BrainDump: I’m OK, you’re OK
Updated: Jun 3, 2019
I am feeling ok at the moment. There, I have said it.
It’s been almost 6 weeks since I last posted and although today I don’t feel much about writing, here I am. Hello. How have you been?
We’ve had the whole build up to Christmas, the day itself, New Years and now some of us are back to school. I’ve been feeling well for the past 5 days I think, maybe about a week or so. I’m not sure when it started, or how it crept up on me.
I haven’t felt this well and a real participator of the human race for a long time. And I am talking probably two solid years. My normality became a bit of a nightmare.
I was waking up with dread, a type of fear, most days and those mornings I seemed to have escaped it, it would catch up with me within hours of waking as an acute anxiety about one of about a dozen things, some small, some immense, causing feelings and chains, no webs, of thoughts which cut to the heart of my being and which at times could take my breath away (literally).
No amount of intellect or willpower could stop my harmful inner workings and being ultra-analytical this means I dissect every situation, person, interaction in my life looking for evidence of threat. Add to this being hyper-aware of triggers of these waves of what I now see as illness, I retreated socially thinking that this would help me conserve my scant remaining resources so I could use them to deal with the psychological causes of my illness in therapy.
Together with the effort required to managing its physiological symptoms using medication, self-care and making some hard choices this last two years have been an exhausting journey up a steep and relentless rocky mountain.
With the amazing support of my husband and my therapist, I have not reached the top, but perhaps a plateau of sorts.
The top, of course, although it exists, is not my ultimate aim.
Without trying to sound too flakey, my aim now is just to keep going. Whether its steep, flat, downhill, rocky or just that awful gravel that makes walking that much harder for my unstable joints, I will keep going. I don’t want to reach the top, as I don’t ever want to peak.
I can genuinely say that I feel OK...at the moment. This sense probably won’t last all week, or even all day, I don’t expect it to. Neither do I have the high expectations that feeling good all the time is what defines wellness.
Instead I am questioning my existence much less, feeling more grateful for what I have and noticing when good stuff happens as well as the not so good. I credit positive psychology with that last one.
I hope that in doing the work this past 24 months that I have developed some resources to look after myself as a whole person, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ including indulging my very human need for autonomy, competence and connection and compassion with others.
If there is one thing I would say to someone who is in the middle of a very bad time in their life, whether one with a present ‘real life’ cause like bereavement, physical illness or like mine an invisible confluence of genetics and past, it is that the journey towards wellness and feeling OK is not going to be a straight line so plan for this.
Amass your resources.
Anxiety will try to fool you into thinking you don’t have any. Depression will lie and say its not worth trying to even find them.
Learn about these illnesses. Speak to others who are actively managing and diluting their effects and may be further along a recovery journey.
It takes time, but in my own experience and from speaking with others, when you start to recognise depression and anxiety for what they are, disruptive little bastards, you realise you don’t have to believe them.
You can observe your own thoughts and emotions after all so you must be more than their sum (and know they are not always right!). I am learning daily, that it is this me, the observer, that can carry on regardless and keep going.
I hope this makes sense. I often feel I am trying to solve problems that only exist for me, but I hope that’s just the narcissist in me talking and I have helped someone out there too.