While I try to keep this place as humorous and upbeat as I can, I can’t become distracted from the initial purpose of the blog – to raise honest, open awareness about mental health. This past month, I have purposely avoided writing anything new. I suppose I’ve spent more time ensuring that this January wasn’t a repeat of last. And for the most part, it worked!
‘Most’ being the key word.
I won’t bore anyone by repeating the grizzly tales of Winter 2015.
The important thing, I suppose, is that it didn’t happen again – at least not to the same degree.
Throughout this January, there were undoubtedly days when I woke up terrified that I was coming full circle. My anxiety returned during commutes to/from work and I absolutely could not be left alone. I loathed socialising, but to be by myself was – without exaggeration – a death wish. I’d done kinda well to push past this kind of thing for a year, but the mere thought of repeating that ‘phase’ had given my body enough of a fright to resuscitate those kinds of feelings.
Thankfully, I never put myself in any real danger.
This year, I had done all I could. I took on the same rituals as last in order to avoid having ‘bad days.’ I listened to Kenny Rogers, I slept and ate well, and I made it my priority to laugh by surrounding myself with people I felt safe and comfortable around. Even my relatively new workmates have become fantastic pillars. It’s just unfortunate that my obsession with staying well actually drove me closer to Round Two. I didn’t get it. I done everything that had made me feel better last time, it just didn’t seem to work as well. But from this, I’ve learned the most valuable lesson that no therapist or doctor ever told me.
My mind can’t be forced or tricked into being well, but it certainly can’t be left to fester by hoping that it’ll simply ‘get better with time’. The best thing to do is have my daily steps, and ride out any Bad Days to the best of my ability. I have to take on the shit if I have any hope of achieving any good. The spoiled brat in me, prior to this, was unwilling to wait for any improvement. Unwilling to embrace bad days. And that’s where I went wrong this year.
Next year, I’ll have no regiment in place. I won’t focus on avoidance, ignorance is certainly not bliss.
The most frustrating thing about this ‘anniversary’ is just the fact that my illness is now a year old. I remember telling myself, pre-diagnosis, ‘if this fucking thing hasn’t gone in two weeks…three weeks…a month…’. And here we are, a year of being a full-time nutjob. It’s annoying, but I know I’ve done my best to stop it interfering with my lifestyle.
Christ, I’d even say I’ve done pretty fucking well.
New job, bagging a few dates, I even went up a bra size.
Side note: I hadn’t changed bra size since I was 18. So yes, it IS important to me.
I suppose this post is to remind myself, and anyone reading, that the road to recovery or even improvement, isn’t a short one. There’s potholes all over the fucking place. You’ll stall, run out of petrol and maybe, occasionally, a pigeon shits on your windscreen.
These are all metaphors, please understand this.
As a bipolar depressive, I know that elements of my condition are here to stay. The mood swings are manageable, but I’m likely to be on medication long-term – if not for life. But hopefully, at some point, the highs will be more frequent than the lows. And I’ll be able to acknowledge and wave-off any oncoming spells.
I can’t afford to keep buying my mum a present every time I’m a dick to her, if I’m honest.
So if you’re like me, and have the balloons and bunting up to celebrate another year of being a needy, boring cunt then listen closely:
Keep the decorations. You’ll probably be needing them for a while. But each year, the presents get better and cakes get bigger. I’m fully prepared to have this with me for a good bit.
But if you start to deny that it’s there, it’ll make itself more prominent. And that, my chum, is when the fun starts.