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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wortley

Just keep taking the tablets!

I recall all too well the times I begged and pleaded to be well. At times is was about physical strength and health but mostly it was my emotional and mental health.


I did what the doctors told me. I took the tablets and saw a therapist but still the anxiety plagued me. I didn't want to eat, which scared me. I couldn't sleep, which worried me. I couldn't concentrate which dragged me down into ever increasing despair.


Yes doctor!

When it was clear I needed extra help, I was reffered to a psychiatrist who was to re-evalute my needs and assess whether I was 'coping'.

As I sat in the bland waiting room wondering what my appointment with the psychiatrist would be like, I found mysef biting my nails. Something I had never done as a nervous habit. A large clock on the wall sounded louder and louder as the seconds passed.

Eventually, my name was called and I was shown to a smaller room where the doctor was seated.

The conversation went something like this......


Hello Claire. Good to meet you, My name is *Dr Greenway. Please have a seat.


Hi, oh thank you.


So Claire, tell me about yourself and how are getting on since your release from the mother and baby unit.


Well, er, I , I am not sure really. It all feels a lot to cope with and I am worried I am failing my daughter.


Looking at your notes, I see you have left the marital home and are now living with your parents. Is that correct?


Yes, it is.


Do you feel this is the best course of action?


Err what do you mean?


Well, do you not think you would be better off back in the marital home with your husband, back in London?


I have to say that I was feeling very uncomfortable. I wasn't sure if this doctor wanted to help me or make me worse.


I wouldn't have left if I felt it was the better place to be.


It seems to me that you have come back to your parents to shirk your marital and parental responsibilities! You woud be better off facing up to your problems rather than running away from them. It's time to grow up.


Shocking!

I was gobsmacked. I just sat with my mouth open as this young man continued to spout his professional opinion on my life. I noticed he wasn't wearing a wedding ring and started to make judgements of my own.

I could hear his voice droning on and on and, as can be a trait of mine, I drifted off. First of all I noticed him tapping his pencil rhythmically as he spoke which meant I was looking at his hands. Crikey they were hairy!

As I followed the line of his arms up into his pale yellow shirt I saw how much he was sweating and that the collar of said shirt was far too tight. Creeping out of the collar was yet more dark hair. It looked like something trying to burst out of his clothing, and yes, he was STILL talking.


Wouldn't you agree Claire?


Sorry, what?


I said that our time is up and we should continue this next week.


Yes, of course. Thank you.


I gathered up my bag and coat and went to leave the room, at which point the doctor smiled and called out,

Oh and keep taking the tablets!


I guess he thought he was being funny. Personally I found it as funny as stubbing your toe on the door frame! Dickhead!


Hindsight

Looking back, the doctor may have been right to a degree. Maybe I was running away from my responsibilities or maybe I was doing my best to survive?

I know the hallucinations I experienced while staying in the unit were not imagined. I spent days and nights trying to work out if I should got back my husband or take back some control and start life again but as a single parent.The fear I was living with was real and the fact that I felt I could not trust my husband was eventually the shove I needed to make my decision. Moving in with my parents was the only option I had, other than going back and that was now off the cards.


Sometimes we have to make decisions which can feel all the more difficult when we know they will hurt others. I didn't want my life to be the way it was. I had dreamt of finding a wonderful partner to spend my life with and to be the father to our children . All this mess was not part of my plan!


Time for a rethink!



 a woman on the beach , thinking
Making big decisions

Aha!

The above situation wasn't the only time I was told to rethink my decisions. It seemed everyone had their own opinion on what I should do and what kind of a person I was. Some felt hurt and lashed out with cruel words, claiming I was unfit to be a mother and that I was unstable. Others were more subtle, gently questioning my motives and stating I had a tendancy to overreact becasue I was sensitive soul.


It was many years later that I finally realised that I was giving my power away. What I mean to say is that I put all my faith in God or the doctor or a medication and failed to recognise that the ultimate source of strength came from within. Now don't get me wrong, I am definitely not saying that you can just change your attitude and a mental illness or issue just goes away. What I am saying is that I finally got to the point where, to my mind, I had exhausted all my options.

It was only after years of therapy, various medications, exercising at the gym, meditating, mindfullness workshops, hypnotising myself and paying for copious amounts of 'free yourself from anxiety' workshops that my epiphany happened.

I had begged and pleaded, shouted and thrown tantrums and found myself at the lowest point a human can fall to. I was ready to give up.

I had done everything I could possible think of to make myself well and still I seemed to fall deeper and deeper into despair.


That was until I realised I was giving it all away. In expecting someone or something to save me I was ignoring the strength I had inside. I had forgotten how to be strong. I had failed to recognise that in not giving up, after years of hell, I was demonstrating my strength, it was just that I had become blind to it.


Learned hopelessness gets it's a*se kicked.

At last I was seeing another option. I could see that there was hope and there was a way, my way. Sorry if you burst into song there!

But what was my way?

You see I had stopped trying. I had put all responsibility for my wellness on the shoulders of others. It may have looked like I was trying but it was reality I was acting out, trying to prove that yet another recommended route to wellness was utter crap.


Understanding that you still have the option be 'present' on your road to wellness is hugely empowering and I had finally showed up to facilitate my healing.


I recognised the need to trust myself again no matter what happened. It was time to acknowledge that I could be there for myself and that the good times were just around the corner. All I had to do was to start to see the tiny glimmers of hope, the moments of laughter and freedom from pain.


I didn't have the weird, twisted brain I had been accused of having.

I had a brain that had lost it's ability to recognise and focus on the good parts of my life.

Anxiety can convince you that anything good in your life is a fluke, just pure luck and extremely unlikely to happen again.

There is a way of thinking which says 'if you expect the worst then the chances are you won't be disappointed' but this isn't a healthy mindset to live your life in. You will find yourself looking for the bad in every situation rather than finding any blessings.



Here's a recent example of how a different mindset got me through an awful car journey.


Tick Tock

I live in the Scottish Highlands and my family are based in Buckinghamshire, England. Earlier this year I was due to travel down and help clear a family property ready for it's next owners. Being Little Miss Organised, I had a clear timetable of where I had to be and when.


I packed up my little car and began the 600 mile journey which would be broken up with an overnight stay in a hotel about half way down.

As the miles passed, I noticed the clutch was feeling a bit off. I had had this checked out before and the garage said there was nothing to wrong with it so I believed them. It was around the outskirts of Glasgow that the clutch began to stick. I was driving through a town and noticed that as I lifted my foot off the clutch, the pedal wasn't rising and engaging the gear.

If you have ever experienced a sticky clutch then you'll know it's not funny!(glad I didnt get a typo in there!)

Thankfully, I was in a restaurant car park when the clutch stuck altogther and not on a busy motorway. Being near a restaurant I had access to toilets and refreshments. I called the RAC and was told I had about an hour's wait.


As I waited I felt all the pressure of not letting my family down, descend upon my shoulders. I could feel the anger rising. All I wanted to do was support and help my family and the car had to go and play up! I was shaking violently and sweat was running down my spine.


The RAC chap turned up, inspected the car and said that he couldn't see any issues. Now I don't know if this is a real thing but I felt I was being dismissed as a daft woman who shouldn't be on the road.

Don't get me wrong, the chap was perfectly polite and offered to drive me to a garage going back the way I had come. This would leave me in a place I didn't know with nowhere to stay.

I could've sat in the middle of the carpark and cried like a toddler! I was stressed, a little frightened and lost as to what to do next.

Thankfully, I had friends about 20 miles away who would put me up overnight. They couldnt collect me because their car was unavailble but if I could limp along to their house I had a safe bed for the night.

I slowly made my way to Inverkip and almost burst into tears when I arrived to see a friendly face.


Decisions

Once refreshed I knew there were still many decisions to be made. I had to find answers to the questions: how would I travel south and what could be done about my car?


I managed to eat a small amount of dinner but was conscious that I was still shaking. What was I to do? How could I solve this issue and still be south in time to carry out my tasks? Thakfully the idea came to me as I sipped a drink of cool water. I suddenly blurted out 'how about this for an idea? I haven't thought it through but I need to say it to see if it makes sense! How about I leave my car here for the 2 weeks I am away and we try to get it fixed in that time? Tomorrow I could look into hiring a car for the duration of my trip and then return it and collect my car on the journey home?'


There were nods of approval which was enough for me to take myself off to bed.


As I lay there in the darkness and felt the tears threaten to spill over, I told myself to think of all the good things that came out of the last few hours. It was so easy to feel angry and pissed off but I didn't want that for myself. I wanted to use my strength and understanding to build up from the ruins of the day for a more positive day, tomorrow.

You may have noticed that I have written 'thankfully' several time times in the previous section which was deliberate. I was choosing to be grateful. I fully embraced the gratitude I felt for not being in a catastrophic road accident and for the support of the friends that were putting me up for the night.


On the road to success

I didn't have a restful sleep, which was no real surprise, but I felt a little less stressed and a wee bit more focused.

The biggest challenge would be to get my car seen to in the two weeks I was away as most garages were incredibly busy. Initialy I didn't hold out much hope until the garage used by my friends said they would take the car that day and do the work while I was away.

As this was explained to me I realised I had been holding my breath and finally took a hug gulping breath before I passed out. This news was amazing! I was so grateful I could have creid, again!

Along with this news, the mechanic had recommended a reliable car hire company, not too far away so that was my next phone call. This ended in another reason to burst with gratitude. They had a car available from midday and the cost wasn't through the roof. All I had to do was get there and my freinds stepped up again, agreeing to take my and my belongings to collect the car and continue on my way south.

At last everything felt like it was coming together. I did have another reason to be grateful when collecting the hire car. You see, I drive a car with a handbrake lever and an actual key but this newer, larger car had no such things. I stared at the dashboard and wondered where the numbers were and how did I start the machine? Thankfully the friend who had driven me there was more au fait with these things and gave me a quick lesson on where everything was and which button did what. I did ask if they had a smaller vehicle but felt the Fiat 500 was a tad too small for the long drive with all my luggage so an suv it was.

Eventually, after a crazy 24 hours, I was back on the road enjoying the luxury of this flashy new car.

Late that evening, I arrived at my daughters looking 20 years older, her words not mine and yet grateful!


I slept well that night and was relieved to find that come the next morning , the shakes that had been my travelling companion, had gone. I was back to feeling like myself again.


What can you and I take away from this?

Although this journey pushed me to the point of hysterics and tantrums, I still completed it!

Although this journey made me frightened, I still completed it!

This journey gave me fashbacks and had me hearing those voices that told me I was broken and incapable and yet still I completed it.

I WAS afraid, I WAS unsure, I felt lost BUT I found my way.

I DID IT!


And so can you😉🥰


Much Love,

Cx




* not the dotcor's real name.

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