“Let me tell you about scared. Your heart is beating so hard, I can feel it through your hands. There’s so much blood and oxygen pumping through your brain, it’s like rocket fuel! Right now, you could run faster and you can fight harder, you could jump higher than ever in your life. And you’re so alert, it’s like you can slow down time. What’s wrong with scared? Scared is a super power. It’s your super power.”
The 12th Doctor, Listen
I hate to have to start this post with a content warning but I feel it is important to do so. In this post I talk about Anxiety, Depression, Stroke, Mental Illness & Therapy. If you are affected by any of these issues please feel free to close the page. Thank you.
Rough Times Ahead
I know my original intention when setting up this site was to talk a bit about my mental health and how it affects my life but the sad truth is, I’ve been too scared to do so. I have five separate posts in my drafts about various things that are at various stages of completion that I just can’t bring myself to finish as it is too hard to do so. Even sitting here typing this now I can feel a tremendous weight on my chest, my breathing is laboured and I am getting pins and needles in my fingertips from the anxiety but alas.
Back in September real life got way to much for me, I visited family for a few days and while I was there my father had a stroke and my world fell apart. All through my life my father has been a beacon of strength to me, even through his illness’ and divorce from my mother he kept on joking and smiling (comedy is how we deal with things in my family) and as long as he kept doing that then things couldn’t be that bad, but this was different. For the first time in my life my father didn’t have any jokes and didn’t have something witty to say, he thought he was going to die and it lay heavy in the air.
Now fortunately my father didn’t die and he did start making jokes again while in the hospital, he made me and my brother laugh so much at one point we were asked by the doctor to wait outside.
Eventually my father was returned home and I could do the same and get back to my partner, however real life can be a real bitch sometimes and the day after I returned my partners father collapsed while out and was rushed into hospital with a perforated bowel.
After he was given the all clear after two major surgeries I was hoping that everything could calm down return to some semblance of normality. But something in me had broken, I know it sounds selfish (nothing had happened to me after all) but I just couldn’t cope. I had kept a brave face on it through my father’s stroke for my siblings (despite one of them arguing like a ten-year old) and I tried to be there for my partner through the ordeal with her old man but after we were out of the woods I just broke.
For the last couple of months I have regressed back to what I was like when I first moved to England, I don’t really leave my room anymore and I find it almost impossible to leave the house by myself. Even when I’ve got appointments or places to be I can find myself stood by the door for twenty minutes just panicking on the verge of tears, finding it impossible to just grab the door handle.
Even things that normally keep me level have been ineffective, I have been avoiding my friends online and in real life because I’m to ashamed to face them. Whenever I get a message on WhatsApp to ask if I’m going to be around it just really upsets me that I’m letting everyone down. I didn’t even go for a scheduled meal for my birthday because I couldn’t face going outside. Needless to say, I’ve been in a bad place.
Now before all this started I finally got CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) appointments sorted out after five or six years of practically begging for it and it was going great. Me and the guy got on really well and it felt like we were getting somewhere with some of the techniques and talking therapy we were doing.
Then last week I had a bombshell dropped on me, next week (today as of time of writing) was to be my last appointment with him. Well he might as well have slugged me in the stomach and caused my father to have another stroke the way I reacted, I just broke down crying. He was (understandably) confused and asked why I found that so upsetting and I explained.
The reality of it is, when these appointments are done with I have no “official” line of support left. Throughout the years of my illness I have had four psychologists (three of which left the area and the last one, well the less said about him the better), three community nurses and four different support groups all of which come with a limited time frame.
When this last appointment is over (again, today as time of writing) I am back to struggling on my own for the forseeable future. I can be re-refered to the services but that could take months or even years to restart (I was waiting for five years for this one to start).
Me and this guy were getting on really well and I genuinely believe that we were getting somewhere with my therapy but I just wasn’t given enough time. I think it is entirely cruel to give people a limited amount of appointments and then make them wait months or years to get those same appointments again. This has been my life for the last decade effectively, going from service to service having limited time, being booted back to start and waiting again and this time, with everything that’s been happening around it all, I am really worried for my future sanity.
Now the only thing I want made clear in this is that I do not blame the NHS or local Mental Health Services at all, we are currently in the middle of a mental health crisis and the NHS is extremely underfunded at the moment to deal with it. Without these services I don’t even want to know what kind of state I would be in at the moment, or even if I would still be around to complain about it.
It is going to be a tricky few months I’m certain but I do acknowledge I am a very lucky man, I’ve got a very loving partner who somehow has stuck with me through all this, I’ve got great friends who don’t judge me for anxieties and I’ve got my family who are always very supportive.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health then please please please don’t suffer alone. Use the NHS service finder to find your local mental health services, ring the Samaritans or talk to your GP. One of the worst things about mental health problems is feeling that you are alone and if there’s one thing I can guarantee you, it’s that you’re not. Take care of yourselves over the holidays and I’ll see you next time.
Appropriately the song I’ve been listening to on repeat while writing this, the line “I only wish the good times would last a little longer” seems too apt though. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to play Guitar Hero for some reason.