About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

unhinged?

More thinking today, sorry.
I mentioned a few days ago that I had dodgy kneecaps as well as dodgy mental wiring. I'm wondering what would have happened if I had started a blog about that, and my experiences in dealing with the problem, overcoming it and living with it.
I'm fairly confident no one would have batted an eyelid - and who knows, I might even have got some sympathetic emails on top.
But writing about an unhinged brain instead of unhinged patellae seems to provoke quite different reactions.
Some people are concerned that as this blog becomes more widely read (I won't go so far as to say popular!) it could affect the way people see me.
Would that be the case if it was about kneecaps? And if not, what is the difference?
In case you're wondering, I'll go on...
Mental illness - however extreme - still makes people feel uncomfortable in a way that most physical conditions do not. I'll accept that the subject of bowel problems, for example, may not be one that is discussed in public much - but I would argue that the same principle applies.
I truly am not ashamed of what I have been through since having Tasha, and I'm not bothered who knows about it. That's why I started this blog in the first place.
Yes, some people reading may know me in a professional capacity, or may not even know me at all - but although I am a parent, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a friend and an employee I'm also a person, and what's wrong with admitting that? People have issues and problems and I believe that if you can acknowledge them, and show that you are dealing with them in the best way you can, it makes you a better parent, daughter, sister etc etc.
There's a song that Tash and I learnt at sing and sign that comes to mind - it asks how do you feel today and goes on to say if you're feeling happy then clap your hands, feeling angry then stamp your feet, feeling sad then have a cry.
And it really is that simple in the world of a toddler - if she's happy she's laughing and giggling, and yes, clapping her hands; if she's angry she'll stamp her feet and make it clear and if she's sad she'll cry.
If that song were written for adults it would be very different - perhaps something like if you're feeling happy then carry on, feeling angry then keep it in, feeling sad then pretend all's fine.
I prefer the toddler approach, and think if more people were honest it would make life easier for everyone.
BTW, if anyone has got this far and is still interested in my unhinged life, today has been another difficult day so far.
I'm tired and stressed and feel a bit pants physically and Tasha is also tired and under the weather. So when she pushed her limits this morning and I had to remove her from a situation for the fourth time, for half a second I was almost more physical than I wanted to be. It was a stark reminder of those awful days of pacing the floor with a crying newborn in my arms and just wanting to open them up and let her drop.
Of course the important thing is that I wasn't rough with her, I didn't scream at her and all was fine two seconds later when she was on my lap signing her way through her favourite story. But it reminded me of how close to the edge I still am.

2 comments:

you can probably guess who! said...

Well done, you! For posting, for saying how you felt about Tasha playing up, and for how you coped.

Here's a bit (more) of my take, this time in public. It's arguably a bit simplistic, but typing into this text box doesn't make Thinking Great Thoughts easy!

Physical problems do, rightly or wrongly, tend to be seen as more tractable/treatable/understandable. At its simplest, you can put a plaster on a hurty bit and Fix It. Interesting on bowel (and indeed anything internal, compare the level of awareness, say, of thalidomide and stilboestrol

The mind is (still) one of the great unknowns. More so than the body, and in general a great deal harder to 'Fix'. People like things that can be Fixed. So there tends to be more fear. Many of our derogatory words are to do with mental malfunction in its many forms (X is 'demented', 'psycho', 'szchizo', 'a moron', 'a cretin' and the generalised 'loony' for starters). Can anyone come up with as many for physical malfunctions ('crip' and 'spaz' are the most immediate ones that comes to mind)?
And it's not that long ago, in the history of the world, that an outing to see the lunatics at Bedlam was highly fashionable. You're right - we have a long way to go before mental malfunctions, in any form, generate the same level of interested awareness (positive awareness, rather than negative awareness).

End of rabbiting on!

Anonymous said...

How right you are - and how ironic, because I reckon there isn't a single person who, if they haven't experienced mental problems themselves, have at least one close friend or family member who has.
They might not know about it of course, but that doesn't mean it's not happening.
Some people do treat people with mental problems oddly but I'd rather be able to call myself kind and understanding than totally sane.
(Not that I'd describe myself as the former, but I'll never, ever, ever manage the latter!)