I’ve been quite all week, I haven’t really had any thoughts. I sort of feel numb, I don’t really know how to feel, about anything really. Just completely numb.
I’ve worked my whole life, from the day I turned sixteen, I’ve had a job and I’ve worked every day since, even when I was at university, I worked full-time hours, non stop, making money, meeting new people, trying new things, trying to get all the hours I could just so I could afford nice things and pay my bills. But now I don’t. I haven’t worked for around two months now, I’m nearly three months behind on all my bills and falling deeper into a massive hole of debt all at the cost of my mental health.
I’m not your average twenty-four year old, I’ve been through things most people (hopefully) never will. Since I turned eighteen my life just started to spiral out of control. With a lot of baggage from my childhood that have only recently came to light, I became a professional at sweeping things under the carpet and carrying on. My best friend, Emmah, passed away just before the end of sixth form. She suffered with cystic fibrosis her whole life and after eighteen years of fighting she had finally had enough. After she died I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it, I lost my licence to drink driving a few months later. Her death seemed to have a nasty effect on our friend group and a few months later I got beat up by people who I considered to be my best friends. They followed me home and beat me to a pulp, all over a boy and Emmah’s death, ridiculous. I had to travel to Liverpool the next day to start university, all with a broken nose, two black eyes, and zero confidence. Nothing ever came of them assaulting me and they got away with it. I struggled to make friends at university because I was so scared of friendship and opening up to people. I felt ashamed of who I was and how my life was turning out. But I survived, like I always have. My number one survival technique was to continue to keep pushing any bad feelings or thoughts under the carpet and it worked for a long time.
The same people who beat me up the first time, attacked me again when I came home from university for a short break. I hadn’t seen them in over a year so there was still a lot of bad blood there. One of them followed me into the side bar and grabbed my hair. This time I stuck up for myself and ended up going through a three-year court case which ended in me having an assault charge. I’ll never forget the smug look on her face when I pleaded guilty to assault. I plead guilty because I couldn’t face a trail and I was constantly being threatened with prison, I wanted it to be over so I done it. It’s something I’ll always regret, I had the evidence that I was innocent and purely acting out in self-defence but I had had enough. I got a slap on the wrist and nothing more, thankfully because of my character references and the history I had with the girls worked in my favour. I still have a criminal record though, which is shit. But I believe in karma and I believe it will come.
After all the drama and intensity of the court case I continued to brush everything away, because it worked for me. I graduated university with a 2:1 and took myself of travelling. I remember standing on a beach in Cambodia and feeling so overwhelmed with sadness, the water was so clear and you could see the different colours of blue, the sand was white and the beers were cheap, how could I be sad? I travelled for around six to seven months and seen so many beautiful places, from the kangaroos running wild in Australia to the millions of motor bikes in Vietnam, the endless Pad Thai’s and street food in Thailand, watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia but I was still so sad.
I thought, ‘I must be homesick, there’s no other explanation’ so I went home. I seen my family, my dogs, I got a job in the bank, I felt like I was back on track, but the sadness never left. Around this time last year I had my break down, I took three weeks of work and I didn’t think I would ever work again. I started medication and after a few weeks I began to feel ‘better’, I mean I felt numb but I didn’t feel sad anymore. I stopped crying all the time and my anxiety wasn’t as intense. So that’s good right? Or so I thought.
A few months passed and the sadness began to creep back, my anxiety was through the roof and I developed this deep burning rage of anger because I was so frustrated. It got to the stage that I had to leave my job, a job where I had recently been promoted, a place where I had amazing friends, made decent money, and seemed to be happy. But one day it all just stopped, my panic attacks were that intense that I couldn’t get myself out of them, no one could and they went on for hours. I began to become extremely suicidal and it was all that I thought about, it completely clouded my thoughts. I would sit and cry for hours because I didn’t want to die but it seemed like the only right thing to do. I couldn’t stop self harming myself but not my cutting my wrists or body, I picked my head to the point that my fingers were covered in blood and I would be in so much pain but I couldn’t stop, I still can’t. I decided to move back home with my mum and I had to explain to her how I was feeling, she didn’t take it very well and her initial reaction was anger. How could her daughter want to end her life? But after a few weeks she came around and she’s been amazing ever since, she wants to learn and understand and that’s more than I could ever ask for. I got my medication upped to a higher dosage but unfortunately it’s still not what I need.
Everyday I wake up and pray that the last few years have just been a bad dream but it’s my life and I’m working on it. I’m currently waiting to see a physiotherapist in December, so I’m hopeful that I’ll eventually get the help that I need. This wasn’t where I was going with this but it’s were I’ve ended up. I know this is just a blip in my life that I’ll hopefully be able to look back and see how far I’ve come. But right now I’m taking it day by day because that’s all I can do right now. My bills can wait, a job can wait, because my life and staying alive is more important to me right now.
If your feeling in any way similar to the way I do, please reach out, people care, life is hard but you are harder. Just breathe and take each day as it comes, the good and the bad. It’s just a blip. Only a blip.
I’ve been thinking about writing a blog for a long time but constantly fearing that people will think I’m crazy for talking about the way I feel or the things I experience but today I thought ‘Fuck it, this is shit.’
Today I was supposed to go to a friends daughters birthday party, so I got a shower but when I got out my whole mood had changed. I suddenly started shaking and couldn’t breathe properly, my eyes starting rolling around my head and I thought I was going to pass out. ‘I can’t go, there’s no way I can,’ so I lay on my bed and hoped it would pass. Two hours later I was still lying there thinking of what I could say. I couldn’t tell her I was on the verge of a panic attack because of her party because I actually wanted to go, I wanted to see her. But it was so much more, this feeling I suddenly had no control over. My ears began to ring and I couldn’t even lift my arms to dry my hair, I felt so weak.
Unfortunately I’ve got the stage that even the thought of leaving the house is too much. The fear of people, the fear of talking, the fear of people talking about me or noticing how strange I’m being. Noticing that I’m constantly fidgeting, stuttering when I speak, or talking too fast, being distant or being over friendly, picking my head, curling my toes, fuck me the list goes on. It’s torture. But the mad thing is I probably look normal to the average person but on the inside I’m wanting to run home and die.
So I didn’t go to the party and instead I decided to walk to the shop and get some fresh air. What a mistake that was. I don’t usually go places on my own anymore because I get myself into such a state and usually need to escape to my mums car just to breathe. But I tried it. I couldn’t breathe properly as I walked there but I thought it was just because I was walking and I’m probably extremely unfit. I got to the shop, took a deep breath and walked in. I took about 10 steps and had to stop, I started looking at crisps but couldn’t focus on picking any, so I tried to ring my mum just so I had someone to try calm me down. I got down the first aisle and I had to stop again, I couldn’t breathe, I felt like someone was pushing onto my chest and everything started going blurry around me. I stood there and noticed I was standing by syrups to put in coffee or milkshakes and things to bake with, both of which I had absolutely zero interest in, I just needed to calm myself down and in that corner there was no people so it was ok.
Shopping on a Saturday, on the 1st of December, trolleys, baskets, people everywhere, talking, shouting and loud music. My mum finally rang me back and I started to walk down the next aisle and I told her I thought I was going to pass out and I honestly thought, ‘I’m not making it out of this shop’ but I continued. I couldn’t feel my legs and I was soaking with sweat, finding myself starring at things I didn’t need to buy, just so people wouldn’t notice I was shaking with anxiety and about to drop to the floor. I got to the till and couldn’t make eye contact with anyone because all they would see is the fear in my eyes. I got my stuff and I left. All I had to do now was walk home. But what a fucking experience. Get me home to fuck.
Moral to this story is that anxiety is so much more than being nervous . It’s so much more than getting butterflies in your belly because your meeting new people or starting a new job, or going to a new place. It’s more than the nerves you get when your about to perform in a show or sing a song, I used to be able to do both and now I couldn’t even imagine performing in a play or letting anyone hear me sing. It’s the constant fear of feeling trapped, feeling that you can’t walk, can’t hear, the shaking, praying that people don’t notice. It’s being completely fine and then hearing a noise that makes you want to run and hide. It’s not being able to sit in the waiting room at the doctors because everything is moving around you and you feel that you can hear every single person in that room breathe, feeling like all eyes are on you, when none of them are. Being so scared to leave because people will think, ‘what the fuck is wrong with her,’ but having to force yourself to get up and leave anyway. It’s crying outside because you hate that you feel like this and having to hide in the toilet just so no one can see you. It’s just so much more. The list goes on and unfortunately I’m experiencing more and more of these horrible situations everyday.
It’s not being able to keep a job because your constantly battling with yourself and constantly living in fear just being there. It’s being around people you love and feeling exhausted when you get home because it’s so hard to pretend how happy and fine you are. It’s sleeping for 12 hours not because your tired but because your just drained. It’s a non stop fight with your body and your brain when all you want is a good nights sleep and a ‘normal’ life. Ha normal.
I’ve not felt like this all my life but the past few years it’s got progressively worse, to the point where all I want to do is die because it’s so hard and dying seems easier. Don’t get me wrong some days are better than other but it’s the bad days that seem to take over.
I know there’s other people out there that are like me, some not so bad and some even worse, and we’re all troopers. Absolute TROOPERS. There’s no bigger battle than the battle with yourself.
All I want to do is find myself again and breath. Breathe and breathe and breathe.
Ps sorry for the swearing, get used to it.
Welcome to my weird and wonderful messy world.
I also love Matt Haig, read his books people.