Anxiety, art, depression, mental health

I wasn’t happy.

Hindsight is a great thing. And if I learnt anything from my nurse training, so is the power of reflection (Gibbs knows what I mean).

Reflection is the process of analysing your own behaviours, decisions, mistakes and questioning why they may have happened. And most importantly, how you can learn from a positive or negative experience going forward in your life.

I’ve reflected on a lot of things professionally (we all slip up, we’re only human, but I promise I can get that catheter in the right hole ok!).

But what I’ve done over the last day, is reflect on the last 6 months of my life. The relationship I was in, my actions and my beliefs. It’s a hard thing to do, it’s difficult to take off those rose tinted glasses of the past. It is even more difficult to reflect on mistakes you know you have made.

I’ve stood in front of that mirror now. I’ve embraced and acknowledged my reflection physically and mentally (physically I get angry at cellulite, but what you gonna do? I don’t have the Kardashian’s bank balance).

I haven’t been happy for a while. I lost myself in trying to maintain something that was falling apart. Polyfilla couldn’t bridge those cracks. I let myself be treated as a second rate citizen in the hope of keeping someone who wouldn’t fight my corner. Put it simply. He was just not that into me.

My main reflection from this whole situation. Is that I truly deserve to be supported. And most of all, to trust my gut instincts. Be braver. Have the courage to walk when I feel it’s time. I wanted to walk 4 months ago. I wasn’t getting what I deserved from a partner. I wasn’t me, albeit I was unwell then, I knew, I knew deep down that this couldn’t go on anymore. If you’re not encouraged and assisted to be the best version of you. Then you need to be your own cheerleader.

But I was consumed by my anxiety. I wasn’t brave enough to walk. Instead I cried to my mum that I just didn’t feel the same about that person anymore – but pushed anyway to try. When I should have been brave.

I was disrespected. I was put second. I put more into things. That’s not how it should work. Now is the time to put me first. Do what I want to do, engage in my health and well-being (I had a personal training session today and my legs won’t work. Send a wheelchair.)

I’ve smiled a lot today – part of me feels guilty for that. Wary, worried that I don’t deserve to smile. Not with how I’ve felt for numerous months. The butterflies of fear have been sky high on and off today, I put this down to the fear of the unknown. But I deserve to smile. I’m I am me. I’m finding myself again, and that will involve smiles (and probably prosecco).

You might have noticed today’s post has a colourful drawing. I felt colourful today, slightly. And you’re probably in shock about this positivity. Well, it does happen – even to the ones with the chemically imbalanced brains.

We had more in common than I thought we did. You were my priority. You were your priority. – Kate McGahan

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Anxiety, depression, mental health

The finale. AKA what went down.

So here’s the curtain call on 6 years. Feel free to throw flowers on my metaphorical stage as I take my bow.

As you know, the last 8 months have involved daily anxiety, regular panic attacks, frequent days of low mood and self doubt. Little did I know it was that pesky sertraline! My family noticed (apparently there were discussions about it). And at the time, my partner was aware.

When I drank, and decided to let lose and try and have some fun, my anxiety was also in on the act. He wanted a slice of the party pie. The butterflies would emerge from their cocoon.

In this state, whatever someone said to me, would cause offence. I hold my hands up, there were times I got extremely nasty in these moments – really upsetting friends. But when he would say something nasty to me I’d break down, or tell him I can’t be with someone who doesn’t understand. I’d rant about my constant fear and hopelessness. We would eventually agree that we are going to get through this, together, as a team (he always said we were a team, I just must be the player that was sold off to a team in a lower division.) I accessed therapy – with an 18 week waiting list.

We were fine, we booked a holiday, we had loads planned. We were going to a festival, comedy gigs, general gigs.

It was the weekend after valentines (I’d been working nights during the week – the worst bloody shifts that had been quite traumatic). It was also his sisters birthday so we were going to her flat for drinks before us two going out for a meal. We had a few drinks, I wasn’t drunk. Chatting to people, even his dad, who suggested we join them for their meal, we obliged.

This is where the tide turns, waiting for our taxi into town, he decides to tell my anxiety wriggled self that his sisters friends have commented that I speak to him like shit! WHAT? Like really WTF! now if you know me, I do tend to be quite banterful, and this is always how me and my friends and he have communicated. Here’s and example “oh you bloody idiot” in a jokey way.

You can imagine this yeh? He went mad. Saying his family thought the same. The anxiety raged, I broke down, I’ve never meant this in anyway at all, what have I done wrong now?!

We got to the restaurant, he went in, I said I couldn’t sit with his family knowing that they think that of me. So he went in without me.

There I was, tear stained, shaking in the middle of cold drizzly Manchester. I began panicking, my hearing was going, I couldn’t see properly. I wanted it all to end, all the fear, all the self blame, the constant feeling that everyone has something against me. So I rang him, and yes I told him, that I can’t cope with things like this setting me off into oblivion anymore. I wanted to end it all. (I still can’t physically write it out, but I’m sure you get the gist of what I really wanted to do at this point).

He ran after me, I told him everything, how it makes me feel. Constantly on edge, feeling everyone hates me. He cried, I cried. We ultimately decided we needed to go home and talk, which we did. On the train home I broke 2 paracetamol in half and went to take them (I had no drink) and he slapped them out of my hand and asked me what I was doing. Clearly thought I was going to top myself on the train, paracetamol wouldn’t do that – trust me I’ve seen people post paracetamol overdose. It doesn’t work and gives you liver and kidney failure. (I’m trying to tell myself to keep this bright!)

We talked, he told me he wants to support me, we slept, we cuddled, we kissed. The next day he was fine. We had a Maccies (I had one of those massive big Mac’s and it’s the first time a Maccies has made me full.) He then went home, said he loved me and to stop worrying, that we were fine and we will be okay. He even rang me on the way home because he was worried I’d be worrying. Well, how that lasted long…

He went to his parents house and that’s when I got the messages. That he needed space after telling his parents what I had said and done. That he loved me, but after talking to his parents I had “caused irreversible damage to his family”. That I was correct about his dad not liking me. (I know I’m not the nations sweetheart but I’m not Satan himself!) He said he wanted to know how my initial therapy assessment went on the following Tuesday.

Well long story short I told him how it went, he still didn’t want to speak to me, 6 days passed, I contacted him telling him I need to know what’s going on. Once again the reply was “more space” (what does he want to be in a black hole! That’s not a euphemism). That it was difficult for him to and he misses me and loves me, that he wasn’t trying to “alienate me” that we were still together (he was on tinder at this time). A further 9 days went by… I went on his email (it was logged in on safari.)… my heart dropped to my feet, I was dizzy, I was wretching . He had signed up to tinder plus…. he had strung me along, not knowing where we stand, yet he was searching for other options the whole time.

Obviously I contacted him, literally just saying “I’ve seen your emails, we need to talk now”. I was met with a stone cold brick wall. Brief and blunt responses, he couldn’t talk, he couldn’t meet me for at least a week. I finally asked what I knew the answer to – “so have we broken up?”

The answer: “I think that’s the conclusion I’m coming to.” THINK, THINK?! He was still dangling that carrot in front of my rabbit face (I do have the chubby cheeks, fortunately not the teeth).

I went to my mums, I sobbed, I screamed, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat. Then the next day arrived. When I received the following:

“That few weeks allowed me to get some perspective on things. I feel it was a long time since I put myself first and made decisions to benefit myself, so I’ve decided that needs to change. What also struck me was when was the last time we went out together when it didn’t end up in an argument and all the time it was in the back of my head when we went out, I was worrying if things were going to blow up and sure enough at my sisters or properly blew up. What happened that night has stuck with me and I can’t forgive it, what happened on the train especially. It’s caused irreversible damage to me and my family. I can’t go back into the relationship now because that will always be with me. I’ve got to move forward and that’s by myself.”

There you have it, his end to 6 years. Firstly his punctuation is SO poor.

Secondly, there you have it, this is why people hide their mental health problems. Because even the ones you love, you trust, who you THINK would support you. Can so easily turn their back.

Yes we’ve made progress. People talk about it more. But people who haven’t experienced it will never understand it.

Maybe I should have bottled it up, I feel either way he would have done this. Because my depression was changing me, my meds were changing me. But still if I had bottled it up, who knows, I may not be here now. Or most likely, mental sectioned.

It’s long. It’s depressing. Its cruel. But it’s the truth. And that’s poor mental health and poor understanding. Peace out.

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Anxiety, mental health

Let’s talk about abandonment. Strap yourself in… it’s a wild ride. Part 1.

8B8EF22B-3452-470E-B0F0-5ED425259A54Today hasn’t been a good one really. Them pesky butterflies have been speeding round like no ones business, and I’ve just managed to work myself down from the dizzying heights of a panic attack (with the help of some beta-blockers and knowing my sister is with me).

Taking my mum and Aunty to the airport this morning triggered me – I recognised the trigger, why I was panicking. That the last time I was there was a really happy time. And now I’m there in the depths of my well after another male figure has gone.

I panic every time I’m in the airport anyway, a lot of people around and I’m the sort of person that loses their passport and sense of direction very easily.

This came up when I was first diagnosed. In a few of my therapy sessions, we explored my fear of being left. Especially by men.

Now don’t get me wrong, my family is a family of strong independent women, we’re all a version of Queen B. But I’d like to add I’m the only one with the moves 💁‍♀️. And I absolutely love them, they’re all an inspiration to me. No one NEEDS a man to be successful, happy and powerful. They make me see that everyday.

But I have a little niggle (by niggle I mean massive issue) with constantly feeling whatever man I trust, and love, in either a romantic or family way, will leave me. Even if it’s not out of their choice, they’ve gone.

I was 7 years old when I lost my best friend. My Grandad. He was an intelligent man, a genealogist (he did what ancestry.com do for you.) He was even an author, but most of all he was my favourite guy. I called him ‘Grandad Glasses’ can you guess why? What an observant child I was. Anyway as usual I’m digressing, let’s get to the point.

We went to the park every other Saturday. We would get an ice cream with raspberry sauce, and he would tell me that the sauce was “Sampson’s blood”.

Now in the shittest of situations, my grandad suffered a cardiac arrest due to a hefty MI (heart attack, sorry I just can’t help call it an MI. I never knew if it may have been an NSTEMI OR A STEMI. (I really do need to stop I’m such a nerd)) on his 60th birthday. And I was there. I saw it. I watched my family attempt CPR – and like 82% of out of hospital cardiac arrests, my grandad died.

That day he wouldn’t let me play cricket with him and the boys, I was his ‘princess’ and i think he just didn’t want me hurting myself. (But I’m cracking at rounders so I bet I would of been the next Freddy Flintoff) But promised he would play a game I wanted to play later. He didn’t.

Yes I KNOW, that isn’t my fault, he died, I didn’t make that happen. I KNOW, he meant what he said. But the promise wasn’t fulfilled. And my first sense of abandonment occurred. And it’s sat with me in my little well, even when I’m sat on the edge of the well, every day since (maybe that’s what that fungi is – it’s DEFINITELY NOT edible.)

(This is so jolly to read isn’t it? Got your bag of popcorn with you?)

After that I don’t know about you, but I fancy a pint of wine! Happy Saturday.

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