One step at a time

Nothing can be more isolating the mental illness. Even in the busiest place, you can feel alone and sometimes anxious, afraid you’ll say the wrong thing or not quite fit in.

Speaking with friends and fellow sufferers brought this into stark relief today and something I can relate to, very strongly. Although I don’t believe I have social anxiety, I like to avoid crowds or situations where there could be frustration, possibly even embarrassment by saying the wrong thing.

Then, after being somewhere, the obsession starts about what was said and how I acted. It churns away and chips bits off me, meaning I devise different ways of dealing with things, such as avoiding those people and situations. It’s negative rumination and is damaging to the feeling of self worth.

It really hits confidence, hard. I avoid doing simple tasks or interaction with others, especially if there is a chance it may lead to conflict or a difficult situation, that just requires way too much energy; before, during and after. So best avoid it totally.

Even an exchange online can lead to torment on what was said or how it came across. Nothing good comes of these exchanges, very rarely if at all, but sometimes disagreeing with others and debating leads to a battered feeling that really is not worth the hassle.

The older I get, the less I bother about what people think of me but I guess there is still something there that causes me anxiety in dealing with others. I can’t leave the house without showering or brushing my teeth and feel rotten if I have my clothes are not spotless. Yesterday, I was walking around the nearby town wearing my fleece as I realised I had a stain on my shirt and got really hot. I decided I was being a fool, took off my fleece and gave up any concern about the stain.

I felt better for that.

I also sorted something on Lady M’s car that I had left for a while as I couldn’t face it. The advice online was to change a pin, which would need tools I’d need to purchase or take it to the dealer who’ll charge around £350. Then I happened on one guy who said it was fixed by spraying WD40 in the right places, which I duly did and resolved the issue straight away. It cost £4 and took ten minutes to sort, leaving me feeling that I had achieved something that made a difference.

It’s the little things that really make the difference and I am taking it one step at a time. As I’ve seen, recovery is a rollercoaster ride with many stumbles along the way, it’s realising the limits and putting one foot in front of another at the right time.

And the hardest thing is being kind to myself, which is something we should all do.


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