I grieve, but not because of death

Is it possible to grieve without death?

To grieve is to mourn a loss. A loss so great that it hurts every day.

Today, after having cried so hard last night before bed that my blood vessels burst in my face, and after having cried again this morning after pushing myself to go running in the woods (the only thing that makes me feel like I’m moving forward) I talked to myself about what I am grieving over.

I listed all of the things I am mourning – and in most cases they are not losses in themselves. They are a grief for what could have been; not what once was. If you catch my drift.

I tried to give myself therapy, by asking that same little girl inside of me, the one so humiliated, and that same woman that I was ten years ago, the one so degraded from then up till this very day, to feel comforted because I was here. The older me, the learned me, the experienced and knowledgeable me. I’m here, and I’m proud of me.

But that only works to some degree. I’m a writer. That’s what I did for work, that’s what I have done since I was a child. Dear reader, I CANNOT WRITE.

I spend my days eating too much, watching films and TV. And spending money I don’t have. The only things I do of any significance towards my supposed recovery are running and swimming. I guess that’s something. Some of the time I am okay, most of the time I present to my family and friends as okay. But I am not.

Yet, I know that doing nothing and spending time at home, after quitting my job, is supposed to be helping me get over my grief. So that I can live some sort of life.

But I don’t seem to be healing. Or maybe I am, and I just don’t know it.

The fact remains I am grieving now, more than I have ever grieved since I was a child.

And the only death involved in this griefpexels-photo-302804.jpeg will surely be mine.

 

I gave myself therapy, and I can’t go on any longer

Since I was a child, I have given myself cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

I have never been particularly interested in jumping on the bandwagon about mental health, and have always fought through my anxiety and depression.

Recently, I quit my dream job, which I had worked so hard to get, because I just couldn’t continue with life anymore. I basically ran out of steam.

Now, I’ve begun to follow people suffering with mental health issues, and also mental health charities via blogs, social media and vlogs.

Never have I felt so alone.

I read posts, and experiences and offers of ‘help’. And it just makes me angry.

I’ve never been taken seriously with my issues. My family don’t really know how to deal with it, and counselling failed me. I have a couple of sessions before I gave up in anger.

The recent ‘therapist’ also put some wild accusations about me, which are stuck in my medical records forever now. I can’t tell you how angry I am.

I have dealt with my issues alone. I have NEVER taken medication. I took Sertraline just once for a few days. I immediately stopped.

I am angry that I have had to live with myself in this way, and I have done EVERYTHING to try and live a normal life. I have pushed, and punished myself continuously. And for what? Now that I’ve crashed and burned, who is here to pick me up?

I have to do it all by myself, and feel tremendous amounts of guilt that I have to quit something I worked so hard for.

The only people supporting me is my immediate family. When people tell you help is out there: it isn’t.

No one fully understands mental health and on top of that there is a stigma that people say they want to shake, but they won’t.

A lot of people deny that mental health is an actual illness. But, I am living proof that I have tried to live a normal life with no help, WITH SEVERE ANXIETY. And even I have got to a point where I’m so exhausted that I can’t even carry my limbs properly.

What help can someone give? Artificial drugs? Give you ‘therapy’ that you’ve already given yourself?

I’ll get up again, dust myself off, and soldier on like I always do, when I’ve had a rest.

But who is to say, that the next time I crash and burn, that someone will be there to look after me that time?

And if I commit suicide, I’m selfish. And if I self-harm, it’s ‘common’. And if I go to the GP, I’m just another candidate for the ‘drug candy’ doctors so carelessly chuck at you.

AND IF I QUIT LIFE FOR A WHILE, which is what I have done now, I’m a quitter. I’m a loser. I’m a nobody. Well, that isn’t true. But it’s how the world makes you feel.

And if I didn’t quit, it’s okay just as long as I pay my tax, and spend my money on useless shit with credit I’ll pay back with difficulty. It doesn’t matter that my brain is slowly turning to mush.

This ‘we care’ bullshit. It isn’t real. So buckle up, soldier. The war is still going on, and this is just one of the battles you’ve lost.

 

Anxiety is in our ears and in our eyes

What happens to our thoughts when suffering from severe anxiety?

When anxiety squeezes the life out of my brain, and makes me feel physically ill, I think to myself; I don’t feel well.

I don’t feel well. Is that all it is? A feeling?

When I ponder on a wider scale, feelings are all we have to live our lives by. We feel with our senses; and our senses are who we are.

So every sight, sound, smell and touch is lathered with anxiety. Because anxiety lives in my very senses. How then can I fight it?

I begin to severely doubt my ability to do anything. Work, study, make and maintain friendships and relationships. I get angry, and sad, and everything in between.

When the world ignores me I’m anxious, when it puts me in the spotlight I’m anxious. Everyone seems to point and laugh.

I’ve been battling my social anxiety for years. I can almost handle any social situation now. That’s right – handle. Not just DO like a ‘normal’ person would.

But to this day, a simple activity such as walking through a park has me thinking; these people around me walking their dogs must be thinking; ‘this girl is strange’.

Why do we, those who suffer from social anxiety, think so highly of ourselves, that other people would take the time out of their day to think something mean about us? I know I don’t think anything as mean when someone walks past me in a park. All I’m thinking is; he or she is just… well, normal.

So it follows that they must be thinking neutral thoughts about me, or not at all. Sure, there may be one odd person who feels it necessary to, in a public bathroom, point out the length of my top; essentially shaming me for wearing something a little too short. But who really cares what one person in a world of 7 billion think?

Well, I do care. I care because my social anxiety is centred around the humiliation of ME. The exposure of ME.

Yes, anxiety is linked to my very senses, and is therefore a part of me. So navigating through these complex feelings and fixing them is not as easy as self given CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

Sure, I train myself to cope in social circumstances, hell, I went from a mouse who couldn’t answer the telephone to a ‘caged’ lion without courage. But hey; I’m now a lion, right? I’m just a lion who isn’t feeling very well.

But that’s okay. Because life is transient. It’s full of ups and downs, side to sides and round and rounds. We’re doing just fine, there beneath the blue surbuban skies; my amazing anxious friends. We’re doing just fine.

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How I train myself out of anxiety

So far in this blog, I have been extremely negative.

Although I have been plagued by severe anxiety for years, I have also been training and controlling my behaviour to combat it.

It’s time to talk about this.

I have had no help or assistance by so called mental health professionals or by medicines.

Over my adolescent years, my anxiety became worse. Eventually I could no longer look people in the eye, pick up the phone or walk down the street without feeling like there were pairs of eyes everywhere, and the world was caving in on me.

I had found somehow the strength inside myself to take steps to retrain my mind, and my behaviour to successfully achieve the small things first. For instance, I would pluck up the courage and then speak to someone on the phone.

This was exhausting. And I suffered greatly for my proactiveness. But I persisted.

A few years later, I began working in retail. This was my first real job, and in the interview I actually opened up to my interviewers. I told them I struggle with confidence and that this job would help me greatly – and that I could do all the things they wanted me to in this job and beyond. They listened.

The job helped. I faced people day in and day out, and though I struggled with the little things like being too aware of what my face was doing when I served customers at the till, I trained myself to follow a routine.

Smile and greet. Scan the items. Place them in bags. Ask for the amount due. Calculate the change. Hand over the goods. Thank you and goodbye.

The work became varied, I began stock checking, processing deliveries and merchandising. Before long, I was comfortable in the little things. My anxiety took a back seat as I became busy and proud of my work, no matter how trivial. Success has a beautiful way of relieving the symptoms.  But don’t mistake this for a cure.

I was not cured. In fact, every day my anxiety caused little failures, such as my face flushing a brilliant colour of crimson every time I made a mistake or felt too overwhelmed by someone who seemed better than me. They were judging me, or so I thought.

Yet I persisted. I insisted that I be normal, like everyone else seemed to be.

So how did I make myself go to the store, hand in a CV, and then attend an interview when they called me?

I will reveal all in future blogs.

Today the clouds of doubt and fear are with me. But I remain hopeful. And my brain feels slightly mushed as anxiety reminds me of all of the embarrassing things I might have done yesterday. The over-analysing, the self-berating. The shame I feel because I am me.

Yet I persist.

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