As it's mental health awareness day across the globe. I thought I'd share my personal story and a blog I wrote back in May this year.
My story is not tragic or debilitating as some, but it's my story.
What does a mental breakdown look like? This is a question I’ve typed into google at various times over the past three years as my mental state started to deteriorate. I guess I was looking for some sort of signpost to help me understand what I was going through.
I couldn’t explain it, but to be honest nor could google. I think the real answer to that question is that a breakdown doesn’t look like anything or anyone. I still don’t know if I had one or not.
Mental health by its nature is an intrinsic part of who we are. It’s hard to define if someone is mentally unwell unless firstly they tell you or secondly they present signals or symptoms of 'craziness'. I'm naturally an erratic person so my behaviour was probably very normal for me. At my worst, I was sullen, sleepy, lethargic, drunk, and had no motivation to get up or go out.
I looked dead behind the eyes and inside was numb. I couldn’t see the future and contemplated ending it all.
At my best, I wore the social media mask - the fake smile and pout. I kept myself busy. Really busy. In fact, so busy that I left no time to think about my problems. I put a social sticking plaster over the cracks, cracks that day by day were getting bigger.
Despite the social media attention, holidays,
and outings- I was dead inside.
I wasn’t really enjoying myself but felt too embarrassed to tell my friends - who didn’t realise until I became quiet and uncommunicative (something that is really not me). I tried so hard and I was ‘forcing’ attention, but no one really knew how destroyed I was inside. Alcohol featured a lot, and my unhealthy relationship with alcohol didn’t help at all.
To the outside world, I was living a wonderful life. But the extrinsic me didn’t match the intrinsic me. Did I have a breakdown? I don’t know. I know people on the receiving end of my erratic behaviour would say yes, but most would describe it as a bit of stress.