Fourteen years ago on the 15th May 1999 my life took a drastic turn. I suffered a massive anxiety/panic attack which led to a total breakdown. I lost, I think, nearly a week of my life because I had had enough drugs to “flatten an elephant” and I remember next to nothing about it. A sudden and life changing moment when I couldn’t find my cat turned my life upside down.
For the last 14 years I have been learning to cope with the after effects that anxiety brings, the deep thinking, the drugs and the therapy all become part of your life when something like that happens but it is up to you to find the will power to NOT let it beat you. It is extremely hard to learn to cope but the first step is that you WANT to learn and that you WANT to find a way to live your life. Easier typed than done sometimes!
Fourteen years on where am I? Heading into the tenth year of my job, probably fitter than I have been in my life, I have an amazing “team” around me and I have the tools and tricks to keep going. So my friends, why is it that over the last few days the old questions have started to arise? Why did I stupidly get upset over something tiny the other night? Why did my faith in my own abilities, self-image and self-confidence hit an all-time low? The answer is simple, so simple it looks right back at me in the mirror. I have changed and am changing still, and therefore have to keep adapting to cope. I have learned so much about myself over the last few months but I have also come to realise that there are still some changes I need to make to my thinking, my perceptions and my development. If you think about it when we cut ourselves we put a sticking plaster on to stop the bleeding or to help the wound heal but when we hurt ourselves psychologically, we stick a dirty great big wall up so that we will never be wounded again. It takes guts to demolish that wall, to let people see that you are human, that you do cry, you do hurt when unkind things are said even in a joke and yes, you do get emotional when you succeed. For those of us who suffer from any kind of panic or anxiety disorder taking that wall down is flippin scary because you worry that it could have other consequences. Not me, no more, I am demolishing that wall. So what if I appear to be a complete woos instead of a tough Glaswegian, so what if I feel emotional because I actually manage to do two burpees during Metafit or manage a full PT session without wanting to give up.
As I keep quoting and will continue to quote the Tartan Army Children’s Charity
“Pain is temporary, Pride is forever”
The pain and embarrassment at a few tears shed is nothing compared to the pride in what has gone on behind those tears.
For anyone reading this who copes every day with any kind of mental health issue, if I can do it anyone can. The light at the end of the tunnel is much brighter when you walk towards it, rather than choosing to stay in the dark. I made the choice to learn how to cope, and with the help of some superb “professionals”, have found alternative routes instead of drugs. This is not for everyone but for me it has worked.
Time to get the self-confidence back, time to clear out the crap and time to focus on turning 50. Now that it is a whole other bunch of therapy, pass me the gin please !!!!!!