I don’t really know where to start…
A few weeks ago, when I was having a particularly bad day, a friend said to me that maybe I should try writing things down, which I immediately dismissed because, in my quite muddled up mind, when you write something down it becomes real. Up until recently, my refusal to even really talk about the things which have happened to me over the years has allowed me to almost pretend like they haven’t really happened, like it’s all just a bad dream I’ll wake up from one day.
But since that initial dismissal I’ve thought more and more about what it would actually be like to write things down, to the extent that I finally reached the point this morning where I decided that I may as well give it a shot, because at least if I write things down I can read through them, edit them, get them in such a way that they actually explain how I feel, rather than having to try to explain things out loud which I’ve always found quite difficult.
The first major hurdle before even starting to write this though was to think of a name for my blog. Rather quickly it was christened ‘Just One Thing’. It took me a while to realise why I decided this was an appropriate title. I think it’s because when it comes to my life, to talking to family and friends, to meeting new people who gradually become more and more important to me, there’s just one thing I want to be able to talk about but which I never know how to.
That ‘thing’ is the variety of mental health issues running around in my head which aren’t going to be going away any time soon.
It feels like when I don’t tell people the things which are ‘wrong’ with me that I’m not being honest. It feels like there’s a shadow hanging over me, pulling me back whenever I make new friends, even hanging over the friendships I already have because I don’t even know where to begin when trying to explain to people what’s going on inside my head.
To tell someone you have anxiety, that you have depression, that you have post traumatic stress disorder, is a very scary thing, especially when it’s taken you such a long time to acknowledge it yourself.
In hind sight, I look back on my twenty-one years on this planet and realise that I’ve probably been beginning to have these ‘issues’ for quite a long time. It probably started when I was around 13 or 14, the anxiety, but that one I’m quite unsure about. ‘Officially’ I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder, essentially spending the majority of my time worrying about something, whether it be rational or ‘irrational’ worry (the reason for putting irrational like that is that in my mind what others deem an irrational worry is perfectly rational to me). It’s become one of those things I don’t even question any more, I just always worry. I always have done and probably always will. The depression started when I was about 19, nearly 20. The PTSD is a tricky one. If you were to go by how old I was when the incident which caused it happened (it sounds secretive I know, but I don’t think I want to write down what happened just yet – again, it will make it even more real to see it in writing), I was 20 years, 3 months and 19 days old. I can work it out because the date is engrained in my memory forever. I didn’t even recognise the signs of it until a couple of months ago when I stumbled upon Blurt and a post they wrote on PTSD. It was one of those moments where things sort of clicked. Because anxiety and depression weren’t really enough to explain the way I was feeling, especially when the timeline of events over the past few years is so complex that it’s difficult to untangle what started when (a story for another time I think). Gradually as I’ve read more and more about it, I’ve begun to realise that PTSD is far more common that I thought it was (take this video from Buzzfeed, for example), it’s just that so many associations are made between PTSD and soldiers coming home from war that we forget the real meaning of those 2 letters at the start: Post Trauma. Because that’s what I’ve been through. Trauma. And I’m still coming to terms with it, with the what and the why.
For a long I’ve felt very alone without even really realising it; without realising that the way I felt didn’t have to be the way I lived my life. But now I’m beginning to acknowledge that no, everything isn’t fine, and no, I’m not okay. The thing is though that it’s okay that I am this way, it’s okay that I’m not okay, because one day, I might be that little bit closer to being okay than I was yesterday.
So that’s where I decided to start this blog, blurting out the list of things ‘wrong’ with me in the hope that it will in some way help me accept that whilst things may never be the same again, one day it will get better.
P.S. I should probably apologise to non-existent readers for my poor spelling and grammar, and all the typos I will undoubtably make – I was always terrible at proof-reading my own work and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.