Monday, 25 August 2014

'That which does not kill us makes us stronger ...'

Isn't that the quotation? By Nietzsche I think? I have usefully trotted it out as a platitude to myself whenever I have suffered any kind of hardship over my life, in an attempt to chivy myself into bouncing back. As I get older though (I am closer to 50 now than 45) I realise how untrue this is for me now.

I can only speak for myself obviously but where I used to feel able to bounce back from adversity, I am now feeling my own increasing vulnerability.

I have always been fiercely independent, but sadly not through choice, having had to take care of myself from quite an early age. In doing so though I became quite proud of the toolkit of coping mechanisms I developed in tandem with various mental health services, which I subsequently shaped with my experience and wisdom. But I have frequently had no one other than myself to implement them with, having only been able to rely on an extremely limited social support network (I find it peculiar how some people seem to think you can 'catch' mental illness), while battling depression, secondary to severe Gender Identity Disorder. All things I have nursed across my entire life.

But now with each knock back, however minor, (a recent job application rejection set me back about two days and I already have a job!) I am feeling that what little social capital and coping resources I have accrued in my life, have been progressively depleted to almost zero now. And I know that my only two remaining friends (who are significantly older than me) are themselves becoming more vulnerable and less leanable on.

So where does this leave me?

I have now realised and accepted that the five year downward spiral I have been experiencing is a long-term trend rather than a blip, and is now irreversible. As I will get older (unless of divine intervention) the progressive number of knocks I will continue to receive will hit harder and hurt more.

Perhaps when we are younger our coping mechanisms are quite resilient, and the quotation is true enough...maybe we can learn from that which does not finish us off. But over the course of my life that damage has now added up, to a point where I soon will no longer be able to cope...then...then what? I know this for sure - that which has not (yet) killed me will get me in the end.

Mark
A Moodscope member.