If I don’t leave the house I don’t have to feel the cruelty of the world. If I lay in bed I can hide from the world. If I sleep now maybe the world will have changed tomorrow.
When you injure yourself you can usually see the symptoms and the healing process. It could be a bruise that you watch change colour and heal or a cut that closes up, scabs over and heals.
You watch it heal and you are safe in the knowledge that it will because the body immediately reacts to the injury and begins to produce chemical reactions in the body so it can self heal.
So what happens when your mind is injured?
You will feel the symptoms and as most people will have encountered at some point in their life, the symptoms can usually be a crushing and debilitating emotional pain.
I have spoken before about some of the mental effects arthritis can have. In the early days of my diagnosis I battled with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia.
It was upsetting, scary and frustrating.
Myself, like many others, come from a background and a time where you don’t show your struggles, your vulnerabilities, your emotions.
Thankfully times are changing and I am attempting to change with them but believe me I still have some work to do.
I have mentioned before that this is one of the reasons I wanted to start a blog, so that I can express myself and my feelings and actually feel like I have spoken to people.
During the times that I was struggling my first instinct was to hide the suffering. I would have panic attacks at the thought of having to leave the house and would make up excuses and cancel plans very often.
One day my wife saw me start to panic before having to go on a day out for a friends birthday. I told her I couldn’t go, that I felt sick, I was clammy and sweating, she realised then how much I was struggling.
I worked my way through those issues with the help of her, friends and family. Other people aren’t that fortunate.
On the 15th of February 2020 English television presenter and entertainer Caroline Flack committed suicide, she was 40.
The impact of this news has spread far and wide with many people placing blame with newspaper editors, social media bullying/trolling.
That being said, blame will not change the fact that a life has ended prematurely, that a person felt that suicide was the only way to make the pain stop.
I have lived through two suicides, been to the funerals and sat there thinking all the same unanswered questions that Caroline’s family and friends will have at this time.
I don’t believe suicide is a choice as people say it is, I believe it is something people see as the only way to stop the mental and emotional pain that is unravelling and consuming them.
I don’t believe that friends and family should have known as some heartless people have already commented on social media. Having experience with it and seeing a person merely days or hours before they commit suicide and how normal they seem I can honestly say that there can be no way of knowing.
If my wife had not been home that morning when I started to have a panic attack she may not have ever realised what I was going through. The thing we need to do is to keep encouraging people to talk about their feelings.
So why don’t people reach out, why do people often struggle to tell others what they are going through. There can be many reasons, some may be afraid of being laughed at and ridiculed for saying they are struggling with something or they have fears and anxieties.
Others may be worried that they will upset the loved one they are opening up to and cause them worry and stress so they choose not to because they don’t want to be a burden.
Some people just don’t want to be judged.
My point is that the mind can become injured in a similar way that the body can, meaning it can cause you pain and distress. The difference is the mind doesn’t heal itself as your body does, you have to do the healing.
And I believe that you must find a way to heal it because the mind is more important than the body in my opinion. A lot of us can be guilty of spending time in the gym strengthening our bodies yet we neglect the health of our mind.
Maybe because it isn’t visible but remember that the mind is all about feeling and when your mind is healthy you will feel happier and at peace.
The training of the mind can be difficult though and it has to be done regularly, I am still doing it everyday. Meditation, affirmations, listing things you are grateful for, talking and listening to others, making a conscious decision to be kind are all things you can do to heal.
That is another vision I had for The Arthritis Fight was that it would become a place where people can interact and be kind to each other. To be supportive, regardless of where you are in the world the internet gives us the power to reach out and touch peoples lives.
I want us to impact each others lives for the better because our words also have power and can influence other peoples lives.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Caroline Flack 1979 – 2020