One of the difficulties with having multiple diagnoses in respect of your mental health is that very often you don’t have a clearly identifiable nail on which to hang the blame for something.
Of course the truth is that having that nail wouldn’t really serve any real difference at all. I am who I am and I experience what I experience and having a label for it doesn’t really change that very much. It is something that I (and indeed other bloggers who write about mental health) have written about before and yet somehow I still seek that nail, that label.
Another reality is that actually all too often we can seek to pin something under our ‘mental illness’ related label despite it actually being perfectly common or ordinary for a lot of folk but which may just be a little more acute or severe for those of us who do suffer from poor mental health.
Take for example holidays and the different ways in which we can all react to them…
Today is Mothering Sunday here in Ireland and in the UK and in other parts of the world, (although I do know not in USA or Canada I believe), and it is therefore a time of joy and of celebration.
But as much as I celebrate my mothers – both biological and adopted – and am extremely blessed that they are still with us, my mind somehow cannot help but think of all those folk whose mother’s are no longer with us. Those folk for whom perhaps Mothering Sunday is somehow less joyous or is still joyous but is also tinged with varying degrees of sadness.
And that is not really surprising is it? As someone who is on Facebook and who uses it fairly regularly my page is as full today of happy wishes sent out from sons and daughters to their moms who are still alive as it is messages sent out showing that even though someone’s mum is no longer with us she is not forgotten.
So for me to be mindful of mothers who have passed – even though mine have not – is not unusual or weird or even different at all, and is not even worth mentioning perhaps.
Except for me, such thoughts are never an end and are always – or so it seems – a for runner to further thoughts. Thoughts of other folk who I have lost and who are in fact no longe with us.
See my mind does that. It can’t take just one thought and simply process and file it. It seems that kind of response is just not within my psychological profile.
Where some people seem to have a little man (or woman) inside their head who takes things and simply sorts them out and either files them for future use or shreds them to make room for other stuff. I have a committee of obsessive compulsives who are constantly practicing in readiness for inclusion when debating becomes a recognized discipline within the mental olympics.
They jump on everything it seems. They devour it, inspect it, analyze it, process it, compare it, share it, debate it, regurgitate it and then do it all some more. And they do so no matter how good or bad my mental health is. Except that the worse my mental health is the more they seem to do it until my mental health gets so bad that I don’t seem able to cope and thus my mind seems to hiccup before imploding.
Thankfully I am not quite that bad today. Although I just don’t seem to be able to shake these thoughts of the loved ones whom I have loved and lost.
What are the words from that old Tennyson poem? ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all”?
Poetry often speaks the truth doesn’t it? I think because so much of poetry comes from the heart and whilst the heart is the playground of hope is it not also all too often a playground built on hurts and shattered dreams?
And so my committee of obsessive compulsives have been working on over-drive today. Taking thoughts of fondness and love for my mothers and of celebration and marrying them (the thoughts not my mothers, you understand) to thoughts of those I have lost and sadly to deeper more unhealthy, more harmful thoughts.
And there is a ‘nail’ a ‘label’ I can easily identify. Suicidal Ideology.
It is something that I am very much prone to and am very much aware of. When things get very tough or when I am locked on thoughts of those who are no longer with us, it sneaks into my thought processes and calls to me. When the pain gets too much or I get too weak or the quality of life that I am experiencing crashes for any serious length of time my horizon darkens it seems and this calls to me.
BUT not today! I am not going to allow it! For today I am not quite that weak and not quite that dark. Today I have still some strength of resolve. Today I recognize that no matter how great my loss. No matter how great my longing to be reunited with those I have lost or how appealing the escape from this battle may be. It is here that I belong and here I am going to stay. Because it is here that God wants me.
Many moons back (I think in 1992) Eric Clapton (and I think Will Jennings) wrote a song about the death of Clapton’s 4-year-old son Connor. It is a beautiful song and one that really touched my heart. A few (actually several) years later, despite it being a little out of normal my vocal range, I did a pseudo-cover of it in remembrance of someone so very special and so very dear to me and as a gift to one of my mothers who was also suffering a great loss.
The song is (as the title of this piece suggests) Tears in Heaven. The final words of that song speak so very clearly a truth that I need to always keep close to my heart – especially when I am missing those I have lost…
“I must be strong and carry on. Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven.”
As I said, despite it being a little high for me and outside of my normal vocal range I did record a pseudo-cover of it and in fact put it on my poetry blog. So I thought I would share it here as well in the hope that if today you, like me, are missing someone very close to you it might encourage you to be strong also.
Please click on the arrow below to listen to the song.