I am not that brave

I am exhausted today, I slept like crap and I feel blah, deflated…as though the bursts of energy and positivity have all been pushed out of me.

But it will be okay. This is how I am feeling right now. I will not feel like this forever, and maybe at some point the cup of coffee that I am drinking will kick in and help me feel like I have some get up and go which I can use to go and knock things off the to do list.

The worse thing is I had a nap, but it did not help I am still tired…closer to exhausted.

Perhaps it was the fact that I watched a movie last night before bed? But I don’t think so, because I remember having disturbing dreams.

Dreams of my family, where they were berating me for neglecting them…telling me that I was selfish to take care of myself, that I should be putting their needs above mine.

And I think, as I write this (brilliant tautology), that perhaps what disturbed me most was my father joined in my dream. In real life, he generally stayed out of any of the tricky situations…any situation where emotion was involved.

I think it scares him, not knowing exactly how to act, not having a predictable series of if – then statements.

So I think that dream unsettled me more. I have not ever looked at the psychological significance of dreams. I know that clinical psychologists use them as tools in diagnosis and treatment, but I do not know why they are significant.

Part of me thinks the reasons for the dreams are that they are issues that I am ready to start facing, start dealing with.

Start moving past. It would be easy to just say that I could just close the book on my family, and turn over the page. But the truth is, I love them…and my relationship with them is complicated.

And what is making it even more complicated is, I am redefining it on my own first. Figuring out what behaviour I regard as acceptable towards me, and what not. Because while I do not blame my family for abusing me…not even for the times that my mother put her hands around my neck and tried to squeeze the life out of me (in a very sadly ironical turn of events a couple of years later, her mother was strangled to death)…because they did not really choose to do what they did.

They ignored choices, they did not consciously realise that they had some control over their mental health. Because after all, mental health is still a very quiet subject, one that is not really discussed in polite society…and the labels are flippantly assigned to explain or dismiss people and their behavior:

The woman with mood swings – ignore her – she must be bipolar. Oh he’s just psycho. She’s crazy.

And it is only recently that I found the courage to speak, and I found the inspiration via a post on The Bloggess’s site and she posted in response to another blogger’s tragic experience.

And yet, I had known before hand that I struggle with depression. And yes, the depressive episodes are often triggered by external events. But the demons they are inside.

But I have noticed when I speak (well, write) — writing is easier than speaking for me (perhaps because I was such a bookish child 🙂 ) — I start bringing my black dog to heal. And he is not a loveable staffie….with a cheerful smile. He is a vicious brute, closer to the size of a bear, a creature that could live in the sewer and have all the other creatures of nightmares run away in terror.

Perhaps, it is hypocritical that I do not write this where everyone who knows me in real life could find this, but the truth is then I would not be able to write as honestly and openly as I do…I would not be able to speak my truth, because it makes people uncomfortable.

And while one of the things that contributed to causing this illness was the fact that I was abused as a child, there is definitely a biological disposition to mental illness in my family (my one cousin is a schizophrenic and I am not alone in suffering from major depression).

In some ways my family’s handling of my cousin’s schizophrenia is illuminating…some of them treat him as though he is contaminated, as though by being near him is dangerous and catching.

And I am not brave enough to have to convince people when I am battling that I have the right to battle…that it is alright for me to speak.

That speaking out does not make me a traitor, or a bad person, or that by speaking out I am deliberately hurting them. I am speaking because I need to…and when I am ready, I will speak out behind my entire name (and not just my anonymous first name).

But for now, there is no shame in me speaking. I am not dragging out the family’s dirty laundry…I am merely spring cleaning my soul. And to do that, I speak.

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