I’ll always remember January 2015.
Pertinently, I’ll remember the first week of that month.
I was exhausted. Bone crushing, teetering on the edge of delirium; exhausted.
I didn’t even know who I was anymore, I didn’t recognise myself and those around me didn’t either. Although I think it’s fair to say they hadn’t recognised me for quite some time.
Towards the end of 2014 I knew I was heading for a meltdown, the intrusive thoughts were gaining pace, the anxiety was a constant and I could see myself falling further and further down an abyss. I didn’t know how to stop it and I didn’t have the energy to think about what could stop it.
Life overwhelmed me. Everything about life made me anxious.
I’m so scared of going back to that place. Experiencing the feelings of sadness, anger, isolation and fear. Not to mention the feelings of worthlessness. Feeling like you don’t matter, you don’t make a difference, you’re no good at anything. There is no purpose.
I’m so aware of going back to that place.
2015 was a challenge. But with the help of therapy and medication I got better. I could appreciate what true happiness was, in so many different forms. I’d laugh and mean it. I’d smile and not be hiding anything behind that smile.
I achieved a lot that year and felt a real sense of pride. So while 2015 started off badly, that theme didn’t continue.
This weekend has been a challenge.
I’ve felt really stressed over the last few days. The racing thoughts have crept back in with ferociousness. The overwhelming feelings have felt commonplace. I’m snappy. Sad. Frustrated. Lacking motivation and energy.
I’m frightened that this means I’m going back to that place. Making decisions feels like the most arduous of tasks. Even the simplest of decisions overwhelm me. I’m finding it hard to see the joy in things. I’m not smiling as much and if I am there’s a sadness behind that smile.
Crying isn’t something that comes easy to me. Whilst I can be quite an emotional person, in that I’ll feel excited by something or angry by something else, I can’t cry when I feel sad. I’ve been on the periphery a number of times over the last few days but the tears never come. It’s like I have a self-defence mechanism in place to stop myself from going there.
I was asked to write a piece around mental health for a local newspaper last week. An ask that would usually excite me. Writing is my passion. It’s something I want to be recognised for and a passion that I hope one day will bring all sorts of opportunities. However, lately it’s something that doesn’t seem to bring me pleasure. If I were to write about mental health and my experience of mental illness I’d feel like a fraud.
The way I’m feeling right now isn’t positive and I feel like writing about how I’ve overcome mental illness is a fallacy.
I try to reprimand myself for feeling like this and metaphorically shake myself. But that doesn’t work. I just feel worse.
I’m trying hard to draw on all that I’ve learnt from therapists, psychologists and counsellors over the years but my resources feel depleted. My energy levels feel low.
The best way I can describe how I feel is by explaining how my head feels. Physically.
It feels heavy. Pressured. Almost like a dark cloud is following me around wherever I go. I took my son to a local farm yesterday. It was just him and I. I didn’t want to, I desperately wanted to stay in bed, however, that in itself isn’t conducive to good mental health.
Each step I took felt difficult. My head felt heavy. Everything felt heavy. When we arrived I didn’t know where to go first and that overwhelmed me. Despite the fact I’ve been to this farm countess times, I felt confused. Confused about where to go and what to do. If I go this way will it be right? What happens if I go another way?
It’s almost like I’m putting too much thought into thinking.
Does that even make sense?
I always try and tell myself “don’t think just do”. But that mantra feels impossible right now.
I’m hopeful this is just a phase. I’ve been here before and it passed.
This too shall pass.