Things We Aren't Allowed to Talk About
Making it okay to say you’re not doing so well
By Jessica May Hayes / medium.com

In all of my memory I have been living with ADHD, which is particularly isolating for young women. Because I live with ADHD as an adult, I’ve witnessed skepticism at best, and intolerance at worst, towards mental illness and psychiatric disorders. In almost all areas of my life I see people struggle to talk about times when they are struggling with their emotional and mental wellbeing, and I know first hand how exhausting and debilitating that silence can be.

Very recently, the lovely James Routledge of Sanctus came to visit the Lost My Name office to talk about mental health in start-ups (check out hiswriting, or ask if he can come and talk to your business). That talk hit me in a lot of ways:

— Professionally, I know that mental health support is something that every company should have front of mind. A few years ago Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that 15.2m days of sickness absence across the UK were caused by conditions such as stress, anxiety or depression.

— Personally, I’ve been having a rough time this year. I decided to bite the bullet and attend a Sanctus session run by James and a dear ex-colleague of mine, Shayan Qadir. I have to admit I was incredibly anxious and felt exposed before (and during) the session, and almost didn’t go at all.

I am so glad that I did.

I sat down afterwards to try and collect my thoughts, but every post I wrote felt contrived and static. I don’t claim to be an artist, but below was the best way I could explain the way I felt (and still feel most days)… and the way Sanctus helped me grapple with that feeling for the first time in months.

 
A few months ago I realised I didn’t feel so good…
 
I didn’t have a cough, or sniff, or headache (much), but I started feeling really tired a LOT
 
But worst of all, I started feeling really, really scared and sad all the time.
 
In the months leading up I was very stressed and very, very busy. I felt on edge quite often.
 
Thankfully my boyfriend was super caring, but I was even making that ugly with stress and worry.
 
I started crying a lot…
 
I was crying at work…
 
In the shower (yes, even at the gym)
 
One night I was riding home, crying in the rain… it was very dramatic.
 
Some days I’d wake up and be back to “Old Jess” — I could ride bikes with my team, see my friends, and I felt energetic, happy and excited
 
And then the next day I wouldn’t be able to get out of my bed…
 
Sometimes for days at a time.
 
This was around the time I realised something was very wrong, but I was too stubborn to admit it to anyone…
 
I said, “NO JESS, you’ll be fine if you just work HARDER,” so I did…
 
But like a many-headed Hydra, once I chopped a head off my sadness and anxiety by doing more work… more sad and anxious heads poked out.
 
And I started feeling sadder… and scareder… and I stopped riding my bike, and seeing my friends, and sometimes I couldn’t answer the phone without crying.
 
I felt (and still feel) like I’m trying to carry 4 wedding cakes on each arm, skateboarding over a narrow path above a black canyon. And everyone on the other side is mad I won’t HURRY UP!
 
A lot of the time I’d prefer if I just fell down into the darkness…
 
And I could stay in bed (maybe forever) and drink wine, go on Reddit, and cry.
 
The people close to me started worrying when I got sick.
 
But eventually they got used to me not answering or coming out and they faded away. I felt really lonely, and really anxious, but I felt I deserved to be sad.
 
I never had the guts to speak up and say, “I’m really sad you guys. It makes me scared. Im scared all the time.” I was worried people would not believe me. Or tell me to calm down, or stop worrying. So I stayed silent and sad. Isolated by my anxiety.
 
But lately I realised a lot of us feel like this in our lives. It’s my job as someone who will get better to help others… but first, myself.
 
I’m not going to go back to my old self straight away. And when I do it won’t be every day. At first it might be one day every week… but that will grow…
 
into months of more good than bad.
 
and when I finally start forgetting what it feels like in the darkness… alone, isolated and scared…
 
I’ll be able to offer those of you who are in the darkness…
 
and offer you my hand.

Thank you, James.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, perhaps Sanctus is for you… or perhaps one of the below contacts can help:

EU Standard Emotional Support Number 116 123 — Free and available in much of Europe, details here

Samaritans (www.samaritans.org)

  • Voice: 116 123 (24/7 Free to call, will not appear on phone bills, formerly 08457 90 90 90)
  • Text: 07725909090
  • Email: emailjo@samaritans.org

Helplines for Men from thecalmzone.net:

  • Voice: 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to midnight nationwide, also 0808 802 58 58 London and 0800 58 58 58 Merseyside)
  • Text 07537 404717 (5pm to midnight, start your text with CALM2)
  • Online Chat: https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/

ChildLine (childline.org.uk), for those 19 and under:

Directory of suicide-related services:http://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/suicide.php

3.8 ·
1
What's Next
Trending Today
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 15,768 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
Stunning Summary of US Imperialism and Native Resistance... on MSNBC!
4 min · 11,959 views today · On The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Lawrence explains why a protest by Native Americans in North Dakota reminds us of the history American always tries to forget.
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · 6,654 views today · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the...
Seven Must-Have Skills for the 21st Century
Tommy Lehe · 4,899 views today · We live in a world that moves faster than we do. Trying to keep up can be an overwhelming task that at times feels hopeless, like we are falling further and further behind—but...
Veterans at Standing Rock Ask Forgiveness for War Crimes Against Tribal Nations
Jen Hayden · 4,392 views today · Jon Eagle Sr., Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has reported something wholly unexpected happened at the Standing Rock Reservation today. The...
Why People Cling to Old Beliefs
1 min · 4,038 views today · Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist at McGill University, Daniel Levitin, explains why people can be so stubborn when it comes to false beliefs. This behavior is...
The Other Way of Knowing
Lilian Na’ia Alessa · 3,477 views today · Western science and Indigenous worldviews are often seen as incompatible, with the Indigenous view usually being far less valued by society at large. But an inside look at...
DREAM: A Spoken Word Meditation For When Life Is Kicking Your Ass
4 min · 3,129 views today · If life is kicking your ass and the general un-coolness of everybody on planet erf is making you want to off yourself, TALK to someone: 800-273-8255 (national suicide...
Forget Air Force One, Pentagon Wastes Billions and Billions Every Month
Nadia Prupis · 3,115 views today · President-elect Donald Trump's focus on single Boeing contract ignores enormous waste of bloated Pentagon budget
Solar is Already Producing More Energy Than Oil, Says Major Scientific Review
Nafeez Ahmed · 2,996 views today · And is twice as powerful than previously thought
13 Crises That We All Must Face
George Monbiot · 2,515 views today · We face (at least) 13 major crises, some of which are immediate. It’s time for some hard thinking about how we confront them.
Dear Activists, Maybe It's Time to Admit That We've Got It All Wrong
Mickey Z. · 2,322 views today · “The first step in the revolution is eye contact.” - Alicen Grey
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 2,232 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
How a White Supremacist Became a Civil Rights Activist
Araz Hachadourian · 2,141 views today · The story of a KKK leader’s transformation shows us that we need not live forever with the kind of violence we saw in Charleston this month.
Andy Goes In - Working Undercover in a Factory Farm
10 min · 2,066 views today · He's a $10/hr farmhand, and his name isn't Andy. Andy Goes In is a compelling 10-minute documentary short about a Mercy For Animals undercover investigator. The vast majority...
15 Films Inspiring and Illuminating the 'New Story' Revolution
Tim Hjersted · 1,531 views today · Charles Eisenstein is one of the first people I heard talk about the "new story," synthesizing a diverse movement that has been emerging for the last several decades. When I go...
Sean Carroll - The Meaning of Life
7 min · 1,459 views today · The world keeps happening in accordance with its rules; it's up to us to make sense of it and give it value. Sean Carroll Music: Moby - God Moving Over the Face of the Waters
Satish Kumar on "What Is a Sacred Place?"
3 min · 1,372 views today · Satish Kumar brings a Hindu, Buddhist and Jain perspective to the definition of "sacred place." We found his explanation so compelling that we edited a three-minute piece...
Amanda Abbington Introduces iAnimal - 42 Days in the Life of Chickens
4 min · 1,319 views today · Shot undercover in British factory farms and slaughterhouses, this immersive 360° video gives you a birds-eye view of what happens to chicken from farm to plate.
Sky Roosevelt-Morris: The Secret of Indigenous Resiliency
2 min · 1,235 views today · Activist Sky Roosevelt-Morris is of the Shawnee and White Mountain Apache Nations. She is a member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. In...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Things We Aren't Allowed to Talk About