I have found there is a certain conflict in this process of blogging. It feels as though I should always be writing from strength, speaking through successes and offering hope in my ability to live productively with Mental Illness. It has been a challenge for me to allow myself to share the "down" times. However, for anybody who lives with disease, any disease, the unquestionable truth is that there is indeed "down" time. There are days that just don't go as planned, that no matter how hard we try and how many tools of coping we engage, it's just not a great day. The success I have found comes in accepting those moments for what they are and living through them.
I remember when I first started to feel some alleviation from the symptoms of my original diagnosis of severe anxiety and depression, I was petrified. What if is comes back? I would feel a familiar twinge of panic or sadness and embrace it as though I was heading back to ground zero. Over the years, I have learned to place that. Accept that this is an illness I will live with for the rest of my life and embrace those moments as obstacles to overcome and new lessons to learn.
This all being said, I feel perhaps my decision to hide those moments from this blog is not only unnecessary but also limiting. I know my success in living with this illness has come from overcoming the hard times, not only embracing the good times. Moving forward, my resolution is to sit down in the hardest of moments as well, share the experience, allow myself to be revealed.
So there is my commitment to this blog for the new year. Would love to hear about your resolutions?
I hope the Holiday Season brought love and happiness for everybody, and the New Year is full of promise and new adventure. Much love to all, and thank you for your continued support.
Follow my personal journey. Learn more about what it is to live with Mental Illness. Experience my ups and downs and see what it takes to overcome them. Most importantly, help me to spread the word and join the efforts to destigmatize Mental Health.
I have had some requests for my accounts from when I first started "getting sick". I guess my memory is intact because it takes very little to recall those days. The fear. The uncertainty. The embarrassment. The sense of failure. All very curious emotions to be tied to "illness". Hopefully in time, and with the right words, I will be able to help you understand where embarrassment and failure tie into living with Mental Illness. However I will start with my beginning; or at least my beginning with this disease. Once again I am going to offer some of my writing from the time, as I find it most insightful and without the prejudice of having learned to manage and cope. It is my hope that this will allow you to see the fear, the desperation and the sense of absolute terror that comes with not knowing! With the feeling that your world is spiralling out of control with no understanding or preparation. And worst of all, the feeling that admitting it will only result in judgement, criticism, and affirmation of weakness. This was written shortly after I was diagnosed;
I tried to continue on, pretending I had never seen her. But she started coming around more and more. She was there in my inability to eat. I would wake up in the middle of the night and she would be laying there next to me, a reflection in my window. She haunted me, containing me to my apartment. I became terrified of being alone with her. I had accepted I couldn't help her. So I ran. I tried to get as far away from this girl as I could. But no matter what I did, she followed me. She forced me inside myself to a place I'd never been. And even once I realized where I was, I had no clue where to find me. All I knew was I couldn't help her. That scared me. The problem with running is eventually you hit a wall. And when I hit the wall, people noticed. They noticed because I couldn't hide anymore. But mainly they noticed because Team Canada was forced to issue a press release stating I was leaving camp that year. That was my first formal introduction to that scared little girl. She sat next to me on the flight to camp in Calgary that year. She stood next to me on the ice during that first practice. She followed me back to my dorm room that afternoon, and she cornered me. There I sat, alone with her, petrified as she walked over to me and sat down next to me. Only when I turned to look at her she was gone. I couldn't see her, relief took over for a moment. I stood and walked towards the door and there she was. She stood right in front of me staring back at me from that cold hard mirror. I didn't find myself that day, but I found her. I knew at that moment I was gone, this was my replacement. It was my replacement that sat with the Team Canada coaches the next morning. I remember being asked if it would help knowing they wanted my to play for Team Canada in the Four Nations tournament that year. My response in that moment was torture, but I knew I couldn't stay, I was no longer there. That scared little girl wasn't a hockey player. She was simply fighting for each and ever breath. I could not share my dream with her.
A New Beginning
Well here it is. After some very prompt feedback as to whether there would be a benefit to me adding a blog to my online presence, here I am. That being said, setting up a blog is not as easy as I thought it would be. I anticipate getting in touch with some of my more technical friends to ensure this is as pretty and functional as it should be. So today, having exhausted my desire to be on my computer much longer with creating this forum, I thought I would share something I wrote a couple years after I was diagnosed. I guess a sort of intro to the content you may find here and a testament to the perseverance I have needed to pull on time and again. That being said, there have been many struggles, many battles lost and won, but in the end I am here. I am living very productively with purpose and dreams, something I feared I would never achieve. And what's best, I feel it is possible for so many more to wake up with the happiness and sense of purpose I have rediscovered through learning to live with my Anxiety/Panic and Depression. There is such an incredible life to be lived.
Written in 2004
And lost again is where I find myself, I know I've been here before, I remember. I remember it down to the most intricate detail. I remember how the light of the sun seems a little less bright. How it makes the beauty of the sunset a little less captivating. I remember how I have the power to overlook everything good. But I seem to forget that is all my choice. I choose to wake up with a meaningless focus. I choose to focus on what is less, on all that is bad. I have the power to change. I know I need help again. But I am only just starting to learn it is my help that I need most.
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)