Two weekends ago I crashed and burned. I thought I was doing OK, don’t get me wrong I knew everything was getting tricky inside my head but I thought I was managing it. But two Friday’s ago, after a school trip with my son, I came home and collapsed into bed. I didn’t move for 48 hours. My whole body hurt. Everything was painful to touch. It was like having the flu, only without the fever or sore throat. Thanks to my past, I don’t frighten easily, but I can honestly say I was frightened. My husband wanted to call an ambulance. I refused. Somewhere inside my head I suspected that I knew the root cause of all this physical pain.
My brain was in free fall due to a combination of circumstances that pushed me over the edge. The physical pain was and is directly related to my mental distress. While I was lying there I came to the conclusion that I needed to use this experience as positively as I could. I spent the rest of the week resting, taking care, resting my mind as well as my body. And so I managed to go to London with a friend. Not only that, but I enjoyed myself. And I achieved things that make me feel proud of who I am. I found a little bit of me.
I am determined to see this crash as a good thing. I can take control. Help is needed, but until it is available, I need to file some stuff away because it’s too much to deal with on my own. I believe the nightmares I’ve been having and the crash are the result of my brain tentatively beginning to feel safe enough to explore some of the painful memories I’ve tried to ignore for 40 years. That’s a good sign. Not ideal in that it means in order to move on I need to almost re-live those experiences, but it is a kind of progress. A progress that needs professional help and support, which I can’t access until September at the earliest. So in the meantime, it needs to be stored safely out of harms way. Not to be ignored, but to be tackled when the appropriate help is available.
I can take control of my self care. I need to drink more water and keep hydrated. My body works overtime, especially when my mind is also on overdrive, so hydration is key. As is protecting myself from getting soaked in the rain. The water on my skin seems to trigger some pain. I need to be more disciplined about carrying and using my waterproof’s. I’ve lived with some kind of joint and muscle pain all my life, but I’m realising that I may be able to control it more successfully if I learn to spot the warning signs and act promptly to minimise the pain.
I can recognise when I’ve had enough of stressful situations (for a shy introvert, it’s something as simple as a long conversation with people I don’t know.) I can excuse myself without being rude when I feel my limit is reached. I can equally cope with huge crowds and loud noise (such as the Pride festival in London) when I’m on my own and I keep to the periphery. I can do this, I just have to learn when to take a step back. No more enduring and no more suffering, because that is what triggers most of the joint and muscle pain.
I can speak up, I can say who I am and how I feel without shame or embarrassment. You either take to me or you don’t. But at heart, I’m a kind, caring and compassionate person, with flaws, idiosyncrasies and some complex issues that will always trip me up occasionally. But that is OK. I am not depression and I am not abuse. I am me.