We have sick days at work, days where we are full of cold and need to remain in our duvet burrito. Days when our eyes can’t open and the thought of having to work brings back the sickness that kept you up all night. We can have sick days for these, ring the boss, I’m throwing up, sneezing, and generally contagious. We get to crawl back into our duvet and remain there, sleep off the ill feeling and go back to work, you’re ill, you need time to recover, understandable. No one would bat an eyelid. Physical illness is an entirely expected part of life and we’re granted the time to heal.
Now, I don’t get physically ill all that often, I haven’t been to the doctors for illness in as long as I can remember. I had a 24 hour sickness bug a few months ago and I get an annual cold but that’s it, so no illness, yet if you were to shake me, I’d still rattle with the sound of tablets. Anti-depressants. Happy pills. Placebos. Whatever you’d like to call them. I’ve been on them on and off since my OCD diagnosis nearly 7 years ago, you go on them, you feel better, you come off them, you feel bad, you go back on them and the cycle continues. And where am I in this perpetual cycle? Off the meds, I don’t like taking them, I feel they define me, define the battle, define the struggle. Make me weak, make me fuzzy and they’re a beta blocker, they block my feelings.
I wanted to come off them because for me, they’re there as a reassurance, but also, make me weak. So I eased off them, taking them every other day for a few months and now it’s been a few weeks since I took one. How do I feel? Pretty empty. Low. The self-esteem is worse than normal, I feel unloved, lonely and without any feeling at all. I’m quick to anger, very literal and serious. So naturally, I woke this morning, after battling through the effort to go to bed last night and the last thing I wanted to do was go to work. I want to lay in bed, head under the duvet and not speak to anyone. I want to disappear, I want to cry, I want to curl up, hibernate, I want to not be anything I am today. I want to wallow in self-pity and just feel everything and nothing all at the same time. Can I do that? No, I need to be an adult, sit in front of a laptop and earn the wage that pays for the house I want to hide in.
We don’t have mental health days. Days when we can’t function, days when there is a cloud over every step we take, every letter we type. If we do take time off, it’s labelled as ‘stress’, everyone knows what that means, means the person has gone crazy. They can’t handle work and need a little rest, bless them, life has made them tired, ahhh, you then treat them differently, weak, tip toeing round them, so as not to stress out the poor little mite.
And that’s exactly why we don’t have mental health days, that perception, that condescending tone of taking time to heal is weak. It’s not weak to recover from anything physical so why is it weak to recover the mind?
Life is stressful, it’s a monumental pressure that teaches you to constantly perceive life as a perfect picture. If you show something real, something true, some emotion, you’re not coping and that’s a bad thing.
But you know what, I’m bored of that, fed up. I’m weak, I’m not coping and today I want to curl up and hibernate. I don’t want to be here today, I didn’t want to wake up, to be responsible. I want to feel nothing and everything all at the same time, I want to be overwhelmed with every true feeling and then watch as people struggle to find the right words, to tip-toe around me. I want to have a mental health day and see it called stress, see the different treatment I get. But I won’t, that isn’t the done thing, so I’ll do what I did today, wake up, feel sorry for myself, put on a brave face and tell the world that everything is just perfect.
If you would like to chat, feel free to reach out on the ‘Contacts’ page, however I’m not a mental health professional, and if you would like ease see the ‘Support’ page.