Speaking up

Warning. Longer post, it’s story time.

When I realised I had mental health issues I made a choice. I’m not going to keep quiet about it. I’m going to speak up. I wanted to break the stigmas, the taboos and all the other shit keeping people from being open about their issues. Doing so I hoped to show people who haven’t experienced mental health issues what it can feel like and what it does to you, but most importantly to try to normalise it so that other people who might suffer from similar issues don’t feel so alone and isolated.

Up until now this decision and me acting accordingly has only been something I’ve done for myself. Being honest about how I feel helpt me stay sane and I ressurected my blog to write down my general thoughts and ideas as well as the feelings, emotions, sensations and thoughts I have/feel right as I have an anxiety attack or (lacking a btter word) a depression spiral as a way do deal with them. The hope that someone would learn something or feel better from reading my blog or hear me talk about my issues was always there but never something I seriously considered. Little me teaching someone something? No way. Me having a positive impact on someones life? Never in a million years. Those admirable goals of being a positive change in society were only pretentious excuses to not wear a mask quite as often as I would have to otherwise.

At leat that’s what I thought up until last weekend.

In highschool my mental health (or rather, the lack there of) forced me to change classes from natural sciences to humanities since I was unable to keep up with the pace. I was very open to my new class about where I was coming from and why I still didn’t have the energy to show up to class every day. My classmates were understanding and even though I never really become close friends with any of them I got along well with most of them and actually hit it of quite well with a few (can you say ‘hit it of’ without it implying dating?).

Even though the less intense courses had a slight improvement on my ability to study it was far from enough. After struggling for a year and a half I decided to drop out of highschool having achieved next to nothing. I went on with my life barely sparing a thought to the classmates I left behind, up until last weekend when I ran into one of them at the bar.

After a meeting with a political group we decided to go to a bar and as the evening progresses it gets more and more crowded. Several groups come and go at the table next to us until I notice one of our latest neighbours waves at me. I recognise the face but who is it? I wave back and we both return to the discussions at our respective tables. Of course. Highschool. Now I remember.

Eventually there is some breathing room and we get together at the same table. We exchange plesantries. Ask each other what we’re up to nowadays. The usual. Then they get emotional and tell me how me being open about my problems, talking about it in class and then later writing about them here helped them deal with their own problems.

I know this was exactly the effect I hoped my decision would have, but this was the first time someone told mr about their experiences regarding to my decision. It was overwhelming and beautiful to hear. Even if my decision only helped this one person it has been worth all the strange looks I’ve gotten from people who aren’t used to talking about mental health. All the comments about it not being something you talk about in the public. Because if I don’t talk about it, who will? How else will they get used to it? How else do we normalise mental health issues?

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Noise

I am paralysed. I can’t blink. My vision blurs and my skin crawls. The void pressing all around me, seeping into me through the cracks in my facade.

Thank god my friends finally left, my mask was just about to crack. Now I can embrace the pain, anxiety and misery for a while until I go back to my autopilot. But what is this? One of them left their phone. Fuck. I call the others who are with them so they can come back and get it. As I throw on my jacket to come out to meet them I also put on a new mask. This one will only hold for a few minutes, but that is all I need.

I hand the phone over and head back home. The door shuts behind me. My music plays on full volume as I sit down. Everything is spinning and the music fades to a distant noise in the outskirts of my consciousness. I can’t move. My field of view shrinks. I am paralysed. I can’t blink. My vision blurs and my skin crawls. The void pressing all around me, seeping into me through the cracks in my facade.

Reorganising my bookshelf

full-bookcase-of-booksI’m young so I’m yet at the beginning of what I hope to be a long journey of collecting books. Still I feel I’ve already accumulated a respectable collection of writings of various genres and topics. Every once in a while there is a new addition to the ranks which always poses a problem. Where do I put it?

More often than not it ends up on my desk somewhere until one of the rare clean-ups happen when it goes on top of other books because I can’t be bothered to find a proper place for it while also making sense of the mayhem that threaten to not only break my desk but possibility time and space itself. Today however, I had enough. I was tired at looking at the books scattered across my room, or carelessly shoved into the shelf where the chaos from the desk now found a new home.

At some point when I first started filling my shelf there was something remenicent of a system; read fiction, unread fiction, political philosophy, interesting topics in general, plays, theatre related stuff and other. It took time but when order was finally restored I could step back and admire my work. I felt that I had reconnected with my books. It reminded me of why I got my hands on them and why I should read those I haven’t gotten around to yet.

It also helped me deal with my guilt. I consider myself a reader. My family is a long line of teachers, scientists, engineers, researchers and writers. My family home has more walls that have bookshelves on them than don’t, yet over the past few years I have not read nearly as much as I have wanted, or felt like I should. Depression is a bitch. Despite that I have kept acquiring books, maybe hoping to find the one I won’t be able to put down, maybe to satisfy a need to keep up appearances, fooling myself by getting books at the pace I would like to read them despite being unable to.

I felt so guilty. I felt guilt towards my family for not living up to the academic standard set by generations, i felt guilty towards my friends for not having read this or that. However the biggest guilt I felt was towards myself for not consuming this wealth of knowledge, stories and ideas sitting right in front of my face. The simple act of touching my books helped me alleviate at least some of the guilt.

I don’t know why but pulling them out, stacking them and put them back into place gave me the feeling that it was OK. it’s not a race. I can take my time. Feeling their weight in my hands reinforced my bond to my books and reading in general. Stepping back and admiring my new, organised bookshelf was incredible.

My desk is once again a complete mess however.

Disconnected

d-custom-brand-disconnectThe guilt. The guilt of having been away. You’ve got a legitimate reason, after all you have barely been able to get out of bed for the past week. But now that you no longer blow your brains out each time you sneeze and there Niagara Falls no longer is located in your nose you have to go back, but you’re afraid. They will be angry and disappointed because of your absence. You don’t want to face the stares. You are afraid of the mean things they will tell you, that they will scold you and guilt trip you for being unable to function due to circumstances outside of your control. You’re scared that you are no longer welcome, that you’ve become a nuisance, a problem to work around rather than a member of the group.

So you find an excuse. A way to justify being away for a while longer. ‘I’m still sick’ you tell yourself. ‘I have to do this and that that’s more important’ Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s just excuses.

You know none of the things you fear will happen, everything is false because you know the people around you are nice and understanding. But the fear is real so you stay disconnected.

Grey

grey-girlWhat’s even the point when nothing feels real? You feel like shit, wanting to harm and kill yourself for a few minutes or hours before you go back to your old, numb disconnected self. On one hand these spaces in time are the few moments when you actually feel real and connected with reality, on the other hand they’re just an other scale of grey in a bleak and dreary existence.

On one hand these are the few moments when you actually feel anything beyond complete apathy and contempt, on the other they’re nothing more than a flash.

On one hand these moments fill you with a deep desire to do something radical just to end the constant grind, like walk in the middle of the street to see if you’re hit by a car, or maybe punch a police officer in the face so they take you in and maybe then someone finally realises you have a problem.

On the other hand you’re to comfortable to want to change. Its so easy to crawl back to the bed, back to the grind, back to the long road towards death.

A tiny speck of failure

splatter-png-picAll around me I see people achieving things. Working towards their goals, succeeding at whatever it is they do. And here I am, a tiny speck of failure.

Sure, I have dreams, I want to be an actor! I want to write meaningful texts! I want to sing in a band! I want to put myself out there and have my work recognised. I want to make an impact on peoples lives.

I can’t though. Nothing I do is good. Not even good enough. If it was someone would have noticed by now right? The only ones who watch my plays are the ones I drag to the theatre, the only ones who read my stuff are the ones I make read it, the only ones who listen to me sing are the ones I force to listen. I am putting myself out there, my voice swallowed by the void. Not even an echo. My efforts are downed by the signal noise, the abundance of mass-produced, mass appeal content. Why me and not those others? Why am I left to wither in the shade while people around me are reaching for the sun and the stars beyond?

Why don’t I have the energy to do all the smaller things I want to do? I want to ‘git gud’ at Dark Souls. I want to write more songs. I want to be useful to the people around me. Yet I give up after 30 minutes. Yet I only write a few words every few weeks. Yet I’m just a depressed cloud in everyones way.

I have so many ideas for projects I want to do. Improve my home and community, create websites and write articles about the things I love, create an independent theatre group, the list goes on and on. Seeds waiting to sprout, seeds left to wait forever. I don’t have the energy.

A snapshot

IMG_20170403_045409This is one of those posts where probably nothing is going to make sense. I am drunk, suicidal and just in general pretty crappy but I think it’s important to expose this side of depression as well, not just the calm, intellectual smart-ass side that shines through when you have thought out what to say in advance or you have something specific in mind, but this raw, uncensored cluster-fuck that is taking place right now.

As I said, I am drunk. I have had several glasses of strong alcohol, I’ve been self-harming and talking to some friends. Hi snow, trowsquaredbro, bhlek, phil and probably a few more of you. I am really touched by your efforts. It has probably kept this situation form going from bad to worse. Technically keeping it since it’s still going on but whatever. Thanks.

I really want to die. I have several times in the conversation stated above expressed my desire to end my life. Why? Because I can’t be fucking bothered. It’s just turtles all the way down, but instead of turtles its pain, anxiety and misery. I don’t have the balls to end my life because I am a weak, pain fearing whimp but if I was presented with a button to end my life instantly and painlessly I would push it in a heartbeat. Wow that expression is oddly ironic and morbid…

“But you have so much to live for! You’re young! You have dreams! Things get better!” Yeah please gently shove something large and uncomfortable up where the sun don’t shines. I am incapable of doing anything. I can’t study, let alone hold a job, I am a burden to everyone I engage with… I am literally a worthless piece of shit.

Now I don’t want any encouraging messages, they always make me feel like a petty attention whore. I don’t write this for you to feel sorry for me. I write this so you who have never experienced it maybe can get a glimpse of how it is to live with depression. I will encourage you to share it though. Depression is a serious thing and it claims lives every day. It could have been me tonight if not for my friends over at GFD, hell it still might be. What do I know? Share this post, share this blog, not because I want your bloody clicks but because I want the world to know. Depression is still taboo and it needs to stop. I’m going to pour myself another glass. God night.

Paperwork

business-cat-paperwork-from-cheezburger-450x380Something that keeps boggling my mind is how someone suffering from depression is still expected to do tons and tons and tons of paperwork. Do you want to apply for financial aid, here please fill in and file these papers please. Do you need to take out sick leave, more papers, do you want to get in touch with the hospital to try to help you with your issues? Even more bloody paperwork. I am only nineteen, have never had a full-time job and up to my chin with papers that have to be sent to different agencies and departments. I can only imagine how it gets later in life.

Now, I of course understand that to make sure things are done correctly you need to double-check and triple-check that no one is trying to pull something sketchy and waste resources that could be spent on those who actually need them, but there has to be a better way of doing things rather than overwhelming people who struggle to get out of bed with lots and lots of tedious paperwork.

I am lucky who still live at home and have wonderful parents who are willing to help and motivate me in my darker times, but even then it sometimes gets overwhelming.

For example just this week I finally managed to complete my application for university. Now, since I don’t have a high-school diploma I had to make an application for something they call “trial of competence” a process where you provide proof that you actually possess knowledge even though you don’t have any grades to show for it. After making sure there was no rush to upload said proof to the indicated website I began. It was a simple task of asking people to write a signature on a short blurb that proved that I had done certain things and that they provided me with the knowledge required. Simple right? Yes, but even the most simple tasks seem like impenetrable mountains. I couldn’t do it. I had my father write the blurbs. I needed him to sit by my side while I sent them out, and when they finally arrived with signatures I needed him by my side to be able to start the uploading process.

So I go to the website and log in. I am greeted with a message that says that all documents need to be uploaded six days ago.

I stand up, turn around and crash into my bed. I am done. All this work for nothing. I double and triple checked that there was no hurry. I could for my life not find a due date and now here I am six days late. It takes my dad at least 20 minutes to convince me to upload the documents anyway.

As I said before, I have no solution to this problem, besides doing away with all issues that causes depression in the first place but then all of my liberal friends would (by right) call me a communist. I just cannot imagine how it is for someone who is in the same lucky spot as I am, for someone who don’t have parents or a partner or anyone to help them take care of the basics of being an adult.

När lågan slocknar [When the fire burns out]

e8ae15f95f994a0b348389b125da8666In English

Jag orkar snart inte mer. Det är inte ett faktum jag har velat erkänna för mig själv men när alla varningslampor blinkar aggressivt i ansiktet på en är det svårt att ignorera och köra på.

Våren 2011 gick jag med i Piratpartiet, sedan dess har piratrörelsen spelat en central roll i mitt liv. Då var jag 13 år gammal, precis så att ens liv börjar betyda någonting utöver att äta, sova, leka och klaga på att skolan är så tråkig, nu är jag 19. Under de gångna sex åren har piratrörelsen varit en självklar del av mitt liv. Förtroendeuppdrag, aktivism, konferenser, sommarläger, studieresor, utflykter och och så vidare har lett till att livet jag levt utanför skolan har jag levt i piratrörelsen. Jag har lärt mig mycket och jag har lärt känna många intressanta människor och knutit många vänskapsband. Det var en underbar tid. Men det var då.

För ungefär ett år sedan slocknade jag. Jag blev likgiltig inför hela piratrörelsen, inte för att jag slutat bry mig om frågorna eller för att jag inte längre gillade människorna inom rörelsen, och det är här man säger “utan för att….” och så kommer man med en förklaring till varför men jag har ingen. Kan det ha och göra med min mentala ohälsa? Inte omöjligt, utbrändhet pga överengagemang? Kanske det. Det bara tog slut. Såklart blev jag helt förkrossad. Plötsligt slocknade halva mitt liv, vad skulle jag ta mig till? Jag resonerade mig fram till att det berodde på bristen på aktivitet och engagemanget lokalt och bestämde mig därför att kandidera som styrelsemedlem i Ung Pirat, Piratpartiets ungdomsförbund. Vilket misstag det var. Jag tänker inte gå in på några detaljer för det skulle inte vara sjysst mot resten av styrelsen som bara gjorde sitt bästa, men detta år i förbundsstyrelsen har totalt dödat de sista spåren av engagemang och arbetslust jag hade hoppats på att det skulle återuppliva.

Nu fasar jag ut mina förtroendeuppdrag. Jag tänker inte ställa upp till nyval till förbundsstyrelsen. Antagligen kommer jag lämna piratrörelsen helt. Medvetet eller genom att sakta glida iväg då inga uppdrag håller mig kvar, förlora kontakten med människorna som utgjort flera av grundpelarna i mitt liv. Vill jag att detta ska ske? Nej men har jag något val? Antingen fortsätter jag tjurnackat framåt tills jag bryter sönder och samman, eller så hoppar jag av tåget innan det spårar ur.

In English

I cannot deal with this shit any more. I’ve had a hard time realising it, but eventually you cannot ignore all the warning signs that are thrown into your face and just keep going.

It was spring of 2011 and I became a member of the Pirate Party, since then the pirate movement has played a central part in my life. I was 13 years old then, right about when live becomes more than just eat, sleep, play and complain about school being boring. Now I’m 19. Over the past six years the pirate movement has been an essential part of my live. Commissions of trust, activism, summer camps, study tours, hikes etc has lead to my life outside of school to the biggest extent has been spent with other pirates doing pirate activities. I’ve learned a lot during this time, met many interesting people and made many friends. It was a wonderful time. But that was before.

About a year ago everything went dark. I lost all interest for the pirate movement, not because I stopped caring about the issues or because I started disliking the people I was working with, but because; and here is when you would usually enter an explanation nut honestly I don’t have any. Did it has something to do with my mental health, or lack thereof? Maybe. Burnout due to over engagement? Quite possible. What I can say is that everything just stopped. Naturally my heart broke when I realised what had happened. Suddenly half of my life meant nothing to me, what should I do?! After some thinking I decided to apply for the board of the youth organisation, reasoning that the cause of my lack of interest is caused by the lack of activism and engagement on the local level. What a mistake that was. I’m not going to go into details because it’s not fair towards the other board members who all were doing their best, however this past year in the board has utterly annihilated what shred of activism I had left in me that I had hoped it would revive.

Now I am cutting down on my commissions of trust. I am not running for re-election. Probably I will leave the pirate movement completely. Consciously or due to the fact that there is nothing keeping me from slipping away, loosing contact with many of the people that’ve been cornerstones in my life. Do I want this to happen? No, but do I have a choice? Either I continue to brute force my way forward until I break down completely, or I jump of this train before it derails completely.

I väntan på hjälp

På fredag ska jag förhoppningsvis påbörja en process för att göra något åt min mentala ohälsa. Efter tre års kamp mot mina inre demoner och den dysfunktionella psykvården så ser jag början på tunneln som förhoppningsvis ska leda mig ut till en mer fungerande tillvaro, dock är jag tyvärr inte allt för optimistisk. Eller det kanske är bra att jag har väldigt låga förväntningar, då blir jag inte like förkrossad när det visar sig att även detta försök att söka hjälp inte kommer leda någon annan stans än misslyckande.

Så inför detta så har jag mer än tidigare reflekterat över vad det faktiskt är för “fel” på mig och i vilka uttryck det tar sig. Vad är det som ger mig problem? Min slutsats är att jag har en väldigt stark tendens att förminska mina problem för mig själv och andra. Hur normalt är det egentligen att ligga i sängen och få fotorealistiska fantasier om självmord? Att gå ut i köket och skära av pulsådern med en av mina underbart vassa köksknivar för att sedan sjunka ihop och se hur en vackert djupröd pöl växer till sig runt min döda kropp? Eller att ta ett skjutvapen och blåsa hjärnan ur huvudet på mig och sedan förundras över den vackra explosion av rött och vitt min fantasi spejat ut på väggen bakom mitt påhittade självmord? Bara det faktum att jag så nonchalant pratar om det ser jag som en indikation på att jag fortfarande förminskar mina problem till något man enkelt kan sopa under mattan. Det beteendet i kombination att jag är väldigt duktig på att släta över mina problem och därigenom framstå som fullt fungerande har antagligen bidragit till att det har tagit så lång tid för mig att komma till punkten jag är nu, att jag kanske eventuellt faktiskt är på väg mot att få den hjälp jag behöver.

Då uppstår ju frågan, vad för hjälp är det jag faktiskt behöver? Jag vet inte. Det enda jag vet att jag inte behöver samtalsstöd, det kan jag lösa på egen hand, jag har massor av vänner jag känner jag kan prata med och jag blåvägrar att käka antidepressiva. Kanske det kommer vara just detta som mötet kommer handla om? Hoppas det för det vore onekligen praktiskt att veta hur jag ska gå tillväga för att lösa mina problem, eller i minsta fall mildra dem.