When you have spent the last 13 years sharing your mental health journey and telling people about your battle as you want them to know the signs so they don’t have to experience it; you never think you will let it happen again. Well that didn’t go so well.
Three weeks ago I had my second nervous breakdown just over a decade after my first. Teaching others, using all the lessons I have learned and the self-improvement tools given to me at courses I have attended just flew out the window. I always like to think I was in charge of my destiny. Thinking I can handle anything that came my way. I had been through the darkness and found the light. I could handle anything that came my way. Well… I definitely employed a lot of the techniques that I have been taught over the years, so that I am more measured, more pragmatic and accepting of what happens to me and around me. However sadly I have learned the hard way that arrogance and ignorance are an ugly partnership.
The last three weeks have been in some ways more challenging than my first breakdown. They are different. They are not as severe. Which means that the guilt of being off work, and not being able to perform daily tasks was frustrating and caused a lot of self loathing. The new addition to the mix this time around was the Agoraphobia and the Short Term memory loss. Again, a nice sprinkle of frustration and self doubt on why I was so scared to be out of the house when I was such a social person, as well as when my boyfriend would say something to me about his day, and two minutes later I couldn’t recall even having the conversation. I feel a failure every day.
This time it is different. It feels like a different part of my brain has fused. I feel like I am employing all the tools and training I learned the last time, so that bit of the brain is all functioning to its best in the current circumstances. However there is this new part which feels so inhibiting, which I have never experienced before (or cannot recall this from the last breakdown). For someone like me who is Miss Project Planner (everything I do has a spreadsheet), Miss OCD (Obsessive CALENDAR disorder – where everything gets put in the calendar) and Miss FixYou (let me help you sort your life out and talk you through a plan), daily tasks even like brushing my teeth are an achievement. Some things come naturally but other things seem daunting. Feeding the cats twice every day. This seems logical. However in a morning this is easy, on an evening this is not. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!!
Also, I don’t know whether you have found this, but having people around me has helped me focus. When I am on my own – forget it. But when I have my friends, family or boyfriend with me, I feel I can achieve anything (well… within reason). I want to try and attempt a trip to the countryside. I want to attempt a walk around the block. However when I am alone, the front door seems like the gates of hell and I am going to be swallowed in to the abyss. The anxiety is life draining. I feel like things that seemed so simple a month ago are like asking me to climb Mount Everest with just a pair of converse and a sandwich. These are the battles that are my biggest fear right now. And they creep up behind me and jump out from behind.
Just when I think I have made one giant leap forward, I always seem to be taking two humongous steps back.