If you have been reading my recent posts, you will be aware that I had a couple of rubbish days at the end of last week. These days (and then the weekend) were marred by interactions I had with someone whom I have trusted, who I felt spoke to me in an ableist and insensitive way.
On Friday, I bravely went to address some of my problems with the questions I was asked, and I managed to explain my position to what I thought was a reasonable degree, despite water falling out of my eyes without my permission.
Nevertheless, aspects of the response I received would not stop rattling around my head, keeping me awake and in tears for chunks of time at the weekend, preventing me from completing work I had intended to do for my Masters’ project.
I am extremely lucky to have access to an online support group for people in my area with mental health problems. Through this, talking to Oblong, and reaching out to one or two friends, I was able to talk through a lot of what had been going on and this helped me deal with my own feelings. More than anything, conversations with others helped me feel validated. One of the major problems I had, was that when went to try and voice my feelings about the questions I had been asked, I felt the response was fairly defensive about questions that had already been delivered combatively. I also did not really feel believed, within the conversations on those days, and because the conversations had even arisen (I mentioned previously that I had already had these same conversations with the same person).
Speaking to others with mental health and chronic conditions reassured me that I was not being ‘too sensitive’ and that my upset and concerns were valid. I should point out that ‘too sensitive’ is not a phrase that was used towards me in that instance, but because of the response I received, I worried I was being. Even if some of the concerns of this person were reasonable (they were, and are), the way they were framed was unfair, and implied that I should be accountable for things beyond that which is reasonable. Furthermore, I was made to feel that my health made me more of a burden than my counterparts, whilst simultaneously, my own potential harms and experience as relating to having chronic mental health conditions felt minimised, or at best, unconsidered. After spending time this weekend reflecting, I recognised these were the main sources of my upset.
This morning I sat down and wrote a long letter to this person, explaining why I had been so upset and why the conversation on Friday had not resolved my feelings. I considered posting a version here, but I think it will be difficult to retain anonymity. If I manage, I will, as there are parts that may benefit others to read or consider.
I sent the letter as an email this afternoon, and within a couple of hours, I’d received the reply I needed – simple acknowledgment of my position and where I operate from, and declaration of support.
I should do some work this evening, but honestly, I am so exhausted from all the emotional processing I think I need to eat dinner and snooze. Tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully I’ll get some decent sleep tonight now this is all sorted. Phew!