Tag Archives: social anxiety

It’s All Downhill From Here

Summer Solstice.

The longest day of the year.

The end of next week marks the halfway point of the year.

It’s all downhill from here.

BUT, the phrase has two meanings. And they contradict each other.

In one way you can say that it means things are going to get worse.

On the other hand it could mean the hard part is over and things are going to get easier.

So my summer of discontent, my anxiety, my debt, my employment prospects…they could go either way.

Yes, I know that every situation in the history of the world will go one way or the other as that is the way the world works, but I’m musing here, leave me be.

Either this is the rough leading to the good, and I will finally get the help I need, I will finally get answers, and I will find employment that doesn’t make me break out in metaphorical hives.

Or, this is the end of good times. Harsh times are ahead.

I guess a lot of it will depend on what I do next, and how I approach things.

For a long while I have been thinking so fondly of the upcoming autumn that I have confused myself and I think it is September.

At first I thought it was a longing to get a bit more hygge, or just to get out of the heat, but maybe, subconsciously, I am looking for this year to be over. To begin again.

What difference does one day make? Why is it we all feel the psychological boost from the calendar switching from December 31st to January 1st? The belief that we can finally fulfil our potential?

I don’t know, but why wait till then? Why wait another 6+ months to feel that I can begin again?

The future is now.

 

 

Am I Allowed To Be Ok?

I have moments where I forget the horrors of Wednesday (and I don’t just mean in regards to my own personal situation, but also about the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy).

When those moments are happening I feel, dare I say it, normal?

Which, once I’ve acknowledged that I feel ok, is usually enough to bring on the panic and paranoia.

Because if I have moments where I feel ok, then am I well? Did I imagine all the years of anxiety, depression and stress?

Which then leads me to worry, which makes me ill, which makes the problem worse.

The Doctor has told me to go out, see friends, have and savour a coffee, get regular exercise, feel the sunshine on my skin.

Mental Health is not like another illness. It often has no obvious sign, not in the way a broken leg does at least.

The things that help make mental health better are not usually the things you would tell a sick person to do, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as essential medicine as a pill or a syrup would be.

I need to give myself permission to be happy, to get better, to not suffer.

Run Towards

My natural instinct is to run away from my problems, to the extent that often in times of crisis I can actually be heard to say ‘I’m going to run away’.

It’s like a catchphrase.

This means the boy now ‘fines’ me if I say it.

Now I don’t need to tell you that if you run away from your problems you only take them with you, but clearly I haven’t been telling myself that.

If I run away from my problems they will always be there.

If I run towards them I stand a better chance of doing a finishing move on them and watching them tap out*

 

 

*Wrestling analogy

Worse than Nowhere

I finally had a good nights sleep.

I slept in late, but I don’t want to make a habit of it. Routine is important to those with mental health and their recovery.

Today is an achievement as so far I haven’t cried yet.

I have made some terrible mistakes, I have made some terrible errors and I have had bad judgement.

I have made decisions that have ended up with me worse than nowhere, I am backwards.

I have to let some good come from this. I have to work towards a new dawn. I can either choose to make the same mistakes over and over again or I can make sure it never happens again.

The Morning After The Night Before

The alarm said 4:30am.

There is a great play by Sarah Kane called 4.48 Pychosis, which is about how her only moments of clarity in a 24 hour onslaught of poor mental health would come at 4.48 in the morning.

I am a deep sleeper, but 4.30 am has become my new waking up time over the last few days.

I drifted in and out and got out of bed at 7am. I came downstairs and put on the news to discover another tragedy had befallen London, this time a massive blaze through a 20+ storey tower block. Even though this tower block was in West London, and my brother lives in East London, and he is always quick to point out it is ‘real’ East London, not what is referred to as East London, I still had to send him a text to make sure he was alright.

I went up to the boy at close to 8, he came down not long after. His dad had already phoned him.

It was then we made the phone call to my line manager and I had to tell her that yesterday my Doctor has signed me off work for 4 weeks because I am suffering from Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

A job I started less than 2 months ago.

The phone call could have been far worse.

I have texted, messaged and called more friends in the last 24 hours then I probably have in the last year. Indeed one friend I messaged on FaceBook showed my last contact with him had been in 2016.

I have realised far too late that hiding my problems, not telling them to anyone, pretending everything is alright has gotten me worse than nowhere, it has made me backtrack to a terrible, terrible point.

I feel that I have ruined everything. I feel embarrassed beyond all comprehension. I can’t bear to think of what certain people may think of me.

I would obviously never be this harsh to anyone else. If someone is sick is doesn’t matter if it is a broken leg or a broken mind. Sickness is sickness.

I had a good chat to my brother after he woke up and confirmed he was in East London and far away from West London. He spoke about his problems navigating social situations and kept saying ‘Not that it’s a competition’. We then moved on to safer topics like running and he asked me about my running ambitions and then kindly and delicately told me I should concentrate on losing weight first before I go back to running.

My other brother’s main concern regarding my mental health is to make sure I don’t miss out on season 3 of Twin Peaks.

I started re-reading ‘Grace Under Pressure’¬†by Sophie Walker, a running memoir, about a mum struggling to help her daughter who has Asperger’s Syndrome. I have put on the film Wild¬†on Netflix, about a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

I guess I am focusing on what my body has the potential to do when what my mind can do is up for debate.

I have been to the Doctor to ask if my referral for assessment can somehow be escalated.

I have been to the local Mind centre to arrange an initial consultation. I was asked about what medication I am on, lots of people have been asking me that lately. As I listed the anti depressants, the anti psychotics, the anti anxiety pills and the three separate meds I take to manage my stress induced IBS I could see the person I was talking to look shocked.

The boy came home for lunch and asked how I was:

‘I’m not ok, but I’m ok’ I said

I have suddenly become consumed by anxiety, over what people will think of me, over how little I have been coping, over how ill I am.

Nearly 8 weeks ago the boy and I made a deal that if I could lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks he would get me a special prize. I would get another prize if I exceeded that.

I am currently on 12 pounds lost and the official deadline is this Saturday, the bulk of that was in the last two weeks, normally I would have been ecstatic. But I think it is a sign of deep emotional trauma if my usual comfort eating has fallen by the wayside and I have replaced it with drinking coffee and eating only bananas because anything else is too challenging.

I’m not ok, but I’m ok’. Please forgive me.

I Don’t Believe In Being Brave

Menswear are a 90’s Brit Pop band. Some may argue that history has been unkind to them. Others will say that they don’t deserve kindness, since they were essentially a manufactured guitar band with an emphasis on the ‘pop’ part of Brit Pop, arranged for the members good looks and rumour has it they were discovered in the menswear section of a shop.

They had one song though that many hold dear to their hearts, and that is ‘Being Brave’.

I am nostalgic for the 90’s. Despite the fact it had a lot of problems and I was no older than 10 by the end of the millennium.

I often use quotes from The Simpsons, or song lyrics as a way of saying what I want to say.

I often say the chorus line of the song Being Brave, which is ‘I don’t believe in being brave’.

Being brave is tough. And I am soft and malleable. I am pathetic and weak. I am incapable of strength.

The future is bleak. The future is black.

I am not Hamlet

I first learnt the definition of the word ‘procrastination’ when I was at college studying Hamlet on my English Literature course.

Hamlet is about many things, but procrastination is one of the big themes in the play.

Hamlet is procrastinating about what to do, whether to avenge his Father’s murder, whether to kill Claudius and take back his thrown.

In the end it is fair to say he doesn’t so much decide what to do, he has his hand forced.

The fact is I have been waiting to have my hand forced. I am in the passenger seat of my own life. I am not taking control. I am placing my decisions in the hands of others. I don’t know what to do next or how to proceed. I want someone to give me the answers. I want someone to tell me what to do.

The problem in my life is my mental health has taken more than just a nose dive, it has fallen cataclysmic-ally into the abyss.

I want someone to tell me how to get better. If someone told me point blank that the way to get better is to tap your head whilst rubbing your tummy/cycle for 20km each day/howl at the moon then you can bet that I would be cycling at night, whilst tapping my head and rubbing my tummy and howling at the moon.

It would be a surreal sight but I would do anything to make me better.

The thing is I am not willing, or I am incapable of, getting into the drivers seat of my own life.

I am so stressed right now that it’s like I can feel my skin moving. Crawling away from me, going to find a new, more capable, body to attach itself to.

But I am not Hamlet. I do not want my hand forced, I do not want to be in the audience of my life. I am not the King of procrastination. I must be brave. I must persevere.

I must survive.