Mind Your Mental Health

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I seem to have been talking a lot about mental health lately. Believe it or not, this makes me very happy. What once could have been seen as a taboo subject is now becoming something that people openly share, and I like the fact that it is something my friends and work family decide to share with me.

I am not alone, and neither are you.

I used to feel like I was alone. I used to feel I was different from other people. My inability to process my thoughts and feelings left me confused and sometimes scared. I couldn’t understand why small bumps in life often felt like mountains and worries could not be quietened with rational thoughts.

I am not permanently damaged. I am flawed.

There is nothing wrong with me, I am just a little bit different. My outlook on life is often more black than white, but I know the light in the darkness exists, and I never lose sight of that. I am accepting of the fact that anxiety and worry will always be a part of who I am. The little quirks I have, like counting as I cut vegetables, checking and rechecking doors are locked and needing space and room to breathe in company will always exist. I am tired of trying to explain myself to others, I shouldn’t have to. If someone loves me, they need to love the good as well as the bad.

I am not them. I am me. I can never be anything but me.

I know that counselling may not be right for everyone, but it was for me. It made me acknowledge that there were things I needed to work on. It also taught me that I need to talk to myself the way I do to others, with love and respect.

I cannot love myself yet, I just cannot, no matter how hard I try, but I am now open to the possibility that maybe one day I could.

These days I talk more freely. I share my experiences with those who ask. I listen to the words and wisdom of others and when needed I offer my thoughts.

I am not alone. I never was. I just did not reach out to find the others like me.

Reflection

Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s just me.

For some reason in December I find myself taking stock of what has been the whirlwind that was 2018. I’ve not been here much, which means I have not documented important things I wish I had. In time I will come to regret that, especially now that some of the finer details are fading from my memory.

There was a lot this year. An awful lot. Periods of happiness, sadness, dreams that disappeared and self reflection. Essentially I am the same, but at the same time I am not. I’ve changed, I am changing. The hardest thing is getting others to accept me for the flawed person that I am, or perhaps it is me learning to accept the flawed person that I am. There is nothing wrong with being flawed, it is what makes me unique. There is nothing wrong with being me, I just didn’t realise it until now, that I did not need anyone else’s approval.

I’ve missed writing. I’ve forgotten how much I need it. Still though I find myself restricted, I need to get over that, it is my choice to write and others choice as to whether they read.

I am a work in progress. My counsellor scolds me when I tell her that I do not think I can be fixed. I know everyone has issues with themselves, but no matter how hard I try I cannot even like, nevermind love myself. I still have sessions left and I hope against all hope that my hard hitting counsellor has the key to unlock the secret.

I changed physically this year too, a change that is now becoming noticable to others. Sometimes I can see it, but oftentimes not, so I still hide in clothes a size too big for my now slightly smaller frame. This is a change I would also like to build upon if I can.

Christmas is coming, the most wonderful time of the year, but my heart is lonely because I miss where I was 8 months ago, I miss what I had 8 months ago.

Where will I be in 8 months time…….we shall just have to wait and see.

Going forward, not backwards!

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My counselling is finished and that’s kinda scary because now it’s just me, on my own again against the big bad world.

I do feel different and others say they can see a change in me. That said, there will always be people who will not understand my anxiety issues or even try to. I wish they could walk a day in my shoes to experience what it is like to be on the inside looking out. I am making changes, but it is going to take time. I am a work in progress.

I am proud of myself, which prior to counselling is something I would probably never have said out loud or written down. I was committed to this process, I needed to make it work. All through the summer when things were getting worse with the Mothership I hoped that my appointment would come through, but it turns out that despite the fact that it was later than I hoped, it was  at just the right time, only I didn’t realise that then.

I’ve been given the tools I need to get on with my life, what I choose to do with them now is up to me. I need to continually challenge both myself, and my thought processes. In effect I am retraining and rewiring my brain. It’s a shame that my wonky leg is not wonky enough to give myself an occasional kick up the arse when needed, because believe me there are days I still find extremely challenging.

I’ve been through a lot these last four years and it’s only now I’m realising I am no longer on a schedule or dancing to someone else’s tune. Sure I still have to look after the Fathership by making sure he’s fed, has clean clothes and eats, but by and large thankfully he is self sufficient. Although he needs a good kick up the arse sometimes too!

It was my Mum’s birthday on Sunday. When someone passes without realising it you experience a series of firsts. The first time you enter the house when they are not there, the first time you notice their chair is empty, the first time you realise they are actually gone, the first Christmas, the first birthday and the list goes on. In some ways we are lucky as we’ve experienced all of these things within the first two months. It doesn’t mean the others are going to be any easier, but at least now we know what expect.

I have no doubt that my anxiety levels have lessened a little now I no longer have to worry about my Mum. I’m living a different life and learning what it is like to be me again. I’m hoping that now with the benefit of counselling I might even begin to like who I find, wouldn’t that be a game changer.

I’m never going to be perfect, and neither would I want to be. I just want to be be weird, be silly and be happy!

Last night I scared the shit out of myself, I seriously thought I was possessed. Why I hear you ask, why indeed….I was having positive thoughts!!

Change is coming and I’m opening my arms to embrace it :)

 

The things I now know…

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Image by seaternity

I am an introvert, who knew.

I had suspicions, not because I knew what an introvert was, but because I found a page on Facebook that had all these little memes which could have been tailor made just for me. I was able to identify with lots of the sayings which when put under the cover of a name seemed to make sense. I’m not a weirdo after all, I am an introvert and better still, I am not alone.

I wonder if I had realised sooner that along with the anxiety and worry this was part my ‘affliction’ would I have been a little more settled within myself. Probably not, that is after all why I am having to go to counselling.  That said, I am told there is hope for me and I am not the lost cause that I thought I was.

The first lesson I need to teach myself is that I do not need to apologise for who I am and as a consequence, people who know me need to make allowances for the person I am whilst I am in my transition period from anxiety mania to anxiety. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe having anxiety /worry is not a choice. It is not something we can stop just because we are told to. If you had any idea just how debilitating it can sometimes be to deal with the simplest of tasks you would understand. According to my counsellor my mind goes 1, 2, skip a few, 99 a milllion! Those who know me well would attest to that.

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I love the fact that I am defined as an introvert, because I can now be the person I am without believing there is something wrong with me. I do not love the fact that I suffer so badly from worry and anxiety and that is something I am hoping to change with the help of my counselling sessions which have so far proved worthwhile.

My counsellor told me a statement that I have no doubt I will be repeating time and time again over the next few weeks,  “Just because I think it, doesn’t make it true”. That statement is me in a nutshell. She also asked would I ever turn to someone and say “You have no confidence and you’re useless” and I said no of course not and all she said was well then why do you do it to yourself. It was a good point well presented that I had no answer for.

I’m only two weeks in, but already I am challenging myself and the thoughts that lead to the fear and anxiety. It’s going to take time, because as I was told today I have to erase the ‘crap’ that has been placed into my head over the last 40 odd years by both myself and others.

So whilst having anxiety and worry  is not a choice as these traits can be picked up from a very young age and then carried throughout life, deciding to change is. Once you know and are aware of the problem it can be dealt with, perhaps not 100% but a step in any direction is a step in the right direction, right!?

Making referrals

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When I am absent from the blog for a while I feel like a stranger when I come back, despite the fact it is my own space.

I’ve found it really hard to write this last couple of weeks, the ideas keep coming, but I just never seem to get time  to sit down, or when I do something else has happened and I am no longer in the mood. A war of words with the Mothership will do that to you.

A few weeks ago I finally made the decision to have myself referred for counselling, although my boss had also decided that if I didn’t they would anyway. So far I have had two assessments in quick succession, and I’ll now have to wait to find out which kind of counsellor I am being referred to, that could take 12 weeks, but at least I am in the system.

I need to do this. In the first session I cried for the whole 45 minutes and even though I am usually uncomfortable talking about myself, I tried to be as honest as I could. At the second assessment the lady really gave me something to think about, she asked about experiences I had been through. I though I was pretty unremarkable, but when I answered the questions I was able to say I had seen someone die, had a friend murdered and witnessed someone attempting to commit suicide. She wrote frantically at that point, even though I said I didn’t think any of those events had shaped my life, but how do I know.

At the end of the session I asked her if I was just wasting everyone’s time being there, because in my head I didn’t feel that what I am going through warranted their time, but she assured me it did, and told me I had done the right thing. She was also able to tell from the way I answered the questions that I lack confidence, which lifted a weight off my shoulders, because that is one of the things I would like to address.

Although I am scared about what is to come because several people have told me this will not be an easy process, I feel better that I have finally been brave enough to try. It certainly can’t make things any worse.

You will however be glad to know that she was full of approval with regards to the fact that I write a blog. I was particularly glowing in my description of you all, saying how beneficial I found it, and it was nice that she got it and understood, because not everyone does. She says I need to keep writing because it’s a good way to get things out in the open as opposed to bottling them up. How I do that I don’t know, because I am not sure here is the place for that. I think perhaps that as I start to change so will the blog and perhaps that is no bad things as long as I can keep an element of humour running though it. I told her I miss my funny and want to find it again.

So my hope is that I will be a little more regular here, but then again I always say that and it never happens, so for now I won’t be making any Mid Year Resolutions, I’m just going to see how it goes.

Missed you all :)