Welcome to 2017.
Video Messaging, Women Vote, Electric Cars, Instant Worldwide News, Cancer Curing Drugs, Diving to New Depths of the Oceans and Test Tube Humans! Tell those born in 1920 that didn’t have televisions or telephones that in 2017 we have advanced significantly and I’m pretty sure they’d say that’s an understatement.
But then also mention War, Poverty, Donald Trump, Tampon Tax and by the way shhhh…. keep your Mental Health to your self. It’s only then that you realise the advancements are actually technological rather than anthropological!
It’s weird how we’ve got so much better at finding and fixing broken bones, curing physical (visible) illness’ and pretending to know more about mental health than ever before. But how can we know more about it if there are statistics that say things such as 57% of people who suffer from generalised anxiety disorder (me) & 59% of people who have OCD don’t ever seek treatment! The main reason, time and time again in study after study is… wait for it… fear & shame.
What is going on! Imagine if over 50% of those people who broke their legs in the world didn’t get treatment because they were so afraid or ashamed. It makes me so sad. More so because I’m one of those stats. Only 18 months ago was I finally brave enough after years of difficulties to tell the Dr I was struggling. I was mortified, to the point I even wondered if I was making it up. I cried before my Dr said that she was pretty resilient as a GP but even she would be stressed in my particular situation (job especially). I was so lucky to have her compassion. She said that after 5 minutes of speaking to me she could tell I was intelligent, resilient and I had a real sense of humanity about me. Eh?! But I’m soooooo anxious. How could I have exuberated the warmth she was getting?! My anxiety was, and is sometimes so physically clutching that it takes my breath away from me. I stop breathing and my heart feels like its outside of my body thumping and pumping. Sometimes I get it when I’m due to speak in a board meeting, other times when a cleaner asks me my name. There’s not much rhyme or rhythm to it but it’s often just waiting quietly in the background like a guard dog ready to pounce.
I think what took me so long to speak out is the thought that I was less of a human. Less of a strong woman. Less of a success. Less in general.
So, I’m talking about it now. Only just and I’m going to try and talk more about it because I still have work to do to normalise and rationalise my behaviour. I have just read a few things recently to spark this total disclosure, a book by Bryony Gordon called “Mad Girl” and an article in Women’s Health which focused on anxiety and the related meds… some of which I am prescribed – propananol AKA Beta Blockers. I read Bryony Gordon’s book ‘The Wrong Knickers’ a few years back (amazing and funny – it’s proper laugh out loud stuff) and therefore lent it to most of my friends as a must read, this funny, life living, twenty something was familiar to all of us! Her latest story is slightly different, its regarding her own battle with Mental Health and the associated shame. AGAIN very familiar. Both this and the WH article has inspired me to be a bit braver.
Gemma Correll Artwork
I went to the toilet at work the other day to take my prescribed tablets. That’s shameful. I take them because it chills me the fuck out. Same reason you take paracetamol, it takes away the throbbing. It takes me down a peg or two and actually gives me focus and clarity when I’m talking and thinking. I don’t catastrophise. I don’t panic. I don’t stress. I do this thing where I tell myself if I take one tablet that I’m then allowed no more for the rest of the week. It’s like I’m treating myself to three hours of relaxation that I don’t really deserve. I tell myself one day I will have built enough resilience to not need to take these anymore. But I’m the sort of person who phones up the utility company who have overcharged me by hundreds, to then spending the next three days wondering if the bloke I spoke to thought I was stupid…. when he couldn’t have given a shit 2 mins after putting the phone down. I know this logically. But it doesn’t stop those thoughts. They’re intrusive and relentless.
My fitness has been the one thing keeping me strong when I’ve had bad days, weeks and at times months. It’s a routine and an outlet for me to spend my nervous energy. I know when it’s been a tough week mentally because my legs are heavy, my heart is heavy and I feel just a bit crinkled up, but I know it’s critical to get me sorted! Even when I’m training other people I get that same buzz, it’s an hour of mindfulness as far as im concerned. An hour where you think of nothing else other than your own performance or your clients.
I’m going to try and keep you posted on my progress and my propananol. I’ve decided not to resist taking it anymore. Why be so tortuous. It’s prescribed! I’ve been diagnosed. I’ve just got a little fracture in my mind wires at the moment. They’ll mend eventually I’m sure. In the mean time I’m not going to let those few broken wires become my identity because through those wires my Dr was able to see the real me she said I had humanity after 5 minutes of talking to me. If there was ever a compliment that was one! If I’m going to be defined I think that overrides the shizzle going on in my mind or the packet of tablets in my handbag.
If you’re suffering, I would advise you to pull on you confidence cap and go and speak to a Dr or even a friend or colleague. 1 in 4 of us will eventually suffer so chances are you’ll be sharing a problem. We need to lower those stats of people who feel fear and shame to get treatment before we can really say we’ve advanced as humans.
E @ Reflex PT