I go through these stages in life. One month, on top and feeling optimistic about the world and life and all that is in it. The next I’m hiding away, things feel fragile, vulnerable and to be honest, don’t have the oomph to shower. This is normal for me. At least I thought it was. But last week, I hit, well more like crashed completely, into a wall.
I woke up 7am as always, husband at work and me preparing the kids to get us all to work and nursery on time. It’s our routine. Routine is what I function and flourish off. Nothing changed. 8:10am, I’m standing at the door. I can’t open it. I can’t go into the world. I panic and cry and shut myself away.
But what happened? And why? Nothing had changed, no triggers, no actions. Just collapse.
My life has been a fairly emotional and rocky one. Being 26 and a parent I can now acknowledge that I did suffer a lot of early life disturbance – but it’s not something I have ever chosen to let dictate my life or define my mental health. Instead, using it to try and make me a better, kinder person. People telling me ‘you are so strong and independent with what you have dealt with‘. I don’t know if this is a positive or negative concerning mental health because what happens when that mindset falls. When you don’t feel strong and independent anymore. The complete opposite, being dependent on my husband to help me venture outside the house to busy public places or my in-laws to take my children to nursery when I can’t let the outside world in. It’s something that rings out loudly in your ears when you aren’t that person anymore. Anxiety shouting out inside that you are broken.
Since the age of 8, there has been a crack. Let’s say some ‘issues’ within the ‘family’. Again at 17 after years of rising back through circumstances unmade for a child, it broke. Support system departed in the form of my Nanna’s passing. Here I am at 26 years old, still suffering the social, emotional and mental effects of earlier life. I didn’t realise this is the root but 9 days into sick leave and somewhat reflecting, it’s easier to see some reasons. But harder to deal with and confront with having to solider out adulthood, parenthood and overall life responsibilities. How can situations from the past so long ago, still have some kind of way of lingering and dragging you into a bubble you weren’t aware existed?
This same circle had to be broken. My ‘normal’ had to change. I can’t keep living this repetitive life in the hopes that one day I will wake up feeling over it. This storm cloud needed to happen so I can then learn about myself on another level and grow and move past this stage. At the moment it’s hard to see a way past this, I can’t imagine my life without having a bad mental health month every other month but addressing it is the first step. Accepting that you do struggle at times, that something isn’t adding up in your head and that this isn’t the person you feel you are, is a milestone in itself.
Growing up and seeing mental health effect people in my life, absolutely made me create my own stigma in my mind about how I would never be that way, how could anyone ever be that way? Well here I am. 26 years old, no longer an 8-year-old child confused by actions of people, by feelings or lack of them shared. Understanding that it is okay to accept you have mental health matters. But also knowing you have reached for the help and support needed, and that progress (and setbacks) will, must, surely can follow.
It’s okay not to be okay.