I wrote the core of this in a Facebook post earlier this week. I’ve decided to add to what I wrote there for a post here.
Tuesdays are now my busiest days, I plan for the tiredness that follows by usually having fairly quiet days on Mondays and Wednesdays. Tuesdays are busy because of things I choose to do so I am not complaining just noting for background to this post that they are busy.
Last Tuesday though I also got hit by nebulous anxiety and wobbly emotions. Part of my difficulties could have been caused by one of the cats staying out until 1am Monday morning. It was very unlike her so I worried and had trouble settling to sleep. Eventually I chose to check at the back door just one more time at 1am and there she was at the door! I settled to sleep fairly quickly after that knowing she was safe and sound. Part of the difficulties could also be worrying about my lad going out on an overnight camping trip with a group from school. Camping for the inexperienced is challenging and this trip included a fair amount of walking too as it was a practice for a Duke of Edinburgh Award overnight expedition (I think that’s the Bronze level). I worried about how this was going all that day and the next until I saw him again and heard that it had gone reasonably well.
Part of my problems on Tuesday could have been hormonal, although I don’t usually get the emotional surges at that stage in my cycle, anything is possible though.
All I really know is that I struggled emotionally on and off all day. I carried on with my usual Tuesday activities which include some hours of voluntary work at a Riding for the Disabled Association stables in Glasgow. Usually after a bit of time at the stables whatever emotional state I might have been in when I arrived is soothed with the presence of horses and in the feelings of being useful. Not on this occasion. I cried; at the stables; in front of people! Fortunately I held it together during the lessons where I was leading horses but between one lesson and another I cracked. Those that saw me were lovely about it by the way, tea was applied and soothing company. I was asked if I wanted to be alone but I wasn’t really sure so someone stayed with me for a while. After a bit I calmed down enough to feel able to help out in another lesson side walking this time before leaving to collect my daughter from school.
I remained a bit mentally and emotionally wobbly throughout the rest of the day but didn’t break down again in the same way. I struggled through.
This is me as well in terms of my mental health as I’ve been for a very long time. I still get odd times like this. Fortunately at the last appointment I had with psychologist she said that there might still be times when I struggled. This wouldn’t necessarily mean it was a relapse as the journey to improved mental health is not usually a smooth one, it may just mean a wobble, a temporary dip that I would be able to move beyond myself without seeking further assistance. In this case I feel that is exactly what this was, a temporary dip in the journey rather than the beginnings of a relapse.
Many of my friends struggle with mental health on a daily basis. The type of experience I have shared here is the tip of the unseen iceburg of mental health. It’s hard to talk about situations like these, hard to experience. It is even harder trying to explain this type of thing to someone who has never experienced levels of anxiety, stress or depression that have affected their health to the stage of needing medication, counselling or both either long or short term.
And so I’m writing this for those who can’t find the words to explain. I get it. I have struggled with finding the words, I still do.
I’m writing this for me, something I can look back on and say this is where I was then. A year after a period of my life where I was on medication, having nasty anxiety attacks and beginning counselling. This is a major improvement and this is a part of who I am and I am proud of who I am!
I’m also writing this for those that haven’t had these experiences. Here’s a window to peek through.