This blog post is a little bit difficult, but with the way it's affecting my life right now I believe is important to share to help break down the stigma that mental illnesses don't make me "crazy" "weird" and certainly not dangerous.
When I was about 14, I started seeing someone called The Man. It's a strange thing to describe, and oddly even harder to write about. The Man was a part of my every day life. I remember the first time I saw him, I was sitting on the computer, playing some of the Sims (of course), and I saw him to my right in between the gaps in the door where the hinges are. I'd felt someone standing there for a few seconds prior and when I turned, there he was. Obviously, I was scared, but I didn't shout or scream or immediately burst into tears. I looked away quickly afterwards and carried on, trying not to let it interfere with my day.
But he didn't go. He stayed. He went elsewhere eventually, but as the days went on, he'd be there when I woke up and he'd stay with my til I went to sleep. In my old house, we used to have a landing, and that's where he stayed most of the time when I was in my bedroom. But then, I started to get frightened of him. It's important to note I didn't hear what he was saying to me at any point. I knew he was trying to communicate with me, by the way his mouth moved. But when it moved, it moved quickly, so while the rest of him was still, his mouth would move at a million miles per hour.
Gradually, The Man was starting to interfere with me so much I couldn't sleep. At first, I tried sleeping with a lava lamp (I was freakin' cool) but it didn't light up the room enough. I ended up sleeping with my big ceiling light on, which of course in turn meant I didn't really sleep. Sometimes, it wasn't enough. He was too close to me, and I ended up having to move downstairs. I'd sleep in the lounge until I had to get up for school. Of course this was a disturbance to the rest of my household - people used to use it to watch TV while having their cereal, or for using the telephone sort of thing, and when I was soundo in there, it made it difficult. But I didn't have a choice - I didn't want to sleep there! I'd take my bed over a sofa any day, but The Man would sit by my bed and I just seemed to pee him off, whatever I did. He never told me this, I just knew what he wanted as we had that bond.
I must admit, I don't remember the first time I told someone about The Man. This went on for so long that it became a part of my life I tried to move on from and forget about. I knew something wasn't right when I went to CAMHS, and I just seem to have erased some memories. I remember (after plucking up a lot of courage from goodness knows where) telling the nurse I saw who was giving me my booster vaccinations, and that did start the ball rolling. I saw the counsellor, then the doctor, and then I got my CAMHS referral and that was where I got my diagnosis of Depression.
My experience with CAMHS wasn't perfect, and so I never really did get to the bottom of why The Man wanted to be in my life. He'd decided who he hated in my life and that made it tough. I tried so many different routes - I tried approaching him, my loved ones tried to approach him, I tried sitting on my own and talking to him, but I only got upset, frustrated and scared, and if my family approached him, he'd get angry, causing me to panic even more.
I lived with The Man for about four years. If I couldn't see him, I would feel him. I know this sounds odd to people on the "outside" of my brain, but he was real to me. It was like having my mum or my sister standing there in front of me, it was no different. It's the same as when you have a sense someone is close by - it's a natural instinct that you're certain of, and I was certain of where he was pretty much all of the time.
The same as I can't remember first telling someone about The Man, I couldn't tell you the exact time he went. It wasn't as immediate as he first came, it was more gradual. I think he was sad about leaving in some ways. I'd met James, and CAMHS had left me to it, maybe I just felt more grown up and he didn't like it, I'm not too sure. He didn't leave me altogether - he left me petrified of the dark, and still to this day I struggle with being the last to hop into bed, and will always get James to help me reduce the fear where possible.
The reason I've written this post is because unfortunately, The Man has been visiting recently. Not as immediate as last time, but I know he's around. I'm struggling to go upstairs on my own accord, and last night I had to turn around and come back down. It was hard telling my fiancé that I just couldn't do it. I'm worrying about doors being open too far or not enough. I'm getting angry because I don't really know what he wants, why he's here and why he just won't tell me. I have always had the sense he's trying to keep me in line (if that makes sense) but I'm not sure how he wants to do it.
The past couple of weeks have been tough - my depression has come back full force, worse than it has in a good few years, and it's scary. The Man hadn't been around for so long, I'd rather he didn't come back at all, even if it wasn't on such an extreme scale this time (he doesn't even like me writing that!).
I am lucky to have my man with me, James, who took me to the doctors yesterday to seek the help I so desperately need right now. I owe my life to him to be honest. If it wasn't for him telling the doctor what it's REALLY like for me, I don't think I'd have gone through with the appointment yesterday and got the urgent referral I need. Along with my beautiful friend Mariana, who also suffers from depression and anxiety, she promised me yesterday she would never leave my side, no matter what happens, no matter how bad it gets. She is amazing.
Let's hope this coming week is better. Whilst a referral is scary, I've got every finger and toe crossed that someone will hear me.
Love to everyone who's suffering right now. xxx