Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (10)

How do I explain?

 

I don’t know what you want to know. You ask

if I’m better like I broke a leg and I’m walking

with crutches. It doesn’t work like that. Today

 

I feel tired, but yesterday I was over the moon.

I don’t know why I feel this way. God knows

what it’ll be like tomorrow. I can only hope it won’t

 

be dreadful. This isn’t like healing a broken bone

or a runny nose, you know? The best analogy I

can give you, is the British weather. If moods

 

were weathers… I can experience all four in the

same day, or the space of a week. I can only

hope that the British wintry days become rarer

 

and the exotic tropical island days become

the norm. I don’t know what it is to be

better and wish people stopped asking.

Posted in My Planet

Why depression was the best thing that happened to me

In 2010 I was diagnosed with clinical depression and I thought my life was over. I lost track of time, stopped enjoying all the things I used to enjoy, lost interest in everything and the smallest event would cause me terrible anxiety. After months of struggle, I ended up losing my job, which eventually resulted in the loss of my house, making me and my three children homeless for eleven months during which we lived in a high-security hostel. So, why do I think that this was the best thing that has happened to me?

I lived all my life being scared, feeling wrong and inadequate, most of my actions were driven by either fear or seek for approval. I made so many mistakes, from trusting the wrong people to getting into debt and everything else in between that only added to my low self-esteem and lack of self-worth. I will leave the details of those for another post. What I want to focus on today is the benefits of therapy – it is fair to say that I owe my life to CBT. Through hours of therapy, I learned to make peace with my past and consequently, I started being kinder to myself. My most valuable lessons were:

  • It’s ok not to be ok.
  • I deserve to be loved for just being me.
  • I can love my parents and still hate some of the things they did to me.
  • I am a good mother.
  • I didn’t deserve the horrible things that were done to me.
  • I am not a failure.
  • Self-love is not selfishness.
  • I’m only responsible for my actions.
  • Grieving is a process.
  • Guilt is bad and serves no purpose.
  • I am not responsible for other people’s happiness.
  • I cannot change the past.
  • The past cannot hurt me.
  • The future doesn’t matter.
  • The power is in the now.

As a result of all these lessons, I became more self-confident and my self-esteem improved massively. I became aware of my self-worth and I am not afraid of asking for what I believe I deserve. When I think about my past mistakes and bad choices, I accept responsibility without judgment; I am now more accepting of myself and of others. Before the depression, I used to get terrible anxiety about how other people felt and wanted to fix everything. I used to live under a hard mask, but now I am just me. And although I am not always over the moon, that is ok. I know when I am not ok and when a low mood is approaching and how to act unless I haven’t the energy, which is also quite alright.

Posted in My Planet

My first panic attack

I had my first panic attack when I was seven years old. My primary school teacher lived on the same street where I lived and I used to walk to school with her. We would go to school in the morning, come home for lunch and go back to school for the afternoon. One day, I took a bit longer to finish my lunch and she had already gone, but I didn’t know and waited for ages outside her door, after a while and went back home and told my mum she didn’t come. When she saw me, my mum made a big deal out of it and told me to go to school fast because she would have gone already. I don’t think my mum meant to scare me, but I just got so worried for being late, I cried my way to school running and by the time I got there, I was hyperventilating unable to produce a word. I was in such a state that everyone thought I had been attacked on my way to school. When I calmed down later on and managed an explanation of my worry for being late, the teacher – maybe out of relief – and all the class laughed at me. I didn’t understand why was that so funny at the time, although I have used the episode to illustrate my innate sense of punctuality.

I can see why for an adult, at the time, that seemed like a very silly reaction on my part. I agree that it was indeed. But unfortunately, it doesn’t illustrate only my sense of punctuality; this is also a proof that I am a born worrier. And in the years to come, I have become really good at it, an expert I would say. I have been so good at it that I have suffered from insomnia for years, maybe most of my life. Even though I don’t worry as much now, I still see a whole night of sleep without interruptions as a luxury. The problem with worry is that it is the most useless waste of time; the Cambridge Dictionary online defines worry as ” to think about problems or unpleasant things that might happen in a way that makes you feel unhappy and frightened“. The key word here is might; when we worry, we think about things that haven’t happened and may never happen. There is no purpose whatsoever in worrying. While we worry we don’t make anything better and we just get consumed by anxiety; worrying is one the habits that I blame for my anxiety and depression. Sometimes the silliest things would consume hours of my time in useless worry; like for example this one time when I had to travel for a job interview and spend the three hours of my journey worrying about the ring I was wearing – ‘will they think this is too bold?’, ‘will I miss this opportunity if I’m wearing this ring?’, and so on. In the end, I decided, well this is who I am and I am not going to hide it. It turns out I got the job and the interviewer even complimented the ring and even said that it showed my individuality. So, while I could have enjoyed the journey reading a good book or even relaxing, I was just feeling sick to my stomach for nothing.