I just want to apologise to family and friends for upsetting them or worrying them with my blog post. Please know that neither I nor those around me have ever been in any danger, however much my mind might try to convince me they are.
Most of you know I have struggled with depression of most of my life, and I have regular bad spells. This was just a particularly bad one.
We all have our own demons we have to deal with. Events and trauma from our past that haunt us and sometimes drive our feelings. According to my counsellor, I suffer PTSD with the trauma being the bullying I suffered through my school years.I never thought much of it, because that was just life at the time. But when I have recounted it to my various counsellors over the years, they seem to react with genuine shock at the psychological brutality of it. And it may be time for me to acknowledge just how bad it really was. That it was not normal childhood development.
I had always thought I had dealt with it, but in reality I had just covered it up with trying to be “good”, with trying to please people, and indeed with my whole social justice activism thing.
I know lots of people are bullied, but we all deal with it in different ways. I have long known that there is a lot of pain in my past. Sometimes it is there with me, sometimes it is leashed and caged. But it has never been properly faced.
And I think that all the love, all the strength I have found over the years really has masked the pain rather than re-written the old scripts that keep playing in the back of my mind. And that is a crying shame. The love and support has just been beyond belief. Certainly when I was growing up, if anyone had suggested that I would be in the middle of such amazing goodness, I would have laughed at them.
I am really enjoying my counselling sessions. They are scary as hell because I do know that I am about to face a long-buried demon. One that I had convinced myself I had faced down previously, but really had not. I have always known there was some blockage in my past. Something that I had never allowed myself past. Something that both prevents me becoming the person I really want to be, and also acts as a dam for all the bad feelings. A magnifier for all the messages that I am just not good enough. And let’s face it, we all get these message every day in one way or another.
I mentioned an event about 4 years ago. At about that time I was Team Manager of a group that was effectively the pivot point for all IT change within my organisation. A restructure brought a manager who I had previously had some run-ins with because of my outspoken opposition of what was a really bad system, procured through some really dodgy dealings.
This manager, according to those around me, moved one team member aside in a secondment while she “dealt with” the problem, disestablishing my team. According to my team, she was very nasty to me directly and personally. At the time, I just brushed it off partially because I knew that the organisation needed me more than I needed it, and certainly more than it needed her. But looking back, I guess this was my trigger point. One of the most significant instances of bullying I had been subjected to since my school days. Seems to make sense, because I know I have been going downhill since then.
You see, my work was my turning point. It was something I just kinda fell into, but it was something I was really good at. And I just kept getting better. As my role changed, I developed a fame and respect that was … is … just out of this world. I ended up doing things nobody else was able to do. And that was the problem. This got to me. Especially as my role changed and I ended up doing things I didn’t understand quite so well. The final straw was taking a secondment to an area where I wasn’t so well known, doing work I had never done before, in systems I had never even seen before. So all of a sudden I was a newbie.
But I am rapidly learning all these new skills. After two weeks there are some daily reconciliation tasks that I can now do as well as the people who were training me. I am picking up other tasks before they train me on them.
So while I am still a bit shaky – the doubled Prozac meds does have the side-effect of creating anxiety symptoms – my mind is almost completely quiet and at rest. Hell, I am even feeling happy frequently – always at home, always when with my beloved Krissy.
Especially for my anti-bullying tweeps @AgainstSuicide, the lovely, sweet-16 owner of the account Carrie and the amazing young Eduardo, I want you to know that this is the effect of bullying. Thirty years on, it still affects me. It still drives me to the edge. And I always have to be watchful for those PTSD symptoms. But through it all, life is good. Life is really, really good. And all those feelings I get, all those compulsions, all the fears – well, they’re just feelings. As I said in the original post, just fucked up brain chemicals.
And still the thought of putting my demons to rest once and for all scares the hell out of me because they have been so much a part of who I am. But at 45 years old, I guess I owe it to myself to relieve myself of that load.
One thing I said to my counsellor is that I am scared of facing the demon because, if people knew what horrors lie within me, if they knew what horrible things are hidden within my soul, they would not like me, or worse be afraid of me. But I have to keep reminding myself, the love I feel from you all, that shit just doesn’t matter. So thank you.
Once again, I want to thank you all. Family, friends, and all those wonderful people I have never met. Your love and concern and compassion has really meant a lot to me. I love you all so much.
As JK (the real Sir JK) says, whatever awards you win, coming out that other side, whoo – nothing compares to that.