Saturday, 30 August 2014

Finding the words

I haven't written a mental health post in a while have I? In fact I haven't posted much at all, I'll be trying to rectify that.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about words.i love words. I love unusual words, I love understanding the origin of words and I love playing with them. But, despite all that, words aren't really my thing, I've never been very good with them. I wrote a while back about the feeling of not having a voice, which I guess is similar but not quite the same. Sometimes you can be willing and even eager to speak... But just not have the right words for what you want to say.

Especially when it comes to mental health stuff. That may be partly due to societal factors; we are conditioned to not talk about this stuff so therfore we don't develop the right language and vocabulary to deal with it. But I suspect that's not the only reason. Mental health is so very complicated and so very individual and so very hard to quantify and pin down, that the words just don't exist.

So often people want to know. Want to understand. And goodness knows that can only be a good thing but it puts a huge amount of pressure on the person with mental health issues to explain. And sometimes that's just not possible. Half the time they may not understand themselves. And, whilst that can be frustrating (it's their thoughts so why shouldn't they understand?), it is in fact a part of the illness itself. Besides most people with physical illnesses couldn't describe the ins and outs to you in great detail.

I used to think, back when I was first unwell, that if I found the prefect words that explained how I was feeling that would somehow male things better. A lot of years have passed since then and I still don't have the magic words that convey exactly how I feel. But I am better at it than I used to be. Partly that's due to research and education and learning about the technicalities of my diagnoses (whichever one that is today :p). Partly it's practice and experience, the more you speak the easier it gets, the more you learn what people understand to and 'get'. And partly it's just time and age. I'm not the same person I was when I was young and confused and firmly in denial. Now I'm old and confused :p but slightly more self aware lol.

The point of this whole post? Be patient. If you don't understand it's more likely to be because it's a subject that's really, really hard to understand rather than because a person isn't trying our because they're deliberately trying to confuse matters. And if you're the one trying to explain be patient with yourself. You'll get there. There are no perfect words, there are some people about who write beautifully about depression or bipolar or anxiety or whatever and that helps but in the end we're all different and eventually you'll find your own way of explaining your own experiences. And in the meantime cooing in to the people who are understanding even when they don't understand. X