And welcome to the new living space. Please don’t traipse mud on the expensive shag. It’s a Parisian import ;)
…But for reals, make yourself at home. Take your coat off and have a look around.
So, straight down to business because I know you guys prefer these mental health chats without all the BS!
As some of you know, I started a mental health awareness campaign on Twitter/IG/FB called #InShadowSelfie. The whole point of the campaign is to get people talking about mental health/invisible illness like it isn’t taboo, and also to show the world there is more to suffering than blood and bruises.
In the interest of practicing what I preach, I’m going to use my blog to talk about weird/interesting/scary moments of brain mush!
::Please note:: This post is not intended to be used as medical advice. If you’re concerned about something, please reach out to a medical professional/doctor. That’s what they’re here for.
The day before yesterday…
Thanks to the parasite that’s invaded our water supply, I’ve been all kinds all over the place lately anyway. I keep dropping things. Bumping into stuff. Burning myself. I’m generally unfocused and out of sorts right now.
As a rule, I can’t cope with stomach bugs, sickness, anything catching that contains bacteria with the exception of a cold. Like, I REALLY can’t cope with it. But my dad got home from work on Monday and said he wasn’t feeling well. What happens next is what everyone is expecting. I break down, and it goes a little something like this:
“What’s wrong wrong with you?”
“Have you been sick?”
“How many people have gotten sick?”
How long have I been in the room with him?
Does the air suddenly seem warmer…thicker?
*backs away slowly*
You really don’t have to tell me how selfish and insensitive this is. But I do have to tell you that I CAN’T STOP IT! I wish I could. My dad is the greatest. I want compassion, not fear, to be my first thought. (I also should mention–and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person suffering from OCD/Anxiety who can tell you this–for as much as I want to run away and hide from the thing that is frightening me, I simultaneously want to stay close and find out everything so I can feel more…. prepared.)
I don’t know.
I don’t understand any of the thought process. As much as try.
So, I retreat to my room for the rest of the day, don’t eat because I’m scared. I shake visibly and chew holes in the side of my mouth until bedtime, when my dad cautiously pops his head into my house to tell me he’s calling it a day.
“How are you feeling?” I ask, before he can shut the door. Then I brace myself for his response. If he says he’s been sick, I will happily hide in a blanket fort for three days with a bottle of sanitizer.
He says, “I’m okay. I just keep going really dizzy.”
The parasite situation in the water has had me dreaming up Erin Brockovich type situations for almost four weeks, so my brain soaks up this revelation like a parched sponge. Before I can complete a blink, my overactive mind assumes call-to-action status and I conclude that he is really sick. REALLY SICK.
I don’t sleep, but I lie down. My heart thumps at the back of my throat. Every time I close my eyes, I end up at my dad’s graveside. It wasn’t a dream–for, God only knows what reason, I don’t dream unless I’m sick myself. Plus, I’m conscious of being in my bed. But it looks real. And I can feel the weight of grief as if it were steel strapped to my chest.
Between 10.30 p.m and 6.00 a.m, I check on my dad 12 times to make sure he is still breathing. I’m exhausted, my bones ache like they’re fighting the flu and my brain has turned to mush.
— and that’s how that happened.
Happily, my dad got up in the morning with a snotty nose, but feeling much better. Head cold. I can’t change how I responded to this whole thing, but next time I will use this, and its outcome, as ammunition to fight any morbid direction my mind tries to move in. I might now win, I usually don’t, but I will try.
Thanks for letting me share. Remember, mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. If you want to talk about it, I’m always listening.