years ago, which is quite scary. It doesn’t feel that long ago. Anyway I digress. At this time I had two close friends, one of whom I had been best friends with for 16 years or so. Both girls have suffered with mental health difficulties, depression and anxiety. I will be completely honest and admit that they both most likely feel I wasn’t always understanding and for that I’m sorry but I honestly tried. I became used to mood swings, been ignored for days on end and ending up in the bad books for no reason I could understand. It was my normal life. I understood that sometimes one or the other wouldn’t want to see people or talk and I hope I never made them feel guilty about it, as far as my memory lets me I never remember been terribly annoyed about it anyway. As for myself my mental health is normally very good until you hit winter. No year is the same but I do suffer with S.A.D (seasonal affection disorder or “winter depression”) The year I’m referencing I suffered far worse than normal, I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone, do anything, go anywhere or talk about it. On top of this one of my grandparents became very ill and we were told to be prepared, which didn’t help me feel any more upbeat. I’ll say outright I never discussed this with my friends, they were aware I suffered sad (although I think they forget), as I simply didn’t want to talk about it. As for the times I did go out with them I was quiet and withdrawn, I never yelled or got angry, I was simply sad. They began to invite me out less and less and became good at making sure I was aware they were out without me. This was the point I realised how much I was sinking into depression and their behaviour made it worse. Instead of speaking up I withdrew more assuming I’d done something and they no longer wished to be friends. I still held out some hope we could patch up, or if I’m honest I only wished to remain friends with one of them. But after some weeks I decided enough was enough and cut ties, or in the modern world removed myself from our WhatsApp group chat. Looking back there were far more mature ways to handle this but I honestly felt like we’d made our feelings clear but not talking for weeks and by then I wanted to move on. It was a bad move, a very large angry message not long later told me that. Still I held out that I could hold onto my friendship with my oldest friend. I was very wrong. The thought crossed my mind to not explain at all how I was feeling but I eventually decided to explain I felt excluded and that they no longer wished to remain friends for whatever reason. Obviously I went into more detail that I do not wish to go into online but instead of understanding I received blame. Blame for not having perfect mental health. Blame for not been the happy one and worse of all admittance that they’d assumed ‘I’d snap out of it.’ Instead of asking if I was okay, if my family were okay they assumed I’d taken the huff about something that they didn’t wish to know about. I never wanted them to ask or understand completely but I wrongly assumed they’d be there. Like I’d tried to be for them. I didn’t need words, I just needed them. But no. It was that moment I realised our friendship, if it was ever that, was stone cold dead. Now you may wonder why two years later this is on my mind. Well I can’t say I’m friends with her but I’ve kept contact so to speak with one of the girls but it’s taken me to now to realise we no longer know each other and although part of me really wants to keep that contact I finally know it’s not worth it. She doesn’t care anymore and maybe I don’t either. She’s not the one I text when something happens any longer, I didn’t confide in her when my grandfather got cancer I nearly didn’t tell her at all. So my message to anyone reading this, if anyone ever does, don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to be okay and happy all the time. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay not to be the strong one in the hardest times, you will find the best people.


Grandparents, Or are they?

To say I have a complicated relationship with my grandparents is putting it lightly. The ins and outs and who did what aren’t really that relevant but it’s fair to say we aren’t found of each other. Well that is slightly unfair, my grandfather is no longer with us and as much as he wasn’t an easy person to get on with he at least was always glad to see you. This is more to do with my grandmother, if you can call her that. A bit of background might make this simpler to understand, they divorced when I was a teenager and like most divorces the family split like they did as a lot of secrets and information came out. Although this might come as surprise my household, including myself, sided with the woman I struggle to refer to as a grandmother. There wasn’t much question in which side to take, still isn’t, she was right to leave him and should have years before. For years, I tried to convince myself that she was a good person, a better one than him, despite the hints that is was simply not true. My family did their best for her, the details don’t matter but in the end, it was never enough. Given half the chance she would be telling anyone who’d listen just what horrible, putting it nicely, people we were. Of course, we always went back and took it again. But the fact I cannot stand a woman I am supposed to adore is not why I’m writing this; my story isn’t uncommon. No, what spurred me to sit and do this was a simple Instagram post. My cousin, a few years younger than myself, posted a simple picture of herself with the woman in question and a lovely post about how much she loved her. She’s not lying, it’s not some mask so friends don’t see the truth, she really does love her. I would do if I had the relationship she had with her. I was five or six when I first discovered my grandmother didn’t like me and I’ve never questioned that realisation since. To say she isn’t a warm person is an understatement. She’s never once, as far as my memory serves me, told me she loves me, given me a hug or even shook my hand. But my cousins, I have many of them, don’t see this side to her just as I have never seen the side of her they see. It’s not that I simply misunderstand her, she’s very honest with the fact she doesn’t like me or my household including her child and my relationship with my other grandmother couldn’t be more different. I didn’t write this to gain some sympathy nor hate towards her or the other way around. The simple reason was that it never fails to surprise me one person can appear and act so differently to others. I’m not the only one who has never been shown love by her my parent, her child, has only ever been told she was proud of them once. Just proud, that’s the most love she’s shown. The reasons she’s so cold towards her own child are long and complicated but despite my own bias in this situation they largely on her. Of course, now neither grandparents would have got off with the way they treated their children, mainly my parent over the others, but the 60s/70s were a different time. Nor would my grandfather have got off with the way he treated her. Too many people turned a blind eye. Maybe one day I’ll have a “normal” relationship with her but one things for sure, I won’t be holding my breath.