Beneath The Surface

TW: Reference to self harm.

If you read my previous post, Alone In A Crowd, you will know that I have stopped actively seeking support from my parents when it comes to the more upsetting aspects of my illness.  Any attempt at an ‘open discussion’ regarding my mental health invariably results in them feeling upset/unable to cope and me feeling rejected so, for the sake of all concerned, I no longer disclose things they cannot understand.

Indeed, if you were to ask my parents, they would most likely tell you I’ve been doing a bit better recently.  Not in any specific way – just that I seem brighter and slightly less withdrawn.  This is what I want people to believe and my exterior is carefully put together accordingly.  Although not myself, I have settled into a routine of laundry, cooking and cleaning in order to appear focused and productive.  I hold conversations and listen to my family deliver ‘Tales of the Workplace’ in order to appear interested.  Generally, I seem to have found a rhythm that suits.  It goes without saying that this makes them happy and allows them to leave the house in the morning with greater ease, trusting me to keep myself safe while they are at work.

And beneath the surface?  I have been having an initial look at some OU work.  For reasons outlined in Alone In A Crowd, I haven’t told anyone that I plan to (attempt to) resume my studies within the next couple of weeks.  So I find myself studying in secret, which really is as ludicrous as it sounds…who does that?  Moreover, I have yet to feel any enthusiasm for the subject, or that I have gained anything from these clandestine study sessions.  I don’t discuss any appointments that I attend.  Only this morning, I saw my GP and had some adjustments made to my medication.  My parents don’t know I was at the GP let alone that I’ve tweaked my meds (I’m hoping I don’t have any notable signs of withdrawal or side-effects!). Most days in the last couple of weeks, I have self harmed and I haven’t asked anyone to help me with this.

So evidence would suggest that I am not coping particularly well, that I am feeling lonely and overwhelmed.  I have been particularly low today and am reluctant to go to bed tonight for fear that my mood will be no better, or worse, in the morning.  Something is building in me and I have to therefore question my own motive…who wins here?

 

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6 thoughts on “Beneath The Surface

  1. Sorry things are so difficult. Family not understanding is a nightmare. Its essential to have someone you can offload to- hopefully you have professionals supporting you- although thats not enough. Take Care of yourself, x

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    1. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment here. That is itself is a big support. I do have a good relationship with some members of the CMHT as well as my GP, so that helps. Like you say, though, sometimes its not enough. As always, I wish you the best – I’m really rooting for you! – and am always around if you need a chat. xx

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  2. Another beautifully worded post. You’re always so succinct! How do you do it? It seems effortless!

    Is putting on a brave face a bad thing? It takes inner strength. I’d always suggest caution when it comes to choosing friends to confide in. If your parents aren’t the right people to confide in, that’s ok.

    On the other hand, they’re your parents. In your shoes I might feel they ought to understand and just, well, be there for me.

    I’ve found some people don’t handle knowledge of my illness well. My guess is that when they know I’ve bipolar disorder they’ve nothing to draw on by way of advice or support – so it’s awkward and they feel helpless and responsible and powerless and it all comes bouncing back somehow so I end up feeling awkward and responsible.

    On the subject of parental understanding, I don’t know anything about your relationship with your parents so please forgive my ramblings. I only scribble these things in the hope that some parallels exist and that perhaps they’ll help you circumvent the slow learning curve I’ve been treading. My parents have found it difficult to both comprehend and accept my various symptoms, diagnoses and treatments. I cannot overstate that. All the time to change adverts could well have been tailored specifically to address my parents’ misconceptions and prejudices. But I’ve come to see my parents not just as my mum and dad, but as regular people like myself. Of their time. Fallible. Bound by circumstance. Loving towards their children. That love was misshapen and, as it happens, fashioned some of my difficulties. But it was love directed without malice – albeit imperfect love. New parents make the same mistakes mine made, I see it time and again. They did the best they could with what they had. I can deduce that they ask themselves what they did wrong such that things have turned out this way for me. I am relentless in conveying my difficulties as honestly as I can, I reassure them at every opportunity that they have no claim to feel responsible for my illnesses, and I’m grateful for every small step that we take towards understanding each other. It’s how things are between us now, but it wasn’t always like this.

    I hope there is something useful in here for you. As ever, you have a hug from a friend. X

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    1. Hi,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post.

      I don’t think putting a brave face on things is necessarily a bad thing, no, but its sometimes easy to become embroiled in ones own thoughts! Like you say, lack of understanding is, well…understandable, I guess…if someone has never experienced just what its like to be mentally unwell and that is something I would never wish on loved ones. I draw huge comfort from the what you say about your own relationship with your parents. I too have been unfortunate enough to develop problems despite coming from a loving home and childhood of precious memories, which only adds to my parents’ frustrations. I know they turn themselves inside out at times, trying to work out ‘where they went wrong’. I can only imagine how they feel, not being a parent myself, and do my best to reassure them whenever possible.

      Again, your comments and great insight are appreciated more than you know and I feel privileged to have ‘met’ you. Hugs back. x

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  3. “Something is building in me”
    ^ I really, truly know the meaning behind that sentence, and the frustration of wading through it all. I’m sorry to hear of the difficulties you’re going through. Having a support system is so key to mental health. Take care of you, and know that there are others out there, myself included, who are fighting the uphill, anxiety battle too

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    1. Hi,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I’m sorry to hear that you can relate, but I always take comfort in the fact that this environment can make us all feel a little les alone. x

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