At times, my head has felt like a pressure cooker. The thoughts racing around, growing in stature and intensity.
They’ve kept me awake through the night and kept me from leaving the house.
They overwhelm, scare and destroy.
They make no sense.
They disorientate me.
I tried writing them down before bed or if I find myself awake during the night but they don’t seem to stop coming. Notepads have been filled yet my thoughts seems to regenerate so quickly.
A battle I’m often too knackered to fight.
Yet I keep fighting.
My biggest weapon in my arsenal is my husband. He encourages me to talk. To ‘blurt’ out as much as possible.
My thoughts make no sense to me, let alone him.
Yet he listens.
It’s like verbal diarrhoea when I start. I just can’t stop.
The thoughts spill out and as they do, they lose significance.
The intensity lessens.
I become free from them.
Talking costs nothing. It’s absolutely free yet so many of us choose to participate in small talk instead of giving our thoughts and feelings the attention they deserve. It is frightening to do so. You have to make sure the person you’re talking to will allows you to do so in confidence and without judgment. Patience and empathy are good too.
You may get a nod as something you say resonates with the other person. They may be able to provide clarity, see a way forward.
I haven’t always found it so easy to talk.
When I was younger, I was terrified of confrontation. If something bothered me, I’d suck it up. I wouldn’t allow myself to deal with the emotion let alone express my feelings to the other person involved. Smiley, happy Jayne. On the outside anyway.
Inside was a different tale.
By not facing up to things as they were said/happened. I was telling myself in subtle ways that I was not important. That I didn’t matter.
And do you know what?
I started to believe it.
It was insidious in that it spilled into every aspect of my life. I found making decisions difficult. I’d worry that the film I’d chosen to watch wasn’t what someone else would have chosen. I’d give everything too much thought. Agonised over every small decision. Over time, I started avoiding making any decisions, cementing the belief that I don’t matter. My opinions and preferences hold no weight.
With no outlet, these thoughts grew in intensity. Breeding quicker than I could keep up with.
Outwardly, I was quiet, withdrawn and not participating in life. In my head, there was a rave. Constant noise. Torture.
I remember hating my head. Wanting to rip it off and have a new one. I could hide out in my duvet fort and escape the world, but I couldn’t escape me. I felt shackled by my head. It was heavy and it was a burden.
I too felt like a burden to those around me. A waste of space. As though I was failing at this thing called life.
The first day Dom encouraged me to ‘blurt’ out whatever was bottled up in my head, was a day he was at his wit’s end. He wanted to help me but didn’t know how. I knew it was up to me to help myself but didn’t know how. The day was born out of frustration and I remember it clearly.
Not knowing where to start, I told Dom to ask me any question. Anything and I’d answer. And so he did.
The tears, so many tears. And trouble breathing as the sobs racked through my body. Snot, lots of it. Hours flying by. Light leading to dark as the day turned to night.
Did I feel better?
Not initially. I’d offloaded so much yet there was so much more inside. I felt guilty that my husband was taking on a carer role, something he definitely didn’t sign up for. Worried that he’d bow beneath the pressure.
Again, something to ruminate on.
If I’d have asked Dom, as I did much later, I would have understood how helpless he had felt. What a relief it was for him to finally get an insight into what was swimming around in my head. How he finally felt a sense of purpose, that there was something tangible he could do to help.
Communication has never been my strong point. Yes, I can talk the hind legs off a donkey but I struggle to communicate when it matters. About things that matter. I guess there’s fear of rejection there and fear of coming across as disgruntled.
It’s a work in progress.
The minute I opened the floodgates, I relieved the pressure in my head. Ever so slightly. As time has progressed, digesting my thoughts and giving myself the space to do so has been crucial in my recovery.
At Blurt, we understand the importance of having people to talk to – people who have patience, compassion and empathy. We’re also aware of the loneliness which depression brings.
We’ve recently started a closed Facebook group which is proving to be a safe, supportive and warm community. If you’re in need of an understanding ear, a “knowing nod” and a virtual hug, you’re most, most welcome to join us.