As I write this I am barely sitting up. I feel anxious, nauseous and thoroughly preoccupied with myself. Today has been a hard day. Little one back to school. I learned of bereavements within our community which was humbling.
I used all of my energy up attempting to stay calm and focussed enough that I wouldn’t show my worry and uncertainty to my son.
Had a morning of work, which unless i think of it one tiny step at a time, feels overwhelming at the best of times, then back to collect him. And on the way out, a phone call from the doctors surgery suggesting a meds review before new prescription dispensed. Set them straight but felt disappointed at another miscommunication.
Ironically, realised I forgot my meds this morning, promptly took them.
Cue an hour later crying over my tuna pitta sandwich exposing my son to all my tears and fears as he and my husband reassured me they weren’t upset with me just sorry I was so sad and worried.
I went to bed and cried for about an hour, felt like a day. It all seems so real right now. Worry about parents, children, ourselves. Whether because the meds were delayed this morning, a culmination of triggers of school, work, pandemic, the milestone of another family birthday, call from the GP...I don’t know but I am struggling. My poor husband is an amazing rock and gets me more than I do.
My head is foggy, I feel fragile and tense. Whilst I don’t feel myself, I also feel this is my true self exposed. This mess requiring reassurance that we aren’t all about to die horribly and looking for certainty in a world that has none and finding it hard to cope.
I don’t feel particularly empowered or empowering to be writing this post. Really I need to lie down. But I remember now that I realised something in my despair today...a reason why many of us struggling with daily or acute mental distress maybe feel so alone. Something maybe worth sharing.
To me, my illness means that you, and to some extent your distress are totally separate from me when i am myself in distress. This is why i feel so isolated in my experience of mental and emotional pain. You, as part of the outside world to me, are by definition part of my problem even if you are not the cause or focus, the status quo externally and my internal reaction to it are primed towards generalising the negative. This is depression and also generalised anxiety, and the human condition to a facet of it’s paranoid extreme.
I know that 1. Many people don’t like to talk about mental health or illness and 2. on bad days I see my distress as having nothing in common with that of someone else’s. Taking these two together, I am starting to conclude that some people who suspect they have symptoms of stress related mental illness, like anxiety or depression, may also feel that their experience is personal (which it is) unique (which it is) but translate this to mean that it is unrelatable to someone else (which it isn’t).
It often really is relatable and much empathy can be found in a listening, non-judgemental ear of a trusted friend, or those of a peer support group. I am lucky enough to have such a group. And it’s why I would always encourage someone to reach out if in distress that feels overwhelming or that preoccupies them. Reaching out during bad times takes supreme strength, and that is when we builds the most resilience imho.
This post is my reaching out on a bad day. Whilst I don’t feel able to do more than spill my thoughts, I do feel able to label this as a bad day and these words as my best attempt of making sense of it.
On good days I realise that i have a lot to offer those in pain or those supporting others who need help. This is because on good days, when I am not in this level of distress, I can make connections and feel more natural compassion and importantly empathy for others. This empathy perhaps helps me grow compassion for myself. That is my hope. And my working theory.
I am hoping tomorrow is one of the better days.
(Apologies if this post made no sense)