Gratitude and identity
Today I have been reminded of the fact that life is so precious and not something we should take for granted. We never know when something might come out of the blue and blindside us, when we or a loved one might be taken away. It makes me realise again how lucky I was to be given a second chance at life and made me even more determined to live it, rather than just exist.
I have been physically and mentally busy since my last entry and feelings wise, particularly dealing with a lot of anxiety. (Last night’s World Cup football didn’t help with that!) I had a choir performance last week which went well. Strangely I don’t really seem to suffer from performance anxiety for things like that - my worries are more catastrophic and general. Plus, in choir, I am always one of many rather than on my own, which helps a lot with my fear of negative judgement, especially as I don’t have to socialise with the group when we perform, just be part of an act.
Being a different person or putting on an act in different circumstances is something that is very common in people with EUPD and certainly rings true with me. I find that I can fulfil roles quite well but struggle to know who I am as a person myself. This was something that we were talking about during my first day of the Recovery College course that I have just started. It was suggested that in order to stay well, people need to be self-compassionate and self-accepting. This is different from trying to boost your self-esteem, which although it may be very low in those with mental health problems, is usually reliant on your happiness in relation to others whereas self-acceptance is entirely based on your relationship with yourself. If you can master that, then it doesn’t matter what others think of you. I can certainly see that being self-accepting and as kind to yourself as you would be to a good friend in a similar position is logical, but it relies on the assumption that you know what or who ‘you’ are to be accepting of. This is the part I am currently struggling with. I think my sense of identity is growing stronger as I am moving forward at the moment but as yet I am still not sure who the ‘real’ Jo is.
The beginning of the course went well and I am pleased that I have enrolled on it. Being around a group of new people is difficult for me but I am hoping that the more I make myself do it, the easier it will become. As that course started though, my adult learning writing course came to an end this week. I feel like I have developed some new skills in the past 6 weeks, not just in my writing, but in learning that it’s ok to share my experiences with others. This week I read some of my work aloud and the response was good in terms of the writing and in terms of wanting to know more about my journey. I was also shown once more that one person opening the topic of mental illness can lead to others talking about it, which is what we need more of.
Like I said above though, I end this entry being particularly grateful for those around me who mean so much; friends and family as well as those people who I may not be close to but who I see frequently and just take their presence for granted. Everyone matters.