Posted in Social Justice

Mental Stigma! What the Left Ignores

Mental Stigma! What the Left Ignores Posted on 9 July 2011Leave a comment

A picture of a whistling thorn tree

It’s been while since I’ve been able to write anything of meaning. And this hiatus is in no way meant to represent a lack of concern about the world, and/or the way the Tories (and other neoliberal politicians) are slowly building our demise.

Over the last few months, I’ve been slipping further and further into the crevice of my Mental Health crisis – a depression/anxiety disorder. It was this that made me fail my Masters at Oxford almost a year ago – I was unable to complete my thesis because I couldn’t think logically – and so they decided that I wasn’t worth giving time to.

It’s impossible explain the impact of mental illness on people – some suffer from severe panic attacks that leave them utterly debilitated. Others have hallucinations or delusions. Whatever the case – these experiences ostracise us from the greater community. Because unlike scarlet fever – the symptoms of mental illness are largely invisible. And more often than not – other people assume that it’s your fault rather than recognising the cause as a serious illness.

In my case, depression and anxiety are closely linked to my feelings of pointlessness & tiredness. I know I am about to have a severe episode when I begin to find it difficult to get out and do things. And when tired, I find it increasingly hard to tackle my social phobias – meaning socialising and building friendships is really hard work.

That’s when the anxiety bubble forms. As a child who was quite an outcast at school, I genuinely fear being alone for too long. When these fears mount up, and at a crux – I freak out! I begin to go through a high delusional phase of feeling utterly alone & utterly useless.

All of a sudden, I’m panicking frantically. In the midst of it all, I’m trying to figure it out. I’m trying to rationalise it – and inevitably, because of the nature of anxiety, I start blaming myself. The self-obsession and endless introspection begins. I scream from the inside out – I feel trapped, tied down to a body I feel I have no connection to. Tears are non-stop. And my heart burns with an impossible anger.

When this episode is over, and I am calm again – I lose self-esteem and a level of self-confidence. I return to a certain normality, but I am diminished and more than anything, I feel more alone than ever.

And in all that I can’t write afterwards – because I can’t think about anything but the rotting gritty feeling in my belly. I start being less and less capable of work. I stop believing in any hope for anything. And I suddenly compare myself to everyone – feeling stupid and incapable of expressing myself clearly

My story is nothing compared to others. It’s one of so many.

And yet on the left we have continued to ignore the sufferers. In all places, we form cliques and circles which do not accept those with disabilities. We reject those who seem weaker and lacking the arrogance you need as a lefty activist.

Instead of supporting each other, we are suspicious and exclusive. And on the sidelines the disillusioned at forced to wait, slowly allowing their own incapability to work with other to eat them up, and suggest that perhaps the right was right afterall – we’re all selfish.

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