I have heard the phrase 'Recovery is a journey,' many times. This is a journey 5 years ago which I thought and hoped had ended. Most journeys end with something pleasant, something worth the wait, with a clear road, no red lights or diversions.
Other journeys may need a bit of refuelling, a top up of oil and a battery recharge before reaching the final destination.
So where did I take a wrong turn?
Why is this shiny new Porsche now feeling like a burnt out old banger!!
I knew that it would never be an easy ride as I'd driven this road before but I thought I knew which way I was steering. I didn't expect to be back in a dark tunnel, but maybe this is how 'it' maps out.
I can see how it started and I know how it can end.
The depression kicked in first. Slowly bringing me down, putting me down , letting me down.
Its friend anxiety paid me a visit too, preying on my every thoughts, picking at my confidence, whispering over my shoulder to do better, sitting on my chest and squeezing the breath out of me, taking away my voice, my passions, my beliefs in me. My trips outside became less and less and usually included earphones in, head down, and panic. My time indoors would be spent just sat, doing nothing.
I stopped being I will, and became I can't.
The energy it takes on a daily basis to function in this frame of mind is immense. Not answering the door unless I am expecting someone, hiding in my bedroom away from the noise.
The fear of being outside, in places where I can't get away, where I don't feel safe. Where I think people are looking at me because 'They know.'
Sleeping for most of the day through medication or just the sheer need for rest, and not being able to do a simple task without needing a rest again. Having a really good day then feeling it emotionally and physically the day after because you have given as much as you can.
The food issues wheedled their way in.....skipping meals due to lack of time, routine or circumstance. What started as something most people do, was sneaking up on me and waiting to catch hold.
I didn't recognise it at first, but others did.
I was questioning my relationship around food and making excuses to myself and others.
'Its the medication, its a normal reaction to being depressed, I eat every day, but I'm not underweight.'
Yes, all the above is still true, but why I am feeling driven to continue, why can I not eat 'normally,' why do I get anxious around food.'
The fact that I am still questioning myself is a positive thing. It means I still have my healthy voice telling my ill voice that I don't want it.
Often my ill voice wins, but the healthy voice is still up for the fight.
Things are getting better.
I am less tired and more focused this week. The tablets seem to be doing some good and a friend suggested grounding techniques and mindfulness, something I never thought would be for me, but so far so good.
I am aiming to get out each day. Either for a walk, a visit to a friend or the dreaded supermarket.
I am now getting quite good at focusing and counting on items at the checkout to bring me back to the here and now, rather than the anxiety and sensations of panic.
I set myself goals, however small or insignificant and try not to berate myself if I haven't managed them.
I have seen a nurse at my local practise for bloods etc. A counsellor told me to think of this as self care as opposed to medical. I think she was right. I am lucky that I am still classed as being within a healthy weight range for my height ( I've apparently shrunk!!) I have to tell myself this does not mean that I do not need or deserve any professional help, The only person judging me is myself.
This is me getting off the highway to hell and back on the road to recovery.