I've been off work for quite a few weeks now. I've been seeing my GP and my therapist regularly. I've also seen Occupational Health. This all means that I've actually been working hard at getting well.
Recovery from mental ill health is most definitely NOT just a case of taking the pills and hoping for the best. Without a doubt the tablets have significantly reduced my anxiety and panic attacks. I can, once again manage things like getting a hair cut, or going to an unfamiliar place. If this surprises you, then I'm glad I've shared this. For me, being ill meant that I could not function at all. I had to leave family times early, take breaks from conversations with friends. The world became a frightening place.
When I first saw my GP, I was told to go away and do three things in addition to taking my medicine.
- I was not to think about work at all. I found this extremely difficult indeed. It was so difficult that I had to be signed off for a long chunk of time (months not weeks) in order to succeed.
- I was to take regular exercise. I was to leave the house every day at the very least. This took a lot of courage to start with, but I can now manage a 2.5 mile walk easily. My next goal is to change the route of my walk.
- I was to do something creative that I enjoyed. As I had already started making my Teeny Tiny Textile Art, I decided to continue with this and develop my skills. In this, I have been really successful and have opened an online shop here. To my total amazement and joy I have already sold six pieces in three weeks.
How do I feel now? I feel much better. I have some more work to do to rebuild my resilience. Through working with my therapist, I have realised that this mental ill health stemmed from years of blasting through five house moves, a career change, a divorce, a remarriage, life threatening cancer and bereavements on top of a stressful job and all that entails, without dealing properly with any of them. I have also learnt that I can worry for England when I don't need to. This new wrought Ali is still me, but I won't be taking responsibility that I don't need to take. I have been reassured that I am unlikely to become so ill again.
I have been building good relationships. I have taken opportunities to spend time with those I love. I have removed my self from harmful triggers and relationships. Shift has happened in the way I perceive things and in how I react to my triggers. Mr G has been so completely and utterly wonderful that I truly know he is the other half of me, I could not have got so far without him.
Ali, then, is well on the road to recovery, and I say hurrah to that. Ali will, however, never be quite the same again, but I'm not sorry about that as she was very unhappy and now the sun shines once again.