Sometimes, the world just seems impossible to exist in. Sometimes, 8 years of having to battle with your own mind just seems too much. Sometimes, trying to lead the life I ultimately want to live seems out of reach. But despite all that, I still get up every single morning and try my best. Even when my best just doesn’t feel good enough. Even when I feel like I’m not good enough and completely irrelevant.
It’s far too easy to focus on all the things that I struggle with when my mind is tormenting me, but I need to remember to give myself credit that I’m still standing. Despite all the odds, I’m still here and doing things with my life. Without trying to sound like a broken record, I’m still constantly trying to live the life I ultimately want to live. That takes a resilience that people without mental health issues could never truly understand, and I want to tell every single one of you that is in the same boat as I am: I’m really bloody proud of you. Of us.
For so long I’ve tried to plod along, putting things that have happened in my life down as being ‘just a bit shit’, but really, they’ve been traumatic events. Things that I need to work on. Things that I didn’t think still affected me. Do I blame myself often? Yep. My mind often wanders to how could a bright person (look at me acknowledging that I’m not stupid) let myself be in that position, let alone for that long. However, a wise woman once told me (hi mum!):
Put a frog in boiling water and it will jump out. Put a frog in water and bring it to the boil, it doesn’t realise until it’s too late.
It scares me how much trauma lingers, and how it can infiltrate other areas of my life when I least expect it. I liken some of my responses to things and thought patterns to Pavlov’s dogs: being conditioned to believe that bad things will happen if I speak. That because X happens, Y is inevitable. I know this isn’t how it works, but rewiring my neural networks is hard and it’s disheartening when it takes so long. Even more disheartening when things happen, and the exact same feelings come flooding back. It genuinely feels like I’m doing 1 step forward and 2 steps back sometimes.
I know that these experiences, no matter how traumatic, have shaped me into the person I am today. I have learnt from some of them and grown from others (high five for not taking shit from people anymore). However, it’s still hard. 8 years is a long time fighting the bully in my head. It’s exhausting. It can be extremely lonely, especially as I tend to just close myself off. Go into shut-down mode as a protective mechanism: can’t say anything wrong if you don’t say anything at all, right?
I guess I just want to change my default settings so that it’s not automatically to self-destruct, shut down and self-sabotage. And I just hope that with time, I will be able to change it. Until then, I’m just trying to focus on ‘what is’ happening rather than the ‘what ifs’ that plague my mind sometimes. Focus on everything I have managed to achieve whilst still dealing with a bully of a brain. I might feel irrelevant, useless and like a waste of space – but it doesn’t necessarily make it fact.