By Dan Briggs
I am a pan!
Now there’s a starter for a mental health blog. So as another year comes to an end, I once again find myself in a reflective mood. From massive highs to crushing lows, this year has once again proved that no matter what you plan for, you can’t always plan.
So, 2017, why were you so up and down? Well, for starters I reduced the hours of a job that was causing me an awful lot of stress and anxiety, and started a job that combines my hobby with work – and it was definitely the right decision – but that in itself caused some anxiety.
I mean, none of us like change, do we? Even if it is for the good of our health. And working a mixture of days and nights between two jobs is physically and mentally tough. I started a Foundation Degree in Counselling – those who know me well know I’m no academic – and in truth I have struggled with the workload and academia and I have wanted to quit the course at least twice a week.
I’ve made new friends and lost old ones. I was asked to become a director of Men Tell Health – one of my proudest moments of the year – but even that caused me anxiety! Someone believing in me – apart from my family – is a whole new experience. Will I be good enough? Can I deliver? A huge high followed by a cock up of what can only be described as epic proportions, sent me crashing into that abyss with no safety net for…..well, safety. Yes. The highs have been high and the lows have been – unsurprisingly – low.
A reflective mood
As I reflect and look back on the last 12 months, I am once again drawn to the topic of my mental health and how fragile it can so often feel. It can personally be very difficult to accept and understand the emotional and behavioural changes that I can go through in what seems a matter of minutes, and knowing the effect it can have on my loved ones makes it a burden that can sometimes feel too difficult to deal with.
I can feel euphoric for days, even weeks, and then I can come crashing down to earth with a bang, the abyss always looking to suck me in, chew me up, and spit me out, a shell of the man I was. And then the rebuilding operation begins again.
I am fully aware I suffer with depression and after going on for nearly twenty five years I am not naive enough to think that it is something that will now go away. No. I fully believe I am stuck with this, and that abyss will be forever in my peripheral vision, and life will be a tightrope walk between health and happiness and uncompromising darkness and self-loathing.
I’m feeling extremely full after this year. Full with emotion, full with feelings, and fully exhausted, leaving very little space for the day-to-day stresses life throws my way. The changes I have made have meant I get very little time for my family or for me. Self-care has definitely been put on the back burner. I feel constantly tired and sleep for much longer than what feels healthy.
A boiling pan
I have had my feelings described to me like a boiling pan. If you don’t take the lid off, turn down the heat, or not put enough stuff in, then it will boil over. The pan isn’t trying to cause any damage, harm or pain, it is just following its natural process……I am a pan!
2017 hasn’t been the worst of years and I don’t want this to just sound negative. I’ve had some wonderful times, and created some amazing memories with my family. I have dealt with some things in a much better way than I have previously and it has once again helped me grow and develop emotionally. Men Tell Health is growing and helping people, my jobs seem stable, and I’ve passed my first university assignment.
So as I move into 2018 I’d like to say thank you to my beautiful wife for putting up with me. I know it’s not easy and I don’t say it enough, but I love you more than life. Thank you also to all those who have helped me through my first semester of university, by listening to me bitch and moan and trying to keep me grounded. To Gary for showing huge trust and faith in me and inviting me to be a part of something magical. To all my friends and colleagues who have listened to and supported me and to the new people I have connected with. I love and appreciate you all more than I probably say.
Goodbye 2017. I hope you don’t mind but I shan’t be shedding a tear as I wave goodbye to you.
Peace, love & laughter. Dan x
Reproduced with permission, originally posted on mindmusingssite