TW: Mental Health, Suicide Ideation, Depression & Anxiety
I’ve been watching the AppleTV series, “The Me You Can’t See” and have been feeling that all-familiar nudge to write about it.
First of all, it’s excellent.
Second, it’s so real it hurts.
Third, I resonate with it *so deeply* that I almost can’t breathe.
I normally don’t take sides on current events but this time, I’m gonna, so get ready.
I wasn’t a Royal’s follower before Princess Diana. Adored her! Of course, I lived in the States back then… but still… I cried when she died and worried about her boys.
I wasn’t a Meghan Markle fan… never watched Suits. She did a commercial for a clothing line in Canada the year before she met Harry and I thought she was beautiful. Other than that, she wasn’t on my radar. Until Harry, of course.
For four years, Harry and Meagan tried to make it work across the pond. It was clear fairly early on that it wasn’t gonna… not with the paparazzi chasing them (her) like they did Diana. So yeah, not shocked and certainly not judgemental about their choice to make a life in California.
I watched the special with Oprah on network television. What Harry and Meghan said felt utterly true to me… and why shouldn’t it? It’s THEIR truth. I believe every single word they’ve said… and have, since the beginning.
You don’t have to look far down comments on any thread about them (but most especially threads about the special) to see people calling them liars and hypocrites. I get that they’re privileged but that doesn’t mean they don’t have mental health issues! What is the matter with people? It broke my heart for them.
Once I heard Oprah and Harry would be collaborating on a mental health series on AppleTV, I did something I’ve never done before… registered on the free preview that came with my iPhone (from over a year ago!). It worked!
It has been… eye-opening… tear-inducing… and gut-wrenching. ESPECIALLY if you too suffer with mental illness, specifically depression & anxiety, OCD, suicidal ideation or any combination thereof.
There are famous faces and not-famous faces… with diverse backgrounds… in varying levels of recovery… and such raw honesty that I literally (as I mentioned above) wept.
I encourage each of you – and by that I mean EVERYONE – to watch it from beginning to end. Not all on the same day though… unless you have about five hours and as many boxes of tissues.
One very poignant moment for me is what I’d like to write about today… and this story is very personal to me. I almost didn’t come to write but felt that nudge that gets me in trouble sometimes.
Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs is an Olympic boxer with OCD. Germs are her nemesis. It is not unusual for her to open a package of toothbrushes, feel one, decide it’s not clean and get another from the package. And another. And so on… and that could all happen in seconds. Her garbage bins are overflowing with wipes, paper towel, hand soap containers and whatever she needs to go through on any given day – in any given moment – to get out the door.
After watching her, I said to my husband (who had not seen it, I’d watched by myself) …
“This poor girl. She literally can’t function unless she’s done so-and-so! I can’t imagine living like that.”
He said, “Really?”
See, I get obsessive about my health, as I’ve mentioned a whole whack of times before. Then the anxiety kicks in. It’s what causes me to go from bodily sensation to catastrophizing myself into a heart attack, stroke, or at the very least, an aneurism.
It’s not funny. Not in the least.
I get Ginny. I really, actually DO.
Add depression into the mix and you’ve (I’ve) got quite a stew brewing.
I’d also like to share a line said by a guy named, “Ian” in episode 5. (Forgive me, I tried to find his full name online but couldn’t.) It feels so real to me right now:
With depression you’re not really present in life.
Several weeks ago, I began taking my anti-depressant again after a break for about six months. I was having near-daily dizzy spells that my doctor says is vertigo and anxiety but I think is something worse. Is it a coincidence that when I take the medication, the dizziness all-but disappears?
But emotionally, I’m not feeling much better. I’m really not.
I’m in bed more than I’m out of bed. I feel and look like crap. The house looks neat enough, if you don’t look at the inch of dust, stains on the floor or mold around the windows. <<< Every freaking winter! It’s a pain to clean in the spring, I’ll tell ya! And I haven’t yet. Obviously.
My breathing is terrible – asthma, allergy season, wind, humidity, low clouds, (mold?), blah, blah, blah.
Sure, some of it is this blasted pandemic. Here in Canada, non-essential businesses can’t open until mid-July. OMG. Another six weeks. Our second shot is in August. The borders may or may not be open by then.
I miss my dad. I miss everything about him not being on earth. I miss his voice every Sunday morning. He was one of the stabilizing forces in my life and he’s gone. I know he was 85 and lived a good life but it was too soon. I wanted to see him again.
I want to see a lot of people.
This grieving during a pandemic sucks… and with depression and anxiety, reminds me of years-gone-by. Like say, 2014: Year of Pain. Those were the years when blogs were created and destroyed, hidden away in secret forums, journals drowned in hot, bleach water rendering them invisible, which is what I wish I were right now.
Watching this series reminded me that what I’m going through is real and always has been.
No matter how much I (used to!) TRY and hide it… and still do, to a certain extent.
No matter how many great books I read.
Of course, there is healing – always. There would be no hope, otherwise.
There are times in my life that I believed that I had risen above it 100%. <<< The height of arrogance. Things were better. Yes, I was better. It happens. That’s just life. Up and down.
My life just happens to have this winding pathway of depression and anxiety – just like millions of others. And right now … grief.
I’m not sure I will ever be “healed” but I DO know that there will be days when I feel blessed and lucky to be alive. I hope I have more days like that soon.
Right now, I’m suffering. And, it sucks.
That’s why we need people – especially people who have a platform – to KEEP TALKING about mental health!
I applaud every person who dared to be vulnerable for this series. This (they) will change people’s lives.