Inevitably I have to begin roughly at the start. I was imprisoned inside four walls, it was an incarceration of my own making as I didn’t understand what was happening to me so I thought if I keep myself away I would be safe. I was wrong. The more I tried to separate myself from the world the more I lost touch with ‘the real me.’ I have to say at this point that I am one of the extremely lucky ones because I have the amazing support of an amazing and supporting family who, like myself had many questions that needed answering.
So if I may fast forward around seven years where I only left my four wall prison for doctors appointments and the occasional and, in hindsight, regretful occasional trips to hospital I was finally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. So that was supposed to be the answer was it? That I am mentally ill and I have to take medicine on a daily basis to help with the anxiety and the depression and other treatment, in the style of talking therapy, including cognitive behaviour therapy, and all of this to get me out of my four wall prison.
It was and still is a lot for me to think about because it was pulling me in a direction I didn’t want to go. I had spent most of my adult life in what I thought was the safest place and now I had to ‘get out to see the world.’ I really didn’t want to. At this point I became my own worst enemy (as if I wasn’t before) and was fighting with all who were trying to help me. Fear was what was holding me back and at some stages it still does.
Dark Corners of the Mind
During one of my many sessions of talking therapy I had mentioned that I do a lot of creative writing and it is of great benefit to me, as it helps me to let go of a lot of thoughts that are not safe for me to have. So I wrote short stories to clear the slate, if you like. I said that my writing helps me to clear the dark corners of my mind and helps to ‘turn the light on’ to realise that the only monsters that were about were the ones I was putting there. But doing this alone was a very risky position that I put myself in.
Some of the thoughts were self harm related and to be honest I did want to try them out. Luckily I didn’t because, for example, putting a power drill through my hand might have lifted the mental pain I was suffering but would have left me with permanent physical damage and writing on this very keyboard would be a lot more difficult.
At one of my weekly appointments I was informed of a scheme called ‘Art-Lift’ which offers support to people that are dealing with mental and physical disabilities, but in a creative way. I was offered a place on a poetry course and I can honestly say it was at this junction in my life that I had something I could really look forward too. I had weekly sessions to creatively write. The support I got was invaluable to me and my family. I spent time outside of my safety zone and I liked it. I wrote many things, good and bad but it gave me something to look forward too. Writing for something is greater than writing for nothing.
Without a doubt being given the opportunity to express how I feel, through the medium of writing, has improved my health and well being by an amount I cannot express in words (even though I am a writer). I have so much to look forward to now in my life that has nothing to do with writing. I am a father of two and a husband to an amazing wife who I also owe so much too. The inspiration I get now by seeing life in a different way to how it used to be is incredible. I still have my difficulties because there is no magical cure but it’s about structure and support and planning. These traits reflect from my writing into my real life. Each plan has a beginning, middle and an end, but life will always put obstacles in your way which, if you look at from the correct angle, you will find a way through. That’s the key in keeping readers interested in a story and that is the key for a happy and prosperous life.
I have finally accepted I have a mental health illness which will be with me in every scenario of life. But that is not who I am. I am a hard working man who wants the best for my family and I am doing everything that I possibly can to achieve this goal. I don’t use my mental health as an excuse and I want to do and will do everything I can in raising awareness in these issues, because we have to end the stigma and the bullying that seems to go hand in hand with mental health and there is absolutely no need for it. By talking and sharing stories we will all get a better understanding of mental health illness and depression.
I thank you all for taking the time in reading this little look through the window of my life and I do want everyone to know that there is support out there for us all. We just need to let it be known to all who need it. If you wish, you can follow me on twitter using @AdamSilke and doing this was an absolute pleasure so I have to thank @making_minds for giving me this opportunity.