Most months are – as I always say – up and down.
This one though, was particularly down.
That said, I will not allow this post to be a big ol’ negativity spew. Yes it sucked, and yes I bloody hated life at times – dramatic you might say, but I was that low at times. This will be a post that pretty much says ‘yes this shit happened, yes I felt like this, but no I didn’t break, and I’m still cracking on’.
It’s just unfortunately, a lot of the roots and triggers of my mental illness, I’m pretty much still surrounded by all the time. I can’t explain any more than that, because it’s way too personal. Suffice to say though, I often feel like I can’t escape stuff and I’m never really able to achieve absolute closure or healing. This then creates like a domino effect of other issues, makes me want to retreat and hide, not socialise, not be around people, then I’m horrendously lonely, the anxiety goes through the roof, and bam; hello, depression.
I think the other thing I’ve really struggled with is how debilitated my mental illness has left me over the years – I’ve had to rely and depend on those closest to me, and aside from the guilt, I’ve let myself believe I’m a failure, I’m left behind whilst everyone else lives & and I don’t fit in. Plus sometimes, there might just be an arsehole who confirms what you let yourself believe. But, I’m getting stronger now, and that BS I’ve been telling myself – well, I’m not telling myself it anymore.
So July, I might have struggled a fair bit, but I still got back up everytime. & I’m proud of me for that – it’s the little victories that make all the difference. With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve found have helped me through:-
I talk to myself – YES this might sound a little crazy, but what I mean is I talk myself down – if I feel myself getting anxious, I ask myself ‘is it worth it?’, I tell myself ‘you’re ok’, ‘you can do this’, ‘calm down, breathe’. Honestly, it really does work. It’s like you’re overriding your brain’s natural inclination to panic, and choosing to survey the situation before you let yourself get in a tiz. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t always work, and sometimes a panic attack takes over before you have a minute to think about it. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can talk yourself down. Trust me.
Shunning the ‘shame’ of a panic attack – Whilst we’re on the subject, I did have a few panic attacks last month. Normally when I have one – though they’re little and often now – I feel total embarrassment and shame. Like I’ve let this thing take over my body, make a mockery of me, then leave again. I’m now pretty much like actually f**k you anxiety/panic and brain for making me feel like I should be ashamed. Big fat NOPE to you.
Music is therapy – Whenever I’m in the throes of depression, I’m always tempted to throw on some Linkin Park or something equally angry, because when nobody else gets you, those bands – those songs – do. & as much as I feel a little less alone and like somebody is singing the words I can’t say, sometimes angry music only makes me feel worse, and I want to stew forever. So I’ve compiled a list of songs that are uplifting more than angry – some of my favourites are ‘Rise Up’ by Andra Day and Emeli Sande’s ‘Breathing Underwater’.
I’m not thinking past tomorrow – I think I’ve spent a good portion of my life worrying about tomorrow, next week, next year, five years time – and it’s f**king exhausting. So as I believe I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m just trying to live day by day. So much less stress.
My counsellor is everything – Just yesterday I had my third session with my counsellor through MIND, and honestly it’s doing me the world of good.
I’m not being so hard on myself – I’ve been walking around lately, telling myself and anyone who asks, ‘actually I’m doing ok, I’m getting better’ – I really am. I’m clapping for myself when I handle things well or do something I couldn’t manage a week or a year ago. Like I said, little victories.
& finally – I’m going for a break away. On my own. On a train – that which I haven’t been on in over a year because anxiety. I’ve also never travelled long distance on my own before because again, anxiety. I booked the tickets yesterday and I’m heading to Wiltshire tomorrow to visit my lovely Auntie. I’m nervous AF and genuinely can’t assure you right now that I won’t panic and back out. But as it stands, I’m going. A year ago I wouldn’t have even booked the tickets. I feel like the nerves are definitely there but there’s a little excitement too – a little voice in my head saying you can do this. & I reckon – I hope – I can. Plus if I pull this off, it’ll be a such a big thing for me. & I’m all about those victories!
So I will keep you updated! I’m off to pack my bags and print my tickets for the coach with a healthy dose of Spice Girls playing in the background.
I know this was a lengthy one and if you made it to the end, thank you. I know I always say it, but I’m eternally grateful for this outlet, and for your support & love.