Been some journey since I wrote and published my first blog in May.
3 and a half months off sick from work, Appointments with Psychologists, stress and anxiety control classes, blogs about my conditions and my battles, facing numerous fears and safety behaviours, a relationship break up with my girlfriend, engaging in discussions with other suffers of mental health conditions, there’s so much that has happened, some negative and so many positives.
I don’t want to go over what happened to me and the symptoms of my post traumatic stress disorder, I’ve went over that in my previous blogs, these can be found on twitter @weaselblogs or on wordpress.com if you are new to my blogs and are interested in the journey I have been on.
This blogs more about where I am and what I have learned and what I hope to pass on to others who are maybe on the start of their journey to recovery. People who are where I was, low, depressed, their thinking out of control and illogical, scared of living but afraid of dying, irritable, worried, stressed, questioning every little aspect of life. Regretting choices made in the past and fearing more failures in the future.
I stopped living and simply started to exist in my own wee depressed and anxious world, controlled by illogical thinking and anxious behaviour. Why? I was ill.
The post traumatic stress disorder took control of my thoughts, my mind and in doing so I lost control of my actions and body. I know this sounds proper dramatic but because I was thinking anxious thoughts and my thinking was out of control I had to stay safe, cut myself off from the world which I believed was evil and corrupt, there was no safe place for me in society and nowhere that I felt I belonged.
Looking back now, I honestly can’t believe some of the stuff I feared or believed. I am ashamed and embarrassed of the way I treated people and acted. Anyone who knows the real me, knows I am a decent, kind and understanding guy. I didn’t act like this when I was ill. I was dismissive, irritable, and argumentative, anti social, just a horrible person to be around. The hurt I caused and the shit I lost will annoy and frustrate me forever but I’m beginning to deal with this a bit better. I’ve spent months righting most of my wrongs and spent months trying to right wrongs that I can’t right. It’s took me this long to realise that sometimes you can’t fix the mistakes you have made, you can’t take back the stupid things you have said, you can’t rebuild trust when you have destroyed it without being giving the chance to do so.
I’m at a stage now where I am accepting what happened to me and where I went wrong in life. I’ve learned some harsh but very valuable lessons over the last year, lessons that have changed me for the better and ones that I intend to remember for the rest of my life. My whole outlook and way of thinking has changed, I guess when you lose the shit you were most worried about losing, fuck all else can really scare you.
The post traumatic stress disorder made me believe I was weak and inferior because I had all these fears, all these fucking anxieties and safety behaviours. I just didn’t feel I could function like the people I was comparing myself to, the normal people, the stronger people, and the happy people. You know what, I now believe I’m stronger for admitting my problems, for facing my fears, for opening up about my battles and I’ll tell you what else I’ve learned, the happy, stronger and normal people have worries and anxieties too, they just know how to cope or hide them better and as for normal, normal doesn’t exist. What the fuck is normal anyway?
It’s been about 6 months since I wrote my first blog and in that time I’ve turned my life and myself around. I’ve managed to pick myself up and for the first time in my life I can look myself in the mirror and feel proud as fuck. Proud that I didn’t do something stupid when my thinking was out of control, proud as fuck that I have faced my fears and nothing scares me anymore. Proud as fuck that these blogs have helped others, proud as fuck that people confide in me about their shit. I honestly believe now that something has put me on this path, I was meant to get that bottle smashed into my head, I was meant to have that meltdown and lose the plot so I could help others, I was meant to learn all these harsh lessons so that the future doesn’t scare me anymore, instead it excites me. I’m a more compassionate and understanding man because of this.
I can’t believe that I couldn’t speak out and ask for help, I ain’t a macho type or someone who is afraid to discuss their feelings, I just couldn’t ask for help because I believed this would show how weak I am. I think this is a sad reflection on society, we can’t tell people how we feel for the risk of being judged, this saddens me.
Why do we judge? Make ourselves feel a wee bit better about ourselves? Take a bit of encouragement from someone else being worse off than us? I don’t know and I don’t care anymore. I now do my best not to judge, I couldn’t give a fuck what you have done or where you have been, we all make mistakes and we are all capable of doing wrong the same as we are all capable of doing good. I’ve been in a very dark place and it was horrible but you know what? It’s changed my perspective and outlook on life. I’ve got a wee motto I like to live by now, loving, living and learning.
Know the saddest thing about not being able to ask for help sooner? When I did ask for it and tell my friends, family, partner and whoever about my fears, battles and shit, not one person judged me or questioned me. They were incredible, the support I have received and the words of advice and encouragement have been tremendous.
I honestly couldn’t have won my battle without the professional help I received and the love and support of friends, family, my ex, her family, my work, my work mates, strangers over twitter. Speaking about my shit has been a massive help, getting it out of my nut and lifting that pressure was massive. People won’t judge you, not if they truly care for you. You’ll probably find that they feel something similar or have their own issues.
I’m at a stage in my recovery where I can’t believe how far I have came, I’m doing stuff that 6 months ago would’ve scared the shit out of me, I would have found and excuse to get out of it. You really need to face those fears; you need to stay connected with the people who care about you. You need to get professional help if it’s really bad and you think crazy thoughts. There’s all kinds of tips and stuff that I used to win my battles in my previous blogs, honestly I was cynical as fuck when my psychologist told me what I had to do, but trust me it’s worked.
People keep telling me I’m brave for putting my feelings and that out there, that I’m an inspiration, I’m not, I’m just an average guy who suffered a terrible trauma and got lost. Life is a cruel fucker at times and sometimes we just need that wee bit of advice or wisdom to get us back on track. Maybe I wouldn’t have got in the nick I did if I could have asked for help sooner. I think we need to break this stigma around mental health illnesses. We need to discuss stuff more openly; we need to share experiences, knowledge and worries.
To begin with, I hated when people called me inspirational but if my story can benefit more people and help them, then I shall continue to put my shit out there and I’ll continue to talk openly about my experiences and I know I’ll never ever bottle shit up again. Friends and family care, they’ll ride it out with you and pull you through and if they can’t there are plenty of charities and professional bodies who will.
Dig in and speak out, you aren’t weak, you aren’t inferior and normal doesn’t exist. Contention does and it can be achieved.
I’m in a good place now, content, and positive and in control again. If I can get there from where I was I truly believe most people can, however you aren’t going to achieve it alone, you need a good support network and the love of positive people.
Anyway I hope you have found some help in this. I find it hard writing them now as I don’t want to continually repeat myself. Read the other blogs if you want to learn more. I don’t have all the answers but I don’t think anyone ever will.
Keep on keeping on