Sunday, 26 January 2014

Hello from the Hummingbird.

Can you believe we're at the end of January already? The time seems to have slipped between my fingers this past month, and that probably shows with my sporadic blogging which I apologise for. I thought I'd just give a little update as to where I am right now as January has been a turbulent one!

The 14th January saw my 'big' assessment with my mental health team, something that had been playing on my mind since before Christmas. As the time approached, I must admit that I struggled. Weekends in particular seemed to be some sort of void for me that I just couldn't get through without a lot of tears and tantrums. At one point, I remember not even being able to put on my shoes due to this mental 'heaviness' that had clouded my head. I spent most of the day on the sofa, or in bed, and I'd only eat if James put something in front of me. My sleeping habits went completely out of sync again, and when I did get some kip, those nasty nightmares would always creep back in and I wake up in tears.

But on that Tuesday, with my man by my side, I had my assessment. Ever since I can remember, I've always found sessions (regardless of who they're with or how long they are) to be incredibly exhausting. I'm guessing that it's a mixture of the adrenaline from nerves that's built up over the prior few days alongside pouring your heart out to a bunch of almost-strangers in just one intensive hour.

I'm not going to go into the ins and outs of the appointment as there's not really a need to do so, but what I have learnt from the experience is that I feel in control of my recovery now more than I ever have.

Coming out of that assessment was overwhelming. I remember sobbing one minute, and feeling full of energy the next. I was switching from feeling angry to then feeling positive. This lasted a good few hours, and even hung over for a few days, on and off. I went to college that Thursday and going to classes was just a no go. I ended up doing some reading for my subjects instead, sitting in the café, whittling away the hours over books and tea. The thought of being around people just seemed confusing to me almost, everything in my head was too noisy and I needed it to quieten down before I could hold any sort of reasonable conversation, let alone sitting in a psychology class learning about methodology for two hours.

I went home that Thursday and I remember thinking how I hadn't accomplished anything that day, and I got frustrated. My course is incredibly fast-paced and has a huge workload attached to it. I couldn't afford to miss out on lessons, but I'd done that today. But then it hit me that I'd actually managed to go in that day. Sure, I didn't make a lesson, but I got up, I got dressed, I had some breakfast, and I sat in the college café near enough all day. I'd managed to catch up with my friends and spoke to a couple of tutors who were happy for me to miss the day. Why was I putting myself down so much? I'd done more that day than I'd done in the last week and a half. I know it might seem so minor to some of you reading, but that little switch in thinking was what I needed to realise that I am ready for things to change now. I'm ready to learn. I'm ready to teach myself compassion and self-worth. I'm ready to accept. I'm ready to commit. And even if things don't work out with plan 'A', there's still 25 other letters in the alphabet.

I'm not saying that recovery is a switch that we can decide to flick on whenever we like. I'm also not suggesting that it's black and white. But what I've learnt these past couple of weeks is that I am ready to accept that things might not necessarily go to plan. Some things in life will hurt me, sometimes I will need to take a step back, but also, there are going to be lots of times during my life that I am happy, that I'm content.

There's nothing wrong with recognising our weaknesses, but what a lot of us seem to forget is recognising what our strengths are, and being proud of them. It sounds so cliché, I know, but we are so quick to point out the flaws, especially within ourselves. We're focused, as a society, on what's wrong, what needs improving, what can be 'better.' But what about those things that are just... okay? And what about those things that are bloody brilliant?

It's time I learnt about me, Kimberley, every single bit of her. I didn't think I would ever find myself employed where I am, and being excited about the working day, but here I am. I never ever thought I'd manage going back into education, but here I am, with three universities offers already up my sleeve. I never thought I'd fall in love with someone who loves me as much as I do them, but here I am, newly-married with our three cats and a roof over our heads. By putting myself down all the time, what am I actually achieving? Because the only person getting hurt is me, and I'm not willing to accept that anymore.

I'm prepared for a very rocky, uneven, slippery journey on the road to recovery. I accept there will be times when I want to say 'sod it' to the world and hide under the duvet for the week. I accept that sometimes, my anxiety will be too much, and I'll need to just wait it out. And that, that is okay because I also accept that I'm getting there, however slowly, I'm still getting there.

Well, now you know what's been over-taking my life the past few weeks, and why finishing the 12 Days of Mental Health was so difficult for me. But we did it eventually!

If you're struggling right now, I want to remind you of something - go back to the basics. Sometimes, we become so focused on what is wrong with us that we forget what is so amazing about us. It's easy to feel as though you're the only person in the world with a black fog clouding up your mind, but the truth is, it will pass. Recovery is the hardest thing you may ever have to do, but remember, you are worthy of it.