Talking About Ignorance, Prejudice & Gaslighting

How to avoid grievances of gaslighting in relationships - The ...

 

This blog post is about an experience I went through. A terrible experience I went through. I want to talk about it because many people out there might have experienced the same thing and I want you to feel less alone.

 

I had been getting doubts for a while about things but I had been putting them to the back of my head. I am pan and omni and I faced gaslighting. I felt trapped and that led to me to feeling suicidal. I felt trapped because people were prejudiced and ignorant towards me directly and indirectly and while that was not said to be alright, the gaslighting said in its traditionally roundabout way that I had no right to defend myself and if I did I was as bad as or worse than the people being prejudiced or ignorant. I can’t stand ignorance and prejudice but I will say in comparison to gaslighting, they aren’t as bad. Because gaslighting is effectively bringing someone down or kicking them when they are down or often a mixture of both. I don’t know where gaslighting originally stems from but I would hazard a guess that the idea of someone being not compassionate because they won’t put up with shit doesn’t help. That only makes you feel like you should put up with gaslighting and one third of my brain did feel I should. I can’t even begin to imagine how it feels to have more of your brain thinking that.

I sat in the living-room of my home one night with my hands around my throat and I thought I would go through with killing myself. I was surrounded by a society where so many times I would see someone calling someone out for ignorance or prejudice and they were made out to be the bad person, cruel, in order to save the ignorant and/or prejudiced person and I felt like life was meaningless. Anyone could say what they liked and in order to be alright of a person, I was expected to accept that, be ok with it, be totally understanding. My mind was so screwed with that I was guilty for even feeling that the ignorance, prejudice and gaslighting was wrong. I don’t know what made me see sense that night but I did. I realised that in this situation I was not the one in the wrong and I would not believe or torture myself with that any longer. Writing helped too. When I got myself alright, I wrote a short story which helped me but which I never published. I published a much more web-friendly version of it once but not the actual story from that night.

Since then, I have seen people talking on the internet about mental health struggles and sometimes I can read between the lines that where they are coming from is what I was feeling. But let’s be clear: some people have lengthy struggles with mental illness. I had one night. That fact was part of the reason why for a while I felt like my story was not something to talk about because I felt like an imposter even though I felt what I felt and I couldn’t deny that. Even for one night, it was hellish and I can’t even begin to imagine how awful it must be to go through that feeling of worthlessness on a regular basis. I want you to know that no matter what your story is you are not alone and no one deserves to feel that way.

I’m ok now. Very ok. It’s weird because that night which was one of the worse times of my life changed everything for me. I seen things so differently. Life wasn’t huge. I should do my thing, live my truth and I believe I have done that more since. I don’t wish for anyone to go through that kind of pain to get to that stage. I wish people could without doing so.

Life doesn’t change but if your attitude changes, everything changes. That might be hard to believe, and I would have found it hard to believe too, but it does. You will always get people who don’t give a fuck in one way or another but it doesn’t matter because in your life them and their shit doesn’t matter anymore.

It’s cliche but love yourself because when you do, you’re ok and set to unleash the potential that is within you. You don’t need to feel bad or frightened. If someone is insulting to you, however polite they put it, you have a right to feel insulted and to defend yourself. Don’t let them make you feel guilty for that ever.

5 Videos To Watch On YouTube This Week!

Ok, it’s that time of the week! Here is some video recommendations for this week:

 

Music

 

 

This Queen performance from Live Aid is a classic performance, amazing, legendary. If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out! 🙂

 

 

A modern-day classic! If you are feeling down, pop Pharrell Williams’ Happy on and you will be boogying on down in no time. The video is brilliant, very full of joy.

Dance

 

 

This was Noah’s and PJ’s first wedding dance and it was so fun! Absolutely loved it! 🙂

 

Relaxation

 

 

 

This is Goodful’s 5-Minute meditation. My Mum and I (and sometimes my sister) have been doing this meditation for the past how many months and it’s really great, very relaxing. Relaxing words provided by John Davisi.

 

Social Issues

 

 

WHO collaborate here with Matthew Johnstone who talks about how he overcame depression. The video, I had a black dog, his name was depression is written and directed by Matthew and is a deeply realistic and emotive watch.

 

 

Advice For People Who Love Someone Who Is Suffering From Depression

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It is one of most difficult experiences to go through seeing someone you love in pain. I have experienced seeing two people I love suffering from depression. Because neither of these people would like the fact they suffered from depression being known, for this reason I will not be using their names in this piece.

 

The thing you feel most is helpless. You want to do something to make them be happy and yet you know you can’t. Depression is a very difficult journey and watching from the outside, the best thing you can do is listen and understand how they feel from what they are telling you. The worse thing you can do is be judgmental and try to make out you understand how the person feels more than they do themselves.

 

Depression is a deep sadness but it is more than that. It includes insecurity and a sense of numbness. There is a lack of interest in the events going on in their life and a feeling often of “Why be productive because it doesn’t matter?” because a person already feels no matter what they do they aren’t worthwhile and their life and everything they do is meaningless. And instead of living, people who are depressed often feel they are surviving.

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There is too much of the idea that people who are depressed can “just snap out of it” or that they are “attention-seeking”. Depression in people is something that is a natural feeling and not something that someone can stop feeling like turning on and off a tap. Sometimes it’s caused by an event or events, sometimes not and sometimes a combination of the two. One of the people I knew suffered from depression all their lives, the other for a period of time. It was a daily severe sadness in both cases which affected their daily lives and made daily life a struggle. The person who struggled for years kept their depression back and was able for many years to function every day without people knowing that they felt depressed but then they had a bout of depression where they couldn’t get out of bed and where they were nervous going out in public in case they ran into people they knew. This person was actually a very outgoing person but in their worse bout of depression meeting those they knew and having to engage in conversation was difficult. It was partly because of their inner pain and partly because they were scared that the person talking to them would know they were depressed and know they had been in a psychiatric hospital. The other person had a bad bout of depression where they couldn’t function the way they usually did for the time they were depressed.

 

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Sometimes people who are depressed can get very anxious. They desperately want to be not depressed and sometimes can rush into things. The person who I knew who went into a psychiatric hospital would go in and would want to leave, go back in and want to leave again. They were looking for a quick fix and eventually they realised that wasn’t going to happen. Their diet went downhill as they began eating much junk and greasy food and they weren’t exercising enough. In the earlier stages of their depression they were incredibly healthy-living. The other person was phoning helplines, went to a counselling session and went to a psychiatric hospital but didn’t admit themself in the end. All of these things are not in themselves bad ways to help with a person’s depression but this person was hoping they would get a quick fix from these situations and things don’t quite work like that. It’s more gradual. And when the quick fix doesn’t come a person hoping for one can feel worse in themselves.

 

Depression makes people feel very nervous and unsure of themselves. Many people who are depressed have a lot of talents and gifts to offer the world and when many depressed people allow themselves to shine the world benefits but many people who are depressed often don’t allow themselves to. It can be a lot of pressure trying to cope with their depression and the added pressure of putting forward their talents can be sometimes too much especially in a world where not everyone is understanding of depression or compassionate enough to care. We live in a fast-paced world where profit is major and if someone needed time off work for their depression not every employer is understanding. While a lot of employers might not be alright with someone taking time off for any reason, there is even more of a problem for people who are depressed because many employers don’t see depression as a valid reason for time off as opposed to a physical illness. In addition many depressed people often don’t want to admit they are depressed to their employers with the stigma which often still surrounds mental illness.

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The two people I know/knew both didn’t want people to know they were depressed because of the stigma surrounding mental illness in society. They both felt that people would think they were “mad” or “dangerous”. And at one stage someone they knew in their presence called the psychiatric hospital “the madhouse” knowing too that one of them was depressed and had attended the psychiatric hospital in the past. They went back on it but it showed what they were thinking. And it is that kind of attitude which prevents many people from seeking help when they suffer from depression. They worry that people they know years will see them differently and feel very ashamed of being depressed. The ignorance/prejudice of others only serves to heighten that sense of shame.

 

While there is still a lot of prejudice in society, things have become better. There is much more open discussion about depression and many more people speaking about their experiences including both high-profile people and people not in high-profile positions. Their bravery in telling their stories despite the prejudice in society can not be underestimated. The two people I know/knew were helped from the visibility of people suffering from depression because it made them feel they weren’t alone. A lot of people who are depressed feel they are the only ones going through this and therefore think there is “something wrong” with them and seeing other people being so open is immensely helpful in raising their confidence in themselves that it’s a completely normal way of feeling.

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So if someone in your life is depressed the best you can do is show them that you love them and you are there for them. In the same way that you being not depressed is just an aspect of you, someone being depressed is just an aspect of them. Never get into that evil way of thinking that you not being depressed makes you better than them. Some people simply are and some people simply aren’t. I also firmly believe that anyone can become depressed at any stage in their life and the idea that some people are immune is ridiculous. To be honest we live in an often cruel world that to be depressed is a natural reaction to it. Be kind, be understanding and listen. You can’t get them out of the way they are feeling, that’s down to them and it’s a gradual, slow process. Sometimes peoples’ way of feeling does change and sometimes their way of feeling doesn’t but they may or may not become better able to cope with their depression and often people who are supported by those they love have a better chance of learning to cope better because they know they aren’t alone. But we need whatever the situation to just be there and be supportive. Don’t treat the person differently to how you would if they hadn’t depression. They are still the same person and you should never put them in the category of “the depressed one” and forget all the other qualities that make them who they are. Don’t treat them like a burden. They aren’t, just going through some stuff and if you love them you’ll be there for them. Don’t be ashamed of them. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. In short, be respectful.

Trumpet Blowing Moments

 

Throughout life we all have trumpet blowing moments. Moments where things come together in some way and suddenly make sense. In just 27 years I have had my share of those but hope to live much longer and in consequence experience more of them! 🙂

Going back to when I was a kid, I experienced my first trumpet moment very early. For most of my school life I was bullied and one of the plus points that came from that awful situation was that I gained an empathy with people who were treated wrongly because they are deemed different in some way. After all, the reason I was bullied was that I was an introvert and that was seen as different. I also acquired from that a sense of never changing who you are for anyone. If you do that you’ll constantly be doing that to fit the company you’re in. I seen books which said shyness was wrong, many people who felt I was ‘too quiet’ but I was happy being who I was. And I knew early on that no one should make themselves unhappy to fit a model of society’s ‘perfection’. I would like to think I would have known all of this anyway even I hadn’t been bullied. But been bullied definitely had a huge impact on my feelings in these regards. Bullying is at heart singling somebody out because of a difference in some way and as I’ve grew older I’ve felt that prejudice is the exact same thing did in adult society, done slightly more politely and diplomatically often but with the same starting point: a dislike of difference. That’s why when those with bigoted and negative views turn around and claim they are facing prejudice from people standing up to them, it makes me laugh. It’s like a bully in a playground saying people are getting at them because they tell them they are wrong and no better than anyone else.

 

As I got older I knew someone very close to me who suffered from depression. Though I don’t see depression as a stigma, the person I’m talking about did and it caused them a lot of stress and worry. Because of that I won’t mention who the person is in this discussion. But though I had no prejudices about depression beforehand, I came away with knowing secondhand what depression was like. It’s quite difficult seeing someone you love to bits suffering so much and knowing you can’t do anything to ease their pain. After all depression doesn’t work like that. There isn’t a magic cure. But it was nothing compared to what this person went through. And what I realised from that time was that even though we don’t all have depression in our lives every single one of us experience moments of deep sadness where we’re close to being depressed. So it’s really hypocritical when people judge others for human responses to a world none of us completely understands.

 

I always wrote from very early in my life. But a trumpet moment was five years ago when I threw myself almost completely into writing over any other profession. Things weren’t working out too well in other professions. The employment market wasn’t great and still isn’t so I said what the hell? I might as well do what I like doing instead of worrying about the future. Besides without meaning to sound cocky, I knew I wasn’t too bad at it. And I wasn’t much good at anything else so … and then the future I was worried about opened up from there on it’s own. Things happened in writing like they didn’t in other professions. I got published and then published some more. And I’m still on that journey. And I suppose the realisation of that is that things happened because I cared about what I was doing and people could see that. With everything else they must have seen it wasn’t authentic.

 

The final two realisations came in the last few years. I realised that I was pansexual and an atheist. During your twenties, you kind of find that you are searching to find out more about yourself and as you find more and more pieces of truth about yourself you become even happier and more relaxed in yourself. I thought I was straight and catholic. I was brought up catholic and had attended catholic schools growing up. Now I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with being straight or catholic but neither of them were me and there was clearly an unhappiness there in me that I wasn’t aware of because when I realised I was pansexual and an atheist I felt happier and freer. I suppose it goes back to authentic again, it felt real and from that comes inner peace and happiness. I remember soon after I realised I was pansexual I briefly worried about prejudice I’d face until my wonderful sister reminded me that I’d faced and came through worse. By the time I realised I was an atheist after that, I didn’t worry about prejudice I’d face about that because yes, I had come through much worse and I would continue to survive over and over. And knowing you’ll survive, that’s a trumpet moment in and of itself.

 

The idea for this blog post came from Kathryn who runs the blog Let’s Talk Depression. You can read Kathryn’s brilliant blog post here entitled Trumpet Blowing Moments – Speak The Truth:

https://letstalkdepress.com/2017/12/08/trumpet-blowing-moments-speak-the-truth/

 

 

 

Poem: Frightened

 

 

Mental Health Week is from the 9th to the 14th of October and Mental Health Day is the 10th of October. This poem is written because of that. Someone I loved very much suffered from depression so it’s very close to my heart. The poem isn’t completely based on them but is loosely based in parts. Please everyone take care of yourselves and be kind to everyone you meet. You never know what they are going through. 

 

 

She isn’t mad,

she isn’t crazy

but she comes from a generation

in which she was brainwashed,

made to feel like she was insane,

firstly after she had a baby,

they told her to hide her

postnatal depression,

told her she’d be locked up

if how she felt got out.

Then she got panic attacks

and suffered severe depression

later in life,

she thought they would think

that she was “a looney”

because that’s what the ignorant

said and she was frightened,

frightened of what would happen to her,

what they would do to her,

frightened of the talk,

frightened to seek help,

ironically half those who ran her down

like vultures were depressed themselves,

frightened in their own way to seek help.

Graham Jones’ Davin Brings Suicide To The Fore For World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and a very important film called Davin was released in advance of today. Directed by Irish director Graham Jones, the film is about the death by suicide of an Irishman Davin and how his loved ones deal with his death by suicide.

Jones says:

“It’s a great idea to have a specific date every year when the issue of suicide is highlighted. However, sometimes it feels as if the day just comes and goes without enough attention from those of us outside the support services. This small indie movie is a humble attempt as filmmakers, actors and musicians to send a message to anyone who may be at risk of entering this emotional space. You are not alone.”

I am very proud that an Irish director has created a film with such depth and meaning. It is very important that suicide and depression are spoken about in a world where these parts of life are still seen as a stigma by many people leaving a lot of people feeling isolated and alone.

It is an incredibly thought-provoking script and each of the cast are wonderful in it. It is a realistic script and a very brave film to make and the dialogue is very moving. The way that the film is told from the characters’ perspectives drives the emotive and powerful force of the script and helps to hammer it’s vital message home. It adds a human face to suicide and depression which is very important.

You can view the film here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtElIIJ1YuI&feature=youtu.be