When Did I Realise I Was Not Well?
When people ask “when did you realise your were not well?”, I was unsure about the answer at first. After a little ponder I realised it was only about 8 months ago. It was a couple of months after my final stint in detox.
After detox, it took a couple of months for me to notice the benefits of being sober and actually eating. It was still very early stages of recovery but with a clearer state of mind I realised how poorly I was. Even after 2 months of sobriety, daily tasks were still challenging (getting myself dressed, walking, getting and up and down the stairs, all feeling a bit of a palaver), I still shook quite uncontrollably.
Was I actually that close to death? Yes. Did I actually care at the time? No. People didn’t think i’d survive the detox. How did I get to the point of not caring? It didn’t happen overnight. It’s a negative practice you develop with illness’ and addiction. A vicious cycle, spiralling down to a “low point” you didn’t realise existed. You think you’ve reached hell – yet hell, felt like a holiday compared to where I was. I’m not saying this for sympathy or “woe is me”, but you may be able to relate or know someone who is on a similar path who really wants to reach out for help (hopefully not), to being trapped in a lonely dark hole.
Walking in quicksand, getting nowhere fast. Ironically it was easier staying there than fighting. Exhausted, dangerously underweight, severely undernourished and drunk, fight was not an option. My fight had upped and left ages ago. I was in a mist of not realising something was wrong.
Enter the professionals, thanks to my parents.
It took me ages, decades, to accept my issues, I’m still getting my head around some of my past to this day. So in the early days, I don’t recall having a “lightbulb” moment, when I thought “this isn’t right”. I’ll be honest, detox and the inpatient treatments I received were not my idea. The thought of them was terrifying. That’s probably why I was sectioned, to keep me in.
I walked out of hospital several times, which I only vaguely remember. I had no idea what was going on or what my name was. Looking back, what a diva I was!
I do remember, whilst trying to participate in a community detox, sitting on my smoking step, asking/pleading with the stars (which I strangely believe are dead family members) for help. So here’s where I now realise it was denial. I knew it was not right. Continuously sweeping stuff under the carpet, my head buried in the sand, I told myself to “man up”. If I didn’t admit it, it was not happening. I also realise now, that I was embarrassed.
Jonathan never gave up on me, nor let me down or judged me. Even when I was being stubborn, I thought I knew best/being a diva and at the beginning was dishonest. The dishonesty was linked to my denial and the fact that I was embarrassed and ashamed. We did a lot of work around finding a safe place for my mind. Practicing techniques around making small changes and rebuilding my self confidence when I was in said safe place.
This helped bring up life experiences that I struggled to admit/talk about and issues that I didn’t realise had a negative impact on my life. We worked on dealing with them and accepting them as my past.
I now realised I shouldn’t be embarrassed, I didn’t ask for these illness’ and it definitely was not a life choice. However there’s a massive stigma with mental health and a good dose of judgement. It’s so easy to worry what people think of you and beat yourself up. These unhelpful thoughts are an actually thing, ‘catastrophising’, ‘fortune telling’ basically making stuff up. Where’s the proof?
If people believed the stigmas, continue to judge you, think negative things about you because of your illness, are they really worth having in your life? They are not real/quality people in my opinion. It does however take time to build up your resilience to negative people. It took me ages. I use to take things very personal. I wasn’t strong enough to deal with people. Ensure you have the right minds around you,.
The more sessions I did through the applied techniques with Walking With My Bear, the more the confidence I gained. Mentally, I really got stronger and I developed tolerance and acceptance. People can have their views. Keep them. That’s all they are, views. Whilst I don’t actively attract individuals with a negative outlook, I now embrace having the strength if required to tell negative people where to go. I’m no longer willing to allow judgement to impact on my mindset.
I look back now and I can honestly say recovery is possible, its worth the hard graft, especially with the right support around you. My life is better now than it ever has been. Everything is OK in the end, and if its not OK, it’s not the end!
Expect slip ups as mistakes happen because you are trying, it’s part of recovery.
Tune in next time for “When did it start going wrong”.