Alicia writes about a variety of topics including mental illness, languages, education and cats. She also loves writing poetry and fiction. Alicia lives in Rutland, England with her partner, cat and dog.
Find her on Twitter: @aliciabrunskill
On the morning that my adventure began, I found myself dozing on my bed. I had already dressed and drawn the curtains, allowing a golden blanket of sunlight to bathe me as I stirred. Summer sounds greeted my waking senses; rustling, flapping and chirruping floated in through the open window. The combined scent of flowers in bloom mingled with fresh grass cuttings and barbecue smoke; wafting in on each fresh current of air.
An Astronaut’s Point of View
I read through the print-out the doctor had given me again. Common symptoms include nausea, stomach and back muscle cramps, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea… All relevant to me. I couldn’t really dispute the diagnosis. Sighing, I placed the pages beside me on the bed and ran my fingers through my hair.
Facing Change Caused by Mental Illness
Many things can cause change in life. Illness, injury, loss, pain or triumph/success to list but a few. We can add to that list the experience of living with mental illness. A life can change enormously due to the need to find methods of coping with the day-to-day symptoms, managing medication and therapy etc. It’s not always easy to deal with these changes, especially when it feels like you have no control over what’s happening to your body or mind.
A Mind Stuck on Terror
When anxiety and depression team up, you can find yourself at the mercy of two unforgiving illnesses. You must deal with a brain that often sees the worst option possible as the most viable and obsesses over just how catastrophic that worst case scenario could be. This can leave you faced with repetitive trains of thought that simply will not stop and that can prevent you from doing day-to-day tasks or falling asleep.
Recovery Is a Different Road
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.
Nowhere for Anxiety To Go
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.
Just Doing Things
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.
Not Feeling Good Enough
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.
Living with Anxiety Long-Term Is Like Living in an Apocalypse
My all-time favourite film is The Terminator. I watched it again on the weekend and it set my mind thinking. Why are all my favourite films/video games on the theme of survival or apocalyptic destruction? Why do I find it so hard to find a comedy programme that I don’t find banal and that can really entertain me? Why do the comedies I like always seem to be tinged with at least a hint of disaster?