I’ve hesitated before writing this as I was worried it might seem horribly self-indulgent. But I have decided to go ahead for a number of reasons. People have told me it’s a good idea, it’s time to break down the stigmas around mental health issues and the more people open up, the more that will happen. Also the massive support I have received when I have been open and the fact that I know I have already been some help to people by opening up. So, here goes!
I had a substantial ilness throughout 2010 and into this year. Some people who know me will know just how badly ill I was, some will not. I was able to disguise it to a large degree for short periods so could semi-function in public when I absolutely had to. This ability to hide it was a “skill” learnt from childhood onwards but I have come to realise it was not particularly helpful. Mostly I hid it behind a jester’s mask but not exclusively.
I want to be as open as possible in these accounts. I know that will not always be easy for the reasons stated above. I know it will also tend to make it a bit long winded. But I think it’s essential to get the whole picture across. I intended to write and publish this as a complete narrative but after advice and consideration I have realised that is not the best way to do it.
There is much I can not remember from my illness. I have had to rely in part on what others have told me. But I did manage to keep a diary for prolonged periods with encouragement from others. So some of this is memories from that. I also wrote quite a lot of poetry during this time. Some suprisingly good, some terrible! But it has helped me to remember.