The Unmarked Road

Life On The Other Side Of Mental Illness

Category: Nervous Breakdowns

Do You Give Yourself Time To Recover Emotionally?

I’ve been a bit MIA lately. If you’ve been watching my 3 Minute Memoirs, you’ll have a bit of an idea of why; family visiting, wedding stress, colonoscopy… There’s a lot on! But there’s more to it than that.

When there is so much going on in my head emotionally and I’m stressing out over everything (common with anxiety sufferers of course), I become disconnected with myself. This in turn makes me become distant with those around me. Friends have commented on the lack of communication and I notice the difficulty in talking about anything deep and meaningful to those closest to me. So unlike me!

Of course it’s hard to explain why I haven’t been around when I continue to do videos and write articles. I’ve done this to ensure that what I’m building doesn’t fall completely flat on its arse. I have done what is necessary with no real strategy behind it, and nowhere near the amount of work I was putting behind it before.

The truth is that I’ve been on autopilot. The videos have been easy as they’ve just been about the events in my life. The articles were ones scheduled from previous months. The ups and downs documented have been real, but upon pouring my heart out to my computer screen, I have regressed back to a catatonic state almost immediately afterwards. Like everything is bubbling away under the surface, but it’s too intense for my mind to deal with right now so it shuts those emotions away again until I’m strong enough to process them.

I have shut down.

But why does this happen? My problem is I always think I’ll cope. I take it to the nth degree. I pile it on, the business, the wedding, the writing, the course, the travelling, finding out why I’m getting chronic pains in my abdomen. I look at these things and don’t think about the emotional toll they may take, I just see the tasks involved in completing them.

Nor do I consider the things I can’t control or haven’t planned for. The things that when placed upon an already huge, looming and unstable stack of pressures, make the whole thing come crashing down.

And that’s what happened last month.

I’m fine! (insert high-pitched voice of Ross from Friends here) I’m not depressed or feel particular emotional. But that’s almost worst. I know myself well enough to know that when I’m not feeling, something is wrong. Survival mode. Autopilot. Coping-mechanism. Call it what you will, but the ultimate state of mind is that of a disconnection to myself, to my family and to my friends.

In my latest video, which I will load later today, I talk a little more about this and how I feel like I’m starting to come out the other side again.

But I find myself asking why it is we don’t allow ourselves to heal emotionally in the same way we do physically. A physical injury requires extensive time off to let the body work its magic and regenerate. Isn’t it time we allowed out emotional state to do the same?

I want to thank you all, people in my physical life and those in my virtual one, for continuing to show me support. Simply watching, reading, being in touch. It has all meant the world to me, even if I’ve not been able to express it. 

How I Nearly Lost My Mum

I often speak to my mum about my blog. She’s my inspiration, my greatest fan and most honest critic. Today she wanted to talk about one of my posts, the one about self-harming. I felt sad that she was distressed by it, because not one part of me blames her for what happened. I tend to not talk about it with her (rare for me!) I don’t want her to feel in any way responsible. She did nothing wrong.

As a single parent, my mum worked 16 hours a day to provide for me and my sister. Not just providing basics, but to pay off debts that had been left by the ex-alcholic-abuser, and other things she wanted for us. When I was 12 she finally met her prince charming, my wonderful step-dad who’s still with us today and is as far as I’m concerned my Dad.

When I was 13, my mum’s mind decided it had had enough and she suffered a severe nervous breakdown. And it devastated me.

Through and through, I was a Mummy’s girl. At 13 I lost my soul-mate and the only person who ever stood up for me up to that point. I wasn’t book-smart like my sister, I wasn’t beautiful like my mother, and I wasn’t strong like either. At school I was bullied mercilessly, because despite being painfully shy, I fought back. But that only made my situation worst. My mum was my protector.

Having been a parent in an abusive relationship, and then going it alone, she and I were (are!) more than mother/daughter. We were partners and best friends. At 13 I couldn’t understand why the person I knew better than myself, had gone. And I thought it was my fault. What ensued was years of two people slowly breaking down until nearly ending in tragedy (but more on that later).

Slowly she did recover, but the posts have brought back painful memories for her. The daughter she couldn’t protect from the monster that had started to build inside of her little girl. But I don’t want her to feel anything but pride, because what happened was as a result of putting her children first all of our lives. Her mind just couldn’t take any more and it finally broke.

But my promise to you, Mummy, is to continue to be open about what happened to us. Because we made it, we survived! And everything that has happened has enabled me to have a great compassion and understanding for how people can suffer. Everything we went through has made us stronger and I’m so proud of who we became.

Thank you x

happy mummy with toddler

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