Mental Health – a postscript

My last post was pretty dark, and I am a bit sorry for that. I am more than a little tired, dealing with a prolonged period of anxiety wears on a person. When I wrote this, I felt a little bit like at the end of my rope. But there really is lots of rope left.

To anyone worried about what I wrote, I want you to know that I am really resilient and I will get through this. I have before, I know how this works.

This week I have received some lovely notes and phone calls and it really warms my heart. When you go through a tough time it is really wonderful to hear from friends who really care. Thanks for this!

I have wonderful support from my friends and family.My therapists are wonderful, I have a really great team.

The point of this post is not just to apologize, it is a hopeful message that even though mental health can be really tough, these conditions are treatable and if you stick with it you get better. I know the support system is not as comprehensive as it should be, but things are getting better.

I really think the fallout from the pandemic will prompt all of us to look at how we support people in mental and emotional distress. This is all so common and this really can happen to anyone.

My first post may not have offered much support for those who are struggling, but I hope this one does. Healing happens, you just need to trust in the process. You need to reach out and gather your community together.

This week, I realized that I have a good community. People care and they are now part of the healing process.

It is a challenge to put this story out there. I do this mainly because healing happens, even if it is really slow. If you are reading this and you are going through a tough time please know there is hope, healing and a community. Not everyone will understand, but some will.

Also, because of your struggles you can be there for someone else. This is important. Those who have gone through this are part of a special community. People in this community can be more empathetic, more supportive more aware of how this goes.

So, everyone take heart. We are complicated beings in a complex society still undergoing a global crisis. Take a moment and take a deep breath. Learn from difficulties and be ready to share what you are learning. And above all, be kind to yourself.

Thank-you to all those who have reached out – you are all very special.

The Next COVID Crisis – Mental Health

All my recent posts have been about music, but here I am taking a break.

There is an burgeoning crisis coming as a result of COVID and it will be just as painful and damaging. There is a mental health crisis as we begin to emerge from the global crisis. I really don’t think we will all survive this.

Here is an article that backs this up from the Mayo Clinic.

I am not writing this because I have a feeling about what will happen, this has happened to me. I am a casualty and there is no end in sight. This is a really tough road.

I have written about mental health in the past and it seems to help some people. For me, I have been going through moderate to severe anxiety since late June. It is certainly related to COVID because I have been really healthy for seven years. Now this is a big struggle and it is one I do with no discernable community. How is that possible? How does no one care?

Don’t get me wrong, I am fortunate to have a therapist and now a great resident psychiatrist. But the healing process is really slow – it always is.

Before the pandemic, I met up with one of my climbing buddies. He came to one of our fundraisers and I thought that was great. He looked gaunt and worried, but it was a big night and I didn’t pick up the signs. A few months later he committed suicide and I still wonder if I had really reached out to him I could have helped out in his desperate situation. People really can help people.

The big thing about mental health is that it is a silent killer. People love to send you caring notes on Facebook when you are sick with something they understand. When it comes to mental health, people are cruel. They want to distance themselves from the affliction as if they can actually can catch it. They won’t write you a nice note on Facebook. You are so on your own.

There are so few cases where I have talked about periods like this and have received a sympathetic response. This is really sad.

What is most important is for everyone to realize that there are now a lot of people suffering, most without the great support I have. They probably also don’t have a community of support – like me, because people are more scared about mental health than anything else. I have to say now, I have absolutely no sympathy for your discomfort. Try to take on a larger role. Try to see outside yourself.

I talked to my psychiatrist last week and she said the next pandemic will be a mental health one. Just like the first one, we are so unprepared for this. The victims are invisible, but they are right in front of you are they are suffering in noble silence.

Anxiety and depression are understandable reactions to a global pandemic. Those with anxiety as a predisposition are even more at risk of falling under this emotional wave. I have no idea how much longer this anxiety will go on, but I have to bear it. It would be so much easier if I knew anyone apart from my therapists and partner actually cared. We really suffer in total uncaring silence.

If you read this and you are in this situation you need to start busting down doors to get help. Don’t listen to GPs who say you’ll get over all this – fire them and move on (I did). Reach out any way you can and get help. Anxiety and depression are treatable, but it can be so much of an easier road if you have a community. Try to make your friends and family know that you are going through a rough time. If they don’t listen, you don’t need them. There are lots of people like you, but we really can’t stay silent. We deserve better than that.

I write with a certain amount of anger here. I am tired of people who just want comfort. I really hope, once I recover that I will never again be one of those people.