24/06/2018

Five Minutes on Breaking Down

***Trigger Warning: Mental Health***

When I was 29 I had a breakdown.

 It started as butterflies in my stomach. 
A constant feeling of “something is wrong” without knowing what. 
Then I started to forget words, simple words like potato and microwave (vital words in my jacket potato life). 
I would go to work and “wake up” staring at my hands, not sure how long I’d been sitting that way and scared that people were noticing that I was quite clearly a massive weirdo.


 I’d get home and go to bed. No matter what time. I’d switch between staring at the wall, not feeling anything and sobbing into my pillow.
I’ve had a skill from a young age of being able to force myself to feel happy - Just by smiling at myself in a mirror, my brain could switch from sad to happy. 
But now I wasn’t feeling anything. Nothing at all. 

I spoke to my wonderful manager at work, she asked if I might be depressed. 
I knew I couldn’t possibly be. 
What did *I* have to be depressed about? 

The tears started to follow me to work. 
I stopped answering my phone. 
I completely blocked out my family and friends. 
My thoughts got darker, less rational and more intrusive. 

SO I went to the doctor.  
The doctor made me fill out a questionnaire, she told me: 
I’d feel better after Christmas; Christmas makes a lot of people feel sad.  
She threw the questionnaire in the bin.  
I told her, “I won’t be here at Christmas”. 

I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to live. 


The doctor prescribed me some pills (It’s all a matter of choice but I these little babies got me to the point where I could accept help)

I was very fortunate that through the support of my wonderful family, I was able to get the help of an incredible therapist who let me talk. 
Who let me NOT talk. 
Who helped me to stop mind reading. 
Who taught me to stop getting into the boxing ring with my own brain. 

The intrusive thoughts continued but they didn’t own me any more. 
Words started to come back. I started to talk to people.
I was feeling again. 


Four and a bit years on: I imagine pre-breakdown me as a care bear; 
all fluff and sparkles and heart. 
Breakdown me was a potato (I remember that word now). 
Post-breakdown me is a cat. 
I’m still soft and loving but there are less sparkles, more solitude (Good solitude) and I know how to recognise when things are going a bit Pete Tong. 
I have intense moments of appreciation for the people around me, delight in their acheivements. 
I know how to drop the things that hurt me but that I can’t control. 
I can be pragmatic but now, more often, I can be positive. 

I can’t tell anyone how to feel. Especially if, like I was, you’re not feeling anything at all. 
But I can tell you that this is not permanent. 
No matter how long it’s been, how often it is. 
All I can say is...

Every single day I wake up with a genuine gratitude that I’m still here. 
Em x 
This post was originally published on Instagram                   All images by the incredible Olivia Lenn 
SHARE:

1 comment

  1. "I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to live." A strong, heartbreaking realization. I am familiar with it. For me it was sort of...I didn't want to KILL myself, but I wished something would just TAKE me. A car accident. A mad gunman. Cancer. Something beyond my control. Because living...just seemed too hard...and I saw no light in the future. I'm glad to hear you found some help...and some better understanding of what you need to do for yourself. I hope you continue to feel well.

    ps, your photos are lovely.

    Bettye

    ReplyDelete

Blog Design Created by pipdig