I pulled the duvet tighter around my body, enveloping myself in its cool waves. My hands gripped the edges so tightly my knuckles tinged with white, my cheek resting heavily against the surface.
It was coming up to seven hours. Seven hours since I had woken up and felt like my world was crumbling at my fingertips. With no explanation or reason whatsoever, I had descended into a hazy pit of hysteria before landing with an almighty thud back into numbness. The fog weaving its way through my mind, until I was trapped in the bubble.
It had been less than a week since my previous post. The post where I was confident I had turned a corner. That I was able to make a positive change in each and every day.
It was my fifth breakdown in eight weeks. My fifth since being in Australia.
Five too many.
As I drifted in between the silent dullness, staring into space with what I’ve grown to call “fuzzy brain”, over to the sobs rising up from my inner core, all I could think was how I had to feel something other than this.
My balled up fists were hitting my thigh before I even knew what I was doing. An out of body experience, I watched this mad woman pathetically pummelling her legs with disbelief.
I watched as my younger self did the exact same thing. As the infant in me came out to play.
I felt utterly insane.
I felt despicable.
As I type these words, my hands are shaking. Still now I have no clue whether I will have the courage to hit send. Whether I even should let this out into the world.
But the thing is… anything else seems so mundane in comparison. So insignificant compared to the shadows that keep finding a way back into my life.
For a while I have accepted the relationship I have with anxiety. I have acknowledged it and patiently waited for each new arrival, every time becoming a little more prepared.
What I have never considered is the presence of something else. Something stronger.
Battles with mental health have been prominent in both sides of my family for as long as I can remember. Its complexities have woven their way through my loved ones’ lives and left their imprint fiercely. A stark reminder that it could always come knocking. A warning to forever be aware.
I believed I had gotten off easily with my anxiety. That panic attacks, insomnia and crippling worry were nothing in comparison to the disorders other people faced.
I was selfish to think my problems were anything compared to them.
Everything else? That was just me. My awful characteristics. A flawed personality.
I never wondered why I had such a low self esteem. Why I covered it through social media, a dramatic personality and cries for attention from the opposite sex. Why I used alcohol to give me confidence, to lose touch with reality, only to transform into a person I didn’t recognise. Why even with my closest friends, my family members, I would be plagued with paranoia if they didn’t pay me 100% of their attention.
How my anger would spin out of control with the slightest prompt.
It never occurred to me that, actually, it wasn’t normal to daydream about what would happen if I was in a car crash. Whether anyone would care. If people would even react.
I would feel like a fraud for even entertaining the notion of the D word. On days when I would wake up with a smile on my face, I would look back on those bathed in negativity as bad dreams.
“How silly of me to think like that. I’m glad that’s over.”
But it never would be over.
I expect many of you reading this will disagree with my being so open. That maybe some things are best left unsaid.
Except… I don’t want to leave it unsaid. I have left it unsaid for far too long.
I have felt alone in my behaviour for more than enough years.
When I think about the purpose behind this blog, it always comes down to one thing: to reassure people that they are not the only ones. To be brave with the hope that others will be too.
Whether that’s one person or one hundred people. It doesn’t matter.
I now understand that work needs to be done to solve more than just my anxiety. My body and my mind needs recovery, and I am finally ready to admit that.
I am not afraid of it anymore.
So aside from speaking to someone who really knows what they are talking about, I am investing all of my time into getting better.
And that’s something that I want to write about. Something I need to write about.
I will not let myself be beaten by days like last week. Every morning I will wake up and tell myself “Today is a new day.”
I will not judge myself for feeling this way just because “my life isn’t really that bad.”
I will not spend my days picking at my weaknesses, but rather acknowledging my strengths. Letting myself feel my achievements. My degree. My year spent in Italy. My moving to the other side of the world. My business. Myself.
I will not let my low sense of worth define how I act with other people.
I will not be ashamed.
I know it won’t be easy. I will take every day as a new challenge and put every ounce of my being into getting back to the person I know I can be.
One day at a time.
“The single biggest act of bravery or madness anyone can do is the act of change.”
― Matt Haig,