What started this?

I often wonder how I got myself into the messes I did. I know that I’ve gone through highs and lows but think everyone does that. It’s quite normal.

But in 2015-6 those highs and lows became wider and affected me far more. I would have whole weeks where I would feel completely out of my depth, where I just couldn’t make sense of all the things I had in my head. And at the time it would get me feeling anxious and I wouldn’t be able to sleep. It was like whatever I tried to rationalise wasn’t enough to make me feel like I was in control. But pretty soon after I would make some form of plan and focus my mind on something that would bring me out of it.

Those things started to work less and less though. And thinking about how it started I think it was because the distractions and targets became less important than the issues. I started big… the things i was targeting in my life were really important. I got married, then we focused on children… 2 children then focused on a house move, then a big diy project – a drive, then an extension. By 2013 we had the extension and I started focusing on smaller projects. I may have always had issues but they seems to come out at the point my life plans got smaller. I made a huge decked area just because planning and making it made me feel less crappy.

And last year I decided I would rebuild the garage… that would make me feel better. But as it went along it didn’t. And as it went up I knew I was just trying to distract myself. It wasn’t working. I got worse and worse. And i couldn’t find anything to make it go away.

So there was nothing that could take my mind off the fact I just wasn’t happy. And it started to take control. I became awful to be around, snappy with the kids, my ability to organise and plan things went out of the window… work started to suffer and my hobbies (which had saw me at one point qualify for my country) either disappeared or my performance fell through the floor. If I didn’t disappear I was irritable and obnoxious.

In fact, it’s amazing anyone is still around me, but they are. Good friends are good friends, and resilient. Some just left me to it and gave me space, some tried to help. But as things improved they all came back.

So if I look at how this started, I would say it was by not just burying my head in the sand, but trying to create evidence for myself that everything was ok through distractions and achievements. If I had this again, I’d look myself in the face much earlier, admit I need to think about my life and seek help. Very easy for me to say in hindsight, but i think i can say that now i’m far more aware of the fragility of my mental health. I’m sure many others may be like I was the first time around, seeing this as something that happens to someone else but not me. But it did, and I know now that I can’t just ‘logic’ my way out of it, but need to admit I’m struggling and that I may need help. And seek that help.

I’d then write that list of all the projects and things to do… for after I start to get control of my life back.

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You’re my therapy…

I’ve been advised to write things down… and this seemed like a way to go.

Having just returned to work having 5 weeks off with stress I am being really positive about my future. 5 weeks really that have been a catalyst to grab hold if a life that had been tumbling out of control for 18 months.

Work, affair, medication for depression… things felt bad but I had been so used to being successful in all aspects of my life that I was convinced I didn’t need to take time off to work it out. I was convinced my brain will be able to work this out without slowing down. I didn’t listen to the people around me and I ended up pretty much breaking.

I actually decided to take a day off, that was my plan. I would take a day off and tell no one in my personal life. Just take some time to reset and work everything out. That seemed sensible. I had a great morning and fell asleep. During the day. Never happens. But when I woke up I felt a bit better. I checked my phone to see messages asking for an urgent call. Out of character from about 3 friends. I call one of my best friends to hear that a close friend of ours has been arrested for murdering his wife, someone we had been with all day the day before. It hit me for six, as it did our entire close knit community. A catastrophe that many of us at the time and since thought we may have influenced if we had just said the right words in our time that day.

That led to me staying off… if I’m honest because I felt like I could be off without the embarrassment of admitting how bad the rest of my head felt. It’s something I should have done months before and since doing it and talking to others I realise it’s something I should never have been embarrassed about. It’s a sign of strength to take control of your thoughts and life, not weakness and sometimes that takes a bit of time out.

I’ve been advised to write and I plan to fairly regularly; about my bad times and the time since, about anything really I feel may help me. Hopefully it’ll help.