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Can be hard

By Justin “Jud” HaywoodPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Image Credit - Ross Findon

Change is hard when you’re trying to step out of comfort zones, even if that comfort zone is suffused with darkness and unhappiness it’s still hard to take that first step.

It’s a hard thing to vocalise to people who haven’t experienced it why the darkness feels preferable, why you’d rather stay in the hole that you’ve dug, than climb out and start experiencing life.

It’s not that you don’t want to. It’s not that you don’t want to feel happiness and joy and laughter and mix with other people but sometimes the fear and effort is just too much.

Sometimes it’s specific fears that are linked to past events that make you believe that those events will be repeated again and force you to relive them and sometimes it’s a nameless anxiety that locks down your system and paralyses you, making even the simplest of everyday tasks seem momentous.

In my own experience you have to want to change, which in itself can be a massive hurdle as objectivity when in a bad headspace can be an elusive thing, especially if your mind isn’t operating at peak efficiency and you no longer trust your own thoughts.

It becomes normal to stay indoors, not answer friends or family when they message you, eat food that’s straight out of a packet and generally do as little as possible because it feels as though you just don’t have the energy to spare.

Thing is though, if you don’t make any changes then that normality will become the status quo and just won’t get any better.

What tends to defeat me before I’ve even begun, is seeing the entirety of what I see as the problems in my mind without breaking them down into manageable chunks first, prioritising them and then working through them one by one.

Eating well, exercising, being attentive to family and friends, setting goals, helping round the house, going shopping and a whole host of other things seem truly impossible if you’re coming out of a dark place and especially if the fog has descended throughout your mind and you’re struggling to put a coherent thought together.

It’s taken me 3 months since moving house and coming off medication to even begin to feel like I’m making some progress forwards and every single day has been a slog from the moment of getting up to when I can crash into bed, but progress is being made and there are the odd days now that I can feel my mind beginning to work as I expect it to again.

Apart from the routines that I have in place now, the single biggest positive change has been to stop putting so much pressure on myself to succeed (which I find incredibly difficult) and allowing my mind and body to heal and acclimatise to their new conditions at the speed that they need to instead of me being endlessly frustrated at myself and so imposing yet more weight on my overloaded mind.

Guilt and shame are intrinsically tied into this and they’re powerful emotions to work through when you feel as though you’re a burden, but being open and honest with those around you, especially loved ones, is an essential part of the process and you may well find that if you can overcome that barrier then the feelings of guilt and shame turn out to have been imposed by yourself, against yourself, and not because your spouse thinks that you’re useless or worthless.

Self fulfilling (in this case defeating) prophecies are definitely a thing!

My own goals at the moment are centred around going to the gym 3 times a week run by Sporting Force housed at The Veterans Community Hub in Newton Aycliffe. My wife and I do about an hour and then go downstairs to the cafe/seating area, have a brew and a chat with people and generally get used to mixing and being around others again.

As I sit with a cup of tea, I have my tablet out attempting to write something and again, try not to beat myself up if the words won’t emerge through the fog that is my mind at the moment.

Some days are worse than others but each is still a step forwards, however small that step may be.

Change is hard sometimes, change can be scary, but if you don’t step towards where you want to be then you’ll never arrive.

Justin Haywood

March 2022

self help

About the Creator

Justin “Jud” Haywood

Justin “Jud” Haywood is creating Stories about BPD/EUPD, the Military and life.

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