In and out of darkness

It has got to the point where I can write again. The stomach wrenching anxiety has settled into an exhausted sort of headachy weariness, from which I can face the words that describe what has been happening. So much anxiety. My sister asked me yesterday how do I measure my levels. I suppose there’s a scale of 1 to 10. I’m mostly at around 5 or 6, which is when I am aware there is something beautiful, but I can’t see it. Yesterday morning, I could see that there was a beautiful sunrise, I knew that the delicate gold light rippling through the emerald green of the trees was beautiful, but I couldn’t see it. Anxiety sort of clouds over every thought with a dull grey blanket of engulfing dread. You don’t breathe properly, can’t really talk, can’t cope with complex emails or loud noises… It is just crippling. I have had a few days on and off recently, with small breaks in the darkness where I can eat, smile and breathe properly, till it returns. And while I’m in the grey space, I understand why some people just can’t cope with life. If you were in a constant haze of anxiety or depression how could you even be polite to people, let alone proactively thoughtful and kind? It’s just not possible. When I’m anxious I have zero ability to care about others. I feel bad for wasting peoples time or making errors while I’m in a bad way, but I don’t have love or compassion, just a different flavour of fear and dread.

It reached the vomitty shakey stage a few times recently, that I would class as a 9 or 10. My love found me curled up on the bathroom floor shaking uncontrollably. He held my hand and rubbed my back and said ‘Where are your anxiety pills?’ ‘I’m saving them for emergencies,’ I stammered. He gestured to my crumpled trembling body with his eyebrows raised. ‘good point’ I nodded and he returned with a pink pill and some water. That’s my first pill since that scary meeting two months ago.

I am very grateful that today is a day of emerging from the darkness, my brain feels stronger today, maybe a 3 or 4. I wish I was more in control of my ability to have positive thoughts. Yesterday when the negative thoughts came, they utterly spiralled and consumed me. I tried to switch off, I watched TV, I did the monotonous and left brain tasks of spreadsheets for work, I read a book, but there was always this dark murmuring of worry and tension. Today the same worrying thoughts arrive and I simply have the strength to avoid them. I have smiles and appetite and ability to write again. It just came back. The delicate pink petals of the orchid on the windowsill are beautiful today. I can see the beauty. So this is a good day. A better day.

So what I need to do is get back on my daily mental health routine, to commit to my mental health as seriously as I commit to handwashing and mask wearing, and know that an hour of brain strengthening routine every day is at least something I can do to protect my confusing complex neurology from spiralling into a destructive place again.

Thank you orchid, you are a symbol of all that is beautiful.

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