This is not a confession – It’s not a secret and I’m not ashamed. More of a frank apology for the complete lack of activity in the writing department for the past 6 months+ both to anyone reading this and to myself (oh, the irony for a ‘writer’). I am simply an individual in the great (read: common) sea of suffering that is the Mental Health spectrum. My illness comes in waves – sometimes as a gentle foam on the shores of my psyche, at others a catastrophic tsunami.
First diagnosed over 15 years ago, my particular chemical recipe is a heady cocktail of Severe Depression and Anxiety. Each ‘episode’ leaving me, and all that know and care for me, shaken and stirred. Sometimes shattered. To these patient, loving souls (mostly personal, some professional) I also apologise but most of all I thank them for their continued efforts to keep me above water. Madame Sertraline, I also salute you.
As is the unpredictable nature of the illness, the Black Dog just decided to bite me on the arse; I wasn’t paying it any attention, you see. At a time when my opportunities and confidence had piqued following my stint as The Editor Intern at my beloved ELLE Magazine, I found myself sinking once again. My dreams were dragged under the tide and duvet with me. Well, whoever ‘me’ was at that time – I simply became unrecognisable as ‘Sophie’. At the very time when other stressful circumstances had been resolved (that’s another story involving a horrific back injury and being forced to sell my home as a result) and just as I was feeling myself again, the sod decided to show up. Turns out I was simply in the eerie eye of the storm.
For now, I won’t go into details about what happened next. It’s too raw. I am making little waves again with my writing, taking on projects where possible and immersing myself in the things I had forgotten which make me feel alive. One of the cruelest aspects of the Big D is that it robs you of the ability to read, let alone lift a pen/pencil/eyebrow. It leaves your soul redundant amidst the dust on the bookshelves.
The 12-18th May marks Mental Health Awareness Week with particular focus on Anxiety. It is what has inspired me to share today. Today also happens to be my follow-up review with my CBT therapist. I’m looking forward to seeing him; looking forward to the future again.