I’m Not OK…

…and that’s ok.

On the last Saturday in January, I stood in the kitchen, and I broke down. I sobbed and sobbed. My boyfriend thought something terrible had happened, he tried to comfort me, asked me what was wrong, and everything poured out. All of it. All the emotions I’d spent the last few months keeping at bay finally broke through.

I’m sad, every single day.
I’m angry, all the time.
I’m ugly.
I’m worthless.
I wished I was dead.
How can someone be expected to live in so much pain.

For the record, I am not suicidal. Which I realise is a bit of an oxymoron, after I’d expressed a wish for death. It was more a case of thinking it would be better if I’d simply never existed at all. Is that worse? I don’t know. I do know that I couldn’t inflict that sort of harm on myself; and as someone who lost a relative to suicide, I’ve seen how it affects those left behind.

I’ve tried so hard not to let depression and anxiety get the better of me, but that weekend, it all became too much. I finally had to admit it, I am no longer able to manage this by myself, and I need help. I’ve been wandering alone, through a dark green forest, not knowing which direction to go, and a road has appeared to guide me. Having hit rock bottom, it’s time to take the road, step out of the forest, and head in a more positive direction.

I’ve done therapy before, I spent two years with a therapist back in 2006/7; and I found the experience to be very helpful. I gained a lot of insight into the causes of my depression, which was a real breakthrough. What I didn’t do, was continue the work once I’d finished my treatment, and being reluctant to go back onto Citalopram or Prozac meant I was simply setting myself up for another fall.

And then came anxiety, just to spice things up a little bit.

Remember the Sunday blues? That horrible feeling you’d get knowing school was the next day, or work was looming, and you hated your job, or you were worrying about a potential problem? Anxiety feels like that. The constant butterflies, heart palpitations (anxiety also lead me to have an ectopic heartbeat), breathlessness, sensitive skin, and a head stuffed full of noise.

People want to help, which is lovely, I always appreciate the gestures and offers to chat, but there is nothing anyone can do to help me. A trained professional will help guide me, provide me with exercises to work on between therapy sessions, but unless I use the tools provided, I won’t get better. And that’s another thing, these illnesses are with me for life. I accepted a long time ago that I will never be free of them, that they are part of me, and always will be. What I want is to reach a point where I can manage them better from day to day, so I don’t end up feeling overwhelmed again.

One thing that really pisses me off though? I have no idea of the sort of person I could have been had my life experiences been better. I feel robbed of any potential I had to make a success of my life. I lost the confidence to pursue my dreams at a young age, and that makes me really angry and resentful. Emotions, I realise that do nothing to serve me, but exacerbate the negative thoughts.

There are people in this world who don’t believe that mental illness is a real thing, that unless someone is manifesting physical symptoms, they can’t be ill. How blissful it must be, to live in such ignorance. Think of the mind as our internal software; like software it is vulnerable to attack, it can be corrupted and damaged beyond repair. There’s no bandage or ointment to protect it, it can’t be rebooted, parts of it can’t be replaced by donors, transfusions or grafting; treatment is a long, complicated process, and not always successful.

Over the years people have said to me, “you seem ok”, “but you’re always having a laugh” etc, etc. And that’s one of the common misconceptions about mental illness. I look ok, therefore I must be ok. But one thing depressed people are very good at is putting on that front to the outside world, it’s a defence mechanism, purely for self-preservation. Inside, we’re usually crumbling.

I’m currently signed off work for two weeks, I’ve got my referral through for the NHS Let’s Talk Well Being with an assessment appointment coming up. My doctor hasn’t put me on any medication for the moment, but it is a possibility. This is time for me to rest, gather myself, get out into the fresh air, exercise, eat well, and just focus on working towards getting well. I know it’s not going to be easy, the temptation to sit around and wallow in self-pity is strong so it’s time to dig deep, find some motivation and work to beat this thing.

If anyone reading this is also suffering, don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t feel you have to struggle through on your own, that no one will understand or care. That is not true, there are people who do care, and who want to help. From free services such as the Samaritans and NHS Mental Health services to private therapists who you can talk to in total confidence.

It’s ok to not feel ok. You are not alone.

NHS Every Mind Matters

Mind

The Samaritans

UK Council for Psychotherapy

11 thoughts on “I’m Not OK…

  1. Cheryl Jones says:

    I totally understand the frustration of that feeling, wondering what your life might have been like, if you’d had a different kind of childhood. As I progress through my own healing of childhood trauma, I often wish desperately that I could have the last 30 years of my life to do over. I wish I had the information I have now when I was 20. For what it’s worth, the #1 thing that has helped me to heal is John Bradshaw’s book, “Homecoming.” In it, he provides meditations you can record for yourself (using your own voice is vital) to heal the various life stages of your inner child. It sounded kind of ridiculous until I did it. It allowed me to re-parent myself and incorporate each life stage into my current self. Massively powerful healing. Just something to maybe add to your toolbox as you continue through your journey. I wish you immense good luck in your healing. I know it is exhausting and unending, but it is absolutely worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Grace M - Writer says:

      Thank you for the recommendation, I’ll certainly look Homecoming up. One thing I have realised is that I unless I use the tools and resources available, I won’t get better. I hate admitting that I can’t do it by myself, but it’s important to be able to say that. Best wishes to you also as you continue your own journey x

      Liked by 2 people

      • Clear Wind Blows Over the Moon says:

        Yes, it is okay to not be okay. I agree – every day is a choice and it takes hard work and commitment, and I have found that responsibility and accountability are a big part of healing and in the long run this can become empowering. I find being mindful and present really help (e.g. if thinking about the past or worrying about the future, one is not present) and how engaging all five senses can really help to get present and watching thoughts in a detached way rather than attaching – as we can’t control how we feel but we can control what we think. I also find time in nature so healing and what a great support it is. I also read Homecoming and found it helpful (as was his other book – Healing the Shame that Binds Us) but that was way back in the 90s when I first started my healing journey. I wish you well on your healing journey.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grace M - Writer says:

        Thank you for the insight. A lot of what you say makes a lot of sense. My thoughts and feelings are very mixed up, I find it hard to separate what I think about something to how I feel about it. Now that I’ve started my journey, I’m hoping I will be able to unravel the mess in my head, and make more sense of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cheryl Jones says:

        Oh gosh, yes. It took me so long to get to the point where I realized I’d gone as far as I could go on my own with my recovery. I had to admit to myself that I needed professional help to get the rest of the way. Because of my trauma, I’d been built to think I had to handle everything on my own and couldn’t trust anyone to help. But, after two years of weekly counseling, along with 24/7 thought and consideration on my own, I’m finally at the point where my therapist feels we can meet every other week, because I’m in a pretty good place. “Homecoming” was the biggest part of getting me there. My therapist at the time said it had allowed me to skip forward about 6 months in therapy. I was ready for the work in that book when I came to it. Results may vary. But, I’m certain you’ll find great value from the work. What I can tell you for sure is that as exhausting and intense and upsetting as the work on yourself can be, once you start to really recover, the feeling of security and power is amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grace M - Writer says:

        Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I’ve ordered Homecoming today, I’m being referred for therapy on the NHS, so have a couple of weeks wait for my initial assessment. I’ll be able to get started in the meantime x

        Liked by 1 person

    • Clear Wind Blows Over the Moon says:

      I responded below directly to Grace re. Homecoming. I also find re-parenting my inner child/inner children a huge part of my healing. One way I do this is via Compassionate Inquiry as taught by world renowned trauma expert, Dr. Gabor Mate. I host gatherings every Tuesday night (and have since March 2020) to hold space while people breathe into their feelings and the guidance I provide is general so the work is done internally – often via this method one will become aware of an inner child or younger part of themselves and even feelings they weren’t aware of. You and Grace would be welcome to join if you feel it would be of interest – I have found it is a great tool and often use it myself: https://soulpurposehealing.weebly.com/compassionate-inquiry-online-support-group.html It’s by donation or free for those that need it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Clear Wind Blows Over the Moon says:

    I also meant to share that I’ve found anger can be one of the most action-oriented emotions and thus can be a helpful emotion when channeled in healthy and constructive ways because when turned inwardly and or it is not expressed it can become depression. Anger really gets a bad rap and is often viewed negatively but I find it valuable as it is a red flag when something is not right. I have learned that all emotions are valid simply because they are felt (no need for logic or anything else) and all emotions can be acknowledged and honoured and it is transformative to do so. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grace M - Writer says:

      I agree, our emotions are necessary for self-expression, otherwise we’d be pretty soulless as humans. I’m hoping to get to a point where my emotions are expressed in the right way, at the right time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Clear Wind Blows Over the Moon says:

        I will gently suggest the possibility that emotions are always expressed in the right way, at the right time in the sense of being valid regardless but I do empathize with this if you mean if they release at less than ideal times and possibly in ways that do not feel helpful. I find the more I work with my emotions and allow them and give them full acknowledgement and release, setting aside time for them – the more manageable they are. How they become like the ocean’s ebb and flow the more they are honoured. ❤ I wish you well and peace.

        Like

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