There is a lot of truth in the saying 'however far you've come there is always something new to learn'.
For me, it was to ask for help.
Like many people who are dealing with Lockdown on top of normal everyday stresses, I wasn't OK.
Although I have lived with bipolar for most of my life, in recent years, I haven't had too many problems. I know my triggers, the signs and none of them had presented themselves.
Two weeks ago, I had a panic attack, and anxiety has been my friend ever since. In fairness, it had been there a while before, but, I was too busy being what everybody needed me to be. I hadn't been looking out for symptoms outside of the parameters of my bipolar. If I had, I would have seen that emotionally I had stretched myself too thin...Snap!!
Registering for therapy was done that night, to some, this may seem like the hard part. It really shouldn't be, you need a hand, get it! Don't 'Man up' or 'Be strong' - What is a more remarkable example of strength, if not facing your own fears? The hard part was reaching out to my friends and family and admitting that I needed 'that' chat.
One lesson I have learned over the years is compassion. The understanding that what I may need, the person I'm reaching out to may just have too much going on in their lives to listen to me as well, and that's OK. What's not OK is when phrases like 'just be positive', stop being so 'negative' and '...more drama' get tossed around. Losing people from life, whilst it sometimes hurts, makes me appreciate the friends and family more who see me as more than a mental illness or victim.
Two friends made all the difference, and the strange thing is that with our laugh and bitch zoom chats or WhatsApp messages we're pushing each other to feel better, as they're going through things too. (Thank you!)
Last week, one of my therapists said instantly 'before we start, two-week pause on anything that is stressing you'. The central situation I can't stop, the others I could pause to a degree (everyday parental/spousal stress is a tad harder). I am pleased I did, the first days were hard but, now nearing the end of the two weeks it gave me the space I needed to get perspective and chill my anxiety a tad...admittedly, the fight with agoraphobia continues...
What also helped me was to have a neutral opinion on situations. Sometimes, I think we all need a little help in translating the world, and it helped me to hear that my reaction to said ongoing situation is understandable.
Having that fall and getting the help and support I needed hasn't just helped me, it's helped my family, it's helped my friends and it's got me (almost) functioning again!
So why was it so hard?
Things just take time to get better, when they do enjoy and appreciate the good times, support each other and be kind - everybody needs it at the moment x
*legally I can't talk publicly about the situation, in the vain hope we can get it through the court system.