Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mental illness and the power of tomorrow.


A few years ago I came down with stomach ulcers. I have a deeply morbid fear of needles and doctors so of course put it off as heartburn. When I finally did see the doctor out of sheer desperation, I was handed this band-aid reply and a two week supply of this medication I would have sold my soul for. Those two weeks were bliss. I could actually go somewhere without feeling like I was going to die. Queue following years of "safe eating",  extremely controlled environments and excruciating pain.

Through this on/off desperation and never quite knowing if I would be fine that day or not, I developed a severe anxiety disorder to the point where I was unable to walk to the mailbox 10 metres from my doorstep without having a panic attack. The world was a terrifying place and I wasn't coping at that time.

I was put on medication for it and it is mostly cleared up now, but I swore to myself in those months of sheer pain and terror that I would use my writing to empower sufferers of mental health issues, and just individuals who needed a voice because there's was too quiet to speak out for themselves. 

It wasn't until this morning that I realised I had in part, forgotten the essence of my promise. I was driving to work and I hadn't been in a few days as my bosses are awesome and had allowed me to have a few days off to spend with my Dad (he works on the other side of the country and visits monthly) and today was to be the day I would return to work. The rain was fierce and for some reason I was really nervous. And then it happened, I had a panic attack. First in what I would have to say a year. And it was terrifying. I turned around and came home. I was defeated. I felt like every single pain and insecurity I had pushed through had amounted to nothing. 

I guess the point I am trying to get to is that despite the fact that I am still angry with myself, life goes on. Tomorrow is Friday and if I try hard enough, will be nothing like today. I will go to work, I will smile and  ask how everyone has been, I will go volunteer at the animal shelter and then come home to watch movies with my boyfriend. I realise this now, whereas I didn't realise this back then. I have the power to change at any moment, so long as I believe in myself and don't let my illness tear me down.

I would like to think that we live in a world where we are all healthy, all of the time, but the reality is that people do get ill. So I hope that you are all well, and if not, that you know you are not alone and that there are people who care.


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