Writing is definitely a good outlet for me. It is something I enjoy doing and can also be very therapeutic. I used to keep a diary when I was younger and write everyday. Although I am not so fastidious now, I still find the act of writing what is on my mind down on paper comforting - it gives me a sense of control somehow.
Control is something that is very important to me. I wish I could be laid back and not care about what is going on or going to happen next but I just can’t seem to do it. A lack of control leads to huge spikes in my anxiety and then that plays into my low self esteem and lack of self worth. I get annoyed at myself for being anxious about things and think that I should just be able to cope. I remember that when I was first discharged from my time as an inpatient at the therapeutic community, I was extremely anxious about having the responsibility of looking after my dog. I was worried she was going to run away or I’d lose her somehow and that I wasn’t confident enough to be able to care for her. Those thoughts have been resurfacing a bit lately but I think it is now related to the fact that I am back on the road in my car after three years. It is amazing being able to drive again and I am astonished at how easily the mechanics of driving have come back to me. However, the hazard perception side of things and the worries of what everyone else might do on any given journey is creating a lot of anxiety. I don’t feel responsible enough to be able to do it, just like I didn’t feel responsible enough to be able to care for my dog. I think it all comes back to control - I can’t control what other drivers (or cyclists or pedestrians!) are going to do in the same way that I can’t control whether my dog decides to impulsively chase a squirrel and gets lost, and that is really difficult for me. Still, I realise that I will never, and can never, have full control over everything in my life and need to learn to sit with the anxiety / uncomfortable feelings it creates. I know that by facing the fears, over time it will get a bit easier but these spikes will still arise occasionally.
Since I last wrote, things have been fairly hectic as usual. I have been told that I need to have a ‘consolidation’ break from my EMDR therapy work from now until the new year so weekly therapy has now stopped for a while. Whilst I understand that a break is a sensible thing to do at this stage, I couldn’t help feeling a bit abandoned by my therapist when we talked about it. It felt initially a little like I was being left with a whole lot of mess in my head and just expected to get on with it. That felt very harsh and unfair - like the lid had been lifted off the can and now the worms were free to rampage wherever they liked! But logically I know it is not like that. I need some time and space at the moment and it’s not abandonment, it just feels like it is because that’s such a fear of mine. It’s like when you are determined to find something that you’re looking for and you twist situations to try and find the evidence of it. Of course I don’t do that consciously but on some level it’s what happens in my brain.
Things with my campaign for a local personality disorder service are still going strong. My petition has got far more signatures than I was initially aiming for, which is fantastic and I am currently planning what steps to take next. I have finally had a response from my local MP’s office on their query to the CCG about current local provision for personality disorder treatment and to put it mildly, reading it enraged me! On paper it is very easy to make it look like we have a whole specific and tailored approach for dealing with these complex mental health needs in the county but in reality it is very different. For example, they say they provide staff training on personality disorders. That, it turns out, is a one day non-mandatory course so there are literally hundreds of practitioners who have no training on the conditions at all. Like I said, I am working on my next steps - I am certainly not going to let it drop at this stage.
I have spent some quality time with friends recently too, which has been nice. I have come to realise that friendships only work where there is a mutual degree of effort put into the relationship. Waiting endlessly for people to message doesn’t get you anywhere - if you want to connect with people then do it! I am lucky that the friends I have in my life get that balance of things - give and take - it doesn’t ever even feature as a problem. I am hoping that now I have my car back I can repay some of their kindness in making the effort to come and visit me so often.
So, life’s learning curve continues but so far I am still managing to ride the crest of the wave (most of the time!).