I was standing in my kitchen realising that every part of me ached. My arms and legs felt like lead weights. My back had no strength to hold me upright and my head pounded constantly. Maybe it was the flu? This was no flu or bug. This was something that made minutes seem like endless days and the last few months feel like an eternity.
As tired as my mind was it still found the strength to carry on it’s now daily patter:
‘I must have done something wrong. Made a mistake? Said the wrong thing? Maybe it’s because I’m not clever enough! Maybe I’m stupid? Maybe I don’t look right? Maybe I should be thinner? Maybe I dress wrong? Too young or too frumpy and plain? Maybe I’m just odd! Odd and unlikable! Maybe I’m weird? So weird people just look at me and laugh! Weird, not normal? Maybe everyone feels like this but I’m weak, so I can’t take it? Weak and pathetic! Weak and boring!! What is WRONG with me?’
To be honest I was exhausted. Nausea, dread and doom weighed heavily in my stomach. Yet again I was unable to eat, and this was always a trigger. The fear dialogue started marching through my brain, arguing with any rational or constructive thought.
It’s time to eat. I can’t eat. You need to eat! I don’t want to. You must eat! I don’t want to eat. I might be sick! You need to keep calm. I’m trying to keep calm! If I don’t eat I will feel weak and if I feel weak I might faint! You won’t faint! I might! I might be sick and lose my appetite completely. If I can’t eat, I could end up in hospital being force fed. That won’t happen. They threatened me with it before. Look just eat something small. You can do this! I can’t eat…I’m almost gagging now. Oh Lord I’m doing it again. I’ll let my family down again and then they will get ill too. I might never feel better. That’s it, I’m never going to feel ok. There’s something so wrong with me. Calm down! Stop this! I can’t stop this. My heart feels like it’s going to explode out of my chest. My mouth is so dry I can’t swallow. I’m so pathetic and soon everyone will see me for the fake I really am. I’m such a wimp, such a useless person. How could anyone really love me? One day everyone will give up on me and I will be totally alone. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t catch my breath. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t! BAM! PANIC!
Adrenaline raced through my body as a scream erupted from the pit of my stomach. A sound so raw, so primal it would have frightened anyone that heard it. I fell to the floor sobbing, retching, a mess of tears and snot. I babbled incoherently convinced this was it. Panic was no stranger but this time it was different. This time it was taking no prisoners. I was being swallowed whole by my pain and nothing could stop it. The darkness I lived in fear of, the nightmare of madness was finally engulfing my whole existence. Nothing was saving me this time! Nothing would stop this murderous chaos in my head. This was it! Hell, and all its demons were devouring me and there was nothing I could do about it. I was about to stop existing ……I was about to be annihilated!
This event happened over 5 years ago and yet it still brings tears to my eyes when I recall the pain and distress, I endured. During my 23-year battle with ill mental health these episodes grew in ferocity gradually evolving and earning yet another diagnosis. Clinical diagnoses included Post Natal depression, Suicidal thoughts and Plans, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Recurring Depressive Mood Disorder. Although I was repeatedly assured these were chemical imbalances and therefore not my fault, I wore these labels with shame.
I am currently reducing my antidepressants and I would like to share this journey, hence blogging :-)