….therapy. Of connection. Of self-awareness. Of looking after yourself. I like to be the one who has it together all the time. I like to help others. Sure, I go through the shit, but I sort it and then report back to you all afterwards in the hopes that I can help someone else.
But right now, I am struggling. I have high levels of self-awareness now so at least rather than falling and drowning completely it is at least a battle I have a chance of winning against myself. I am able to tell people I am stepping away from a conversation or situation because I am not mentally well enough for it, rather than being rude and hurtful. It has its downside too, though. I know what is happening to me, I know the anxiety, the panic attacks and the constant sensation of fighting for breath, but when you are horribly self-critical like me, it also means I feel I should be okay. I know what is happening so it shouldn’t happen. I know better than this, sort of feeling.
To put it another way, I feel like there are two of me, sword fighting. (I’ve played some swashbuckling computer games recently, so bare with the imagery). One of me is the one with the anxiety attacks, panic attacks, fear and crippling loneliness. She’s not depressed, which is a plus, but there an awful lot going on. The loneliness is a dick because it makes you, ironically, seek further social isolation. It makes social anxiety more prominent. Don’t even get me started on the panic attacks.
The other one of me is the self-savvy hero. The one who knows what to do to tackle issues of the mental kind. The one who goes to the talks, reads the books and how to react. She is the one who has kept me on the brink the last few week rather than letting me fall right in. She’s the one who doesn’t let me take it out on others, much as I used to. She reasons with me. She’s the one who has booked therapy sessions because she knew things were escalating, and we need to nip it in the bud.
So, whilst part of me is wanting to give in to the fear, the loneliness, the heavy feeling in my chest, the other part of me is thankfully fighting it. Unfortunately this battle which has been going on for probably all of June, has exhausted me. The last two weeks I have barely been to the gym, I am Ill and massively fatigued. Part of the symptoms for loneliness and such is to throw yourself into things to keep busy, to try ward it off when that only burns you out. The gym, work, reading self-development books and studying have been my methods of doing this, and burn out is where I have gotten to the last two weeks.
Whilst I usually like to have achieved the successful outcome before writing, that is not the case in this eventuality. I have organised therapy as I know my self-criticism and being so hard on myself is a prominent reason for my panic attacks. These are caused by another factor, which I won’t go into at this stage. I’ve not dared admit how lonely I am, because as a talk I went to last night mentioned, it has such a massive stigma attached to it. It isn’t a matter of how many people you have around you, be it at work or in your family etc. But your level of connection. (Apparently, you need a good 4 hugs a day!) I knew I was lonely, I just didn’t realise how much it had contributed to my burn out and illness this week.
So, as per the start of this blog, self-awareness has proven itself vitally important, as will therapy (I am a firm believer that if not everyone, then most people should have therapy). The one thing I am not that great at still is letting myself look after me first. I have been trying to pour from a decidedly empty cup. I will keep you up to date on how everything goes, but for now, I’m going to force my cat to have a cuddle with me, got to get those hugs in, after all!