Coming out cured

During periods of high writing, I find it interesting to look at my blog stats. Each blogjune I get to see which of my posts are read – what worked and what didn’t. I also get to see what people go back for a closer look at.

Go back they do. Featured on the list of posts of interest to people in 2015 is one from blogjune 2011, “Coming Out Mental.”

The two thousands were awful for me. At the start of the decade I was working half time, studying full time, and living an impossibly busy life. Problems from my upbringing were imploding for me, I was in a relationship with a good person who wasn’t right for me (although I was a long way off realising that) and then my grandfather – my personal hero – died. I coped for a while longer, wrestling pneumonia before my physical and mental health finally failed.

I spent a couple of months unable to function and then a decade rebuilding my understanding of myself. In 2011 I was still managing some symptoms mainly around anxiety but was in a vastly healthier place. I knew of a large number of other people in our industry who suffered and were silent, so I used my profile within the New Zealand library community to promote self-acceptance as a path of greater mental wellbeing.

2012 was time for a radical step. The damage from my past had been healed but I had grown to see anxiety as a reflex I could no longer let dominate my life. I’d been introduced to mindfulness and toyed with it as a stopgap solution. I decided to commit to it. With that in mind, I developed a practice of working towards constant mindfulness. Not just sitting in a quiet room. Not just going for a solitary walk. Every moment of every day, I worked to be in a state of connectedness with myself and the world around me. I did so in meetings, driving through traffic, when feeling under the weather.

It wasn’t easy. A vast part of the first four months were agony. I felt constantly raw, but I made myself stay present with that feeling. Then, four months in, I felt relaxed for five minutes. It was bliss. I was unused to it, and my body tensed up again but I knew I could get back there. I now don’t know what it feels like to carry the level of tension I used to as a matter of course.

“Cured” is a big word. There is still, and always will be, parts of myself that need working on. One might ask, how can I know I’m ok? How can I confidently say I won’t meet something that will put me back in the box? I’ve two answers to that.

Firstly, the last two years of my life have been easily among the most stressful. Using the Holmes and Rae stress scale, which ranks cumulative effects of stressors, I suffered 492 points of stress in the 2012-13 financial year, 388 in 2014-2015 and 338 in 2014-2015. A score of 300+ is at risk of illness. If I was going to fall over, I would have, but I haven’t. I’m not loving the hard parts, but I’m loving life.

So yes, if you’re suffering from mental illness, please read my archive. I haven’t talked about it exclusively as it’s only one part of the person I am and have been, but there’s plenty there. Feel free to reach out to me. In fact, find every source of good help and support you can. Just remember, your journey is always to greater wellness. My way worked for me, yours may be different, but there are always things you can do to make things better for you.

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About seanmurgatroyd
Library (Shared blog): http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Personal including infoculture, book reviews: http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Music: http://seanfishmusic.wordpress.com/ Last.fm band page: http://www.last.fm/music/Seanfish @seanfish

3 Responses to Coming out cured

  1. FiFYI says:

    For this and so much more, I love you. You are an inspiration. You are my rock and you are a wonderful role model for our daughter.

  2. Pingback: Homo scribens | The Discourse Analysis Cure

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