Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Temporarily Losing My Sanity

As I laid on my bed this evening flicking through my instagram and scrolling through my twitter updates to the dull hum of my laptop fan, I started to reflect on the positives of today. 
Successfully setting up the new phone system at work, organising the accounts, I even ate lunch that wasn't a pot noodle.. But the biggest thing that stood out for me was today, I felt normal. 

This is not something that would stand out for most people, and for me this has never stood out before. As I mentioned in a post a few months ago, the end of 2014 was a  bitter/sweet one that turned my life on its head and presented me with a lot of big life changes. One major one being my new job. 

I thought I was dealing with it okay to be perfectly honest. It was a lot to take on but I've always been a strong minded person, and its always been in my nature to just take things in my stride. But I am this complex thing we call human, sometimes it does all get a bit much and it is okay to struggle. 

So to put it politely I've struggled. To put it quite bluntly and honestly I temporarily lost my sanity and myself. 

I've never understood anxiety, I've known it and witnessed it in other people. I've been there to comfort it. But I've never understood any of it truly, because until this point in my life I've never had it.  

I guess I first saw the signs that something wasn't quite right when I had a panic attack on the central line into London.
 I was able to control it and not cause a scene.
 I just closed my eyes and began talking myself down until eventually the niggling pains in my chest stopped and breathing became easier. 

It oddly didn't deter me from what I was doing that evening either. And sure enough I went back to London the next week alone on the tube, and it didn't happen again. 

It wasn't too long after this I began to be really conscious of my physical health. I started visiting the doctor more during this period too, each time being told there was nothing wrong with me. 

This got progressively worse. I googled, every 'symptom' I had and that is no exaggeration. I must have knocked up the hits on the NHS  website and WebMD by 1000's. I did this to the point where I began to irritate people around me. To me it was debilitating, to them It was utterly ridiculous, and in theory it is. 

I had no idea where this new found 'hypochondria' had come from, I just desperately wanted to be normal and healthy. It seemed a day wouldn't go by without me getting a symptom of something progressively sinister or terminal. The more googling I did, the worse my worrying got. 

It's a crazy thing, this anxiety business because many of the 'symptoms' I had could be explained by anxiety itself. Trust me, I've googled it

  I also found it more difficult to be alone. 
Being an only child and generally an unsociable person by nature, this was rather out of character. 
I usually love my own company but I was terrified of being left alone with my own thoughts.

If I was distracted by someone I could feel happy, normal and safe from my nutty behaviour. 

One of the sadder things about this, is that I've let a lot of things slip by the wayside. 
Like being a good friend, a good daughter, a good grand-daughter. 
I've stopped studying. 
I've stopped doing some of the things I enjoy, like writing on this blog for example. 
I've even let my skin-care and make-up routine slip drastically! For those that know my true passion for skin care and all things beauty related, you will realise that I've clearly been tripping balls the last few months. 

Reading back over some of this now, It seems even more absurd. I mean it's perfectly logical really, all of this. There was no need to get so worked up because that only makes things worse, which then causes a downward spiral. 

That's easier to say now, but anxiety can feel like a thick fog in your mind that prevents you from reading situations logically.

I can't speak for everyone, but admitting I wasn't okay has helped. Opening up to my Dad made me feel like a weight had been lifted and he let me know that I wasn't on my own with this. 
It really is okay to not  be okay. 

Talking about it has gone a long way into speeding up my progress and my hope is that by writing this post I can encourage other people to do the same. 
However, I have to admit that I am slightly skeptical about posting this at the same time. 
Not just from embarrassment but in a bid to make 'mental health' less taboo via blogs and social media, it's sadly become a bit of a fashion statement. 
Yes, fashion retailers have genuinely been selling items 'promoting' the suffering of mental illness. 
I'm not really sure what's more bonkers. 

So please, do not let my insanity influence your zen state of mind. 

Now this may seem like a bit of a doom and gloom post compared to the social norms of a new year, but I see this as a turning point into something positive. 
Today I realised that lately I've felt more normal than I have in what has feels like forever. 

I do however, refuse to conform to the bollocks of 'New Year, New Me' and  '2015 is going to be my year'. 

New year, same me... Just a more alright me.