My name is Sarah.
I’ve always thought it would be cool to run my own magazine, but I became a charity lawyer instead. Some day I’ll give it all up to become a goatherd.
A few things about me:
- I love jelly babies, except for the black ones, I hate blackcurrant flavoured sweets.
- I do not trust mushrooms.
- I will always be Team Britney.
- I am always, always running late.
- I am obsessed with salsa, the dip not the dancing.
- I have the world’s biggest crush on Georgia Jagger.
- I am usually to be found drinking tea, I consider myself a connoisseur.
- I believe that there are two types of people in the world, decent people, and people who murder snowmen.
My favourite place in the world is Ipanema beach.
And Nhkata Bay. Oh, and the Shanghai Museum. And Oslo. Or Luang Prabang. The Khao San Road. And Penang. And Johannesburg. And London. And… you get the idea… I live to travel. Consequently my carbon karma is horrendous, I’m going to come back as a patch of grass and be tarmac’d over to build a runway.
I put those quotations at the beginning of all my posts because it was something I saw in a book once; there was a random quotation heading each new chapter. Nothing else at all about the book has stayed with me but I thought the quoting thing was cool, so I stole it. I do like me a good quotation.
(They’re not quotes, quotes is the verb – says the last person in the world who should be lecturing anyone else on grammar).
ABOUT MAKE-UP & MIRTAZAPINE:
I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder.
As that’s somewhat of a mouthful I tend to think of them as My Crazy.
I’ve probably had My Crazy for at least 20 years but I was only diagnosed in 2011. Living with these diagnosis’ is in many ways very similar to living with something like diabetes. My illness is not to be taken lightly but I can mostly live a normal enough life so long as I look after myself properly, there are just some sets of circumstances which can trigger quite serious episodes and so I need to try to avoid them.
When I was first diagnosed I noticed two standard reactions from the people around me after I told them about it.
Firstly, there were some people who on hearing any reference to a mental health problem automatically thought, “Oh my god. This is a very ‘Big Deal’. Argh.” Then they’d panic, overreact and try to avoid any further discussion on the subject all together. Either because they thought that it’s too difficult to talk about or because they were worried that they might say the wrong thing and drive me to commit suicide.
While I did, and do, appreciate these people taking what I’ve told them seriously; I’m not a ticking time bomb with a big scary clock face, and I haven’t joined a new race of people who are made entirely of glass. The disaster has already happened. You’re unlikely to cause me any further harm without being intentionally impolite or insensitive.
The other frequent response was to flat out deny my diagnosis. – ‘You’re not depressed, X person (who’s absolutely nothing like us) is depressed, so you can’t be.’ – Or at the very least to insist that my current episode was just a minor aberration which would be completely over soon, then it would seem like it never even happened and we’d never have to mention this unfortunate discussion again.
That one was frustrating because it’s very difficult to carry on a conversation, about anything, with someone who is living in their own, entirely different, version of reality.
The problem is that I find it nigh on impossible to summon the energy to explain any of these things to anyone who isn’t already on the same page when I’m suffering with an episode. Which is when I really need it the most.
Which brings me to the reasoning behind Make-Up and Mirtazapine.
My aim is to normalise the discussion of my mental health issues and set them into context with the rest of my life life. I am not my illness. There are many different words that I would use to describe myself, but as none of my conditions are adjectives, they do not define who I am.
I write about my experiences of being ill, as well as some general thoughts on mental well-being. There are a few things that I have learnt over the years that I hope could be useful to someone else, whether they have experienced any kind of mental health condition or not.
But I also write about other things, things that interest me from other areas of my life. I want to demonstrate that I am in fact a whole person, at least most of the time, and that being told that you have a mental health problem needn’t be seen as the end of the world. I hope that this might encourage other people, who may have been too afraid, to go and ask for help to get on with living.
As much as any drugs or therapy we all need something to be living for. I see no kindness in saving somebody so that they can simply exist. And when I’ve been at a low it’s always been the other things, the adjectives that do define me, that have slowly brought me back to life.
In addition I think that many of the other areas that I write about, relationships, friendship, work, self-image, are important to our mental health. Getting those things right might not keep us from becoming ill, but if you get them on track it’ll make you feel better and give you more energy to focus on the unavoidable things.
I’m open to discussing any comments or opinions that people have on what I post here, whether they agree with me or not. I would also welcome any suggestions of subjects to be written about or ideas for guest submissions.