Thursday, 9 July 2015

Badly Drawn Man

I took a telephone call on a ward of The Maudsley Hospital where I was an inpatient for chronic depression in the spring of 1999 to be told, by a stranger, that I would not see my son again until I proved I was not a risk to him. This stranger happened to be my ex wife's new husband.

Between Aug 1998 and Aug 1999 I was an inpatient at The Maudsley on 4 occasions. This culminated in my receiving what you will know as Electric Shock Treatment, or to give it its proper name, ECT. I was given 12 courses of this in Aug 1999 and this was the last time I spent time at The Maudsley.

Now I will be careful here not to use this blog to attack anyone or use it as some form of revenge. Ignorance toward depression is rife in the UK. It is normal and sadly accepted that people with depression will face and suffer discrimination.

This is because we live in a pig ignorant country where it is perfectly ok to binge drink, cause violence and puke in gutters every weekend and folk think you're hip and cool.

I will, however, use this blog to have my say and put the record straight.

During my 19 years in the "depressive community" I've met all sorts of folk. Maybe the most refreshing aspect of this awful illness is the fact it doesn't discriminate. You can be rich, poor, black, white and suffer depression.

But I've never met a violent depressive. The very nature of depression is that it makes you a very passive person. The energy is simply not present for you to rage against anyone - only yourself. Because you self harm doesn't mean you will harm others. A depressed person is not psychotic.

My depression didn't just arrive. It was a seed planted in me as a young boy. During my 5 years work with John, my (psychotherapist) from 2010 to present, we have investigated the root and cause. This has been achieved using Schema Threapy. I won't go into details. Look it up.

John was able to pinpoint exact events which, as a child, planted this seed in my thought processes and grew as I became an adult. I didn't decide to become depressed. I'm not part of some trend. It grew inside me via life events - things I saw - things that were said to me - an appalling attitude to my education from inept teachers - many many things helped plant this seed.

I've lost many of my quality years to depression. I'm much better these days but I can never take it for granted. I have to manage myself correctly. But I haven't had a bad episode for well over 2 years. Not even a mildly bad one.

I'm angry that this illness was used against me in terms of my being able to see my son. I was eventually given access at an access centre where I shared a room with ex convicts and wife beaters. I've never hurt a fly but as a depressive I was considered to be in the same bracket as the aforementioned scum.

The reason why I can't single out anyone for this attitude to me at the time is because it is an attitude which many still have toward all forms of mental illness. You must be a bad person.

The reality is I left my wife for another woman. This was in no way connected with my state of mind.   I didn't cover myself in glory 20 years ago but I didn't commit a crime. I was unhappy with my entire life and circumstances. But when I say unhappy I mean normal unhappy. Nothing to do with my depression.

I felt controlled and manipulated during my marriage but if I'm to be honest, much of this I allowed to happen. I went with it. I was far too young to have got married. I can link my then "needy" self to my depressive illness but that's about it. And John will tell me that the choices I made back then were driven by my depression even though it had not manifested itself quite yet. But I don't use this as an excuse. All I know is that the days I lived away from London, my married days, are the darkest days I can remember in my life. Darker than being in The Maudsley.

Most of that life is now a mist. I've never been able to hold a relationship down - not in that way. Not in a sexual loving way. I'm a car crash of contradictions when it comes to women. I've a friendship now that money can't buy. You know who you are. It's the most important relationship I've ever had. I'm useless at love in terms of in the bedroom. I'm useless at relationships with anyone.

My work with John has been largely about putting this right. To teach me how to be. How to relate to other humans. I still don't socialise with strangers much. I didn't develop correctly and this was because of the Schema's which dictated my life and grew into full blown chronic depression.

Spend a bit of time with me and these traits come out. I'm socially the most awkward cunt you'll ever meet though I'm a bit better these days.

I have my best friend. My Theatre. My cinema. My books. I like my life now. I like living. I like life.

I hope by writing these blogs that at least one person will read them and relate.

Tim (London, 2015)

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