I am turning 38 in just over a month and I can count my greater moments of joy on ten fingers. Of course, I can feel shorter moments of joy, but there is nothing that makes me feel better in the long run. Most people recharge their "joy batteries" with things like parties, meeting with people, baptisms, confirmations, weddings, birthdays, praise, love, etc. I do feel something (I'm not dead emotionally), but many of these meetings replete my batteries instead of recharging them. I can see the joy of others and appreciate it, but at the same time I think, "why don't I feel the same way as almost everyone else? Why are people happy?" I would not like to say that I am jealous of these people who feel joy in almost everything they do. To me it feels more like a personal resignation, a despair that I think about daily, and that also takes energy out of me.
I have tried to get help with this through talk therapy, psychologists and CBT. Unfortunately, my big problem is that I work with society, I am not a burden to society (quite the opposite). I have a good job, have been off work sick only twice in 18 years, I am on the right side of the law, I have a condo, I pay my bills, I work out, I have two cars and two cats, and I run Sweden's largest cat account on Instagram. This is why I don´t get any help. Why I am explaininh all this is because you have no idea how many times I have heard "seek help". I have been seeking help backwards and forwards for almost six years, and I am in exactly the same place as I was in 2015.
The last time I felt some greater joy was in the spring / summer of 2014, I won't go into what happened at that time in my life though. It may sound very tragic, but I have learned to live with the fact that my life won't get any better than this, an acceptance that I am, who I am. It gives me inner peace not to have to constantly strive for something else.
So how did everything turn out this way? When I was growing up I was an introverted person, and I grew up during a time when no one even wanted to deal with people with mental illness. I also grew up during a time when boys would not cry or show emotion. When I felt bad, I would go into my room and locked the door and sat there in my solitude. NO ONE knew how I felt and what I was thinking about, but it´s not society's fault that everything turned out the way it did because then everyone who was born in the 80s / 90s would have suffered from mental illness.
I will make an effort to find some parts of my upbringing that shaped me. I was never exposed to any dangers when I was growing up. I lived in a so-called sheltered workshop (Swedish expression?) where anything that could be potentially dangerous I was warned about or it was removed. The only problem was that when I grew up the world looked a little different, and then I had to face all these dangers. I am also a person who doesn´t like to ask for help from others and I have always been this way. I already knew when I was five or six years old that I was not feeling right, but I did not want to say anything to anyone. I think this is about a survival instinct as with all animals. When you don't feel well or are injured, you show nothing because otherwise the herd would push you away.
I'm not ungrateful for everything in my life. It's everything that keeps me above the surface such as people who care about me, Cooper and Kira, my work and, of course, all the nice comments and messages I get on Instagram. It is exactly these parts of my life that actually make it possible for me to write openly about mental illness.
The approval I get when I talk about mental illness only makes me even more hungry to reach out to more people, to get rid of all the filth that unfortunately still exists with regards to mental illness. Don´t think that society will help your best friend, sister, brother or family member because most people who suffer from mental illness are both very intelligent and well-behaved in society. This is why it´s such a terrible disease that makes many people walk around and suffer in silence.
I walked around with it for 32 years and said I was fine.