I’ve spent some time thinking about what my next blog post should be. There is a more general piece on trigger/content warnings on online safe spaces brewing in my head but today it’s a much more personal ‘state-of-me’ post.
This blog has always been about my journey through a life with cyclothymia and right now that journey has come to a cross roads. How do I proceed? What do I need?
The biggest issue in my mental health life right now is anger. Anger has its uses, it gets me out the house, it makes me stand up for myself, it motivates me, and it keeps me from caving in on myself when things get tough. But it also means I lash out at people around me, alienate them and isolate myself. Anger means I never rest, never feel relaxed, always ready and waiting for the next fight.
Anger has, I’m coming to see, become a crutch. It’s no longer an emotion which helps me – perhaps it never was although at one time I was sure it was all that kept me alive – it’s an emotion which is just burning me up from the inside and leaving me no energy or love to put out into the world.
I’m angry about a lot of things; I’m angry I have cyclothymia, I’m angry my brain can cripple me emotionally and physically with no warning. I’m angry about the person cyclothymia has made me – insular, untrusting, nervous, exhausted. I’m angry about the way I’m living my life – both the choices I made that brought me here, and the factors I never had control over that caused life to end up this way. I’m angry about the way some very important people in my life behaved, I’m angry about the way I have behaved towards others. I’m angry I keep getting knocked on my arse by a resurgence of bad, depressive feelings. I’m angry I can’t control it. I’m angry about the crap treatment offered (or refused) to me by the NHS and I’m angry we have had 30+ years of governments who don’t care about mental health enough to put any meaningful investment into it.
This list of things I am angry about could go on and on, and I’m angry about that.
So what I need, now, urgently, is to find a way to deal with this anger and if not erase it from my day to day life then at least channel it into some more useful outlet than the current mute and impotent fury I carry around in my chest each day.
I need to find a way to get up each morning, face the world, and do my work that doesn’t depend on, function through, anger. I feel like I’m pedalling furiously and standing still because so much of my energy goes into feeling angry but so little of it turns into anything productive.
And too much of my anger gets turned in on myself – why aren’t I better? Why don’t I do better? Why aren’t I the kind of friend, colleague, ally I would want? Why am I unable to make myself different? Why can’t I just shut up and get on with life? And then that anger turns into self-punishment, drinking too much, sleeping too little, denying myself a social life, refusing to plan for a different future.
It’s time to change. This is a line in the sand. I’m going to explore ways to let go of anger and ways to generate positive energy to put into the world and to motivate me to live.