Writing about mental illness is a fairly new gig for me, so let it be no surprise that you’ve not seen me here on Canvas before now. I gladly accepted the invitation to join the Canvas team, so you’ll be seeing me every so often now (woot!). To say I was jazzed to be asked to be a part of this fantastic endeavor would be an understatement – even though, in true Sid fashion, I openly doubted my qualifications and ability to write here. More on that in a bit.
So, yeah, writing about my mental illness(es) is new, but then so is recognizing and acknowledging that I have mental and emotional health issues to begin with. Only a couple of years ago did I finally admit to having issues and begin to seek help. Which is a shame, as I can now see that these issues have been with me all my life.
These days, that life of mine is dominated by my two lovely tween daughters, two funny cats, one extraordinary Claudia, and an unknown number of mental illnesses. Or maybe it’s just one very efficient illness. Depression is what I’ve been diagnosed with, and it manifests itself in various and frightening ways, all of which are a variations on the theme of an insane lack of self-worth. I mean, not to overstate it, but I have no self-esteem or confidence at all. It permeates everything I do (or don’t do), and has even grown worse as these past few years have passed. Far more than merely keeping me from being able to be happy – though it does that as well – my depression almost defines me, in a way. My inability to feel and grab hold of happiness and my inability to see worth in myself as a whole undermines pretty well everything in my life. My psychiatrist recent called it all delusional, and I understand that intellectually, but it is sadly very real to me.
As I write, in the midst of a beautiful relationship with no less than my soul mate, I struggle with understanding what it is about me that attracts this amazing woman and keeps her near me. I know I’m loved, but I can’t see why. No amount of convincing gets past the voices in my head that tell me I’m nothing and offer little to nothing to her. You can imagine what that could do to a relationship were the other person not so patient and understanding.
So admitting I have mental health issues and finally fighting back, I happened onto Canvas. I’ll tell you, discovering Canvas and reading the stories of others suffering from similarly disabling conditions has played no small part in my accepting (and embracing?) my state of mental health. This was uncharted territory for me, talking about mental health, and knowing that it was ok to be open about it with no shame was just what I needed.
So whether the discussion of mental health is new to you or not, keep coming back here to Canvas. The writers here are genuine and open, and they get it. Their stories are real, and their attitude is welcoming and understanding.
As for me, I’ll be back.
© Sid Dunnebacke and A Canvas Of The Minds 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sid Dunnebacke and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.