Over the last couple of weeks, I don’t think there is an emotion that I haven’t felt. There’s been anger, fear, panic, and regret but there’s also been love, happiness, and excitement. Despite the negative emotions, I have found myself to be a lot better at looking to the good instead, or at least recognising where the good is. My self-awareness has also increased tenfold so I am incredibly proud of myself!
One feeling I have is a lingering anger towards a particular person. I’m not talking about the kind of anger that has me turning into She-Hulk, but the kind where you just simmer uncomfortably but never actually boil over. I am aware of why I have moments of annoyance still, and I know there is no point in it as the anger is only affecting me, not them. I also know that it’s partly due to comparison with others that I am still simmering inside when I think about it. I don’t like to hold a grudge, be it in my low moments or not, so it’s frustrating to me that I cannot easily forget this anger. It’s been a few weeks now of feeling this way when I think about it, and the logic in me knows there’s no point in it as there’s not going to be any closure and it simply doesn’t matter. I need to be kinder to myself in regards to this anger, as it’s lessening with each day and then it’ll be gone.
I have found one thing to be somewhat bizarre and maybe people with a history of anxiety can share your views with me on this. I feel good about myself, great even. Irrespective of things that have happened, I am feeling so good about myself as a person, inside and out. Sometimes, however, I get anxious about nothing, or things that are of minimal consequence. It feels like my body hasn’t quite figured out that not having as frequent panic attacks and anxiety is a good thing, so it will throw in a cheeky attack here and there. It’s almost like I am having to wean off anxiety attacks, as though going cold turkey would be all too much.
When I get panic attacks or feel anxious I now have routines I follow depending on where I am. This weekend was a fairly traumatic one as they go, so by Sunday morning I was trying to count those ever-elusive sheep but failing to do so as I just kept panicking. The event had already happened, so these panic attacks were very much a delayed reaction. I know I was affected by Saturday night and it’s not going to be something I run away from, not this time. I buried the trauma of my brain haemorrhage and I’m not going to bury anything else. Instead of laying in bed and getting worse, I got up, had some water and breathed. I use the times 3 method. Focus on 3 objects that you have no emotional attachment to (a desk lamp, curtains, tables, you get the gist) and focus on one at a time, saying what it is in your head whilst doing a deep breath. I also listen to TED Talks, audio books, ASMR or meditations to relax and calm myself (I’m even listening to the nature sounds of the Scottish Highlands right now!) and journaling is a great therapy.
Because I am feeling good, I do worry about slipping back into the abyss and losing all the good work I have done over the last couple of months. With dating it’s particularly a fear as I don’t want to find I have just febrezed my problems again only to take it out on my partner. I am scared of making the same mistakes again – I’ve seen other people make the same mistake time and time again, to never learn from it. That is something that fills me with so much fear. I know I am not the same person I was, even 2 months ago. I am thinking so differently to how I was then and I notice new progress in myself all the time. I have so many things in place, for example, friends who have been round may well have noticed my whiteboard in the kitchen with some inspirational words on it, I have a chalkboard in my room with a reminder that I am an amazing human, as well as sticky labels in places simply saying; “I am enough.” This may all seem silly, but they are just visual reminders that I am not that person I was for a few months this year, or at other spells in my low-self-esteem trip. The benefit of feeling regret about how I was those couple months means I’m less likely to repeat it. It was good that I felt pain as a result of those months, it means I am human and it’s one less sign of being a sociopath! The pain means I can do better and that I am doing better.
Sometimes I do get angry, sometimes I do just want to sit watching Queer Eye whilst eating a slab of marzipan to numb myself for an hour, sometimes I just have to be around people to know it’s all okay. None of these are bad. It’s being mindful that I don’t just slip into numbing patterns like binge-watching Netflix (the Queer Eye guys are just so delicious though, it’s hard to not to binge on them), and I have gotten so much better at knowing what I am feeling and why. Self-esteem and self-love all take time and it all takes a little hard work and upkeep, but as RuPaul says at the end of every Drag Race episode (I’m sorry); “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”