Tread Carefully In Mind

tread carefully harley 2

 A story about my personal experience of dark states of mind and excerpt from book, ‘In My Room’ .   Art Harley Manifold.
‘Where does depression start – where does it end?
How much of my mental state is affected by chemical imbalance, how much by past experience?  How much by circumstance and environment – how much be belief and perception?  The immeasurably of these factors justifies my confusion and skepticism about labeling conditions of the mind.  A diagnosis of depression, anxiety disorder and other ‘mental illnesses’ may put sense to how I’m feeling, provide a guide for treatment and medication, giving it significance beyond that further darkens my world.  It spotlights weaknesses and flaws.  Exposes an entry point into the isolation of social stigma – the burden of shame.  Fragments my identity.

Separating the diagnosis from ‘me’ was therapy in itself – what remained were my experiences.  The savage unrelenting critical voice in my head.  Dominant dark thoughts.  The cocktail of emotions at extremes.  Sometimes unbearably intense – other times, blunted.  Anger and rage.  Sadness.  Feeling nothing.  Crippling self doubt.  Panic without a cause.  Sensitivity or intolerance to light, noise, stress – people.  Places I can no longer go.

The paranoia that plays out in my head as rewinds of past moments, dramas about what’s going to happen next; unrelenting ‘what will people think?’ thoughts – insomnia.  All of this I escaped in alcohol, food and impulsiveness – they transported me far from my troubled mind.  Unlike prescription drugs, this socially acceptable cocktail didn’t rattle my conscience, didn’t formalise there was a problem.  I’ve been confronted many times by the seriousness of leaving this condition of my mind untreated, under-medicated and masked by denial.  Prescribed medication enables me to implement and maintain change in my life.  It restrains the voice in my head – frees me from the insomnia that distorts my world.

Depressive cycles and the containment of past experiences take up space – require an environment that supports co-existence.  When I feel myself slipping, I stop.  Identify the triggers.  Create the time and space that enables me to live consciously.   Do the things that bring light and energy into my life.’

Pass this on – you never know who is silently struggling out there….