I wouldn’t precisely describe the journey that I’ve been on for the past few years as recovery from mental illness. I think a better way to describe it would be to say I’ve been learning to manage my illnesses and putting coping strategies in place to improve my quality of life. From the outside that might sound quite cold, clinical even. From the inside, it’s been a process of acceptance, trial and error, patience and tenacity.
Right now, the Corona Virus outbreak is causing most people a lot of anxiety. It’s taken me back to times when I felt like I couldn’t get away from my anxiety for even a moment; that feeling of being a caged animal or of being backed tightly into a corner with no escape route yet desperately needing to flee. I don’t doubt that I’m not alone in feeling like this.
After being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I started trying to work out what exactly was making things more difficult than they used to be. At first, I thought that it had a lot to do with feeling like I was constantly trudging through a field of sludgy mud, on a foggy day with little idea where the edge of the field was. I still think this has a lot to do with it. More recently, I realised that there’s something else that plays quite a big role, at least for me. I don’t seem to be able to just get up and do things anymore. Instead my brain mulls over the things I have to do, it can feel like just a few minutes to me but when I check the clock, I’ll find I’ve lost hours at a time.
I spend a lot of time paralysed by a voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough or not worthy to follow my ambitions. Some days I lose hours battling with it to get the simplest of things done and it often leaves me wishing I had an off switch for my brain or a way to completely check out of thinking for a while.