Jenna Brown

Jenna Brown

Inside my mind

This blog, inside my mind, is a guest post written by a friend who shared her deep inner thoughts with me, and you, and who wished to remain anonymous; what an absolute honour to read and share with you all. Such honesty and raw emotion. Should you wish, you can leave her a comment on FB or IG and I am sure she will see it. Thank you for your bravery in sharing, dear friend.

I’m not okay. But I know I’m not ok so I will be ok, eventually. I’ve slowly slipped back to this point. I
knew it was coming back, but I kept telling myself to keep going; this will pass, everything will be all good again soon. It got worse. I’d see a good friend; I’d cry. I drive in the car, crying. Kids wouldn’t listen, tears. Hear a song, cry. Think about something (nothing, anything). More tears. Why can’t I stop crying?

What is wrong with me? Then there is the other emotion. Anger. Everyday little things that might annoy you but you move on quickly would evoke an uncontrollable burst of swear words and anger. I have young children, so I would quickly fill with guilt and more tears for the swear words or shouting over spilt milk (literally), then apologize and cry some more. Road rage. Parenting rage. Trip over the cat, a kid, a
toy, my own foot. Rage. I really struggle with the emotions because I can’t control them.

I don’t like crying, so I don’t have a big proper “let it all out” cry, which might be why it trickles out at every chance it gets. I saw a post on postpartum rage being a sign of depression. I’m almost three years postpartum, but the rage. The rage isn’t me. That’s when it really dawned on me. It’s back. It’s bad. I am angry at myself for not admitting it to myself sooner because I knew it was back. But I wanted to beat it on my own. I couldn’t. I hadn’t. More anger and feelings of shame, hopelessness and worthlessness. Time to reach out for help.

I weaned off medication at the beginning of the year. I felt strong and determined but also had fog to my thoughts that I thought might be clear with nothing in my system. I followed specific instructions for weaning, but I still had withdrawals.

A buzzy, trippy feeling inside my head. An electric shock but not painful. I thought to myself, gosh, if this is what is happening when I’m coming off the meds, what is happening in my head when I’m on them. Yep, I’ve made the right decision. The withdrawal ended. The brain fog or unclear thoughts didn’t disappear, though. I miraculously thought I’d have some direction in my life, or I would know what I wanted to do or, all of a sudden, find some new favourite hobby. Ermm nope.

I’ve been so lost in my head for so long. My thoughts aren’t clear; I have no direction. No purpose. I don’t know what I want to do or be. I have no motivation. Has this all been sneaky depression when I thought I was ok? Meds can stop working, or you may need an increase.

By the time I’d come to the decision to wean off, I had admitted I didn’t think they were working anyway. Maybe they weren’t, and although I was feeling stronger than when I’d started taking them, maybe I hadn’t conquered the depression like I had thought I had. Or maybe it comes and goes. Did I make the right decision?

Living inside your own head is so hard. I’m not sure about your head, but mine is so jumbled like a thousand lane highway weaving in and out over and under and ending up where? Still without a
coherent thought or a valid statement or argument. My memory is terrible. Or does it just feel terrible?

When talking (more arguing), another person’s words will come into my ears. Still, it’s as if my mind puts an automatic wall or filter to protect me and guard me against the negative blah blah no point listening or talking because what I say back doesn’t matter anyway. So childish!

But an automatic defence mechanism my brain seems to have developed over the years. I have things in my head I want to, need to or should say, but I don’t. Which makes things worse for me. I stay quiet. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to be wrong. I don’t want to upset anyone. I don’t want to hurt anyone. My idea isn’t good
enough. My thoughts and feelings aren’t useful, valid, worthy. I’m not good enough.

I don’t know why my self-esteem is so low. I’ve felt this way about myself for as long as I can remember. I recently listened to Oprah’s book ‘What happened to you?’ I understood, empathize and lived the trauma of the children and people in the book. Yes, I can see what happened to you. You poor, neglected, abused, unloved, traumatized or damaged little darling. But what happened to me? Nothing. No trauma. Just love. Family. Siblings. Sibling rivalry. Food. Play. A warm house. A normal childhood.

Maybe being brought up in my environment, it was the little things. Not liking the things everyone else does, different already. Being teased a few too many times that it’s no longer funny, and you take it to heart, and it sticks with you all these years later.

Okay… Alright, now I think about it, there are a million little things that were never done to intentionally hurt me, but I take it all to heart and as a personal attack. “That’s not how to play that game”. “That’s not how to do that”. “Oh, you’re podgy compared to your siblings”. Yep, there are the memories that I’ve buried, and there are a lot of them.

Passing comments to the ones who spoke them but all little chips at my self-esteem. Self-belief. Self-doubt. I can’t do it. I’m not skinny like them. I’m not good enough. I’m not enough. Teasing, joking, and constructive criticism is normal childhood experience, though, right? Why did I take it all onboard? I still do take everything on board.

I know constructive criticism is a good thing. It helps us learn and grow. People offering advice,
showing you how to do something. People do these things because they want to help you. But for me, it feels like a blow. I’m not doing it right. I can’t do it. I’m not good enough. Of course, I’ll take it on board, give it a go, practice ‘til perfect if need be. All the while beating myself up on the inside. I couldn’t do it on my own. I should be able to do it. I’m not good enough.

I’ve always compared myself to others. Doesn’t everyone? Maybe not to the extent that I do in my head. I want to be good enough. I want to be liked. I look back at high school and oh to be the size I was then, but I thought I was huge at the time. Way bigger than my peers. Looking at photos, I was the same. Why didn’t my eyes see that? I went on an OE, the whole time; I was thinking how big I was compared to everyone else.

Looking back on photos again, I was similar to everyone else. Why couldn’t I see it? I look great, happy and like I was having the time of my life. I was. But I constantly doubted everything about myself. Why couldn’t I see it? Where is my confidence? The little chips and digs and teasing as a child. Is that what happened to me?

Have you ever suffered from depression? Suffered is the right description, that’s for sure. In the thick of it, it’s the uncontrollable crying, anger, hopelessness, worthlessness, lack of motivation, lack of self-care, lack of drive to be or to do. Looking after yourself in that state is hard enough, but looking after small children can make it harder. When they depend on you, though, you push through.

They are fed, clean, happy. You carry on with their routines because it’s your responsibility. From the outside, you must be great because you’re still getting it done. Driving to kindy drop off and wiping my eyes as I pull up, checking the mirror, ok you’re safe to go inside, err ok maybe with my sunnies on.

Polite smile, yeah I’m great thanks and how are you? Have a lovely day. Reading a story to my child with leaking eyes, oh gosh, I hope no one notices. Why am I crying again now? Just stop.

– Anonymous

Disclaimer: The J Word NZ and its media content are created based on my own experiences and opinions, as well as those individuals who share their stories with me. I do not have any formal medical or mental health qualifications. If you are experiencing any issues with mental health, please consult your doctor or a medical health professional for advice.

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