When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” – Winnie The Pooh (A.A Milne)
I was trying to find a quote to open this post with, something that is relevant to the subject matter but that also strikes a chord with me. But my mind just kept coming back to my favourite fellow bear, and this quote in particular. In the midst of depression, so many Things seem Thingish, I think the problem is being able to articulate them in a way to allow other people to look at it. Quite often the last thing I wanted to do was share my thoughts, my endless worries and doubts.
In a conversation with my parents one day I had a mini lightbulb moment – when you are trying to articulate a problem or an issue and someone provides a very logical solution to that problem, it’s never right, is it? There is always a flaw in their plan. Only that’s not because their logic is off kilter, or that you have miscommunicated the issue, but rather because that is the tip of the iceberg. The real issue is much deeper and more complex than the somewhat trivial issue you present, and as such any solution offered is bound to be unhelpful.
Sharing the deeper and more complex issue is always so hard. Discussing whatever it may be, no matter how great your friends and family may deal with anything you present to them, is unfathomable at times. So the cycle begins, and it whirrs round and round in your head. For me this is a major issue – my brain ramps up to 100mph and goes in to overdrive. The issues get bigger, and I often over-complicate things, and before I can realise what is going on it is too late. I feel this desperate urge to escape my mind. Have a night off, escape and just forget for a while.
Different people have different escapes, and some of them are very healthy and fulfilling – they have a hobby, be it reading, riding, running, golf, or travel. But for some it’s not healthy, whether it be drinking, drugs, binge eating, or self-harm. As you have probably guessed my escape wasn’t all too healthy. The combination of my mental and physical state cut off a number of my usual pastimes, and I chose the easiest form of escape given the situation I was in. Now I can lay some of the blame at the door of my Gabapentin prescription required for the ongoing chronic nerve pain for stacking the weight on and getting rather drunk quicker than usual, but another part of that blame lies with me. I made unhealthy choices at a time when my body needed the opposite, both mentally and physically.
It’s such an easy trap to fall in to. You search for an escape, for a brief moment of something that resembles happiness, and yet you know deep down that you will never find it at the bottom of a bottle, or in the last bite of a mixed kebab. The thing that keeps you coming back is that brief moment of respite. That faint glimmer of freedom from the prison that your mind can become.
It is so easy for others to sit and get preachy about this, to tell people where they are going wrong, but I am not for one second going to do that. I fully appreciate how easy it is to fall in to these unhealthy (and in some extreme cases, fatal) habits or routines, and I know how incredibly hard it is to get out of them. Whether it’s food, drink or drugs, the respite is short lived. Ultimately they are all depressants to differing degrees. Alcohol and drugs directly, and food through lethargy and weight gain etc. This desperate attempt to escape actually throws you deeper in to the depressed state of mind you needed a break from.
Addiction is a serious and growing issue in our society as a whole – from gambling to drinking, prescription and illicit drugs to social media. For those dealing with mental health issues this issue is even more prevalent. We’re all trying to escape something in this world of excess, it’s just a case of how we choose to do so.
I’m on the hunt for some new ideas – injury appropriate for the time being. Answers and suggestions on a postcard please… or in the comment section below!