I wasn’t sure whether writing this post was a good idea or not, but when I started this blog I swore to be open and honest about my mental wellbeing and any struggles I’ve come up against, or new thoughts I’ve been having. I’ve spoken before about where my anxiety came from, where I hit rock bottom and how I climbed back up (if you flick through my posts you’ll find my previous ramblings).
However, something new happened to me recently; a bit of a realisation, a ‘penny drop’ kind of moment so I thought I’d share, especially as this week has been particularly difficult for me (will probably follow up with a post about that too at some point!).
My girlfriend decided last week that our house isn’t ‘homely’ enough, so has decided we need to spend a fortune putting pictures up everywhere. I had the idea of using photos taken on our travels (photography is my hobby) so off I went searching through my archive of images looking for something to hang on any empty space of wall. I then stumbled across an album titled ‘Newquay 2013’ and had instant flashbacks to a time where all of my biggest fears came tumbling down on top of me.
I opened the album and flicked through images of monkeys at a zoo, some drunk bloke on a bench, a photo of me mooning on the balcony (I’m hilarious) and a few classic “Ha! Gotcha!” really funny but not funny at all photos, and then BAM!
There it was.
To most, a photograph looking out at the view from a Cornish headland, overlooking a beautiful sandy beach and is simply an innocent image (and a bit boring if I’m honest), but for me, this photograph tells the story of when I hit my breaking point, my lowest ebb, the final straw.
To take the photograph, I took a stroll out, basking in the summer heat hearing waves crashing, the whole headland to myself. It was Beautiful. Little did I know that two days later I’d see it completely different.
I was feeling particularly anxious the whole holiday. What with negative thoughts, the fear of panic attacks and the fear of fainting, it was a constant battle. One day, everything climbed on top of me, and I felt like I was finally losing my mind. I thought I’d basically got to the point of no return. I had to get out of the apartment, and walked quickly to the headland to gather my thoughts. The bench you see in the bottom left (just), that’s the place I sat. I sat there contemplating whether I was going mad. The whole world was spinning, I couldn’t breathe, I was terrified. My head felt full. Full of thoughts, fears, worries, stress and anxiety. I have never been in such a low state of mind as I was then – the most peaceful setting for a man at breaking point.
As I sat on the bench, I said to myself, “I either get help or I jump”. I can’t say I would have jumped – I’m not keen on heights – but I didn’t see another way out, there was no other solution, I just knew I needed help. I took out my phone and called my mum, the one person I knew wouldn’t judge me. I explained my thoughts, where my head was at and begged for help, all the while her feeling helpless being 6 hours away.
This was the beginning of my journey.
As I was browsing through my photos, looking at this particular image, it was a stark reminder of how far I’ve actually come. I don’t look at that stunning view as a way out, I look at it for what it is – beautiful.
My point is, we get there. If you’d said to the troubled lad on that bench “give it time, you’ll be alright in the end” I’d have cried on your shoulder wondering what the hell I was going to do. I saw no way out, no end, just an uncertain future.
And here I am, in that uncertain future, preparing to print out the picture that symbolises the worst moment in my life, yet my very biggest achievement. I made it. I’m here. I’m alive. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s made me appreciate everything so much more.
Never stop fighting. Never lose strength. Never give in. Never lose hope.
There’s a future version of yourself that’s going to blow you away.