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.