I have gone through some difficult things in my life, experiences that have made me feel detached from the world. I have come to identify it as my defence network, I like to think I have built it to protect myself from pain, in-fact I am almost proud of my creation, it makes it really difficult for people to get to know me or get close to me.
The defence network has become so vast that when I face life’s challenges now I face them alone, it is much easier for me to sit alone struggling in a corner than it is to reach out. I put on a mask for the world, if people believe I am content, happy and getting on with my life then it keeps them from testing my defences and one would conclude keep me safe.
Reaching out is dangerous, it exposes me to the world outside of my defence network. When challenges come my way I feel confident in dealing with them alone, this has great advantages because it gives me independence, I do not need to rely on anyone for help. I get drawn to the quote “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”
The problem with detaching myself in this way is that it forges a very lonely and isolated man, it is simply not possible to deal with everything in isolation and repress every thought, feeling and emotion. I flirt with insanity, and when insanity calls I am left on my own. I am taking myself down a dangerous and destructive path.
This begs the question, what am I going to do about it?
I could do nothing and continue to fortify myself, and live a detached existence. Whilst this is certainly an option and it comes with a huge risk and an obvious degrading in my quality of life.
I could try to seek professional help however I know for a fact I do not present in a way that would hit the right criteria to access psychotherapy. This is a situation many across the country face and is a reflection of the governments lack of understanding of people’s mental health. The mental health services in the UK are an under resourced and re-active service which is dominated by a pharmaceutical model.
Medication is often the first response by GPs and Psychiatrists and I have been offered anti-depressants however anti-depressants often bring your mood down before they lift it up and this would be extremely dangerous for circumstances as it could trigger a psychotic episode. If I had a pound for every time I have had to explain this I could probably commission my own mental health service!
The final option is the most challenging, however it is one that I must consider. This is simply breaking the defence network and exposing myself to “the outside”. It is a risk because my experiences have brought me great trauma but I have to remind myself, there is no quality of life without risk.
A great deal of time, energy and effort has gone into constructing this defence network, one could call it my wall. My wall is at a point where nobody can get through, people are on the outside I can hear them.
I need to learn to trust again, I need to allow people to help me realise that the outside can be an amazing place and that people do care. I do not need to cut myself off.
In summing up I want to share the lyrics of Pink Floyds “Outside the wall”
“All alone, or in twos,
The ones who really know you,
Walk up and down outside the wall.
Some hand in hand,
Some gather together in bands,
The bleeding hearts and artists,
Make their stand.
And when they’ve given you their all,
Some stagger and fall.
After all it’s not easy,
Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall.”