Written by Melanie Naismith on 11 September 2020
Last month I had a brain tweak. It gave me an idea that seemed funny in my head and that I thought at the very least might make a few others smile, maybe even laugh. I feed off and am a sucker for making people happy. A smile costs nothing but is infectious.
Some of the comments I received after uploading it were:
“Mel you made my day! When I actually realised I knew that weirdo in the sombrero harassing the cops I couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of the day.”
“This is the best!!”
“Ha ha you always make me laugh. Good job”
“I bloody love you”
“Mel you’re one of a kind, thanks for the laugh”
“Ha ha love it. We could all do with a bit of a laugh right now. Good on you Melanie”.
People who didn’t know me were messaging, people were laughing and the whole adventure succeeded my expectations on how many people would enjoy it.
What no one knows though….
That morning I was in the doctor’s office, trying to convince my G.P. that I needed a mental health plan. This was my second attempt at doing so, a nurse had told me I was fine when I’d reached out previously.
I tried several other avenues but I was hitting road blocks everywhere. When I finally got to I fill it out, my doctor sat there worried. Then he sat there shaking his head and said things like “You’re always so friendly and chatty” and “I’m very surprised by this”.
Long term I’ve battled with different variables of anxiety, depression and other variables of brain battles. I know for me, exercise and yoga helps me considerably but a lot of the time no one realises I’m battling because I refuse to let them know at the time. That by sharing I would burden them or bring them down with me.
From an outsiders perspective I’m happy, chatty and a bit of a laugh.
I’d like to share with you some of the symptoms of depression I ticked from Beyond Blues website on the day I made the funny video above.
- Withdrawing from close friends and family
- Not been doing anything I would enjoy usually, in fact I had not really done anything just for fun for a long time (this one is hard sometimes for people to believe because it looks like I’m always having fun)
- Unable to concentrate
- I’m feeling overwhelmed
- Guilty I might be letting someone down
- Lacking confidence
- That I’m not succeeding
- I’m worthless
Physically I feel
- Tired all the time
- Sick and run down
- Headaches and muscles pains
- Upset stomach
- I’m not sleeping
- Weight Change
Other Big things I battle with that always come to mind and might seem to be contradictory to others.
I have a massive Fear of Failure but an extreme Fear of Success as well.
Both these can equally send me down the self-sabotage route.
Recently I was definitely not in a good place. A rational perspective and an outsider looking in would say I’ve got good things happening in my life. I know this but I am not always happy with where I’m at and where I WAS, WAS NOT HAPPY.
I don’t know if you can relate to this but no one can judge me more harshly than I judge myself. I’d been less than reliable and maybe not as switched on as I usually would be, I felt like I’d let myself and others down. Something needed to change and I was very aware of it but change can be very hard, overwhelming even. Particularly if it involves reaching out and asking others to help.
I think sometimes people see what they want to see OR more to the point people will see what you let them see.
For instance, that video of me shows no real signs of someone struggling. If you had been with me at the time however IN MY HEAD, I battled self-doubt, anxiety amongst other things. To get it done I needed to constantly tell myself that if I did, I might just be making people laugh and maybe make their day a bit better. I had to convince myself opting out was worse than facing the fear. When dealing with anxiety, my rational brain knows if I push through I’ll be ok. That not doing something will then create more worry and anxiety because the build-up becomes much greater. That’s a very hard battle to push through. One I don’t always win.
So many very positive things came out of this video of me playing the fool. The level of engagement it received and the number of people that reached out blew me away. It created conversations, people I hadn’t seen in a long time touched base with me and sought interaction. Some saying that that one video from me made them laugh and then that in turn led them to share they were not doing so well and that the laugh I gave them was so very dearly needed.
That to me is very rewarding but also almost compounds the responsibility I put on myself to push through and make people happy.
Robin Williams one of the most highly regarded people in entertainment once said,
“I think the saddest people always try their best to make people happy. Because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
What I did was the overwhelming and hard task…. I changed things. Things that I knew needed to be done but the big job of doing them was incredibly overwhelming. I will talk more about this over my next few confessions but I’m currently getting stuff off my chest with work, family, friends etc. I feel lighter already. I’ve sought counselling which gives me an external outlet to offload to. There are many places that can help, but you need to want to help yourself as well.
If none of what I’m saying resonates with you then I’m asking you to do one thing for me.
Check in with your mates and if you have one mate that’s always checking in on you and everyone else make sure you ask them how they are. Properly ask them. They may say the first time they’re good. But if you continue to check in the same way they do with everyone else one day they might just go you know what, I feel shit. Then when they do that. Ask them ‘Why?’ And listen.
People share a lot of detail with me often…. I don’t judge, I just try to understand and see their point of view. People don’t necessarily need you to fix them, just let them get stuff off their chest.
Even if to everyone else they have no reason to feel like that, you are not them. So you can’t possibly know how or why they are thinking what they are.
Also know in turn it’s not your job to save someone, you can be there for support, but you can’t help someone that isn’t ready to receive or want to help themselves.
And if someone is trying to seek help… please don’t tell them they are fine. Don’t make the process of getting assistance any harder than taking that initial first step to better themselves. Being vulnerable and exposing yourself can be difficult, don’t give us walls to jump over as well, as that might just be enough for us to put it in the too hard basket and give up.
Let them know it’s ok. To NOT feel ok.