Mental Health Struggle

Eyes streaming.

Glasses steaming.

Pillow creased.

Tissue wet.

This is what happened after I watched an incredibly soppy romantic Bollywood movie. To be honest, it was the perfect excuse to finally let it all out whilst being able to blame it on something else, in this instance, a movie.

I’ve had a somewhat emotional day today. Not a lot has happened in term of day-to-day activities but a lot has happened in terms of my inner self. Today, I took the first steps to seek the help that I need. Actually, ‘need’ is just the top layer. If truth be told, I actually crave it and quite badly too. I don’t really know how to explain it. How I feel that is. I think that I am more complicated than I had ever thought. I think, well actually I know, that I have never properly dealt with my mental health issue from years ago and since then more difficult situations have happened and I suppose it has all built up to this point. Tonight.

As I sit here writing this I am wondering why exactly I feel like my mental health is declining for use of a better word. Perhaps not declining but rather complicated? I don’t know what the correct word to use is. I think the current state of my mental health is a culmination of everything that has happened over the last few years.

The beginning? That’s always a good place to start.

  • Struggling to accept my sexuality. Struggling to reconcile my culture with my sexuality. Struggling to reconcile my faith with my sexuality. Struggling to accept myself for who I am. Struggling to deal with my self-harming and to figure out as to whether I want to live or not.
  • My parent’s divorce and being involved in it from the outset. You know the game Piggy in the Middle? Well, I was the piggy in the middle through my own choosing which has now had long-lasting implications with my relationship with my father. Negative ones.
  • Unable to move on from a damaging relationship I had over a year and a half ago. I just can’t seem to let go.
  • Struggling to accept that my friend chose not to live even though he gave me so much hope.
  • Losing my best friends.

After years, I am still afflicted with the first two. I know that my journey through life will of course encompass my sexuality, culture and religion and so many other things but I suppose that sometimes it just gets on top of me. Although I no longer have those days in which I wished I was ‘normal’ I still can’t help but wish that Allah would lessen my inner struggle and inner turmoil. What struggle and turmoil? The one in which I so badly want to belong. I suppose that desire of a sense of belonging is something that has always plagued me. It is hard always being the outsider and it becomes increasingly tiring.

With respect to my parent’s divorce? Well, I go through phases of wanting to fix things with my father and then not. It’s like I switch to this uncontrollable anger. I haven’t forgiven him for what he did. That is not because I am above forgiveness but rather because I cannot understand why he would hurt us. He has always maintained that he loves my sister and I and yet his words do not match his actions.

Romance, intense, arguments, debates, compromising myself, manipulation, crying, sadness and break-ups pretty much describe my first proper relationship. It was all consuming and it took everything out of me. I never wanted to be a person who had lots of relationship to find the ‘one’ (if that even exists) or even someone worth being with for a long time.  I feel guilt. Not because it ended but actually because looking back in retrospect, there are things I could have and indeed should have done differently. Obviously, it takes two to tango as we all know. Perhaps I didn’t dance hard enough? Perhaps I danced too hard and took the slack when actually she should have stepped up too? I may never know the answers to these questions but what I do know is that there are always lessons to be learnt and hopefully I have learned mine.

And about my friend? Well, he gave me hope when I had so little. You know that light at the end of the tunnel analogy that people so often use? I’m going to use it again… He didn’t just make sure that the light still remained flickering at the end. Do you know what he did? He flicked the switch on and lit up the whole damn tunnel and then walked beside me so I wasn’t alone.

In preparation for his funeral I put myself in charge of organising the transport and his friends who were attending from Lincoln. I do like organising things but in this respect it was less to do with wanting to organise and being in charge and more to do with having responsibilities so that I would have to hold it together and not have the chance to fall apart in front of people. I couldn’t quite do it. I cried, publicly.

In all that I have been going through (mainly the difficult relationship, the subsequent break up and my friend passing) I have neglected two people in my life that have been with me for a long time and because of that I have done irreparable damage and along the way I have become someone whom I don’t even recognise in the mirror anymore. I have done things that I am not proud of and to be quite frank, ashamed of. Again, there’s guilt attached here too.

I honestly do believe that everything happens for a reason and those reasons are mainly to do with learning from our experiences and becoming better people. I suppose I need to become more pro-active in becoming a better human being and indeed a better Muslim. I am trying but perhaps I ought to try harder.

I have struggled with my mental health on and off for years but I think I am finally at a place where I am not only somewhat comfortable with dealing with it but I now kind of have to. I have to because if I want to continue in wanting to help people as a lifelong mission then I must make sure that I am looking after myself too. Whatever we choose to do with our lives, we are never going to get there if we do not take care of ourselves properly.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the help that I’ve chosen to seek is counselling, again. Before, I half-heartedly went but this time I almost feel compelled to go. I think it’s important for me to. There really is no shame in talking about mental health (both positive and negative) or in seeking help when you need it. You may not need to tell the world as I do in my blog posts (it’s my comfort and outlet) but please don’t be afraid. You are not alone.

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