Sound of Madness

Sound of Madness by Shinedown (lyrics)

I have recently started listening to this song a LOT! I felt a connection to it but couldn’t quite put my finger on it, then this weekend I listened to the lyrics really closely and realised why and it hit me really hard. The song is saying that you can’t dwell on what’s wrong with you, using it for an excuse. You have to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and get on with it. I felt like it was almost the ‘new’ me telling the ‘old’ me!

Those who read my previous blogs will know that I’ve had a lifelong fight with a mood disorder, similar to, but not quite as bad as, bipolar disorder. Growing up fighting mood swings that’ll have me swinging from chandeleirs one minute then curled in a ball unable to get out of bed the next really took it’s toll on me. Throw into the mix an estranged, violent, alcoholic father who couldn’t decide if he wanted to be a father and then being raped when I hit my twenties and you start to get the picture that made up ‘old’ me.

My life really was a roller-coaster and I tried to deal with things but never quite worked out the best way to keep going. By the time I was 23 I was in trouble with money, drinking excessively, in with the wrong crowd and losing all control of my life. I got home one night, looked in the mirror and saw my biological father staring back at me. It scared me enough to stop drinking and start trying to fix my financial problems. I never actually did anything about me though. The rollercoaster had slowed down a little but it was still going. I was still up, down and inside out mentally and emotionally.

Three years ago, when I was 26, I started to see a psychiatrist. If I’m honest I wanted to be better but it was easier to feel sorry for myself and having a psychiatrist almost made how I behaved or misbehaved excusable. I remember thinking that I was trying SO hard to get better, in reality looking back now I know I was all about excuses, a phrase I know that I used several times was “I’m mentally ill, I can’t help it”. However despite the excuses I was completely ashamed of what was wrong with me and everything that had happened in and out of my control, very few people actually knew that I was sick…just those who did know heard about it!

I met Steve a year later, and I now often wonder why he stayed with me after our first week together let alone the first year. I was HORRIBLE. I was cutting more than I ever had, getting drunk (again!) and completely losing the plot, I remember one night we had only been together for a couple of weeks, we’d been to the pub with some of my friends and had decided to walk home. I remember going to buy some food and then the next thing I can remember is walking alongside the harbour tearing my coat off, throwing it into the river, cutting myself with my keys and when Steve finally caught up with me and found me then threatning to throw myself into the river. I don’t remember much of what happened and what I do remember is very much as though I was watching it happen rather than being the one doing it. I just wonder why Steve stuck around after things like that happened, but when I’d ask he’d just say he was going to be there at the finish line!

Things continued on the roller-coaster for almost another year. Then it all came to a head in March last year, Good Friday to be precise (March 21st), I had one of my meltdowns and took an overdose. I’ve often thought since that day how it’s funny I didn’t think I had anything to live for until I almost lost it all. I knew as soon as I’d taken the overdose that I didn’t want to die, bit late for that reality check.

Having to face Steve and my parents the following morning, seeing the pain in everybody’s faces, realising that I may well lose Steve for good after this really woke me up and made me fight harder than I could ever have believed I could fight. I had started seeing a psychotherapist aswell by now and I started going to my appointments and really opening up, talking about things properly and actively making changes in my life. Within 3 months of the suicide attempt I had:

  • Got a new job that I enjoyed despite the fact it was on a really low salary, I even found that I enjoyed going to work!
  • Started to ‘let go’ of my baggage. Started to realise that things other people did to me were not my fault and I shouldn’t be ashamed of them.
  • Stopped using my illness as an excuse and started accepting responsibility for myself…I have a bad temper…that’s not my illness and as soon as I realised and accepted this I was able to start doing something about it.
  • Started communicating with Steve, with my family, friends and stopped keeping everything internalised all of the time.
  • Stopped trying to make everyone else happy. You can’t live your life afraid to let people down, afraid to say no or I don’t want to, or letting people make you feel guilty for not doing/saying what they want.

I was discharged from my Psychotherapist in June and my Psychiatrist in September and have been ‘flying solo’ since then. Now don’t get me wrong, there was no miracle cure, I still have a mood disorder and find myself on a roller-coaster from time to time, albeit they are much shorter rides. I still take medication, although it’s now lower dosages, and I still have what I like to call mini-meltdowns.

Compared to the ‘old’ days things are really good. I’m no longer ashamed of what’s wrong with me, what’s happened to me or even what I’ve done. It’s all made me who I am today, and I’m happy, truly happy!

I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain
Somehow I’m still here to explain
That the darkest hour never comes in the night
You can sleep with a gun
When you gonna wake up and fight for yourself


3 thoughts on “Sound of Madness

  1. Claire I've missed reading your blog entries so much.

    I'm so sorry for all the hurt you've been through but reading this post just shows what a strong person you are. Yes, you should be proud of yourself for all that you've done to get you to this point.

    And, many congratulations to you girl on the upcoming move and wedding. Much bliss to you! 🙂


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