This is the second part of my struggle with anxiety and depression over the years. The first part can be found here Story Of My Life (Part One) – The Downward Spiral
I was discharged from the hospital the next day. I had to speak to a councillor before I was given the nod to go home. I said the right things in the right places, not really feeling them. I was still numb to everything. My life felt brittle, like it would just crumble away to nothingness under the slightest bit of pressure. I looked and felt hollow.
The next couple of weeks felt, well, odd. Some people didn’t know how to react around me, some handled me with kid gloves, some were angry, some were upset. One guy said he felt I’d been brave with the suicide attempt, that he wouldn’t have had the courage. It wasn’t brave, I told him, it was just a stupid reaction to a bad situation.
It pissed me off. I was still trying to figure my own head out. I could do without dumb reactions like that.
I was still having a hard time around my family. I could barely look them in the eye. We didn’t really talk about it, as far as I’m aware, we still haven’t. It’s a hard conversation for anyone to have with their loved ones, both sides admitting that they feel like they let the other down. It was in the past, we all try to move on without acknowledging too much the elephant in the room. Even now, I can’t remember much time with my family from around then. There’s a huge void from these years that should be filled with memories of them and of enjoying my life, but I can’t remember a damn thing. I feel guilty about it, but it wasn’t something intentional. I just have nothing there to fill the blanks.
My life seemed aimless, like I was moving at a slow pace whilst everything sped around me. I can remember very few things from the months that followed. I wasn’t living my life, I was just allowing my disconnected shell to be carried along by it.
Sometimes you have a moment in your life that becomes pivotal but you really don’t know it at that time. But I was about to have an epiphany without realising it.
I was at a party with some friends. Around this time I was drinking quite heavily socially, especially for someone who’s brain and body was still messed up from the overdose. I would use alcohol to try and loosen up the inner me, allow the good side to come out. Most of the time though it would either leave me feeling numb and even more removed, or it would allow more of the darkness to come out. This time it was certainly leaned more towards the latter. I can’t remember things leading up to it but I certainly remember what happened after.
My friend Dean and his wife-to-be were trying to talk me through things. I had bottomed out (again). I can’t remember if I was crying, hurting myself or babbling away in a way to give concern, but they both had me and were trying to ease me through to the other side. I trusted Dean, he spoke with candor and often found a way for things to make sense for me. This night was no different. I don’t know why he said what he did, but Dean said something that would eventually lead to the start of my recovery.
Listen to the music he said. Let it take you. Let it lead you.
There was no ‘shining light of the Almighty’ that you would get in films. There was no immediate eureka moment. But the words burrowed away deep in me, ready to force their way out later when I would be more receptive to them.
College were trying to be supportive of me. I talked candidly to my tutor and one of my drama lecturers who I’d developed a close bond with and they both convinced me to make an appointment with the college counsellor to try to help. My first fumbling attempt at trying to get help in this way. Again, I can’t remember much of the sessions or the person leading them. I can’t even remember how many sessions I had. All I vaguely remember were breathing and relaxation exercises, but then again I may have gotten those from my drama class. I just can’t remember anything momentous from them. Again, I was still stuck in my mire.
The counseling really didn’t do anything for me, it just left me cold with still no answers. Perhaps I just wasn’t ready for it at the time. I just don’t know. It left me feeling even more adrift in my life.
Something else happened. My mam would go and have a spiritualist reading about once a year and she went to see her usual one a few months after my suicide attempt. He started talking about me to her. I’m not sure of exactly what was said but he alluded to that part of the reason I was struggling with things was because I was sensitive to spirits. They were trying to communicate things through m. He wanted to help me without any charge so he passed his number on and told me to ring.
After a few days I rang and arranged to meet him to talk, which we did. He taught me things, like how to relax myself and go into a trance-like state. To put myself into a place where I could see things people normally couldn’t see. Auras. Colours. Voices. Some things I can’t begin to describe, and I think I’m pretty good with words. There was just something else out there that I became attuned to.
It lasted a few weeks before I stopped going to the sessions. My brain and my imagination had gone into overdrive. My dreams became vivid and unsettling. I always felt like there was always something else there around me, and it wasn’t always comforting. I would see things in the very edge of my eyesight that I knew physically couldn’t be there. I know what you’re thinking. I know you’re questioning it. But you know what? You could be right. Perhaps I was hallucinating this. Perhaps I wasn’t. I know what I felt I experienced and I have faith that what I experienced wad real to me. I don’t claim to have proof of the world beyond, and I certainly won’t stand here and try to talk people into believing it. I went through what I went through, and I know I had some sort of spiritual awakening because of it. But my beliefs are mine, not yours. Do I believe in ghosts and an afterlife? I honestly don’t know, couldn’t answer you hand on heart. I just think there’s something else out there, that we can’t quite explain.
I know, it sounds odd sharing something like that. But it happened and I’m okay with it being part of my life. It sounds odd as I think of myself as having a rational and logical approach to things and this conflicts with that. But that was my experience and I’ve embraced it as part of my life.
So, I turned my back on that and ran. I was still lost, still confused, still wanting a way to dissappear from it all. My list of questions just seemed to be growing longer and it felt like the answers I had or were being given just didn’t add up. I didn’t know what to do or how I was going to deal with it all. I couldn’t just drift along forever hoping for something to come and guide me.
To be continued…..
Part of the title of this volume of my blog is from the song Footsteps, a song by Pearl Jam. The lyrics are quite poignant. You can find a video of the song here Pearl Jam ‘Footsteps’. In fact, most of the blog titles when they’re about me all tie in with songs I like in some shape or form.
As usual, if you’d like to contact me drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I’ve set up a closed support group on Facebook, also called The Order Of The Dog. It’s a place for sufferers and people who know people affected by mental health issues. Just search for it and request to join. Also, if you’d like to share your story, message me on the above email address. Finally, please feel free to share this blog anywhere and with anyone you might think would appreciate it.