Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Mental Illness - It's OK...

I have been quietly fuming to myself over the last few days. Nothing new there I hear you cry.

I have been angry with myself mostly for not taking the advice of another blogger who told me that a particular person is the only (I say only) person whose comments he deletes without reading on his blog without exception.

But no, I let someone get to me with comments about my mental wellbeing.

Now, this got me thinking, because I know other gamers who like me have mental health issues, and who, like me, don't hide it, nor do they let it get in the way of their lives. Some are tenured academics, some are teachers, some like me are are writers and artists.

You see, you can't see the inside the person, nor can you make a sweeping judgement about someone, when you don't like what they say.

Belittling someone or hoping that you will by shouting about their mental health is rather pointless, particularly when you have obviously no idea of the effects and symptoms of an illness or more correctly condition.

I was diagnosed with anxiety, and panic attacks which affect my fight or flight response - That's it.

I originally told one person within my old club, someone I trusted. The next thing, it was common knowledge, so I was open about it. after that, as many of you will have seen.

Now, you can find some really good scholarly works with regards to this condition on the internet, and you will find that it does not list 'being critical of things you don't agree with' amongst the symptoms.

Nor does it say that you will have opinions which are invalid. It does say that your fight or flight response will be exacerbated, I find personally, that in my home the flight aspect kicks in, but elsewhere it manifests as the fight response

Now, I have never hidden my mental condition (note the title of the blog), nor do I think anyone should. After all 1.6 million people were in contact with mental health service in 2012/13 and you can bet your best painted unit that at least as many went under the radar.

It's not something to be ashamed of. Using the fact that someone else has a mental disorder/condition/illness/deviancy (delete as your own personal paradigm dictates) to attempt to devalue their opinion or their worth as a person is probably a mental condition in itself.

Now, I monitored my own condition. I went to see my G.P and talked about suicidal feelings, the causes, the effects of my condition and a lot more. I saw sleep specialist, and I undertook PTSD counselling with a consultant psychologist, who basically told me that my cognitive processes were fine and that actually I had pretty much done all I could. In fact, he was of the opinion that I should actually stop worrying about what others thought. He said that was their problem.


We talked about my tendency to focus on something hard, to mentally strip it down and reassemble it to see what it was all about. That's what I do. That's what I do when I comment on my blog. You don't have to read it, you don't have to believe it. That is your choice. Ask me to quantify a comment and I would say you could bet that favourite unit that I will have the supporting evidence. I am like that... 

I've been like that for 47 years and that is what made me so able to deal with with panic and anxiety and to be able to let them run loose and free whilst I get on living my three score years and ten. It meant that when I wrote my book (which is still doing well and earning me a good income) I was able to refer back to places and people with clarity and accuracy to catch the essence of  a given time or place. As one of the subjects in the book commented in an email, 'What a catalyst you turned out to be.'

I was taken with that reference to song by The Jam. In fact in my next book, it is the title of a chapter. Being a bit OCD about things is very useful and I frankly wouldn't be any other way.

It's actually turned out that in the past, when I have ranted and become polarised about something, people have turned around and said 'You were right...' and I have been able to say 'It seems that way, yes.'

I also find that having been right to the edge emotionally, I understand the old adage of 'No, the treatment didn't cure me - I just don't care anymore.'

Once you realise that regardless of what you think or what others think of you, you will all inevitably end up in a human landfill at some stage, the world look different. At the end of the day you create your own reality. If you decide to intrude into the reality of another, then so be it.

For instance, last week, I spoke to a very old friend about his hijacking of my girlfriend in the 80s. It really affected our friendship, but as he put it we both had a very lucky escape in the end. And had he not done that I would probably not met the woman I met 27 years ago and whom I married. I decided it was time to clear the air and so my reality changed and a weight was lifted. What's more, I look back now with regret that something so trivial got in the way of a great friendship. I now intend to recoup that time wherever I can. Can I change what happened all those years ago? No... Should I try to? No...

Just as my psychologist said it's my problem, and I have solved it by simply forgetting about it.

Likewise, my mental illness is MY problem. Not yours... No matter what you may think, or say about me or it, it is my problem. How you perceive me or others like me is your own.

If it is causing you problems, see your G.P.

After all. one day that irrational part of you may decide that gas chambers for people you disagree with are a great idea. It's happened before...



  1. Sticks and stones etc but words DO hurt. Been there, am there.

  2. Does this mean the blog will continue?

  3. Roger - I am thinking it over. Perhaps it will be an idea to remodel this one and then have another which looks at the more controversial stuff as a separate subject.

    I am having a fortnight's R & R at the moment so I have lots of time to think, consider and plan before I implement anything.

  4. Good read.
    However, I think mental illness is present in everyone to some degree. How else do you explain the popularity of the X-Factor?


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