Alan's Mental Health: An Update

What I've learned from my story so far

If you're a new visitor to the blog, or to the Alan's Mental Health feature, take some time to read this introductory post. It explains a bit of the background behind the posts.

When I first decided to write about my mental health, I wasn't sure what I was hoping to achieve (if anything.) I thought that, perhaps, telling my story would help me heal. So for this update I've come up with a little narcissistic Q&A!

Is it helping me heal?

At the beginning, I had six reasons for writing about my mental health. Number 5 was this:

"Perhaps it will help me heal a little. I honestly have no idea though. It doesn't matter if it does or not. "

To answer the question - not really, no. I wasn't really expecting it would though, and I'm OK with that. Besides, I'm only approximately 8 years into my life at this point, and I have a lot more to write about.

Has it been easy?

Absolutely not. Some posts have been easier than others, one post made me feel the same relief as I felt back when it happened, while another post brought me to tears. Mostly though, I've been able to detach myself from the emotions of the time - although whether that's a good or a bad thing is anybody's guess. I know I have some posts ahead which will be easy to write, and two different series of posts that will be incredibly difficult. For some posts I may have to rely on interrogating my family to ensure the order is as correct as possible!

Have I learned anything?

Yes, I have. Primarily, I've learned that I am strong. Really fucking strong. I've been through an inordinate amount of shit over the years. One of my friends once said that

"If anyone else had gone through the stuff you've gone through in your life mate, they'd have killed themselves several times over. You've had more shit to deal with than most people are likely to have in a lifetime."

Now, I don't know if that's true or not - I've not met most people! I've met people who've gone through worse and people who (rather irritatingly) seem to coast through life without a care. I'm not really interested in where I am on the 'spectrum of doom and gloom' either. This is about my journey, and not how it compares to other peoples.

I've learned that I have a rather good, if slow, memory. Since I started writing this feature, I regularly mull over the last 35 years of my life in order to plan my future posts. I'm constantly collating memories, putting them into some sort of order, and trying to figure out how to write about them. I also come up with titles for my posts well in advance, and store them in my head until needed.

I have also learned, at least a little, about why I am the way I am. Where my various mental illness diagnoses come from (as in the origin, not the doctor!) I now understand a little more about why I'm so protective of those that I care about. I'm beginning to understand why I've allowed myself (somewhat unwittingly) to be treated so badly by so many people in the past. I'm certain my understanding of 'me' will get better as this feature grows and I explore more themes from my past.

Anything else?

Yes! (I'm already welling up at this...)

Thank you

Thank you to the people who I've chosen to keep in my life, for helping me when I've needed it. Thank you to the incredibly supportive community of mental health bloggers and campaigners. Lastly, a big thank you to my wonderful partner, Anneka. She never questions me about anything I write. The only time she's ever said anything was about my 'Losing A Friend' post. She said she'd read it, and that it was so very sad. The great thing about her silence on this feature is that it allows me to just get on with it. I re-live the painful moments, assess them and the impact they had on me, and then I move on to the next one. And this helps me on my journey.

Until next time friends...

* The photo is a more recent one than how far I am in my 'timeline-of-shit-that-has-happened-to-me' - although it's still over 12 years old. (It may reappear in a future post too...) Other than being a photo of me, it's not relevant to the post!

If you feel you need immediate help with your mental health, then contact one of the organisations below (click the logo for their website):
Samaritans (UK)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA)

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