Depression / PTSD whatever label you want to give it ……. Not everyone can pinpoint the 1st trigger that set them down this path, but I can vividly.
Christmas Day 2016, or rather very early hours of Boxing Day 2016, after watching my father in law die after myself, my mother in law and my own dad performed CPR on him, followed by holding the IV drip while 6 paramedics took in turns to keep working on him. I had to carry his body bag down the stairs with his brother as he was a large man and the 2 undertakers they sent weighed 2 stone wet & could barely move him.
While doing this the rest of the family and friends were deeply upset and as the “outsider” I had to be strong, be the rock for them and bury anything I felt at that moment I time, never really dealing with things, laughing it off when people asked if I was OK just saying I was concentrating on my wife & mother in law and I’ll deal with myself at a later date.
That later date never came, at that moment in time my wife was also 3 months pregnant and it was fraught pregnancy involving complications with one of the twins ending up in Manchester St Mary’s Neonatal Intensive Care while my wife had life threatening complications back in Lancaster from the birth.
Once again, I was in a high stress environment unable to do anything for either of them apart from watch in slow motion as the world span round me in black & white. People came down to see me in shifts for those 1st few days but you put a smile on your face and kick the autopilot on and they are none the wiser. He survived his life saving operation as did my wife, but he has been left registered disabled along with an ever-growing list of complications and is collecting new consultants faster than Pokémon!
Its these small stacks of things that keep building like balancing stones, you know you need to deal with it but are afraid to pull at the stones in case it all comes tumbling down around you.
Not many people realise how much hard work being everyone else’s support network is, always trying to support the fragile ones around you even though they haven’t asked, but always at the cost of your own sanity. Always with the fake smile occasionally slipping into a moody face … apparently, it’s been said on more than one occasion that I have resting bitch face, when really, it’s just my mask has slipped. It’s hard to be that rock / foundation if your own footings are now on shifting sands. As hard as it is its best just concentrate on yourself as your no use to anyone else if your broken.
The thing that made me finally talk to a couple of people about it was the suicide of Linkin Parks Chester Bennington for some reason that hit me out of nowhere a seemingly happy man on the outside with the world at his feet had felt compelled to exit. It rang a little too true as I had had a few dark moments when the stack was too high or too wobbly, where you get tunnel vision and it doesn’t matter that you have family & friends that love you and would help if you asked. You just get zoned in on the fact that if you weren’t here it would be easier. The problem with that is it only makes it easier for you, and your no longer around to see the lasting damage you have left behind you.
I’ve only very recently shared any of this with my wife and even now I still feel guilty for loading her with my burden when she has her own.
So the journey starts to find peace of mind / a happy place for me its Scuba diving, it really steadies everything and resets the mind, but with a busy job and family of 5 finding time isn’t easy, but I know it’s important to make this time for me.