Monday, 2 June 2014

Baby pose

Yesterday I spent an hour lying on the floor in the foetal position. 

I didn't want to live any more. 

It wasn't that I wanted to die. I just wanted to stop.

I didn't want to breathe. I didn't want to move. I didn't want to feel. And I certainly didn't want to think.

I came home to find my gorgeous toddler nephew and this didn't stir me. 

I was so depressed, nothing meant anything, nothing permeated. I just wanted to not exist, to stop.

I felt so guilty for wanting to avoid family. For not wanting to play, laugh, join in. Not wanting to enjoy the sunshine or a meal or any kind of connection. I just wanted out.

In the end I sat on a chair at the end of my bed and just stared. At nothing. Face set. Body slumped. No amount of anything was going to make me move or try to feel better. I wanted to cry but that felt too real, too much effort. I didn't want to feel better. I didn't want anything. I just wanted it all to stop.

I fought it and fought it, trying to work out what to do, what I wanted or should be doing, or what I needed. But thoughts raced as always and came to nothing. Like speeding cars round a track but not in line, not in direction… just moving randomly, skidding and sliding and weaving around randomly. The only inevitable conclusion - a pile up.

The pile up was catatonia. Complete shut down.

And without realising it or choosing it I found myself lying on the floor.

First on my knees, then my head found the floor, and my arms alongside my legs. 

Some residue of kindness made me reach for a cardigan to place under my forehand to soften the weight onto the floor.

And there I lay. Just in total catatonia.

I want to say I gave up. But it sounds like a choice. It wasn't. I didn't have the energy or the brain power or the inclination to do anything as sophisticated or enlighten as give up. I simply ceased to be.

For an hour, that's exactly where I lay.

Feeling hot and stifled, and so full of contradictions in my head that it was like an oven. Hot, dry eyes, sore neck, stiff body, heavy limbs. I felt like a corpse but without the oneness of being with the earth and without the release of spirit.

Somewhere in the middle of it all I fell asleep. For maybe 10 mins. 

And after an hour, still lying on the floor, I started to find consciousness. 

My body started to feel a little more form, a little less blob-like. 

My mind felt less foggy, a little more calm a  little more cool.

And slowly, slowly, I started to come to my senses. 

Thoughts stayed away for a while. Not completely, but at least turned down in volume.

The rest of the evening involved tears, research about OCD, a difficult conversation with my other half, anger, frustration, guilt, fear, sadness, hopelessness… but some sort of peace.

Some sort of feeling of being able to carry on long enough to seek another step in the road to recovery. To at least glimpse healing on the horizon, even if the steps are too hard to step.

It's got to be possible. 

And that's not going to be the last time I lie on the floor in the foetal position (baby pose). It's the best thing I've done in weeks.

With love x

Thursday, 6 March 2014

I'll meet you at Junction 12

"I'll meet you at Junction 12 of the M3"

Those were my famous last words.

Motoways have been my final frontier… they're the last thing I haven't conquered in the list of travelling issues I started suffering with in 2010. Wow, that's 4 years ago.

I have managed a few journeys (you can count them on one hand) on the motorway in that time.

However, the last time I tried, I failed. I got somewhere near the motorway - well, a mile away from the junction perhaps - and I froze. I had to pull over at the side of a single country track and I just sat and sobbed.

It took me an hour and a half then to drive to my friend's house through town, a journey that should have taken 30 minutes down the motorway.

I hadn't dared try since.

But this day I was determined.

A friend was driving me and suggested we meet in the lay-by off junction 12. I know the place. Lots of us meet there regularly to share lifts. But I'm not usually driving.

To be honest I'd drive myself all the way to the destination (Basingstoke) but that's 6 more junctions and an extra half an hour. Far too much of a step for now.

But from my house it's still a 40 minute drive and six junctions on two different motorways.

But I did it!!

Well, I did 5 junctions. I chickened out for the last one. But I made it to junction 13. Result.

How did I do it?

Well, I'd love to report that it was dead easy. I got on the motorway and got there without any fuss.

But I won't lie. I was scared shitless. How I sat in my driver's seat and focused on the road and drove at 70MPH all that way I will never know.

I can offer some clues.

I made the decision the night before. Decision is key. Commitment is key.

And I 'paced' out my day before I went to sleep. This is an expert life coaching tool. You set out the main elements of your day before you do it. You decided what you want to get done, and how you want it to go, how you want to feel. And then you let it go.

I knew from experience that the hardest bit is getting onto the motorway. The hardest bit is getting round that roundabout and up the slip road to the point of no return. I knew, just like getting onto a train, that the moment you do it, it gets easier: you're committed.

I promised myself I only needed to do one junction. That I'd do it one at a time. And I could come off at any point and find an A road route.

Once I was on the motorway itself I had to talk to myself every inch of the way. Endless rounds of "You're ok, just keep driving. Just follow the car in front. You're ok. It's just driving. You're ok. Nothing is going to happen to you. You're ok." When it got really tough, around the time two motorways join, it was full on emotional overwhelm and I had to step up the self-talk: "You're amazing. I can't even tell you how amazing you are. I'm so proud of you. I know you're scared. But you're doing it. I know you're scared. I know you're scared. Just keep driving. I'm so proud of you."

Tears came. Fortunately not enough to blur my vision at all. But they came. And still I kept driving.

And by junction 13 I was ready to come off. It was rush hour and getting busier by the minute.

But huge success.

On the way home, after midnight that night, I drove all the way home from junction 12 without any issues. It was almost deserted on the dark motorway and I knew the route. I was a little scared at times but I made it home without any of the terror I felt in the outward journey.

I'm going to build it into my routine now. Next week I will get to junction 12. And the week after. I know I can do it now.

It's not about not being scared. I was TERRIFIED. It's about knowing that you can live through the fear and still carry on.

Next week the fear will be less, and eventually it will be normal again and I'll just be driving on the motorway without even noticing it.

But once step at a time. One junction at a time.

With love  x

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Cops and robbers

There was a moment this morning when I was walking from the sitting room to the kitchen in my house and I had a realisation.

I couldn't think of anything to worry about.

It was a clear, simple thought.

Things in life are being taken care of. I've put in place a lot of things and I'm moving forward in the right direction.

But I didn't even think those thoughts.

I just felt sort of lucid. And calm.

I meant to remark on it to my mum and dad at the time but I didn't get the chance.

And then, sure enough, within half an hour, something kind of marvellous happened.

I noticed a worry creep in. Quietly, but unmistakably. Like a sneaky little robber dressed in grey, stalking his way across a clean white backdrop… and suddenly caught in the spot light.

A thought. Nothing major. But a single thought. And the thought turned to a worry. I felt it.

Just like I noticed the rain come in when I sat silent and listening that day months ago, I heard the wall of rain pass across the garden.

This was the same, only it was a thought. And usually I wouldn't notice. Except I felt calm and still when it appeared.

And I could almost feel my body responding to it, tightening up. My mind grabbing hold of it, shaking it, interrogating it (naughty caught little robber). And then other robbers came to its aide. So more interrogators. And suddenly there was a siege.

And I just woke up from it about ten minutes ago. Maybe 12 hours later.

Strange how it all works. All this inside my head. I haven't done anything today. These thoughts haven't led me anywhere. But I've been invaded by them. And I've fought back.

Which is wrong I wonder? The invasion, or the defence. I guess both. Who owns the territory? I do.

And I'd really rather these filthy little robbers and the pesky police didn't keep messing up my lovely lawns.

I want to go into a verse of 'the grass is greener on the other side' but that's just where the next link in my brain is taking me… leading nowhere.

So I think I shall lead now. To bed.

There'll be plenty more time for cops and robbers tomorrow.

With love x

Monday, 27 January 2014

Pet names?!

My OCD is a form of self-torture...

Maybe it's more like a pet?

I should give it a name.

And a muzzle.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Dust

I am going CRAZY inside my head.

Crazy to the point that I can't even see any more. There are so many words and images and ideas and arguments and noise and colours that it has built a wall between my brain and my vision, or my eyes and the world.

I hate being me right now. I don't want to live like this any more.

I am so goddamn angry with myself and my completely inability to step off this see-saw that my mind is living at the moment. I just swing, dizzy as hell, from one high to the next low and from one side of the argument to the other. I'm SICK of it and it has to stop.

There's peace and then there's war. I'm living in a war.

And the only way to find peace seems to be to give into the aggressor and become an entirely new person with contradictory beliefs and an altered personality and not a semblance of the dreams I once had.

I feel like I'm already living in past tense. Like the me that I recognise is already long gone and I have to get used to living in this new guise.

I've never not wanted to be on the planet as much I don't want to be here right now.

All I want is to kick and scream 'SHUT UP!' and run as fast as I can until I come apart into dust and blow away in the wind.

It hurts. Too much.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A window

Today is the first time in a long, long time that I feel ok.

The incessant noise in my head has quietened down just enough (not completely) for me to be able to see again, hear, taste, smell, and even think! (Heaven forbid!)

Reaching a real low point in the middle of the night I took the decision to get some help. The first thing I did was look up some talks on OCD. None were very good but it helped me to realise again that I'm not alone, that what I'm suffering with is a real thing, and that it is possible to get through it.

I also told a friend about what was going on, albeit in the briefest possible terms. But I told him I was 'drowning' and needed some support. He was lovely. I don't think he has any idea what I'm talking about or the extent to what has been going on, but it felt good to share.

Right now I look outside and the sky is blue and it heals me. The trees are blowing in the wind and it moves me. There is a bird playing on the thermals and it brings tears to my eyes.

These things happen so many days. Ordinary, natural things. But, usually, I miss them. Usually they are like a gourmet meal without taste.

Today, it feels real. It feels tangible. Like I can be a part of it.

The smog has lifted just enough for me to glimpse a world I thought I'd lost, a Jules I thought I'd forever left behind in a carefree youth.

This morning music gets through. Smiles feel real. And even the things that aren't right (my full belly from emotional overreating or my stiff neck) are just factors of imperfection that I can live with. Factors I can factor in and deal with and overcome.

I'm not ok by any means. I'm still in the depths of depression and anxiety is still a whisper away but I can see the sky. The blue is getting in. I'm still in a dungeon but, today, there's a window.

I wish you a window today, however small. And I pray that you can really see the sky.

With love x

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

OCD beyond a joke

I'm not ok.

My OCD has gotten to the point now where I'm not really in control of myself or my life.

The reason I say that is because I have been going round and round inside my head for so long that I can't remember the last time I had a lucid thought about getting help for my OCD since about June - four months ago.

I sat up at night in my flat, crying down the phone to my mum begging for help because I couldn't take any more.

But nothing happened. I didn't get help and nothing changed.

Don't get me wrong, my mum was lovely and supportive, but nothing happened. She didn't take the bull by the horns they way I needed someone to and march me to my GP - or another medical practitioner - and find me the professional help I required.

And I stopped asking for help.

It's not that I gave up. It's just that I got lost again.

My OCD is such that I lose days - weeks even - to thoughts and patterns, obsession and compulsion, and I'm not lucid enough to see it for how it is long enough to do anything to make the change or cry out for help.

The best way to describe it is like I'm an addict. I'm an anxiety addict. And when I'm having my OCD fix I'm drunk to life, to myself, to the world in any reality. I live in a black smog of obsessive thoughts and uncontrollable feelings that I can't see anything else. There's so much smog that I can't even tell that it's smoggy - it's just how life is.

But very occasionally I have moments... MOMENTS when the smog lifts and I feel like myself. I feel clear-headed. I can think straight. I can be still long enough to view things as they are. And to view me and my OCD the way it really is.

Right now is one such moment. And I need to grab it.

I'm like an alcoholic and this is a rare sober evening. I have a killer hangover but at least I'm sober. And only in my sober moments can I tell that I'm an alcoholic and ask for help. The rest of the time I'm just too drunk to notice, care, or have the faculties to do anything about it.

So, this is me asking for help. Daily, professional help.

I can't afford my therapist at the moment. £100 an hour is too much when I'm not working! So I don't know where this support is coming from this time. But I need it.

I need help. This OCD is beyond a joke now.

With love x