Today is “Time to Talk Day” instigated by the Time to Change Campaign. This day is to encourage us all to talk about our feelings and how our mental health maybe affecting us; we all have different levels regarding the things we struggle with and how we deal with them so it is nothing to be ashamed of. 1 in 4 of us have some form of mental health issues and the more we talk about it the better we should hopefully feel. It doesn’t have to be a health professional that you choose to talk too it could be a friend or a family member heck it doesn’t even have to be in person or someone you know in “real life” but talking out some of your worries or stresses may make you feel less alone or validated.
I want to take this time to talk about a few different areas of my life that is thoroughly impacting my mental health at the moment. Some of it you may have some experience of or the entire notion could be new to you, regardless of which thank you for taking the time to read this as it is a massive part of my support – also feel free to message me if you want to talk about anything you maybe going through.
If you know me at all you may know that music is something I use to distract myself from myself. I have been using it more and more recently because I am finding it harder and harder to leave the house other than for work or school pick up/drop off. I need to have my music on to just deal with everything, on the bus? Music on. Walking? Music on. Sat by myself at home? Music on. I seem to just need it to function at the moment. When 00Steve and I first together I used to use it to stop dissociating as I tend to find even though I can be sat in a room full of people that I care about I feel so incredibly lonely. That things I have to say won’t be acknowledged or I am going to say something inappropriate or offensive, this creates absolutely crippling anxiety and verbal diarrhoea ensues which makes me hate myself even more. So what about the times where I can’t have my music on and I feel like that? Well I try to sing in my head or zone in on background music just so I don’t end up saying more things that make me out to be more of a twat. When in reality I really struggle to talk to people in person and even with my friends I just want to cry because I feel like such a loser.
Which leads me on to friends. I have so many amazing friends that I often think what the hell do I have to offer for them in return? What the hell do people get out of my friendship except stupid memes? I often feel like I just take from relationships then I overcompensate to feel like they are getting something worthwhile out of being friends with me rather than out of pity. I have friends that will help out with my kids when I have hospital appointments or my health is shit, buy me coffee on the mornings I don’t really have the money to buy one (which I appreciate more than they will know because if they didn’t offer to do this I wouldn’t spend time with anyone outside of the house or work) They offer to pick me up from work or the hospital for appointments too which means the world but even though I know they wouldn’t offer if they weren’t happy to do it I still feel like I am putting on them and really they shouldn’t have to offer. I even have some amazing colleagues who also help me with getting to and from work and just going above and beyond when they barely know me. I am an adult I should be able to do look out and after myself but I’m pretty bad at it it seems.
I have now being doing DBT for the last 6 months and I am on the last module, other than 3 utterly amazing friends I have made through this course I am still yet to find it useful. 00Steve and I discussed the modules before I started and we both thought that the “interpersonal effectiveness” module would have been really useful for us as a couple as we both struggle to talk to each other about things that bother us until it has become a big thing. I sit there like a god damn goldfish for ages trying to build up the courage to talk to him about stuff and then when he doesn’t hear all of it I just say it doesn’t matter. Yet all I took from the module was learning to say no which I am more than capable of doing! I am now working my way through the distress tolerance module and so far some of the ideas for trying to drop the intensity of feelings have been less than appealing for instance submerging your face in cold water and holding your breath. Now I’m not being funny but it is very rare that I haven’t spent 15 minutes putting make up on and the thought of having my face under water literally terrifies me as one of my biggest fears is drowning let alone I struggle to have anything around my nose be it warm air let alone water. Once this course is finished you get discharged for 6 months to use the “skills” you have “learnt” to cope with what life has to throw at you. I mean what the F*%$ is that all about? All I feel that I have learnt in this course is that I thought I experienced 7 different emotions but actually I experience 7 different adjectives for one emotion and that emotion is fear.
I struggle with being impulsive and apparently DBT is supposed to help with that ie by allowing you to acknowledge that the action you want to do isn’t always the most helpful way forward. Yet I can still somehow struggle with this and amongst some other less than ideal urges I tend to spend all my god damn money when I don’t have much of it to begin with. Now don’t get me wrong I am fantastic at drafting up budgets as it was part of my GCSE in business studies but sticking to it is a whole different matter. You would think that being paid monthly for the last 8 years would have taught me not to spend it in the first week but no sadly not. Money is actually the biggest cause of my anxiety. All my bills are paid at the beginning of each month so that isn’t too bad as I can afford to pay for them, but it’s the stuff you don’t foresee that I am screwed with. Now in 3 years when my loan is repaid that won’t be an issue as I will have “free money” as long as I’m not a twat with that as well! I guess you have to make these mistakes to learn from them but how long do I need to make them before I get my act into gear?
The last thing that has really unnerved me recently is some of the most important members of my family. My Nanna always lets me know that she loves me but other than on the phone I never hear her say it as we don’t need too; but on Tuesday she said she loved me when she gave me a hug and when I got home it has really played on my mind. Her health is currently better than it has been for a long time and I guess hearing “I love you” wouldn’t have been so bad if she hadn’t found a piece of jewellery that she supposedly promised me as a kid that I don’t recall seeing before. She is the last grandparent I have left and I don’t know what I will do when the time comes. Speaking to my Mam earlier she was saying that my Nanna has said she doesn’t think she has long left and that is just awful as it is something the old dears I look after say which is hard enough let alone being my family saying it.
The second member of my family to cause me a lot of anxiety is my Dad. His health hasn’t been great lately and I am terrified something is going to happen to him, two of my best friends from school both lost their Dad’s to heart issues and I keep thinking when I get a phone call from him on an evening or later than he would usually get in touch; that it will be to let me know he has had a heart attack and is in hospital. That is totally the way I could imagine him telling me too; I remember coming back to my Nanna’s when I lived with her one time to find a note casually left on the dining room table that she had gone to hospital due to her heart and he is so blase about these things too. Just because you are a child or a grandchild of someone doesn’t mean your anxiety goes out the window knowing they are adults and capable of looking after themselves.
So yeah those are the things that have been playing on my mind recently and causing me most of the time an awful lot of stress and anxiety not to mention days of low mood. Hopefully me opening up the way I have which I can tell you has taken 4 hours to write this amongst tears will encourage you to talk to someone about things that have been playing on your mind and how they have affected your mental health. Remember you are NOT alone.