My Mental Health – Where I’m At.

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So I wanted to write this for a couple of reasons really. 1) Because sometimes I’m not even sure where I’m at myself, and I feel like writing it down can make things a little clearer. 2) I realised that though I’ve mentioned living with mental illness on here & on Instagram, I’ve never really clarified what/where/when/how etc. I haven’t felt like I’ve needed to. 

I still don’t feel like I need to. Tbh, the thought of oversharing what I’ve got, what it’s done to me or what I can be like, makes me feel naked and over exposed, and that’s NOT something I’m comfortable with. But what I’m even more uncomfortable with, is people not understanding me. I don’t need everybody too – I’m all about not having to explain myself and I’ll be damned if I have to sit in front of ANYONE and defend an illness. What I’m saying is, I want to clarify a few things – really for myself – as I don’t think I’ve been clear in my last few posts or on Instagram. I can’t expect to make a difference to the world or to myself if I’m not being a little more open. & I can’t tell you where I’m at, without telling you a little about where I’ve been first.

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So I’ll start with this. I live with anxiety, depression and panic attacks. One of the biggest things that’s come of all of that is I’ve pretty much made a recluse of myself and haven’t left the house on my own (save for going to my Nan’s, who lives on the same road as me). It’s been months. Alot of my anxiety is social – people freak me out. Particularly big crowds, busy places. I remember being in my local Lidl which is notorious for getting pretty packed/claustrophobic, and I just started shaking/crying and felt like all the walls of the world were closing in on me. I felt so dizzy and disorientated, I couldn’t speak properly. & that was with my bf. See I can go out if I’m with someone – but not anywhere stupidly busy. & when I say ‘with someone’, I’m very particular about who; my boyfriend mainly, my grandparents, my best friend, or my in-laws. I won’t do trains, and I’ve not been on a bus or a tram for a looong time. Other than that, I haven’t left the house on my own – until very recently; I’ll expand on that later.

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Don’t ask me where it comes from, the social anxiety. I guess since being ill I’ve felt exposed all the time. Depression, in my experience, has been crippling and relentless. Alot has happened that I’ve been unable to deal with, and alot of the stability I thought I had, suddenly wasn’t there anymore. My life just changed. Like, alot. I’ve felt paranoid that people can see right through me and judge me. & I think one of the biggest setbacks is the total lack of control I’ve felt over my life – I’ve not felt in a long time like I can look after myself, and I guess being in public or around people frightens the shit out of me because of that. It’s been easier to hide away and not have to deal with anybody else, because I’ve not been able to deal with myself. It hasn’t made my life easier though; being reclusive doesn’t cure a damn thing. I can be just as bad at home. There have been days where I won’t even leave my room. I won’t socialise with people in the house if there’s too many of them, or if there are people I’ve not met or am not used to. I basically have ZERO confidence. My bedroom has become my prison cell.

Until very recently.

I love Autumn. It’s my favourite season of the year – the colours, the fresh crisp air, the leaves, everything. & I’ve pretty much just watched it through a window. I’ve let myself be a prisoner. I woke up last Friday morning, looked out on the Autumn morning, and felt the now normal pang of sadness that I couldn’t go out on my own. I don’t know what happened; I think I felt this unusual surge of what I’ve been affectionately calling ‘fuck it’ – I threw my boots on, wrapped up like a polar bear – all the while looking out of my window – popped my keys in my pocket & I took myself for a walk. I didn’t allow myself to think about it or to convince myself into not going. I just went. By my bloody self. For the first time in months. 

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See immediately, I feel like I now have to say ‘I know it sounds pathetic’, or ‘that’s a big achievement for me’ – I feel like I have to justify why that walk on my own is such a big deal for me. The people that may not understand or appreciate what a mental health illness is like – the naysayers and the judgey people – they’re the ones who popped into my head straight away. & that pisses me off. Because why the hell should anyone who suffers with a mental health illness have to explain themselves or not feel able to celebrate the little things? It’s wrong.

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So where am I at?

After last Friday, I’ve been out once more by myself – yesterday in fact. I took myself over my local park, early in the morning so that I could see the frost on the leaves and the sunrise, & I fu*king loved it. I put my artsy fartsy photographer pants on and took some pictures of all things nature-ish, and didn’t care a button that dog walkers were looking at me like I was bananas.

Where I’m at is, I’m getting there. Slowly, and baby steps. My biggest hurdle has been the reclusiveness – and I’m going to keep going. I plan on seeing the Christmas lights in London (which means trains, ahh), meeting up with a girlfriend for cocktails in a few weeks and taking myself to town to look around the charity shops (or what I like to call ‘treasure hunting’!). If I manage all three, amazing. If I manage just one, amazing. If I don’t manage any of them, then it’s ok. I’ll just keep walking til I can.

I’m still working on not caring what people think – not feeling like I’ve got to defend myself. The long periods of depression have melted into spells and I’m now determined to beat the anxiety into a ball of playdough that I’ve got control of. So yeah…where I’m at isn’t too shabby just now. Being able to talk about it like this is an achievement, & I’m proud of that.

If you’ve kept with me this far, THANK YOU SOO MUCH. Sharing little victories means the absolute world.

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14 thoughts on “My Mental Health – Where I’m At.

  1. Bravo and good for you. You should be feeling very proud of yourself for sharing information as personal as this, You will find this would have helped a lot of other people going through the same thing. Things can only get better! I’m proud of you, go and enjoy that cocktail with your friend and enjoy the christmas festivities, because you deserve to!!! and damn your phone is good, phones have really come a long way and your pictures are perfect. Stay strong Katie and well done : ) xoxo

    http://www.juanitalikes.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You actually made me cry! In a good way! Thank you so, so much for your kind words. In a world that can be pretty rotten at times, it’s so good to know that there are genuinely lovely people out there. Thank you for being one of them! Yes I’m so happy with my phone! It’s a Samsung Galaxy S5, so a fairly older model now but amazing!! xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These pictures are so beautiful and learning the story behind them makes them even nicer! I hope you enjoy your future outings and take it at your own pace, you’ve already achieved so much you’ve got this girl!! x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great blog…. little victories are great. Continue to allow yourself to process and celebrate them no matter how small they seem. I, too, live with depression, anxiety as well as some other mental health issues. I over the past years have been determined that one day at a time is enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for commenting – & I 100% agree with you, I no longer live worrying about the next day, it only heightens any negative feeling – I wish you all the love in the world whilst you live with depression/anxiety, and beyond that too. One day at a time is more than enough! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing this, I can totally relate to where you said about feeling like you have to justify or explain to those who don’t understand mental health. It was heart warming to read how you found the courage to go out by yourself, I look forward to reading more of your posts. With love, from another Katie xo p.s. Your photography is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello fellow Katie! Thank you so much 🙂 I still remember feeling all the nerves when I first started writing about mental health, but I swear to god it makes everything worth it to receive messages like yours. I hope you’re doing well, and I send you the warmest wishes & love! Thank you, I do love my photography!! 🙂 have a wonderful Monday! xx

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