Very well written x
God bless you
Sometimes I find it difficult differentiating between my own thoughts, and the voices in my head...that is.. the thoughts created inside my mind that are solely generated by my illness. A classic example of this occurred a few months ago at the Hope hub. Paranoia is a massive part of my illness. As is panic attacks, and quite honestly, the two go hand in hand. It was the first in the new series of hope hubs at Sanders yard. This one was particularly well attended, and as the cafe became busier I became more anxious. I had forgotten to take my anxiety tablet before we left the house, but we were running late so when Mike suggested we go back for it, I refused, assuming I wouldn't need it. Error number one.
Just as the evening was about to start, panic rose and I couldn't breathe. The kids were being boisterous and the noise level increased. Another part of my condition is not being able to deal with too much noise. It makes me edgy and triggers anxiety. So mix the volume of people with the volume of noise...and we have a nice recipe for a panic attack. So as the evening's entertainment was being introduced, I bolted outside for a lungfull of air. Error number two. (but not really, because I had to calm myself down) So now I was outside looking in...or hiding down the alley a little. The thing is...I knew I had to go back inside and this is where the confusion occurs. In my head, I knew I had to go back in. That was my thought. Then came some other, completely irrational thoughts that prevented me from going back inside...in the warm...where my friends and family were. All the people who love and care about me. Again...my thoughts. But these irrational ones... the ones that told me I couldn't walk past the window because someone would see me. And maybe they would think...what is she doing? Why did she go outside? Maybe when I went inside someone would ask if was alright...and I wouldn't be able to hide my panic. Or what was going on. And the more I had these thought the worse it got.
After some time I managed to get back inside. But the thoughts didn't stop there. Almost as if they had been duped and were annoyed that I had overcome them...they doubled their efforts and the thoughts told me that when people got refreshments and chatted to each other...they would see me,ask if I was ok, and there was no way I could slow my breathing or hide the tears in my eyes that just would not stop building. These thoughts weren't mine. I mean….they were inside my head..but they weren't born out of rationality or the knowledge that everybody there were nice, loving people. In my head, these people turned into the enemy that would discuss me behind my back...or roll their eyes knowingly at each other in a “ceri is acting out again” kind of way. Those were the thoughts that dominated my mind and those were the thoughts that determined what I did next. Which was leave. I had to. I couldn't stay because I would get upset and then people really would notice there was something wrong...even if they hadn't before.
I wish I could separate these thoughts. Mine. My illness’. But the truth is, I don’t know where mine end, and the illness begins. And the paranoia and ‘voices’ aren’t just for events and special occasions...they spring up every day, in all kinds of situations. Conversations, food shopping, school run, you name it..I have a different set of issues for each and every scenario. How do I cope? Well, sometimes I don’t...as you’ve just learned, but mostly I have to push through it. I remind myself all the time that the people involved only have love for me, and not nasty comments, or I remind myself that everything always seems worse than it actually is. I tell myself that if it isn’t positive, then its not from me. The negatives only ever come from the enemy, and sometimes the thoughts can be so convincing that it's hard to tell which ones are real issues and which ones are completely absurd notions designed to isolate you in your own fear. It’s a lonely disease...especially if you are new to it. Being the veteran that I am, I can usually decipher...but that doesn't make it easier to deal with. The thoughts still exist. The hard part is talking about them, because it’s not easy to speak out the ugliness within, and sometimes the thoughts are so irrational that saying them out loud helps you to see how ridiculous they actually are. But I know it sometimes isn’t possible to speak them, especially if it concerns your friends and what you think they are thinking and saying about you. I mean, everyone knows a gossipy person that loves to share, but when you think that includes all of your friends...yeah, that's a lonely place. But if you have a solid, supporting group of friends or family, or you’re lucky enough to have both, then talking about it helps. And if you don’t?...then get in touch. Hope Whitby is a pillar of support for me, as well as my family, and living alongside me for the past few years has taught most of them how to deal with the craziest of situations!!! I know I am loved, even if I do seem a little batty...and I’m sure you are too. (Loved...not batty!)
The Apostle Paul said “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8)
Very well written x