(Content Warning – poor mental health, description of a mental break, mention of suicide)
I’ve mentioned a few times that I suffered from a mental break last year. They used to be called nervous breakdowns. Technically a doctor can’t say definitively that I did because I didn’t immediately end up in in-patient care. However two GPs and a psychiatrist have told me that this is basically what I’m describing so I should treat it as such.
They don’t come out of nowhere, there’s a reason I’m in trauma-informed Therapy at the moment. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve not been in therapy that’s got a short-term goal. After I was assaulted and at various points when suicide was a little too likely it’s always been sticking plaster type therapy that was prescribed. In one case the lovely woman did not do the fill in the box CBT she was supposed to do but rather combined CBT, various talk therapy techniques and DBT. Both The Teenage Boy and FJ have said that during the pandemic it looked like I was having a nervous breakdown in slow motion. All I needed was a trigger and then the mind breaks.
That is actually what it felt like, literally I couldn’t think, I was struggling to string a sentence together. (I admit I’m not sure whether it just felt that way or if the people I was with thought that I was struggling to talk.) But the sensation of not being able to think, but knowing I absolutely needed to think and understand right the fuck now was, was terrifying. I couldn’t bring together the thoughts in my mind let alone the words for them. There were concepts that felt as if they were sheared in half and I couldn’t grasp what they were altogether.
I went to sleep for about a week, my ability to parse information was shot. I’m very lucky that the work I do is largely very simplistic I cannot imagine what I’d have done if I’d had to use my brain for work.
It’s the lack of ability to think properly that is scuppering me still, I remain hugely grateful to going to The Jellicle’s parents place for Christmas where her family treated me very gently. I had absolutely no ability to get into the excitement of Christmas. But then I’ve been continuing to be massively reactive to just about everything ever since, very probably I would have benefited from that Sertraline when it was offered as I was pursuing my ADHD diagnosis. Because this isn’t The Swamp, it isn’t my native Depression, but yes absolutely it is some kind of Clinical Mental inability to deal with the sharpnesses of the world.
There’s simultaneously a sharpness and a numbness, everything feels very raw but also a lot of things feel too big to manage still. I feel like I’m gradually coming together and then I see someone getting run over, I have the most devastating argument with a friend, I crash my car and it’s all just too much. It’s like when I broke my leg and kept getting knocked into, it kept hurting and hurting and hurting. My management techniques are not sophisticated, and I can’t manage the really good ones yet. I’m still at the breathing techniques and writing at the moment.
Some of the things I do to maintain a good headspace I’ve been doing poorly, the helping others thing, it’s great advice usually but I’ve been using that to distract from my problems rather than deal with my own shit and then help others. So I’m not as out there for other people as I am usually. There’s a level of guilt with that to be honest though there’s a lot of talking about that in therapy.
I know that it’s all about choosing how to react but everything just seems to be coming as it will right now. The pain, the sorrow, the fear and the gratitude. Honestly The Jellicle and M-i-L are being very kind with me and I need it still. I don’t understand how I can still be feeling the sense of secure love and gratitude from last year but that’s still there in waves too.
What I think caused the mental break really wasn’t just the two years of wondering if I was going to die but too many years of untreated other conditions – hence the actual attempts to deal with the ADHD, CPTSD et al. I am also wondering if I had a mental break during my PGCE. Or possibly just came very close to one. I’m wondering about going back into Sertraline for a bit though I think I probably ought to wait for methylphenidate or whatever I end up prescribed for the ADHD and then see.