We all do it, staring into the middle distance letting our minds wander free from the worlds we find ourselves in. Sometimes we’re deep in thought trying to unravel the confusion and mystery of the day-to-day, at other points there is nothing behind the vacant stare – no purpose or meaning just the ability to be lost in the moment. Something I find myself doing more frequently of late.
I’m not pretending that for one minute I’m the first or last person to struggle with my mental health. Depression is very common – more common than most people realise – it’s said that one in eight doctor’s appointments is related to depression. Also being bi-polar is not an exclusive club either and there are hundreds trying to decide which part of the mood parabola they are balancing on. But it’s tough at times and you can only understand what it is to be you. I struggle some days just to get out of bed, never mind to function “normally” (whatever that is) and just now is a case in point. I’m in a dip that has lasted around four to five weeks and I know I’ll come out the other side, but it’s never an easy route.
Your head is an unfathomable mixture of ideas and while the meds help you to find a path through the muddle there is rarely complete clarity. This is why some days I find myself just forcing myself through the working day – trying to walk through treacle mentally. This causes frustration and anger and a lack of patience and anxiety and paranoia even and you need an outlet. This is my outlet. This blog allows me to open my head and throw everything I have onto the keyboard – it’s not always pretty, well written, thought through or accurate but it’s honest. It keeps me honest with myself because writing it and letting go of it into the public domain means I can’t hide from it or make excuses.
Different people deal with their issues in different ways and for me this is my pressure release valve. Some people don’t understand that and question my motives and why I share as much as I do – I can understand their point of view but I don’t have to agree with it. Also there seems to be a pressure or expectation specifically in education that your voice and opinion shouldn’t be heard beyond the building you work in; again I disagree. While I understand that there are issues pertaining to privacy, protecting those I teach and work with and of course the institution I’m employed by – I’m still an individual human being and need to express myself freely.
I’m not, and never will be, defined by my job; life is too short for that. For me this is about individuality, free speech and also as a coping mechanism for my battles with my own mind, and you have as much right to disagree with that as I have to state it. I’m not trying to harm anyone or anything with this blog – it’s for and about me: selfish, egotistic and introverted – but with a reason behind it. Being an educator comes well down the list of labels I hold in life – I’m a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, son-in-law, grandson, nephew, friend, musician, blogger and many, many more things first.
Then the question arises how many others you see staring into space are battling their own inner demons. If you stop and look at the other people around you in the traffic jam, or in the supermarket, they all have issues and problems they are fighting their way through. Never for one minute think that you are the only one. We all have a world that lives in the middle distance and perhaps we should remember that before judging others and making claims to know people. There’s only so much that can be understood from a dozen words in passing, a look or a nod in the morning.
Remember that others will look at you and make assumptions as you do to them – if you can remember and achieve to live without doing that, then tell me how it’s done because I’ve yet to manage it myself.