There’s lots being posted about mental health at the moment. I think it’s important to point out that, quite a few psychological issues are often something which you don’t develop yourself as such, but you get given to you.
The abuse I received from my parents, both physical and emotional, certainly has shaped how I interact with the world. I recall being severely beaten by my father for not tying my shoelaces “correctly” and being so scared to venture downstairs to the toilet as a kid that I’d pee under the carpet, rather than get a thrashing. And.. my bed time was still 7.30pm at 15 on school nights!
Weighing in at 5 stone aged 14 and still bedwetting like the sprinkler system on a football field, finding my father unconscious and dying from an overdose, and watching my insane religious mother ritually burn all family photos after her divorce because “her children were all abominations in the eyes of The Lord”, all take their toll. You learn to trust no-one, and isolation becomes a privilege because it’s safe.
And therein lies a danger. Isolation can be a killer. A predisposition for depression can be simply given to you by the environment you existed in, and once the chemical imbalance is there within the brain’s structure, that dark pathway is just waiting to be traversed.
For myself, I was and still am lucky. I came to grips with what was happening and understood that blame wasn’t something I needed to assume for my parents’ behaviour. I poured myself into reading and loved my music and took strength from both. I’m the same now. Some of you who read this will know me as the guy at the noisy end of the bar in my local rock pub, where I rarely engage with people but instead lose myself for a while in the music. It’s a safer version of isolation where I can belong by association rather than interaction. A shared passion.
Others however do not have such an outlet, and so I ask you : Look out for these people. Offer them an ear. It might cost you 10 minutes, an hour, or a lifetime of interactions, but it might also save a life. Perhaps suggest to them an activity you can do together. I chose for years to write a blog and at it’s been massively cathartic. It doesn’t make pretty reading at times and to and outsider there are most certainly places with said blog where all they’ll see is vitriol, but for me I can testify wholeheartedly that it helped me enormously.
I’ll drop here a link to one of the delightful issues my parents lumbered me with. It tells the story of mealtimes at The Wiseman’s… and its long lasting impact on my world.
If you’ve read to the bottom of here though… you’ve probably read enough of my piffle already haha