No it’s not a typo. It’s me trying to be wordy and funny again. And probably failing. But that is the topic for me and todays blog. The confusing muddy cloudy navigation of the mind, So i'm discussing shades of blue instead of shades of grey this time....
We’ve come a long way since Ol’ Betty discovered the ‘problem with no name’ and honestly I still feel like I’m waiting for someone to name it. In a world obsessed with labels, how have we not been focusing on this one? And how has it evolved? Seemingly in the 1950’s the cloud that was waving over women, was a deep sadness rooted in a family structure that no-one could escape from. Now after a few latter waves of feminism is it just me that feels like actually we are just being rained on by a different cloud?
Mental health and women, has been a longggggg conversation, and if you are anything like me it’s a conversation you run for the hills from as the thought of facing this one might just be the deal breaker. But now I think it’s about time to poke my head out of the closet.
A good friend of mine, has described these moments as ‘Virginia Woolf’ moments. “Sorry babes, I can’t see you today, I’m just having a Virginia Woolf moment” and all is understood…. One of those days where the weight of the world is literally bearing down on you and you can only face sitting in a dimly lit room alone listening to solo piano concertos. More and more as I get older, the more I see women around me struggling with their relationship with their own happiness (myself included). I sometimes have to allow myself to open the door to my Virginia days, step in and get comfortable, as with most creative that’s sometimes, where much of our creativity breeds from. But, it is getting harder and harder to climb back out again. Somehow, so far between us we have managed to drag ourselves out of it, but as we age, and families start being created around me, I wonder where my normality will come from. The thing about Virginia, is that you never know when she’s going to hit. Just when you are reaching what feels like the peak of something, she can appear, wrap her arms around you and drag you inside, stroke your hair and tell you you’ll never be good enough.
I have never been diagnosed with a mental illness. I have never been to counselling, I have never saught help. I have found my own comfort in writing, music, reading, walking, and mainly any outlet I can get my hands on. And like many women my age, many of my friends, we have accepted our Virginia, our anxiety as now part of our personalities. I haven’t sat in a conversation with someone and openly expressed my worry that I am depressed. Why not? I think because ultimately I fear the fact that I don’t want to go and ‘see someone about it’ so I don’t have a medical label to attach myself too, but really I don’t know what else to call it. I often think to myself, perhaps I’m just a morbid fantasist. Dreaming up these awful things that happen to me because I enjoy the idea of fantasizing about my own destruction. Whatever it is, it really fucking hurts, and it’s really tiring. Its dragged me across the world and through relationships because I’m so worried that when a partner meets Virginia, they aren’t going to like her, or understand her, and they are going to find someone else that doesn’t have a friend like her. Now I’m getting to an age where I think it’s about time my friends met Virginia, I mean she’s part of who I am. She’s the one that tells me when I’m down to run face first into the hell of it and pick up a guitar even if it means I stay there a bit longer.
I have a feeling as well, that as soon as Virginia comes out of the closet, she’ll probably find some friends. I have a suspicious feeling that she has a few twins knocking around… and maybe they can all hang out together sometime and give us a break. I’m scared to talk about my own mental health. I’m scared in case its true, I’m scared in case I change, but it seems that as I’m getting older the options are becoming fewer and fewer and all of a sudden it feels more and more like a secret, a secret that I’m starting to struggle to be able to explain. I can’t blame the fact I’m over worked, or stressed because of Uni, or going through another break-up. I’m scared mostly because I can’t imagine what life would be like without it, what would I do?
If Virginia is coming out of the closet, does she need to meet doctors who will give her pills to make her feel better? Does she need a certificate to say she exists? Or does she still just stay as a figment of my imagination… hoping one day maybe she’ll go away…
I have started recently to realize the shame that presents itself when I think about talking about this isn’t actually coming from anyone else. There has been huge efforts in the media recently, from inspirational celebrities to encourage those feeling this way to lift the burden, talk about it, and realize that it can be normal, that there are others feeling this way. The shame I feel is self inflicted, because for whatever reason I tell myself I’m not allowed to feel this way. Either way, I’m making it my choice to deal with it now. And to stop depre-shunning myself.