Sunday, 4th December, 2011.
It was my hardest time.
I was in the kitchen of my house, and it was almost seven o’clock. Bad thoughts had been swirling around in my head for weeks; feelings of betrayal, mistrust, dishonourable people.
‘Why should I stay?’ This was the question that plagued me. ‘If this is the world I find myself in, then I want no part of it. Stuff them all.’
The bad experience I’d had over the previous few months had started in March, and had brought me to this point. I had been through denial, anger, bargaining, and this was the depression part. The court case against my previous employer hadn’t happened yet, and I’d had to leave there in the middle of an economic downturn, which hadn’t helped.
‘How dare they treat me this way? What right do they have to use prejudiced comments against me, and lie about me? How can one group of people treat another person so badly and expect me to just take it and walk away?’
I was on my own, standing with my arms folded, my lower back resting against the edge of the worktop where the sink was, and I was looking up at the clock above the kitchen door, directly across from me.
‘I have to get through this.’
Over and over, I repeated it in my mind.
‘Just survive this hour, and it will get better from here.’
I watched the second hand of the clock move, its relentless monotony whispering the seconds into the room.
I looked at the drawer down to the left of me. It was open, and the cutlery was there, safe in the allocated narrow sections of their tray. All the sharp knives, the proper ones, the ones used for chopping, cutting meat and bread, lay in the drawer next to the cutlery tray, taunting me.
I looked up at the clock again. Its second hand was almost there.
‘Seven o’clock to eight o’clock. That is all I need to do. Just get through it.’
A quick glance at the knife drawer, then back at the clock.
Now was the time.
The clock struck seven, and my hour had begun.
You will have seen many sites like this one, and you will have seen none like this one.
Clearly, I survived that hour, and I remember it as my changing moment, the point of rock bottom where there are only two ways to go: death, or up.
I chose up.
I didn’t know where the strength had come from to get through that hour, or how I had the idea that getting through an hour of darkness would propel me onto the road to recovery, but now I do:
Our human, most basic instinct:
It doesn’t matter how sophisticated we become as humans, or how much technology we develop to make our lives easier and longer. Every creature on the planet has this same instinctive core; the first reaction to any danger that comes their way, and we humans are no different. We must survive.
This, in my opinion, is a major factor in the growth of religion around the world. I am not a religious person, but I completely understand why people embrace it. It is a fear of dying. We must survive beyond this life. We can’t just die and that’s it. We must survive.
The cause of my trauma is irrelevant, and mild compared to what other people go through. I look back on it just now, and am amazed by how I was so badly affected by such a small thing; careless acts by others.
It was sizeism (a word not even recognized in Microsoft Word’s spellchecker), which is all I will say about it, and I now know that what happened to me was merely a final straw to other oppressed emotions; a tip over the edge from all the previous crap I’d experienced because of my height. I closed the trauma out about a year after it happened, and my life has been on an upward spiral ever since.
I still never want to see the people who made it happen, though.
That part about it being irrelevant, and mild – this is my point. It does not matter about the size of the shock. It is not just about severe trauma. We all have shocks and misfortunes in our life, and we all deal with it in different ways. This is what I mean when I say the size of the trauma is not relevant.
A death in the family, witnessing the atrocities of war, a relationship break-up, a car crash you’re involved in, having a fight with someone else, having a baby, a final straw that tips you over the edge, being told your physical appearance is a problem for people…
It all causes a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and is a shock followed by the five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
We all go through it on different scales, throughout our lives, and we all deal with it in different ways. It could last a day, a week, a month, several months, several years, a lifetime. It could end in suicide. And how you get through it depends on the network of people around you, your own personal strength and, most importantly, the ability to talk about it.
So, now, I am talking about mine.
I have fictionalized my experience in The Theo Mallier Story, and have also provided a free pdf sample of the book opening, and will write further blog posts about that and other issues as I continue on this site.
I did not know much about mental health issues at the time, and have learned a lot more since. It’s the things I’ve learned, and the way I’ve learned them – that’s what is on this site.
However, this site is not only about that. It’s about psychology, philosophy, science, and anything else I feel like writing about that will (hopefully) entertain you, or just let you know that the way you’re thinking right now, or the way you’ve thought in the past…
…you are not alone.
I did not recover on my own. There are posts here about books, about products, general posts about ‘stuff’, and a page about the books I’ve written, for which there is another page with some free pdf samples. Soon, I will also post the dedication I wrote in The Theo Mallier Story.
You do not know the size of the people network you really have until you are in this kind of trouble. ‘Friends in need’ and all that (not forgetting ‘families in need’ and all that).
I only write about good books and products that I have used and recommend. Of course, I read bad books sometimes, and use bad products. As a writer and publisher of books myself, I know how much work goes into putting a book together. I’d rather say nothing than say something really bad.
Some of the posts are just products I like. They may not improve your life in a significant way, but they can make it a little bit easier. For example, I write a post about a vacuum cleaner. If this improves your life in a great way then, I guess, you have issues which you may need to admit to yourself.
Why am I doing this?
I like books. I like reading them, writing them, and talking about them. I also like to help people, and will do so in any way I can if it is within my capability.
There is a trend now in discussing mental illness. I am not usually one for following trends. However, this trend is a good one, a bandwagon I am happy to jump on.
Forgive me for this generalization: it is a bigger issue for men than it is for women. I don’t mean they don’t suffer equally. I mean that men are less willing to get help to deal with it. The perception is it somehow makes them ‘weak. After that experience I had, I have not forgotten that I am still a man, and am generally not susceptible to ‘airy-fairy’ claptrap (which, honestly, some of the proposed solutions out there genuinely are).
Men. Take a look at this song: Stiltskin – Inside (with on screen lyrics)
The best solution is to talk about it, and if you are with somebody suffering, the best thing to do is to just listen to them. This site is partly about sharing experience and letting people know it doesn’t have to end in the way they are thinking of.
Just get through it.
You have no idea how much happier you are going to be once you are out the other end. That depression I had years ago. I am now as far away from that as I could possibly be, and now have the strength to be open about it, and to hopefully help others who are going through the same kind of thing.
So, I am going to ask you a favour:
If you see my blog posts and messages while you’re on the social media sites: please like them, share them, re-post, pin, tweet them. Help me get my message out there.
Thank you, and hopefully I will catch you out and about in the webosphere.