Taking Back the Day

I mentioned in my last blog my fear in writing from anything less than a "strong place".  I have juggled this notion back and forth for awhile now, and agreeing with my previous idea that not acknowledging my struggles would be a detriment, here I am.

I am not having a "bad" day.  And what does that mean for me.  In the beginning of this illness, I wasn't able to be alone.  I was constantly in fear, in panic, in sheer terror! I was not always sure of what, in fact, it's rarely a clear or concise "cause".  It was an overwhelming sense of impending doom.  The symptoms, irregular heart rate, inability to eat, troubles swallowing, shaking, agitation, head aches, numbness in my hands, etc...  This doom brought such fear, such sadness, such utter lack of control.  When I say I could not be alone...for about a three month period I was confined to my condo.  In that time, I had somebody with me constantly.  If they left the room to go to the washroom, I followed, sitting on the floor outside the door.  It was such an intense fear that I felt if I were too far away, something horrible would happen, and nobody would know.

This manifestation controlled my life for years.  Although not to that extreme, being alone with this illness has always been a struggle for me.  My ability to distract my mind is not always intact, and like anything in life, we tend to draw what we focus on the most.  The powers of the Laws of Attraction are proven in my life.  If I sit and concentrate on panic, on anxiety, on depression, I will undoubtedly draw myself into that space.  Thus it's always been much easier to have company, a built in distraction that disallows the level of solitude I find alone.

As with every facet of my Mental Health, I have learned to work with this knowledge.  I can enjoy being alone again.  In fact, I often prefer it for moments each day, recognizing my inner thoughts has become a very powerful tool for me in living successfully and happily with my illness.

However, there exists a struggle for me that I have not mastered.  Nor am I entirely positive it is a struggle limited to those who struggle with Mental Health issues, however it is amplified in my world.  I touched briefly in my last blog on the fear of reoccurrence.  I have often stated over the years that I'm not sure I could make it through the beginning of this illness again.  A statement I know to be based on the exasperated thought of having to, and I possess the knowledge that I would indeed overcome those moments and arrive at another version of a stronger me for it.  However, there is a very strong and constant fear that exists in reliving symptoms.  The fear that it is "coming back".  Yes, an ignorant statement it seems but one full of understanding for many.  I will always live with this, but I will not always live with the way it was.  The thought of returning to that state of "disfunction", for me, is the greatest fear.

This all being said, life happens.  And in life we encounter negative moments.  I am not having a "bad day" as I traditionally relate to my situation, but am I ever having a horrible time.  In life, we get hurt.  We suffer loss.  We experience moments internally, externally, and environmentally that are "less than ideal".  For me, most recently, the demise of a very important relationship.  It is normal to feel sadness.  It is normal to feel loss.  There are a plethora of emotions that are involved in relationships and even more so, a far less appealing variant of emotions that come when a relationship ends, particularly when it's not what you want.

So yes, that was an incredibly artistic way of saying I've recently experienced heartbreak.  Such a simple concept.  A common occurrence, sadly.  And although I would love to pour the sorrows of my broken heart onto this page just to get it out of me, that is not my intention.  I mention this in the context of living with Mental Illness in addition to living through the "great tragedies" of life, and coming out of it "OK".

The sadness that has accompanied this moment in my life is intense.  But it immediately couples with the fear of sliding into depression.  Into an unmanageable state that pulls me from the vigilance of my "recovery" and ongoing need to not be complacent with my illness.  And yes, this seems so unfair to me.  Everybody, (and if not I am in envy, sinful I know) knows the torment of heartbreak.  The desire to drown our sorrows, curl up and cry, disappear from the world, throw ourselves into meaningless moments of distraction and perceived pleasure.  Unfortunately, for me, none of these are an option.  There can be know long drawn out sorrow and grieving.  I am not at liberty to throw caution to wind and blow my routine.  I have to focus on eating right, on staying active, on focusing my thoughts, getting up and going to work, training, sleeping properly...and every one of these is a struggle through my current sadness.

That being said, this challenge is so common in relation to everything I have learned to overcome.  I do not have to fear being sad.  I do not fear the loneliness, for it is far different than the fear of being alone.  I understand I have the right hurt, but I have a far greater need to not embrace that hurt as my behaviour, instead take it in moments and force myself through the rest.  There is no benefit to laying down and hoping somebody will make my day ok for me, instead, I can only focus on trying to make each of my days the best they can be.  Heartbreak, tragedy, loss, suffering, I have learned these emotions exist outside the context of my illness, so I cannot let them become a direct route back into moments of accepting unhappiness as my sentence.


  1. Meg R - Kincardine & Toronto, ONFebruary 8, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    I'm from Toronto, currently living in Kincardine. I'd love to help (doing anything for your cause) as I'm another one of the silent masses. I've had GAD, PTSD and associated depression since I was 14 and would like to donate time, writings, or whatever to you. I tried blogging about it myself in 2007-2008, but at my most unstable I, too, didn't want to write. Please feel free to drop a line megan dot rigden at yahoo dot com (it should be "dot-calm" but that's another post.). I'm SOOOOOO glad someone is finally standing up - and I'd be happy to stand with you!
    I wish I were in Toronto on the 22nd! :/

  2. Kendra, I just received notice about your upcoming talk, via my work homepage at CAMH. I am very familiar with Anxiety and Mood Disorders, through research and personal experience. I commend and encourage you to continue, it is very important that the message that these states are normal, common, and most importantly manageable - be received by everyone. Yes, it is a major challenge to do this, especially, while ‘managing’ yourself, however, you are in a privileged position and have the pulpit to do so. It is helpful and probably good for you too - I presume it also helps when you receive supportive feedback like this, which is why I'm taking the time to write it. So keep it going. Good luck. Fotis