Cannot find the comfort in this world

The process of recovery from TBI is not a straight line. Its a line that wiggles, zig zags, shoot off round corners and does u turns on occasion. A ‘good’ day in the journey is not a guarantee that tomorrow will be. Yesterday was a horrible day. I was anxious and panicking for most of the day. I had not encountered anxiety for a while so its re-emergence was a unwelcome addition, like a fart in a lift.

Sometimes the anxiety can strike for seemingly no reason and when it hits it’s like “the sky is falling in” as my fellow TBI survivor D put it. Treating anxiety as a part of yourself to try and process it is difficult because your brain is screaming ‘RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! DANGER!’

Recovery is difficult, it impacts on everything. I have a small business to run, this blog to maintain and appointments to attend as well as my daily battle with my foes. On a day like yesterday where I was completely CONVINCED I was dying it’s difficult to do anything. Socks don’t get packed and posted, blogs go unwritten and the door doesn’t get answered. This is not good for business, customers neither understand nor care that you have been leaping around the house like a jumping bean trying not to die. This leads to questions about maybe giving up the business for a while. Another thing that recovery ‘takes’.

But, and this is the real downer, positive steps in recovery are also scary.

You would think to progress is good news, it’s something to be pleased about. Well yes it is but it *feels* scary.  Imagine, you’ve been a certain way for a while (in my case nearly 11 months) you’ve been through this huge trauma, you’ve put coping mechanisms in place for the droopy eyes, the fatigue, the anxiety. Your world became very small and safe and that’s all you deal with for now thank you very much. Then one day your eyes don’t feel droopy anymore or you have a surge of energy or you start dealing with the agoraphobia and Bam! everything becomes scary again. The energy isn’t something to be happy about it’s something ‘different’ that you don’t know how to cope with. The outside world becomes massive and unmanageable, people and places are suddenly the new enemy.

This is when the hard work starts again, you have to adjust your coping mechanisms to incorporate the new things and that kicks off the anxiety and depression again. This will happen with every milestone and it’s exhausting. It’s a side to recovery probably not understood by most because getting better is a good thing right? Well of course it is, but it’s not easy. Nothing is easy on this journey. I wish for a day where it feels like swimming with the tide instead of against it. A day without fear would be a welcome relief.

I’ll be entering my second year of recovery in October. Second year. Being ill for a week is difficult, so imagine 12 months of it. I have days where I feel that I don’t have the energy anymore, it has to end soon. Please. But I wake up every morning and start again because what other choice is there?


Who knows where the time goes?

It was my intention upon writing this blog to keep it updated frequently but I just looked and my last post was in January. January and it’s now April!

So where are we now? Well it’s supposed to be Spring but its not doing a very good job of it at the moment. I’m still in Belfast, still waiting to start work and still overthinking everything.

I wasn’t sure what to write about this time but figured in the spirit of being honest about myself as with my other posts, I decided to do a bit of a serious(ish) piece on mental health.

I’ll be honest with you all I am struggling. A lot. I have had bouts of depression and anxiety on and off throughout my life. I thought I finally defeated it a few years ago after a bit of a breakdown and time in hospital where there was a man on my corridor who kept shouting ‘sausages’.

But the black dog has returned with a vengeance, mainly due to facing my own mortality and subsequent cabin fever from the brain burst.

There’s a little video I love about depression:

I had a Black Dog

I have been having CBT recently to combat the crippling anxiety I have been experiencing. There are days when I would be shaking constantly just because in my subconscious there is fear. I seem to be scared of everything now. My primitive mind is trying to protect my body by making me cautious but it’s gone a bit overboard, bless it.

One day I’m fine the next day I want to disappear off the planet. The really fun days are the massive panic attacks when I feel like I’m done for and have to lie on the floor to ground myself (not so easy in the Co-op I can tell you).

I am avoiding social situations because of the fear. Fear of what exactly? I’m not entirely sure. In all seriousness I am tired, sweaty, shaky, scared and sad. I have lost all my confidence and feel unsure of myself and can’t make decisions.

I am no longer me

I have lost myself somewhere

Sometimes I don’t have the fight left anymore to even try and get through the day, sometimes I feel invisible. I’m stuck in a place where I don’t want to live but I don’t want to die either.

I used to find joy in life, I used to be busy and active and fit.

I’m just hoping one day that person can come out of hiding and live in my body again. All I know is I want to stop crying and feeling scared and have fun again. I want to enjoy the fresh start I have and my lovely other half who is like a sponge and soaks up my anxieties and supports me. He must be tired now too though. So I also want to do it for him.