Turning arghhh into a positive

I have learnt a sign of my mental health taking a dip is a lack of patience for everything and everyone. It always starts with me snapping at my kids and my husband. They always get the brunt of it which I feel so guilty about.

This evening the snapping went to extremes. I felt like I had the shortest fuse ever. The tiniest things wound me up. I just wanted to shout and scream at everyone.

I have learnt that it is important to acknowledge that this happened. Being in denial just seems to make it spiral. Being honest with myself often seems to help catch it before it becomes more of a problem.

So here I am acknowledging it. I’m doing more than that. I’m sharing it here. It’s helping to articulate what happened. Rather than bottling it up inside.

Tonight I’m trying a new tact. For a long time now I have wanted to do more to share my story. Although I have extreme anxiety I like talking to groups of people. I know I’m odd. Ive decided to start planning a talk about mental health and my own experiences to share with teenagers and staff in schools.

I would like to turn my negatives into a positive for somebody. I am going to give this a shot. Try and get my creativity working on this. Distract my poorly brain for a little while.

If you have any ideas about what I should include please comment below.

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What happened there…

Anxiety and depression are so fickle

They can come and go like the wind

A good day can turn into a bad

The norm can be turned upon it’s head.

Recently I’ve been in quite a good place,

Most of the time I’ve been quite level headed

Today in the main was no different

Positive lessons made me feel of value.

One tiny incident today changed it all

So weird it wasn’t even anything that would bother anyone else

I wasn’t even a major role player

A bystander that was affected by the events.

My past always seems to come back to haunt me,

Anything that reminds me of certain times

Bully me, torment me, churn me up,

Left to feel sick with anxiety.

I felt I could tumble into a panic attack

I felt like it was going to spiral into the depths again

Fear overtook me for a little while

Completely out of control with my emotions.

For once I was quick to open up,

Instead of burying it and letting it fester like normal

I was honest and shared how I felt

My husband was so kind in his response.

Cuddles, love, understanding

They really can make a difference

He reassured me I wasn’t silly

He settled my anxiety with love and empathy.

Good things.

Yesterday I woke up feeling pretty rubbish. My throat was so sore and it had bothered me all night so my sleep had been disturbed. I had to go to work, which is always hard on Friday after my midweek weekend (I don’t work Wednesday and Thursdays). But actually the day went really well.

1. My line manager showed understanding and compassion. She listened to what I was saying and responded with care.

2. When a job that I planned to do disappeared. I marked year 10 exam papers for two of my colleagues. It’s the way I like to be a head of department, leading by supporting whenever I can. It made me feel useful and valuable.

3. After school was the inaugural staff rounders game. We managed to get 12 members of staff together! To say I was nervous is an understatement. Throughout the day I thought about not doing it so many times. Anxiety of being with people I don’t usually mix socially with…sky high!

But I’m so glad I went. I enjoyed it all. I remembered why I always loved sport. Despite being over weight and lacking practice my sports woman of the year award that I gained when I was year 10 (at the same school where I now work) started to come back into play. Some of the skills were still there!

It was a buzz to play. Great people to be with and I can’t wait for next week.

4. I came home to three boys (one being my husband) very excited to see me. Cuddles and kisses galore-what a welcome. I then sat on the sofa and watched pj masks with each of my two youngest boys nestled into me either side and my big boy at the end of the sofa…Bliss.

5. Finally I went to counselling. I haven’t been for 3 weeks for various reasons and I had started to feel like I don’t need this. How wrong I was! The self harm has been awful in the last 3 weeks. It’s scaled up on so many levels and after talking to my counsellor I felt a great sense of relief when I realised this is probably due to the lack of counselling and talking through how I am feeling.

Ultimately my counsellor is the kindest, warmest person. She always makes me feel valuable, special and not at all ridiculous for how I am feeling. Last night again the trust I have built up here helped so much. I once again talked about things I have never shared with anyone. I started to break down doors that I hadn’t dared to open.

The day left me happy. I managed not to self harm at all last night. Good things really do need to be treasured.

Positive things…

I’ve had a good couple of weeks. From the depths of depression I have once again managed to find a way out. The ladder was there. The last week has been a positive one which is nice to share.

It started with my brother in law’s wedding last Saturday. A wedding not normally an event I look forward to because of the anxiety that lots of people causes me. But I had a lovely day. I was in a positive mood going into the day which helped but it was truly relaxing and enjoyable as well.

My boys made a huge difference, they were amazing. They made me smile and laugh. Both were kings of the dance floor! Also my husband’s family are so lovely. I am truly lucky. Thankfully they get me and there is never any pressure and people just make me feel at ease.

The working week then passed without much drama. Friday turned into a bonus day off where I managed to get loads of work done, the joys of motherhood. I was mid teaching period 1 when I received a phone call from my son’s nursery requesting someone pick him up immediately because he had been ill. Hence the day of tv and me managing to mark all my year 10 mock exam papers. I felt productive. I was pleased to have got that job out of the way.

Saturday and the normal events of swimming lessons and time in the garden on a gloriously hot day were great. Just the chilling out I needed. Saturday night a date night with some friends. A lovely curry. Great company and even a newly planned holiday for 3 weeks time!

Sunday involved an hours drive to Hemel Hempstead to pick up my 97 year old nan. She has had a bug. My grandad, who is also 97, has been in hospital with it as he has to manage dialysis 3 times a week as well. Bringing her back to Bedford for a few days break staying with my mum and dad. After that job was done my husband and I enjoyed some cinema time watching the new avengers whilst my mother in law babysat. Then an hour planting in the garden with the boys=Bliss.

Bank holiday Monday and once again we have been blessed with a beautifully hot sunny day. A bbq for my mum, dad and Nan. Time in the garden with my husband and the boys. Relaxed and fun.

I wanted to share how life with depression can be positive too. It takes it toll on me a lot of the time. There is no guarantee whether tomorrow will be a low or high day. But this last week has been a good one and sometimes it is about taking the positives when you can. Even trying to hold onto them when the depression curse strikes from no where.

What a liar.

Last night my mental health hit rock bottom again. I feel so upset with myself. I keep going backwards.

The problem is I don’t think I have ever got over what caused it to first rear its head 8 years ago. Part of the breakthrough I had with my counsellor on Friday showed me that I have actually been ill for an awfully long time. Yes I managed to push it to the back of my mind for 7 years whilst I found my husband, got married and had my children but really it was still there. Hidden under the surface.

Today I have hidden this anguish and pain. I have hidden how poorly I feel. I have hidden the desperation. I have hidden the wish to give up. Many times I have been asked “how are you” and each I have lied “good thanks”. I’m sorry for lying to you. I’m sorry for not being honest and open.

I have got on with my job today despite not wanting to go on anymore. I have held meetings. I have taught classes. I have even volunteered and done extra duties to help out a colleague.

I’ve done all this without showing anyone how I really feel. A burden. A failure. Absolutely exhausted. The depression absolutely overcoming my soul.

I don’t want this anymore;

No more pain please I’ve had enough

No more dull grey I need some colour

No more exhaustion I want some energy

No more life I want it all to end

No more hating myself I wish I could accept who I am

No more self judgement I want to find a spark of joy

I don’t know what to do

I don’t know where to turn

I don’t know how to keep going

Poorly for too long now.

I just want it all to end.

Please go away and give me a break.

Please God I’m so alone.

Please God help me see the path ahead.

A breakthrough?

Tonight was the first time I have ever felt the emotion bubbling in a counselling session.

I haven’t been able to tap into my emotions for years. I have pushed them aside. Bottled them up. Kept them firmly out of reach.

Tonight was different. A new location. A different space. A light evening. Feeling more alive. I spoke more freely. I opened up a little more.

I realised more and more how long I have been unwell. I started to process how things have affected my life. I started to look at traumatic events in my past.

I started to piece together some of my past. I understood how things are perhaps connected.

At the end of it all I could feel the emotions building. I actively didn’t want to go any further because I was scared of what might happen. I was scared of letting go. The surge of emotions made me feel sick. It was all so weird.

I was happy that this finally happened. Not completely but it’s s start. My counsellor was so supportive and keen to encourage me to take this very slow. She said I need to be sure I can handle where these conversations will go.

Let’s hope it’s the start of dealing with how I feel. Going below the surface for the first time.