Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Moving On

This post was nearly The Problem with Alcohol 3 but that would have been too limiting.  However it is a problem that I want to talk about, the problem of moving on.  Put like that it sounds easy but I am finding it to be a problem; a problem for me, a problem for my family and a problem for those who know me.

To explain what I mean I have to explain a bit about what happened to me.  I had a breakdown that had been a long time coming but when it did it was rather spectacular.  This resulted in me receiving treatment that has enabled me to understand what happened to me, why it happened and, I hope, what I need to do to stop it happening again.  The end result is that I feel like a different person and I want to move on.  Sounds simple doesn’t it.

The problem is that I’m not actually a different person but a modified and updated version of the old person who still looks the same and, in some ways, still behaves the same.  People around me still treat me the same way as they always did and will bring up things that the ‘old me’ did.  I want to shout and say “That’s not me, that’s the old me but I’m a completely different person now.” but that won’t work.  I am both the old and new me.  I have to show everyone that I have changed so that they will treat me differently because if they bring up how I was too often it drags me down and stirs up the old me.  That is not to blame anyone but myself for how I used to be and, therefore, how others react to me now; I’m just trying to explain how things are. 

So you see moving on isn’t as simple as it seems.  I don’t just have to move myself onwards but I have to be able to take my friends and family onwards with me and that isn’t easy.

Now I haven’t written this to get sympathy but to explain what it is like to recover from mental illness; in my case depression.  If this is how it is for me it is probably the same for a lot of other people who go through mental illness and come out the other side.  We want to be accepted and loved for who we are and not reminded of who we were – we know that only to well without any reminders.


Radical Believer said...

I also had a bout of depression, which was complicated by the fact that I was pastor in a small church where the behaviour of some of the people contributed significantly to my breakdown.

I took the medication prescribed by my GP and underwent some counselling in a bid to uncover and begin to address my own underlying issues.

When I returned to work, the people who had helped to push me over the edge didn't give me the chance to show that I had changed. Consequently I had to leave. Sad but true.

Alastair Newman said...

Hugh, you should read the book I'm reading at the moment: "True Resurrection" by Harry Williams. It's a little heavy going at times, but it's an extremely interesting look at how the resurrection breaks into our lives today (well, it was written in the 70s!) in those transformations from "old life" to "new life"

Still Breathing said...

Radical Believer, Unfortunately your comment doesn't surprise me at all. Only last week I saw a notice saying that a minister was able to return to work after a major breakdown but "limited on medical grounds to just 40 hours a week" - no wonder he had a breakdown and I doubt if it will be long before he has the next one.
We would all like to think that the church was only full of nice people who wanted to work together to discern God's will but, from recent painful experience, it also has people who only want to see things done their way regardless of God's will.
Don't give up; a friend recently described God's guidance as like a satnav - if we go (or are sent) the wrong way God re-plots the route to where He wants us.
God bless
Still Breathing (Hugh)

Karin said...

I'm not unsympathetic to what you have said and people can be very unforgiving and slow to accept that their preconceived ideas might be wrong.

However, on the other side, when mental illness or anything else has caused trust to be broken it can take some time for trust to be rebuilt, even with the best will in the world in can take a year or few rather than weeks or months.

Hopefully over time the people around you will become more aware and more sure of the changes you've made.

Good luck.

Still Breathing said...

Karin, I agree with you totally; if anything you have said in a few words what I was trying to say in a lot.

Sally said...

moving on isn’t as simple as it seems. I don’t just have to move myself onwards but I have to be able to take my friends and family onwards with me and that isn’t easy...

ain't that the truth!