Been a wee while since I felt the need or even had the time to sit down and write one of these ramblings, not entirely sure why I am the now and the direction in which it is going to go in.
Anyhow, hopefully by now you all know my shit and know my story. If not you can find out on @weaselblogs on twitter. I can’t be bothered going to in depth again. Basically I was the victim of a violent crime nearly 6 years ago and as a result 5 years down the line I had a breakdown caused by post traumatic stress disorder. My world fell apart, I started acting out of character and cutting people off, staying safe, avoiding situations that I feared and made me feel anxious. I basically stopped living and merely existed.
I cut off my girlfriend at the time, who is now an ex as a result of the way I acted and treated her when I was ill. I cut off and avoided my family and friends. I don’t know why exactly but mainly because I believed they would be better off without me, I was a failure of a man, an underachiever, the shadow of the man I was before I got attacked, a letdown, weak because I couldn’t deal with the thoughts I had or the depression that was hanging over me. Life spiraled out of control until I had no other option but to seek professional help.
Between the professional help I received from my psychologist Laura, facing my fears and the amazing and incredible support from old friends, new friends and family, I am in a position now where I honestly believe I am in the best place mentally I have ever been. I have gained so much wisdom and knowledge due to my battles. Their love and support have pulled me through and now I have a belief, passion and confidence in not only myself but life again. I live by a wee motto that I firmly believe in now, living, loving and learning.
As the months go by I just seem to be more and more positive and have more passion for life, I have regained trust in society and the people in it. I’m not scared of anything anymore and for a man who was pretty much scared of every aspect of life this feels incredible to say. I was scared of venturing the streets at night, scared of becoming a father as I didn’t want to lumber kids with someone like me as a dad, scared of failing and never achieving anything with life, Scared of busy pubs and places, scared I would become a victim again, scared that I was weak and that I would lose everything as a result of my irrational thoughts, I was even scared I was going to die young. Now I can see that all my fears tied in with the symptoms of my illness.
I read a quote today and it struck a chord with me as before even reading this quote I was thinking along this line. The quote is from Chuck Palahniuk, “it’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” I honestly believe this to be true.
I lost the two things that I placed greatest importance on, the woman I hoped to marry one day and the ability to control my thinking and in turn believed I was going mental. At one point these were the two things I feared losing the most, no man wants to admit he thinks he is losing control mentally and they certainly don’t want to lose the one person they love the most in the world.
I lost both, I can fully understand why and it’s only now that I’m beginning to accept this and it’s also only now that maybe I can appreciate, like the quote says that we’re free to do anything. My ex girlfriend never held me back, so please don’t read it like that, she was incredible and was the one who convinced me to get help. I owe her so much and I’m thankful and grateful to her but what I mean is I’ve lost everything that mattered so what is there now that I have left to fear? Fuck all. When you admit to your friends, family, girlfriend and pretty much the world that you think you have problems mentally, you really do have fuck all left to fear therefore my whole outlook on life and the manner in which I act and think has changed. I have belief in myself and for the first time in a long time actually feel quite proud of whom I am.
Admitting my problems was a huge weight of my shoulders; it was like getting a dirty little secret out of my mind, I just felt a pressure release instantly. My sessions with my psychologist Laura made me understand that I had an illness and that I was not going nuts, I was suffering a condition that was caused by being the victim of a violent crime, where is the shame in that?
To get better I had to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy and also had to face my fears and remove the safety behaviours I had adopted in situations that made me feel anxious and panicky. It was a hard process but when you reach rock bottom like I had, you hang on to a hope that there’s only one way to go and that’s upwards. I began my treatment in May and now 7 months later I can honestly say I’m in the best place I have ever been mentally and physically. I believe I have so much wisdom as a result of what I have gone through. I am probably the most confident in both myself and the world that I have ever been. I have faith in something and I believe that it’s guiding me, I don’t know what my faith is in but it feels like all the pain and trauma I endured is worthwhile, it’s not something which controls me anymore, it’s not something that makes me weaker or inferior, it is a personal experience that I can use to help others, It’s wisdom and knowledge. I need to use this confidence to try and do good, rather than use it for selfish reasons. I need to keep faith that I’m on this path for a reason.
I’m trying to help others going through what I went through by volunteering with Victim Support Scotland, I enjoy the work I do with them and being able to place myself in the shoes of the people I visit gives me a reasonable insight into what they are feeling and going through. All I want to do in life now is help people who are suffering in silence like I did. I want to make as many people as possible open up and face up to their problems. I want to give people who are as low as I was hope that they too can turn their shit around.
The hardest thing for me now and an ongoing challenge is to face up to the hurt that I caused and deal with the frustrations that this has left. I treated the people I love the most really poorly when I was ill, I can use the reason that I was ill but it was still me saying those words, still me making them feel shit, It was me causing them hurt and chipping away at their self esteem. I’m no longer oblivious to the hurt I caused and how I made people feel. Anyone that knows the real me knows that isn’t my style but it doesn’t make it any easier to live with. Unless you’ve been through post traumatic stress disorder or other conditions similar, you’ll probably never understand why we act so out of character. That’s my biggest frustration and the hardest thing to accept, it wasn’t really me.
I’ll get there though because I believe life will see me alright, I’m keeping faith that am on this path for a reason, I’ve done some good as a result of my breakdown that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t went through it. It’s all about your thinking, staying positive, taking the positives from every negative. I’m free of my anxiety and depression and that’s the way I intend to keep it.
I just wanted to write this blog to let you all know where I am at and to give people who are where I was some kind of hope. Shit can improve pretty quickly. You might never get everything you want from life, I know that I won’t but you’ve simply got to make the best of what you do have.
Someone will always be more than I’ll ever be so then I’ll just be myself, this is a line from a cast song called live the dream and it’s so true. I’ll keep this line in my thoughts forever and it should keep me right.
Anyway if you want some advice or help let me know. If you want to read my other blogs you can on wordpress.com my blogging name is whitburn1980 or on twitter @weaselblog.
Keep on keeping on