‘Another year over and a new year just begun‘ so says the great John Lennon. It’s the time to take stock on the past year and look ahead to the next one. A chance to reflect on the past year and make tentative plans for the one ahead. Small steps are important to me right now, larger ones fill me with way too much anxiety. It’s though a time I must stop bottling up all the thoughts and try to confront those demons. It’s just hard in anything other than fiction to
To be brutally honest I didn’t think I’d make it through this last year. Last Christmas I was in a total mess. Years of bottling up emotions, avoiding help from doctors and generally messing up my life had left me feeling like a piece of dirt on the side of life’s road. I have three types of day black, dark grey and light grey. January through to Easter were mainly black days when interest in the world around me was not there. I tried to present to the world that I was OK but this time I wasn’t fooling those really close to me. I was forced, emotionally to go to the doctors. For those who know, or knew me, they’ll understand why I fear to go to the surgeries. Yet I knew deep down in myself I must do something. Death, physical health has blighted me for the past ten years. At each stage I was offered help for my feeling mentally, but I never honestly took the offers up. At the end of 2017, I feared that I wouldn’t make the end of 2018. Thought of death were never far away, I needed help and I knew it.
The doctor I eventually contacted was very good. He immediately put me on tablets and referred me to CBT treatment, which luckily was held locally. Keeping an eye on me, regular weekly appointments whilst I waited for the treatment. At first the tablets didn’t really work, my night times didn’t improve. It took two months before I attended for CBT and the tablets were still struggling to cut through my dark days. At times I thought it wasn’t working at all and I was being pulled further into the vortex that was sucking the life from me.
CBT treatment certainly helped my anxiety levels but after eight weeks I wasn’t feeling much better, but I guess I was’t feeling much worse. I was referred then for more advanced therapy and the doctor doubled my dose of tablets making for a better May through June. England’s performance in the World Cup lifted my spirits as well as the lovely weather that allowed me into the garden.
I’d become a recluse though, frightened of contact with the world and cocooned in my room or in the garden with it’s high fences. I turned in on myself during this period. My self esteem was so low. It felt as though I’d been abandoned by the medical profession. My writing became more and more dark. It was sunny and hot yet the world looked was black. Is this what hell will feel like? The wait trundled on through July and August and every day it seemed that I wouldn’t make it to the next. I forgot everything I learned in CBT and crawled under the mythological stone.All my thoughts were where I went wrong in life. What…if… Two questions that filled my mind during the nights and days as I sleepwalked towards inner destruction. Anxiety stopped me involving myself in the world, whilst the depression hung over me like a black cloud. During this time the only real contact to the world was my sister and my online friends.
CBT began at the end of August again. This time it started to work. The counsellor was good spending weeks going through the roots of my problem. At times it felt like I was a Japanese Knotweed, so many roots burrowed deep in the world. It felt good to talk to someone though who listened. Slowly I felt the blackness lifting. The days gradually got better. Tackling my anxiety started first and I slowly became more interactive with the world. A few bad points when I tried to push everything to fast, small steps I kept being told. My mantra everyday now, yet small steps to me are hard. Slowly the anxiety lifted and with it some of the depression. Along the way I discovered those real roots that were holding me back.
My self-esteem was low and my constant thoughts weren’t helping. I wad told to challenge the behaviours I had, hard to do when you’re right at the bottom of the spiral. I found out perfectionism is a real thing. Now I’m not perfect but my whole mindset is always trying to be perfect in myself. A hard thing to kick, and I’m not sure I’m there yet. It still seems I have to improve every time. My social anxiety is something I try and hopefully cover up online when I have the time to respond. I’ve started communicating again with a few online friends again, yet it’s still hard for me, so if you’re reading this, don’t think I went away because of you, it was me all along that wasn’t right. One day when I get the courage up I’ll explain. I’ve also made contact with a few old friends whom I haven’t really contacted in years. It’s slow steps but it helps. I’m always frightened of being abandoned, death and loss of friends fuels this. I know this blog post isn’t perfect yet I’ve tried to just put down the things I want to say. I’ll try not to over edit it and see how it goes. Another time I will maybe go into more detail on each subject here, but not today.
So it’s the new year and I’m not fixed totally. I have a couple more sessions with CBT before I’m left on my own to cope with life. I feel more positive this time. I’m not setting a goal of next Christmas though, that’s too far away. For me it’s little steps, each day at a time, each week, then the month. The thought of failure is never far from my mind, but each day is a blessing and a new start. Hopefully I’ll get through this.