How are you?

This quickly becomes one of your least favourite questions when you suffer from mental illness. The majority of people who ask this, generally mean in it in a pleasantry kind of way. Not in a literal, spill all your internal feelings kind of way.

I have got to the point now where I generally answer ‘Tired’ or ‘Getting There’ because I am not okay most of the time and the constant need to be positive is more detrimental than not.

When suffering from mental illness you tend to address things differently, you see things in new light. When I ask someone how they are – I am genuinely interested in how they are, regardless if that happens to be ‘My world is crumbling down and I don’t know what to do’ or if they’re happy as a pig in shit, having the best day of their lives.

I like to listen, I always have done. I’ve spent many years feeling like I am not heard, like nobody wants to listen that I always make it my goal to be the ears that do. To be the eyes that read that message and the shoulder to hold all those tears. I know what it feels like to not have it, so I have to do all I can to give it. Some days it’s harder to do that than others, but I still do my best.

Lots of people think depression means weak, scared, overburdened and many more of those awful negative things, and it is in its own way. However, we are still humans, still capable of that connection and are still loyal to our friendships. We may feel like the universe is going to suck the life out of everything we do like a Dementor, but we still have the ability to listen and communicate – for the most part. We still want to hear how you are doing, what life has in store for you. We can still celebrate in your happiness and grieve with you in your sadness.

Compassion doesn’t fade because the black dog came for tea. I feel like people are too scared to talk their problems with me any more, because it might be too much for me to handle. Most people would never guess I have anxiety or depression, I should win an Oscar for my ability to play the ‘everything is great girl’ to the general population.

Don’t feel like you are going to drown us by sharing your woes, you won’t.

‘How are you?’

Tired.

 

Overweight doesn’t mean unfit.  

I needed some new clothes, the seasons are changing and I just wanted to add a couple of bits to the wardrobe so I don’t die in this heat we’re getting. 

I loathe clothes shopping, always have, always will no doubt. Being a big girl with the addition of my anxiety and all that shit, going to actual clothes shops to try things on is a crappy task that I avoid at all costs. 

I got more and more frustrated – being a fatpie in a clothes shop isn’t very fun, but mostly I just couldn’t get over the clothes. Nothing seems to be anything I want, the ‘on trend’ fabrics are plasticy and hot as hell for this time of year or mesh. Like literal see through mesh. That doesn’t look good on the satsumas so it isn’t gonna look good any many humans. 

One woman was talking with my mum and we were discussing how frustrated I was, with the weird selection of fabrics, colours patterns and the bigger you want clothes the shittier they seem to get. Anyway…
She said ‘have you tried getting a bike.’ Like I need telling to exercise from a skinny person when I’m already pissed off.

I said ‘well I walk 6miles a day minimum on average with the dog, anyway.’ 

She looked so taken aback by the fact that a fat person does more exercise than she does as a skinny person. I’m fat, it’s not like I don’t know it – I don’t care if people judge me, but for crying out loud at least try not to look like I’ve just hopped on a unicorn when I say that I do actually exercise a bit. 
Yeah I should probably look at moving more and eating better choices but that is for me to decide not anyone else. I’m not unhappy because I’m fat. I’m unhappy because I happen to have a mental illness that thrives on me being that way. 
I got some shorts anyway and I think I will avoid clothes shops for as long as possible. Mostly because of the bloody people in them. So what if I am fat, I still need to put clothes on and it shouldn’t be such a chore to find basics in a multitude of shops. But it is. 

344 days 

That’s how many days in a row I have left my house now! I’m feeling really proud of that, even though I have felt increasingly overwhelmed this past few weeks. 

I have made huge progress in my anxiety/ agoraphobia recovery. I went to the park, with the dog and let him off his lead on my own for the first time. ​He was great and I didn’t feel out of control with my anxiety and manage to keep my cool, despite the weather! Hooray for progress. 

Walk a mile in my shoes…

Every person in life will have a different journey. Though experiences may be similar, events, friends & family may be the same, the journey will always be different.

It’s all personal, the way each of us experience the same situations and encounter various people. We’re built up and broken down at different times and in different ways. You may be able to relate to certain things other people say, or do but you will never truly know exactly how the rest of the population experiences things.

People struggle with different things, and everyone has something they are dealing with, whether you know it or not. I happen to be very open with my mental illness journey, ergo many people already kind of know what’s going on with me. However, there are days and weeks where I don’t show just how I feel, where the wall goes up and the ‘smiley, I am okay’ Emily surfaces. This isn’t because I can’t say anything, but because I don’t want to.

I have gotten quite good at my Emily act and it’s very easy for my to keep the sensitive, troubled Emily Rose hidden away to the outside world. Many people who meet me are surprised when I reveal that I suffer with mental illness. It’s almost comical to see how their faces simply can’t compute the bubbly smile with an internal hatred of self. It’s a constant draining battle to keep that façade but ultimately, it’s the way of the world. Most people ask how you are as a pleasantry, not because they’re genuinely interested in the inner workings of your brain that day.

You see, despite most people knowing that I have mental illness, I still feel the stigma and I do feel [insert a million negative emotions] for the way certain things can completely change my mood. The happiest situations can still bring on a negative emotion in my head. Which is then followed with a butterfly effect of things that begin the anxiety fuelled spiral into the darkest depths of my beautifully broken brain.

I don’t think we will ever fully understand each other, but we still need to spend the time being open with those we trust. Sharing our experiences and feelings on the different things we all experience, even day-to-day things. It’s important to talk and to listen. To have that human connection and grow strong relationships with people who can help you along in your journey. To build each other up and support each other through the good and the bad times.

Walk a mile in my shoes!?  All this gets you is a mile travelled and possible sore feet because my shoes won’t fit you properly. However, your feet will heal and at the end of it, you won’t know me any better, you won’t feel anything like I feel.  My journey is mine and it’s never going to match yours.

 

One step at a time. 

I’ve set myself a challenge for May. To walk at least 45,000 steps a week. 

The weather is okayish and I have more confidence walking with the pupdog for longer time periods so I’m hoping that will put me in a good position to hit the target. 

I did have a day on Friday where I barely got out of bed due to a crippling migraine and didn’t actually put my tracker on at all. 

I think I made up for it yesterday though – I went for an evening walk BY MYSELF without the dog for an hour and I didn’t die! I also smashed 20k steps! I’m feeling pretty darn good about that, I’m not gonna lie. This year has been really shitty, so these small victories remind me that I will get there, one day. One step at a time. 

To do

My to do list seems to be growing and growing and I seem to just be too poorly, or too exhausted to get anything done. I’ve been unwell for the whole of this week and it’s grinding me down. I’m fed up, I’m exhausted and my dog, bless his heart, is being a pain in the ass. 

So many things have gone wrong this year, a few things have gone right, but still the bad is outweighing the good. So much for 2017 being my year. Maybe next year, eh?!