Fly high

Things are getting serious.

Tomorrow I start a two week work placement set up by an agency that has been helping me work through the mental barriers keeping me out of work; so far this agency has done nothing but good for my confidence and self esteem, they are helpful, understanding and work with enough force to keep me motivated and eager to please. I am hoping that this placement will serve as an additional boost of confidence but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous – I am literally sick with anxiety… I’m going to push through it even though there are a million excuses in my head as to why I shouldn’t; is it time to move on to another milestone? Yes, I think it is.

I have been working pretty hard towards this new milestone, harder than I have worked in a while… I had clearly given up trying to be better for a time – not that I realised that whilst I was doing it – but I can’t promise it won’t happen again; a lifetime of this crappy illness and you’re going to have a few patches where you cannot move yourself to care one iota about being a functioning human being. For the past couple of weeks I have been attending a key skills course with this agency that is helping me – for me, the benefit of it is mostly being forced into a group situation with people I don’t know and still participating in the course but another more surprising benefit is the enjoyment I have found in getting out of the house every day, having a purpose and goal to achieve has lifted my spirit to no end. The praise I have been receiving has been like manna to me, so intoxicatingly delicious that I strive further and push harder to do more, be more…

I can see a change coming and though it is scary as all hell right now, it also seems plausible; it is almost tangible in its likelihood; I am employable, that employability will be sustainable – there is a future waiting out there for me.

My mood has been fairly stable throughout all of this anxious turmoil which is comforting to say the least; I wonder if my medication has finally reached a dose that is therapeutic to me or perhaps as my life is settling so my mind is too?

The downside of coming up out the dank regions of selfish depression/low mood is once again caring about how your mood may have impacted those around you; having to listen to what they felt and how they didn’t want be around you at that time. I get that being around a depressed person is hard, I understand that it probably drags them down too but it doesn’t make it any easier to hear and next time I am down it will simply make me distance myself more than I would usually… which is unfair of me but exactly what is going to happen.

I have found that those around me are more prone to belief in my illness now and my mum especially has opened herself completely to the reality of Bipolar disorder; even recently telling friends of the family that I have Bipolar disorder when they questioned my anxiety issues and setting them straight when they tried to blame my illness on circumstantial things within my childhood; as Bipolar disorder is largely thought to be a chemical illness circumstance can only exasperate existing problems. She has never made me feel more respected and understood; it was a special moment.

I doubt I will get much sleep tonight; fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success… but regardless of the barriers, mental or otherwise, that I face I will push through because I am strong, I am a warrior. My brain will never win.

Remember, remember…

Today I remembered that I had forgotten and it was an inspiring moment.

Today I remembered that I am loved; whether in the ways I want to be or not.

Today I remembered that I am blessed with a caring network of people that I trust to support me; whether they help in the ways I want them to or not.

Today I remembered that I have learnt about and studied my illness and that I have the tools to manage this beast; whether I feel capable or not.

Today I remembered that I am not alone; whether lonely or not.

Today I remembered that I have reason to fight!

Today I remembered that I am a warrior!

and today I remembered that I am worth more!

It took a meeting with someone who genuinely understands the illogical logic and experiences of someone with mental illness to remind me of these things. Somewhere along my travels I dropped all of the coping mechanisms that I had learnt in CBT and all of the other management techniques I had put in place to control/lessen/soften/pre-empt my swinging moods. Maybe I lost the will to try, maybe I had given up it wouldn’t be the first time … perhaps it was beyond my capabilities at that time but regardless of the what, where and why I must, from this day forward, make a more concentrated effort to use the things I learnt in CBT and to keep managing this monster of an illness – what am I waiting for exactly when standing stagnant while the epic war of my mind rages around me? I suppose I keep visiting my psychiatrist, guzzling my cocktail of pills and forcing my way through crippling anxieties whilst swinging from the peaks of all extremes in the hope that eventually someone will just take this retched disease off of my hands and out of my mind; still, I have not come to terms with this being a permanent illness, will I ever be able to accept that this is my lot? and truly own my illness…

There are a big couple of weeks coming up for me and I am terrified and sickened at the mere thought of what is to come but I know without a doubt that this will be a positive experience for me but most importantly I am warm from the knowledge that there are a million friendly faces waiting to catch me should I fall and with that in my mind I have no doubt that I will come out the other end fighting as I have so many, many times before.

As a wise person once said ‘I am far from the worst version of my illness and so I have succeeded, I have won.’

 

 

Choices

My mind has been an invariable fortress these past weeks. In attempting to spare the people around me from the negativity I feel inside I have shut everything and everyone out and retreated to that black place inside me; which is the lesser evil? Sharing your suffering and feeling a slight bit better or suffering in silence and leaving those you love in a state of blissful ignorance… and will suffering in silence bring about the end of my precarious grip on sanity once again?

~I know that my loved ones would insist that they are here for me no matter what mood, however negative. But is it not my responsibility to own this illness? It would be so very easy to drag everyone into this hellish pit with me but what good would it do, what use are they there? When I was in CBT with my fabulous therapist, Evelyn, she would tell me to use the people around me for what they are able to provide, whether that be nurture, companionship, sociability, fun… etc. She would tell me to learn what to expect from these people and not to ask any more of them than that. She would say that then I could enjoy their company without the nagging feeling that something was missing, without the constant ache for more than they were giving. Watch the people around you, take them in, learn who they are and their finer qualities and remind yourself often that those people are there for you in that capacity and no other… It seems such a cold way to deal with people; a detached and almost cruel way to view a human being, especially those that you are supposed to care for. But when social interaction is something to be forced, when you do not understand how to accomplish the basic need for that interaction then it is a logical form in which to view such a complex thing, such a difficult thing to comprehend. We all weigh people up in our minds, though often it is subconsciously, I need to do this in conscious thoughts. What good can I get/give from/to this person I have brought into my fold? If the answer is none then why remain close to them? I wish I had had that advice when moving into relationships as a young woman, I could have spared myself from a lot of bad situations. I wish I had thought of the good/bad I was bringing into my life. Of course a person bringing negativity or bad things into your life does not necessarily make them a bad person; just the wrong person for you… and that lesson is a hard earned one.

People in general strive for good, for positivity and so it is rare to come across a person who is purposefully bringing bad things to you. But desperate situations can cause desperate reactions and therein begins the great heartache and pain; I have caused a great amount of heartache and pain and I have also felt my fair share but none of this makes me or those others bad people, we were young and stupid, we were incompatible and impulsive; we made mistakes and were too foolish and naïve to know that relationships are a carefully forged things based on hard work and chemistry; not something to dive into and hope for the best and definitely not something that will come naturally to all.

I have come to the realisation recently that I have never considered a partner before jumping into a relationship with them; I was always amazed that anyone wanted me at all and that was the only criteria for them to fit – you simply had to like me. But that alone will not sustain a relationship and in the end it would always turn out not to be enough for me. I craved love so desperately that anything, anyone would do and so of course it was never going to work. I don’t know why I was always so terrified to be alone, I was so convinced that I wasn’t worth anything… I have more self worth now and if a potential relationship crosses my path it will have to be the right one.

I suppose another block for me in forging relationships is that I always felt so intimidated by men and still do often; my dad was a force to be reckoned with and we rarely saw eye to eye. Growing up with such an imposing male role model has certainly impeded my ability to connect and properly communicate with men. Though my interaction with men is slowly improving with the introduction of male friends and acquaintances.

I am still fearful that I will forever be alone and that nobody will ever want me; but I believe that I am strong enough now not to let that fear dictate my choice of partner. There will be no leaping into a relationship with just anyone – that’s not to say it will be the right relationship and that I wont still make mistakes but it will be one I am happy to enter into and that feels right to me.

As for my relationships with friends and family; I don’t quite know that to do there – they are so unfailingly supportive that more often than not I feel as though I am letting them down, I wish I could motivate myself to do more because there is so much more I could to improve my situation and my mental health but it feels so far beyond my capabilities, so out of reach that I cannot see a way forward.

I wish I had logged my thoughts and feelings way back from the very start of the decline of my mental health, through my psychotic break, the breakdown of my marriage and births of my children – through every bust relationship and attempted suicide because I am certain that if I were to compare then to now the improvements would be staggering to me but without that visual proof it is hard to remind myself and convince myself of how far I have come – how much lighter the darkness is compared to then…

I still struggle with the knowledge that there is no way to fix this, that this is my past, present and future and that management is my only way forward. It is a bitter pill to swallow; knowing that I will be mentally ill for the rest of my days and that I must forever manage this illness. I may relapse into uncontrollable swings and then once again have to climb the ladder of sanity… I will forever be fighting this battle – what positivity is there to draw from that? What hell awaits me?