Last night I spent a number of very enjoyable hours with absolutely gorgeous lady. We enjoyed a meal, we drank, we talked, we did other things. I can’t remember ever feeling so at ease and relaxed in my life. This, however, is not my public life.
The last three weeks have been a turmoil of emotions for me. If you have read the “Why?” page of this site you will know that I suffer from depression, acute social phobia and anxiety. So feeling at ease, relaxed and with a calm mind is an exceptional state of mind for me. I sit here writing this blog post and still feel relaxed, calm and I might even say content.
My turmoil of emotions over the last few weeks have led to very darks thoughts passing through my mind. If not for a very special friend in Melbourne, who I communicate over twitter with, I don’t know if I would be here today to write this. These were the darkest thoughts I have had in almost 9 years. Let me explain a bit more about how my particular mental illness manifests itself for me. I say it is my illness and the manifestations are peculiar to me because I believe that mental illnesses will manifest quite differently for each person.
Let’s start with the social phobia, this is the part that has lasted the longest and has led to some of my other issues. I got to a place where I could not go out socially, not even with my family. I was still able to go to work but was not able to interact with colleagues. People who know me will find that hard to believe but it is true. Phones are my worst phobia. I find it really hard to call people. I find it even harder to answer the phone. I am sort of okay talking with people on twitter, which is a good thing I am finding. However, even with twitter it will take me a while to jump in to a conversation. We believe my social phobia, which led very quickly to anxiety, started when I was about 12. I can’t figure out why, all I know is that it is a part of me.
As I said my anxiety followed on from the social phobia, and my anxiety led to clinical depression later in life. My depression culminated in two suicide attempts in 2006 and 2007. The anniversary of my last attempt is coming up in August. Yes it is something I think about and sometimes August can be a particularly sombre time fro me. Another reason to be writing this blog post now and not waiting till later.
I decided in January this year that I would begin to make my mental illness public. One reason for doing this is that I was exhausted from hiding my illness from most people. The only people who knew were my wife, children, three very special friends and my health care team. The other reason for making it public was I was hoping to help some colleagues whom I suspected were suffering. I thought that by going public they may be encouraged to seek help/advice. I know have regular coffees with 4 of my colleagues about how they are going. Makes it all worthwhile.
I think this post is long enough. I have called this post “My public life”. I am planning a second post (hopefully also tonight) called “My secret life” where I am going to explain more about myself. It is all me, all of me. Writing is very liberating.
A public man,