Updated: Oct 25, 2020
These are the days where I feel I've simply had enough.
I seem to have lost all sense of how far I've come. A combination of the inner critic and toxic shame feel over whelming and unmanageable. It's a crippling sensation both mentally and physically, and I'm unable to carry out the most basic of tasks.
That inner critic seems louder than normal and on constant repeat;
"You're not good enough"
"They'll get fed up with eventually"
"You're going to fail again, so stop kidding yourself"
"You're a fake and you're crap at your job"
For anyone reading this who's experienced similar feelings, you can probably understand how dreadful these thoughts are. They're incredibly powerful and debilitating, to the point where you really start to doubt yourself and consider alternative ways out of the misery. It's like being depressed of being depressed, every positive step forward you make is blindsided by two steps back and what seemed fantastic progress is nothing but a distant dream, soon to be forgotten.
Here's the reality of it. I know I have this condition called complex post traumatic stress disorder, and if I could get rid of it, I would in a heart beat. It's both terrifying and exhausting that my brain has been so damaged by past trauma that tries to convince me of things that aren't true. I wish I had the ability to really put in to words how much it's devastated my life over the years and continues to do so, but perhaps that will come with time. All I know is at the moment, things aren't great and I'm struggling to keep my head above water.
These are a key element of CPTSD and vary depending on the trauma experienced, but through therapy I'm slowly discovering I have a lot of them. The response to triggers is one of the 4F's (Fight, Flight, Fawn & Freeze), all of which affect you in their own ways and have a tremendous impact both mentally and physically. Let me give you an example;
You write a document on a specific topic and receive a comment back that you've missed something out and another part is factually incorrect. The outcome of that is your brain goes in to survival mode and tells you there's danger ahead, when in reality all that's happened is you've received a comment. The inner critic shouts "you're not good enough" and things start to shut down in to "freeze" mode. Now imagine that on a larger scale, every tiny comment, every small detail you deal with on a daily basis is under that scrutiny;
"You forgot to send off a document"
"You made a mess prepping dinner"
"You forgot to buy potatoes when you went shopping"
"You didn't do something the way the other person expected you to"
"You can't focus on your job today"
"You didn't get that promotion"
It goes on and on, and it's utterly exhausting, but sometimes it's too much to handle. Those are the days where I feel like giving up. It's humiliating.
Self care goes out the window when I'm in that mindset. All the good intentions and micro tasks I need to do to keep things afloat seem impossible and I'm back to square one. Writing helps to a degree and reading about the condition is also helping me to come to terms with it, but I desperately wish there was a magic pill I could take that would rid me of this illness. For those who succumb to their mental health problems and take their own life, I truly get it. There's an underlying pain that can't be explained and the only way out at the time is to end things. There is no selfishness in this act from the person suffering, just a simple desire to stop the pain no matter what it takes. When you truly imagine how bad must things be for someone to consider the only way out is to end their life, you must realise how utterly devastating mental health problems are.
Mental health cannot be fixed once a year on those hashtag awareness days, nor can it be solved by posting inspirational quotes to pick people's spirits up. It doesn't care if you're successful, you have a family, what sex you are or how important you are. This illness is a silent killer and lays dormant in it's victim, convincing the host and those around that perhaps things are getting better and maybe they're ok now . Sadly and without warning, the dark passenger will show its strength again, whispering those words of failure and doing all it can to take control. Please please please look after those you love and make them know how much they're needed. A hug, a smile, a phone call is so powerful and can truly make a difference.
We don't choose to be depressed, nor do we choose to have those dark thoughts. We're just victim of a terrible invisible illness caused by trauma, and would gladly get rid of it in a heartbeat. We just need you to remind us that it won't last forever and there is always hope.