It's been a while; I don't know how to feel about this or what I make about my absence from behind this pink laptop which is missing the letter p. I guess in a selfish manner it's been a good thing that I've not sat down and wrote about those feelings and emotions that haunted and controlled my mind for so long. In terms of the other people and the bigger picture it’s probably not been my kindest move therefore please accept my humble apologises, however I'm back and intend to try and help whoever and wherever I can.
So why the return? If you've followed my journey from the start of my dark days, which I like to refer to as my meltdown, you'll know how far I've came from where I was and how well I am doing or some day’s appear to be doing. If this is your first time reading my blogs you will be able to catch up on my journey from my wordpress account or my twitter account, I'm not going to lie you'd be better catching up on the walking dead or criminal minds box set so to save you a bit of reading I shall give you a little insight. I suffered or still suffer from a condition called PTSD. My world was filled with illogical and irrational thinking, fears, self doubt, depression, the need for safety and an abundance of self doubt and a lack of self worth. The world was a scary and horrible place for me, I cut myself off and slowly allowed the depression and anxieties to convince me life was going to be a like this forever, a constant battle, a cycle of anxious and depressive thoughts, eventually I sought help and thankfully met my amazing psychologist Laura.
Laura diagnosed the PTSD and then we began my treatment which consisted of Cognitive behavioural therapy sessions and me facing up to my fears and approaching head on the situations I was avoiding. Two and a half years later I'm here and I'm still doing well, I'm mentally stronger, I've not suffered a period of bad depression since the end of my treatment and I do not look back with regrets or look forward to the future with the same sense of apprehension as I did previous to my treatments. I do however have periods of anxiety, it’s nowhere near as often or as continuous as it was when I was at my worst but I'd say it's crippling when it takes a hold.
This is the reasoning behind this blog, a friend asked me to describe how my anxiety feels and what happens when it does get a hold of me and could I write a blog about it. I've had a couple of efforts previous to this one trying to write a blog solely about anxiety and failed. I think this is because it was always the depression that affected me the most, the depression was my greater enemy, the anxiety was fed from the depression or from the memories of the actual event that led to me suffering from PTSD, now I'm in a different place mentally and not suffering from the depression I am slowly learning and realising the affect that anxiety is having on me both mentally and physically.
So how would I describe my anxiety, it's hard, it's the most illogical thing you can imagine but also it's the most controlling thing you can imagine. I think because I underwent my treatment and learned skills how to cope with anxious thoughts, like asking myself the following, "how will this affect me in five years time?" "What is the worst that can happen?" "What are the chances of it actually happening?" I can recognise it is happening more than I could before I underwent my treatment but at times you still feel it taking control of your mind. An overwhelming feeling of dread, panic and fear, I feel my heart racing, I can feel my breathing speeding up, and I can't get the anxious or illogical voice to stop. It's so hard to explain. What makes it harder for me to grasp or comprehend now is that my fears are more illogical now than they were when I suffering from the PTSD. When I had the PTSD my fears were focused on being safe, avoiding pubs, being on the street at night, I should probably explain here that I got attacked outside a pub and it was at night, like I say it's all in my other blogs, so I can understand why I had those fears, now my fears are focused around my health and getting ill.
I'm not simply talking about catching a cold and it escalating to Man flu, I mean when I get Ill I imagine the worst case scenario. It's so illogical you wouldn't believe it. I've took 3 HIV tests this year even though I've not even put myself in a position where I'm at risk, unsurprisingly they were all clear. If I get a rash, I'm googling my symptoms to see what is up with me, it's never the most common illness I have either, it's always the worst case scenario. I know this is common and it's labeled as Health Anxiety so I'm slowly accepting it and not beating myself up about it but I've used this to highlight what I mean about anxiety, it's so illogical yet so powerful. Crippling is the best term to describe.
Sometimes my anxieties cripple me for a bit, I spend a week or so in a state of apprehension, I'm vigilant, agitated, and grumpy. I recognise it though and try to deal with it. I've found friends I can talk to about it and I do. I don't get it that often now but when I do it's horrendous however I know it's a temporary setback. I focus my thoughts and look back to where I was and where I am now. I'm nearly half way through an undergraduate psychology degree, I've got a job supporting adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, I do my voluntary role with victim support where I help support victims of crimes, I can see the difference I make to peoples life's. I'm able to spend time with my mates and go places I could only dream of when I was at my worst and all of this pulls me through.
I believe I felt the need to write this blog because I think when people look at me and see how far I've came they are both amazed and pleased for me but I don't want them thinking it was easy to get to where I am and that I am completely cured. I guess I've slowly accepted that I'll never be completely cured. I also don't want people looking at me as some kind of bench mark and saying at this stage Weasel was at this point, 6 months later he was at this point and now he’s completely cured. Anxiety and depression are unique to yourself, it's horses for courses in terms of treatments what worked for me might not work for the next man or woman. I think I felt the need to write this blog to show people that you can get better, you can recover, you can go chasing your dreams, you might take a tumble from time to time but you can pick yourself up and get back on with it. I'd say the last four or five months have been hard for me. I had about two years of positivity, confidence flowing, every day I was improving mentally, gaining strength and confidence where as the last four months or so I feel static or that there's been a slight decline but that was probably always going to happen. In fact that's what this blog is about, it's about recovery, it's about reaching out to people who are at the start of their journey and toiling thinking it can't be done and that it's a hopeless situation, it's not. It's for the people who are maybe a year in and growing in confidence, keep at it, you'll find there's more to come, chase those dreams. It's for those people who are struggling, take a few minutes and think about where you were and where you are now, there you go, you're doing better than you thought eh? It's also for those people who are where I am the now, have we recovered? Does recovery exist? Who knows but we're in far far better places than we were and personally I'm doing more and achieving more with my life than I ever did previously. I guess life gets a bit static at times, it's about focusing on the here and now and those short terms goals otherwise things will overwhelm you and that cycle of anxious and depressive thoughts returns, I'm not allowing that to happen again.
I actually don't know if I could imagine my life without anxiety, in a way I think it plays a part in a lot of the positive aspects about me. I think what I do now is a make light of my daft traits and my anxious ways. I try to make people aware of them. It's me, it’s what makes me unique, I've slowly learned everyone has these traits, most people have anxious thoughts or worry, it’s just that society makes it hard for people to open up and discuss their mental health, it's all about how you control it and approach life. I hope this blog has made some kind of sense, I dare say there's a few out there who will see elements and relate, there's a few who will mock and there's a few who will still think I'm a specky pest. However this is life and I'd rather have it than not. If you’re a toiling, never ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk to me, I’m a good listener and it goes no further.
oh and if you want to read my blogs you can find them on @weaselblogs I also have my own account @theweasel1980 if you wish to follow my moments where I'm not anxious, these tend to be spent drunk, at work or writing essays so sadly you won't be entertained.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and apologises for the poor use of the English language, I'm not a writer and it’s also pretty hard trying not to swear.
Love and peace
My real name is Kevin, Just in case you wish to know this. Not many do, however my Mother spent 20 minutes thinking about it so I feel the need to use it from time to time.
Follow Kevin's Blog: https://whitburn1980.wordpress.com
Follow on Twitter: @weaselblogs
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