I’m a strong believer in the notion that the more we talk about mental health, and the more that people become aware of how important it is, the better things will be for all of us. On that basis, here’s my story.
When people talk about mental health, they often refer to an inner voice that is constantly belittling them.
I think everyone has two voices inside them. I refer to mine as the cheerleader and the bully. If you have a mental health illness, the cheerleader’s voice becomes a whisper, and the bully is cranked up to full volume. That’s all you can hear – “nobody likes you”, “you’re useless”, “you’re going to fail.” It’s impossible to hear anything else.
For a very long time, I’ve had low self-esteem. Sometimes, I’ve been able to recognise that I’m good at something, but never believed I’m good enough at it. When I was younger, I loved to write. Teachers would sing my praises, and one even suggested I should write a book, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t possibly pursue that because I wasn’t good enough at it, and nobody would care what I had to say. I have attempted blogging in the past and always abandoned it, for the exact same reason.
Lately, this feeling started to creep into everything. I started to believe that even the people who love me didn’t care what I had to say. I was boring. This led to an increasing feeling of anxiety. I didn’t want to leave the house or speak to anybody. I didn’t want to get in people’s way. Basically, I didn’t want to annoy people. In fact, I didn’t want to be here at all anymore. It was too much. I was being crushed under the weight of my own thoughts.
One night, I burst into tears and told my boyfriend how I had been feeling. We had just returned from visiting my family, and I announced that I didn’t think they liked me anymore. He told me that I was being ridiculous, and I knew that he was right. I like to think that the cheerleader and my boyfriend spoke at the same time, and between them, they made just enough noise to get through to me. I’ve always had doubts about myself and my abilities, but I’ve always been sure that my family love me. My boyfriend suggested that I go and speak to a doctor, so that’s what I did.
Around three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with double trouble: depression and anxiety.
I was prescribed anti-depressants, which I think are now starting to kick in. Guess what? The cheerleader’s voice is getting louder now. She’s telling me I am good at writing, and that I should share that with other people because someone will care what I have to say. The bully is still lurking, occasionally filling me with doubt, but there’s more balance now. It’s because of this balance that I’ve been able to start this blog, and that I believe I’ll be able to stick with it.
I don’t think that I’ve been depressed for my entire life, but I do believe that, eventually, low self-esteem crossed the line into depression. That’s when the bully became deafening. “In revolt” is being in the process of rebelling. I’d like to think that’s what I’m doing against the bully inside my head, hence the name of this blog. The simple act of sharing my writing publicly is an act of defiance. Everything I share here is one more act of rebellion against that voice that tells me I can’t.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to live life with the bully at full volume. When I hear stories of people being bullied, it horrifies me, and that’s human nature. Yet, so many of us let ourselves be bullied by that voice inside our head. If it’s starting to get too loud and too much, there’s help out there to turn it down. Speak to your GP. Find an organisation near you that can help.
Let your cheerleader be heard again and see where it takes you.