Everyone is a bit mental, it has been confirmed.

Even boys wot wear crowns and travel in choppers can be mentalish. Even lady pop icons can go a bit Gaga…ahem.

This makes being mental seem suddenly glam. Instead of it making me think: ‘blimey, if Princess Kate gets depressed it MUST be normal’, it makes me feel: ‘blimey, if Princess Kate can look lovely with depression, why do I look like a morose, fat, acne-riddled, unwashed pleb?’

In fact, the statistic is that 1 in 4 of us will experience mentalishness at some point in our lives. I’m sure this statistic leaps to 4 in 4 for royals and celebs who feel everyone is looking at them and judging them because THEY ACTUALLY ARE.

That nice fella Nick Knowles pointed this out to Prince Bill on telly last night. The campaign, Heads Together, (supported by the triumvirate of royal youths, Bill, Hazza and Kazza) is the official charity for this year’s London marathon. Nick’s presenting a programme called, ingeniously, Mind Over Marathon, about a group of mental patients who are training to run and raise awareness for what we mental patients need resource-wise and understanding-wise when we become mental patients.

Because I am a mental patient (in need of professional mental health services), I watched the first episode last night and it made me feel two things:

1. Yes. These people are properly mental like me.

2. Perhaps long baths, smoking fags and drinking booze are not helping. Perhaps I should run this shizzle out of me.

I do so long to be rid of the complex PTSD and anxiety which continue to rock up and muck about with me most days. I’m already in a panic about next Friday when I will be voluntarily placing myself in a situation where both can thrive: on an aeroplane.

I don’t mind flying at all. It’s the people I mind, so many people, and some of them might be drunk and some of them might be travel sick or just unwell and stuck in that metal tube in the sky, there will be no escape from the appalling possibility that I might be confronted with drunk and/or vomiting humans.

(Hmmm – you think this has something to do with growing up with an alcoholic mother…?)

It’s not about me. I don’t mind ME being drunk (obvs to anyone who reads this blog regularly) and I don’t much mind me vomiting either. It’s YOU LOT I can’t cope with. And I don’t even need to see you doing it. The trigger is mostly aural. And I don’t have to be on a plane to fear it; any situation where I may be faced with these triggers will do just fine. Pubs. Hospitals. Any city centre at night. At work sometimes if I’m told kids are ill. Whenever my kids are ill. In the queue at the chemist yesterday when a v drunk woman spoke to me and I had to sit down outside for a while with youngest until I could breathe again.

Eldest once brought home a drunk friend and if youngest hadn’t been here I would have fled the house. Instead I spent the night sat bolt-upright in bed putting in a twelve-hour shift of hyper-vigilance.

Hyper-vigilance: a big fat bear is about to attack you. He is not cute or cuddly. He is drunk and he will throw-up in a minute. Be ready, be scared. Every one of your hairs must stand up, your breath will become shallow and laggy, sweat will creep out of your skin, you will become dizzy and tearful and long to close your eyes, but you must NOT. You cannot let your guard down because: SICK BEAR.

Last year on a flight back from Spain, someone near me commented on the drunken state of a passenger towards the front of the plane. Cue: hyper-vigilance. The first time I heard him throw up, I entered the next stage of a PTSD attack where I completely lose focus, everything blurs and if I try to stand I’ll feel the ground lurch. Voices become distorted, my hearing editing out any noise except for every cough which might turn into a retch. I must remain always ready for the retch.

Finally off the plane and moving through passport control I was entering recovery mode (where exhaustion hits hard along with relief that I’m free) when we turned the corner and there he was, on the floor, retching loudly into a bag. I cannot walk past him. I cannot. I cannot hear this. I made Gwyneth and the kids stop. Somehow I managed this without screaming at them to STOP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! We turned back around the corner, somehow without me screaming BACK! BACK! EVERYONE MOVE BACK! Other passengers flowed past us as we waited, me with my fingers in my ears, grinning madly at youngest so as to reassure him that whilst his mother may be insane, she is entirely happily insane. Gwyneth stood watch, waiting to give me the all-clear at which point my legs had ceased to function.

Next week I really want to get on that plane, with my sister and my Dad and his smashing girlfriend and behave like a normal person. We’re going to Berlin to celebrate Dad’s birthday and I want to leave my mentalness at home with the kids and just enjoy it. But like cancer, a broken leg or any chronic condition, it will all come with me, everywhere I go.

Being mental is tiring and embarrassing.

1 in 4 of us are tired and embarrassed.

My four finger pose in the pic is part of the campaign raise awareness of this fact in order to minimise the embarrassing bit. (Also, new hair. Thoughts please). You can join in by posting your own four finger pose along with the hashtag #1in4, unless hashtaggy awarenessny biz makes you feel too tired and embarrassed…

Or you can run about it if you like that sort of thing. Or you can make sure you vote for a party that gives a hoot about it (NB not Treeza’s). Or you can just talk about it, like wot I (increasingly) do.

And if you ever spot a middle-aged, overly made-up woman on a plane, especially next Friday, who is perspiring and panting and maybe weeping, perhaps you will think twice before suggesting she adopt your method of dealing with air travel by becoming paralytically pissed, like you.

See you Monday guys! 

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