New day, new determination

Yesterday was not a good day. But I think I’ve figured out what was going on. And I finally feel as though I’m working out some answers – or at least a different set of questions to ask.

I was desperately writing down words in the hope that externalising how I felt would help to stop the meltdown from happening. But it didn’t. And it didn’t stop the even worse one that I had this morning – finally triggered by the sensation of the water in the shower, of all things.

Two full-blown meltdowns in less than 12 hours. I don’t even want to think about the amount of energy that took away from me.

And I’m not sure how, but I’ve managed to find some internal resources from somewhere; to get through the day.

But it’s clear to me that I need to start doing things differently. Because getting myself into the kind of state I was in yesterday evening genuinely can’t go on – it’s just not healthy. I risk breaking, and that’s the last thing I want to do.

I have accepted – grudgingly, reluctantly¬†– that meltdowns are part of my condition. I’ve even become pretty good at not being too hard on myself afterwards; acknowledging that it’s not really my fault (even if often sometimes it feels like it is).

But I’ve also been fighting against them happening. Sometimes that’s OK. If it means I can postpone the explosion until I am somewhere I can be safely contained, then that can only be a good thing. But I need to be clear – in my own head, if nowhere else – that it is just a postponement. If a meltdown needs to happen, it needs to happen. And that’s not really my fault, either. Fighting it just seems to make things worse.

Although sometimes meltdowns can come as a relief, I would do almost anything to try and avoid them. They are an absolutely horrific experience for me. I can’t think; can’t function. All I feel is fear and panic. I am like an animal caught in a trap and would do anything – gnaw off my own leg – to get myself free. And even on my own, I feel frightened and humiliated by my total lack of control.

It’s the loss of control, more than anything else, that I think I’ve been fighting against. Because I don’t have a good history of being able to keep myself safe. And every time I can feel a meltdown coming on, I’m scared that I will slip into my old (pre-diagnosis) habits.

But, actually, I’m not sure that fear is based on the truth any more. I am, psychologically, in a very different place to where I was a year ago. In a bizarre way, I’m much stronger mentally – despite what I sometimes think. When I am thinking rationally, I have absolutely no desire to harm myself or to place myself in danger. And the strategies I’ve put in place to help myself through a meltdown are designed, above all else, to keep me safe.

So I’ve realised it’s just the fear talking. The certain knowledge that the meltdown is coming and it will be painful. The worry that this is the time when my brain will decide to take me back down the paths I’ve tried so hard to leave behind over the course of the last year.

But I need to trust myself more. I need to have faith that my strategies will work and that they will keep me safe when I need them to, even when I can’t consciously do that for myself.

Because the strategies do work.

They did keep me safe yesterday, even though I was scared that they wouldn’t.

And, at last, I seem to have discovered some internal resilience. I’m not especially strong. I’m not courageous in the slightest. But I can be tenacious. I’d forgotten that about myself and I quite like it. Perhaps it’s time I remembered…

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