Updated: Sep 1, 2020
There’s been a lot going on recently. Not just with me and what I’m doing but with the world at large. I won’t lie, I’ve just been along for the ride the past couple of months.
Last week I received my first copies of Life is a Four-Letter Word.
So many people have told me such positive and wonderful things. That I should be ‘so proud’ or ‘so happy’, that this is ‘a great accomplishment’ or ‘one of their lifelong dreams’.
But what do I actually feel as I sit here with a book in my hand, that is soon to be sold worldwide, telling my story to all who will listen (read?) in what is truly one of the most openly vulnerable things I have ever done in my life?
I feel nothing.
Nothing at all – stupid sexy Flanders!
No happiness. No joy. No pride. No achievement. No satisfaction.
No fear. No pain. No anxiety. No vulnerability. No shame.
This is the power depression can have over a person. Stripping away your humanity by removing your emotions. It’s not about just ‘feeling sadness’. Don’t ever believe that. If I felt sadness at least I’d feel something!
What makes this state of ‘not feeling’ (of ‘not’) worse, is that I want to feel all the things people are saying about me and about the book. I want to feel that sense of achievement, maybe a little pride about the fact that ‘I’ve done good.’ for once in my life – Indy won’t let me feel it for long anyway. I wish I felt the vulnerability that so many people tell me is amazing, or even the fear and uncertainty about what the future holds.
I want these feelings in my life.
But instead I’m left asking myself repeatedly;
‘Can I feel happy now?’
When I first started asking myself this, I thought it was me asking if ‘now was the right time to feel happy’. I thought it was me being a good little accountant boy and saying to myself; it’s not released yet, err on the side of caution and don’t set yourself up to feel worse by being excited now.
What I realise now, after feeling in this state for a good couple of weeks, is that it’s not this at all. It’s far more insidious, far more corrupted and much worse. It’s instead me asking ‘can I actually feel happiness’, maybe even ‘can I actually feel anything’ ever again.
Please don’t take this as doom and gloom. I mean, it is, but don’t worry. I have faced this and far worse before. I can do it again.
The reason I’m talking about it so openly is because it’s important to understand that your mental health ebbs and flows just like the tide. You can have ups and downs at any time and they won’t necessarily be when you choose, they just happen.
As said, I want to feel that happiness, even that fear, I just can’t right now. And that’s okay.
Living with a mental health condition like I do with depression is very rarely about cause and effect, or illness and cure. It’s about management and acceptance. It’s about the journey, not the destination. Right now, my journey is tough, but tomorrow I just don’t know. So I might as well see it out and see if anything changes, or doesn’t.
This is what it’s really like.
just another guy