So, last week marked a year since I succumbed to the anxiety and depression that had been eating away at me for a while.
Although I didn’t have a full on meltdown but I wasn’t too far off it. My moods were becoming too manic, starting to swing to further and further extremes. I could be giggling one minute then be ready to crawl under my desk in floods of tears the next. Even though I was open with what I was going through looking back has made me realise I wasn’t actually processing what I was going through, leading to a half formed attempt at dealing with my issues.
My illness had me so debilitated it meant I had to take some extended sickness leave from work (just over two months). In retrospect I wasn’t aware how damaged I’d let myself become. I was broken and running on empty, patching myself up rather than addressing the fact that there were issues and they really needed working on. Taking that time away from everything wasn’t a quick fix. In fact, if anything, I felt I got worse before I got better. There was a time when the anxiety had eaten away enough of me that I couldn’t leave the house, depression had me feeling that I wasn’t worthy of drawing breath. There were times where I wanted to disappear, to stop being burden. That doesn’t solve anything, it just takes what you’re going through, multiplies it and dumps it on everyone else. It doesn’t shift it, it just creates more misery for others.
Looking back at that time feels seriously wierd. It really does feel like it was a lifetime away. I can see aspects of me echoed through time but it feels totally detached to where I am now. It’s almost I’m looking at a completely different person. For all intents and purposes I could be. My core, the essence of what is me is the same but there are a lot of parts of myself that are different. I now approach things a different way. I’m certainly a lot more focused on my own well being than I was before. I feel comfortable removing myself from things I don’t want to be part of.
I certainly feel more comfortable with people in general. Previously I would try to blend into the crowd a lot more. Now I feel okay in making myself known. I’ve repaired some relationships that had become damaged or thought lost, whilst others have become frayed and worn. I know I still have a lot of work to do in this area. But I’m aware of it. Being aware means I can start to look further into it when the time and opportunity arises.
Being comfortable in my own skin and where I stand has put me in a position where I’m able to help others. I’m at ease with that and it’s something I’m happy to accept into my life. At first I was concerned about what this would entail but I’m happy that it means I’ve made good friends with people I kind of knew (and a good few that I didn’t). Who says there can’t be an upside of suffering with mental illnesses? I’m sure sometimes it’s all just how you look at things.
I know I’m not perfect, I know that’s something that’s not attainable. But I’m more aware of my limitations and my flaws. I’ve spent lot of time dismantling myself and putting myself back together. I feel like I’m a better person for it. Fixing myself has been hard, but I’m still here. And I’m still fighting.
If I can so can anyone. You just need to be prepared do something about it. It takes an investment of time, of looking deep inside of yourself and accepting what’s inside. Making excuses is just another way of giving in to it. And you can’t let the Dog take you away. The longer you spend in it’s jaws the tougher the time you have coming back.
Just keep fighting.