A young woman gets ready to to run an event – she’s good at them, she enjoys talking to people, she is passionate for the topic – she leaps at the chance. She wakes up on the day, and oh no – it’s a battle to leave her bedroom. She can run through a thousand reasons in her head as to why this just can’t happen today. Maybe tomorrow… Just not today.
She has to push herself to be brave – put on someone else’s face, and tackle the day head on. She doesn’t pause for thought, pushes herself out of the door, arrives to the event on time. No-one is any the wiser, no-one can tell she’s not 100% herself.
After a successful day, on the drive home the blurriness sets in. The fog seeps in around the edges of her vision and she seeks the isolation of her bed. Her mum comes to the door, asks her a question about something trivial. The young woman snaps, and tells her mother to get out of the room. Once alone, she bursts into floods of tears at nothing at all, and after 5 minutes it all stops and it’s back to the emptiness.
This is the emotional strain I’ve seen so many other people put on themselves too: when we don’t take time to process our feelings. It’s something I’ve been battling with for so long. I keep incredibly busy, particularly when I am going through something negative. It keeps the feelings at bay. It makes me feel in control.
There were some especially dark places in 2018. I went through some stuff. Loss, dramatic life choices, car crashes, my foundations had crumbled. I started pushing away my friends and then my relationship anxiety crippled me. I turned up at a friend of 10 year’s house one day only to not be able to walk through the door. Even my hair was starting to fall out, perhaps from the stress that I hadn’t processed.
Now things are looking up. 2019 has been a fantastic year and there’s still lots of it left. Of course, there are twists and turns, but when I compare where I was personally from last year to now, the change is dramatic. Yes, I still have my days of fog, not recognising my own face, the odd panic attacks at night, the anxious hours of scrolling through Facebook and seeking out injustices; but the foundations I’ve rebuilt have given me a firmer grasp on how I can process the feelings. Take a breath and, take things one day at a time.
Last year, I was clearly in the grips of depression and should definitely have sought help (I went to one harsh and non-understanding doctor and then gave up). I’ve lost whole months to emotionless blur but hey, they say hindsight is 20:20. Now I am living in the moment and recording all the positives, processing my issues instead of pushing them to one side. Allowing myself time to ponder, time to be alone, time to feel and to wander, or just… doing nothing, if that’s what I need to do.
My relationships are wonderful. I’m reconnecting with once-lost friends. My job is challenging and rewarding. My living situation is calm. I’m building a new community. I used to feel like when things were going this well, there’d be something just round the corner to fuck it all up. But now I feel like saying – let it come. Bring it on. There’s nothing that can stand in my way.