Am working my way through the back catalogue of The Hilarious World of Depression podcast.

It’s funny, moving and encouraging. Occasionally, someone says something which really nails it in some way.

John Moe, the host, on moving to a place of recognition and healing;

…there’s a sadness, I think, that comes with feeling healthier, mentally. You uncover some truths, you accept them. And that lets you stop doing all the frantic things you’ve been doing for so many years to run from the problems in your mind, the facades you’ve been putting up. The compulsive illusions that you think are tricking everyone into thinking you’re okay, when you’re not. And when all that stuff falls away you start to realise all the time you’ve lost, all the things you’ve missed out on. Relationships, opportunities, wisdom, peace. It’s sad. It’s a sign you’re getting better, but it’s sad.

This resonated with me in such a big way. On the face of it It’s an arguably downbeat observation. But that’s not what I get from it. To me it is honest, brutally honest and as such is a breath of fresh air.

Finding new ways of thinking, positive ways, is part of the route to recovery from mental illness. And honesty plays an equally important part. Honesty with others, but perhaps more importantly, honesty with yourself. With all the layers of maladaptive thinking, safety behaviours, evasion and denial that pile up in your mind, straight talking, no bullshit honesty is hard, really hard, but so very necessary. It’s like stepping outside on really cold day and taking a deep breath. It hurts, but it also wakes you up.

Stephen James

Minding the gaps

© Stephen James 2021

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