I’ll admit that I know I’m a day late as #WMHD was actually yesterday. But in my defence, I thought we’d already had a #WMHD this year already.
Mental Health at least now does seem to be getting some space in the media. Despite a few vocal naysayers decrying the matter, it does feel now that the majority now feel it as a topic that can be discussed. And to be honest I can’t help feeling the naysayers don’t actually have a real opinion on the matter, rather that it’s an opportunity to garner themselves the media attention they crave. Paradoxically, a form of mental illness. But I digress.
A Day in the Life – the original blog
This blog started out its life as a place where I could off-load my thoughts and feelings, many of which were toxic to me at the time. For one reason or another the regular posts ceased about 4 years ago after which I started to focus on the running aspects of me life. But that didn’t mean that the whole side of my own mental health had gone away. Or was even remotely fixed. Perhaps the analogy of a non-waterproof sticking plaster being submersed in water; it would probably be OK for a while, but could just as readily jettison itself at any moment.
I’ve been here before; the drugs do work (we’re talking prescription medication here) – for a while at least. But then they don’t any more and action needs to be taken. I went through this in 2017 after the side-effects of the citalopram became so severe that they were posing more of a danger than the illness they were prescribed to moderate. A change of medication worked, although not without a very bumpy transition and all was OK for a while longer.
Deja vu – all over again
I’m not sure whether it was due to a heavy workload, or dealing with a particularly challenge situation or two, but at the end of last month I realised it was time to seek further help. All the CBT classes were great in principle, but when anxiety attacks are paralysing you on a daily basis, the mental gymnastics that you’re supposed to employ are really pi$$ing in the wind. Countless different breathing exercises have moderate success until you get bored or counting in between breaths and then you discover that the storm from which you were trying to hide was still there and just as ferocious.
It felt like a bit of a defeat to have to go back for more help, but time has at least taught me that it’s the best way forward. Of course I’d hoped to be medication-free and living in some psychologically crafted version of ‘normal’ that I could tell myself was what everyone else was doing. But I’ve been around that block enough times to know a fallacy when I see one.
Having been grounded from my holiday this week due to the demise of the travel company and airline Thomas Cook last month I set about doing some stuff around the house. Again, the madness of the summer workload had its impact on the completion of domestic duties. And whilst the hoover had done a few turns during the period there were several places which could have the United Nations wanting to send in support. With the long-outstanding project to make the garden a little more presentable finally complete I was able to work out what things in the house should actually be in the shed. And then there’s the matter of the shed.
Over 7 years after Mark’s passing there were a couple of boxes of bits from clearing the house which had been sat in the shed ever since. To be honest it’s been in the ‘too difficult to think about’ pile for most of that time, but there comes a point when you have to make that step. It wasn’t easy and it took longer than I’d anticipated (not least because of the amount of stuff involved) but the net result is a conservatory I can see the floor in and a shed that you can enter without a realistic fear of imminent death. So that’s a result.
The next challenge is to tackle the collecting that both Mark and I pursued. Unfortunately towards the end of his life, Mark’s collecting moved more towards hoarding, which has made the task even bigger. Not that I wasn’t a prolific collector myself at the time so there’s plenty of stuff in the house that I know the history off. But that doesn’t necessarily make the reverse task much easier. I’ve reduced and reordered a huge amount but it still feels like the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It’s a big task, physically and emotionally. And whilst there’s no reason why I can’t just turn a blind eye to it. After all it’s doing no harm and, unlike the aforementioned hoarding situation, it’s no longer growing in size.
But it being there seems to no manifest itself as its own stress. Something gnawing away that I feel needs dealing with regardless. It’s the start another long road. And it leaves me wondering where I’m expecting that road to take me. I’m not a materialistic person and I think I have a hope that by getting rid of the excess of things, that will help restore some balance. But it’s not without a fear of breaking with the past. Or whether it’s the right thing to do, whatever that means. Is this another mad rush in a direction that doesn’t have a bearing, let alone a compass to get there.
The blog of old gave me the outlet to navigate through such uncertain times. I intentionally left the old blog online because I knew one day I might need to revisit it.
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