Well I haven’t done this in a while! A blog post springs into my head at 12:40am so I’m currently laid in bed typing away listening to the wind outside.
It’s been a strange few weeks. I’ve had to face some really tough things. I’ve done a best man speech which I never thought I’d ever do, and endured life difficulties I thought would have me crumbling to my knees.
Yet, here I am lying here writing this because I feel I have to come clean about myself and my mental health. The truth is, there is no struggle at the moment. I don’t endure day after day of crippling anxiety, I don’t experience panic anywhere near what I used to, and slowly but surely, I’m beginning to experience things again. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m in a good place. A really good place where my mental health isn’t plaguing me daily anymore. I’m not focused solely on getting through the day without blind panic. Instead, I just feel, dare I say it…somewhat normal?
Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where panic is in every part of me, and certain situations/events make me so anxious I have to drop a couple of Imodium beforehand so my gut doesn’t explode like Jackson Pollock doing a dirty protest. I do still have a mental illness. The difference is that at the moment I’m living with it. I know how to accept it, control it and let it go.
An example would be a best man role I was asked to fulfil. When I found out I’d be quite involved in the wedding, my anxiety swept in and knocked me off of my feet. I thought I’d turn up, just be there, and go home, yet the registrar told me I’d be up at the front dishing out rings, signing books and all sorts! The anxiety flooded in straight way, and as I was stood at the front handing out the rings, I felt it moving through my body. From my shaking legs to my racing heart and hyperventilation, I knew anxiety was pulsing through my body, though this time it was different, I’d never felt it like this.
I knew I had to be there, I knew I couldn’t just run, so I did something I’d never done before. I stood and recognised every feeling. I felt and accepted my shaking legs. I noticed and regulated my fast breathing. I recognised and listened to my pounding heart, knowing that this time was no different – I was fine. I stood there as anxiety consumed the physical me, while the mental me held strong, allowed anxiety to pass through and retained control. It was like nothing I’ve ever done before. Have you seen the film The Matrix, where Neo gets swallowed up by the silver thing, it was like that only I wasn’t on pills.
Since that moment I have this self belief at the back of my mind. That was probably the most anxious I’ve felt and a situation I’d spent 6 months dreading and figuring out ways to avoid. Yet all the while, I was completely capable of remaining in control, dealing with the physical feelings and carrying on doing what I needed to do – and for that I was proud.
So yea, things are OK right now. I feel good. I’ve worked very hard every day for the last 6 years to feel this good. Ups and downs aplenty, with relapses and breakdowns along the way…
…but I got here, and this is exactly where I want to stay.