Lost At Sea - diary extract #2
Updated: Apr 1, 2021
This is the 2nd instalment of diary extracts provided by a mental health sufferer. If you haven't read the introduction to this series called 'Lost At Sea', please read it at mmbm.co.uk/post/lost-at-sea-series-intro
Lost at sea. These words perfectly depict my experiences trying to access treatment for a mental illness that has been lifelong. The following extracts are from my diary that I wrote for a short period of time. This particular one shows what an average, mundane day looks like inside my head.
I woke to a darkened room. Almost immediately, chaos descended. This didn’t bode well for the rest of the day. Nonetheless, I logged into my university account and began reading articles to prevent flashbacks or even worse, the daydreams, as if my mind is fully occupied in the present, no disturbing events can capture me. The only flaw-my unreliable concentration. You see, it takes A LOT to keep me engrossed in an activity; it’s rare that I succeed and far more often, I’m defeated by the creature in my mind trying to engage me. My brain often betrays me, so this exercise proved to be unexceptional. I browsed through the mundane articles-frequently my attention would slip, and I would no longer be reading the article. Instead, I am staring at sentences I can no longer see and my mind drifts to a flashback;
I see a psychiatrist. I’m sat in her office. She is asking me about my opinion of my mental health diagnosis. I feel tense, scared she’ll see through me purely because I have no idea how I should be anymore. I’m confused. I see her eyes, impassive, void of readable emotions.
I see the sentences again; my article reappears but the emotions felt in the flashback linger. This time, the flashback was based on an actual event, as several weeks prior, I was sat in front of that doctor at a mental health hospital and indeed those were my anxieties; to be seen through and we did have the discussion of my mental health diagnosis which has proven a little elusive.
After reading the majority of the article, I open up the headspace app and proceed to listen to lesson 10 basics. I sink into the sofa listening to his soothing voice and breathing mindfully. Multiple times during this 10-minute exercise, I am transported into further daydreams, yet I maintain a degree of calmness this time; I am less affected by my emotions. At some point I drift back to sleep and wake at 7.40 and wonder how to keep occupied so to prevent an escalation into crisis. I turned on my Nintendo Switch and began playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I remain occupied for 2 hours with the help of my partner, simply because I didn’t have the patience to fulfil the games tasks alone; I could feel the riding impatience and disinterest which would normally lead to me switching off the game and searching for another stimulus to occupy my mind so to escape the creature’s black, poisonous tendrils. My partner is unable to work currently as I currently require high levels of home support to keep me out of hospital.
So today, I proposed we continue our build of the pond. Though in no way are we familiar with dry-stone walling, we decided to create it out of Yorkshire stone recycled from a fireplace salvaged several years prior. Today we worked well together which I might add is slightly out of the ordinary. My demon neighbours were in their garden too, pottering around and occasionally nosily peering over to see what we were doing. Some other neighbours also popped their heads over to chat, but they seemed to like the garden we were creating, particularly our red robin shrubs which I did originally plant to obliterate them from my world (for privacy). But so far, the 3ft shrubs are not at the height necessary to accomplish this, so I uncomfortably attempted to engage in conversation with them. This for me is no easy task; I find it extremely challenging to maintain concentration long enough to process their words into sentences I can comprehend, so I had to deploy my usual tactics of trying to pick out key words that may highlight the topic of conversation so I don’t talk in an appropriate manner. When the neighbours began talking about their bad luck with animals and how after moving home, they proceeded to die. I hear my partner say “Oh no, that’s so sad!”. This brought me back to the conversation and I remembered to replace the feigned engaged expression with a sad, sympathetic face. Of course, none of which reflected my true emotions which were terror, high tension, anxiety and the strong desire to escape. Though elevating these highly uncomfortable emotions, I knew escaping would never lead to personal growth and so I stayed put and told myself to have confidence; look up, look into their eyes, hold yourself high, stand tall, it’s OK to be you. Then came the other messages; I’m not enough, I am inferior, people will judge me negatively. These messages are not conscious and though I am not engaging in these negative thoughts, it would seem these messages have become deeply ingrained into my very being. So there I stood in the garden, overriding my natural reaction to flee or hide as I hoped one day these messages would one day disappear. Eventually they left and I escaped to the house only to suffer an onslaught of negative daydreams. The monster in me seems to like to spring out the daydreams when my body feels under threat.