Cry. Bike. Don’t sleep. Repeat.

I’ve been told that it’s good to get out of your comfort zone and I know it’s true – do the same old things and you get the same old results – but right now I’m so out of my depth I’m drowning. In a stream of water that keeps coming out of my eyes: weird.

I don’t cry. I’m not boasting – I get that it’s not healthy – but I can suck up a huge amount of hurt before the floodgates even begin to feel the strain. Right now, I’m finding it difficult to stop. It’s as disturbing to me as the memories that wake me up most nights. Inconveniently, it started while I was at work at my local arts centre and surrounded by loads of people…at the start of our comedy festival. Thankfully the evening’s act had better timing than my tear ducts.

It was my final appointment with my therapist last week and it was as difficult as I had anticipated. The only upside to this was a sense of relief that the goodbyes were over and a pride that I’d actually managed to go through with it. Those feelings lasted for half an hour. Life since then has been made up of long periods where I can barely find a single cogent thought in the blizzard that’s replaced my brain, followed by an unbearable sense of being completely alone. It’s at this point the waterworks start.

It usually takes me half an hour to write a CNS blog (plus lots of thinking whilst walking the dogs – I don’t want you to think you don’t get value from me) but this one is taking forever. I’m trying to write it when Sensible CNS Blogger is around and she’s pretty absent at the minute. Otherwise all you’d be reading would be “Woohoo! Bike ride! Yippee!!” followed by “Waaaaaahhhh” or possibly even more random letters as my keyboard short circuits under the strain of so much salt water.

I’d better explain the bike thing. One of the best ways of clearing and calming my head is running, but courtesy of my barefoot gardening habit and a more-than-likely broken toe (it was properly manky) that’s off the cards. A friend has encouraged me to get on my bike and take it all out on a few hilly routes around my home and I’m enjoying it, but it’s the second reason I’m so far out of my comfort zone. It’s safe to say I’m not a confident cyclist, but I can be confident in saying I’m not safe – my habit of never looking up from the ground has me veering all over the shop. Must get on top of that one.

Running is one of the few times I naturally hold my head up because I feel confident when I run. I know what I’m doing, I know I can do it and I’m pretty good at it (for a 41-year-old asthmatic smoker). When I’m cycling I can sometimes unleash my 8-year-old self and have some fun but only on familiar routes. I don’t have the confidence to venture too far from home when I’m on my own – much too scary.

The past couple of rides had been even more challenging than usual because my shaky self-confidence has got even worse. I never had stabilisers as a kid – I’m more of trial and error learner – but now I feel like I’m riding without them for the first time. I hate it. All I can see before me are opportunities for skinned elbows and concussion. Unfortunately it’s not just my confidence on a bike that’s been knocked. I doubt myself at every turn and feel completely out of my depth even when doing things I know I can do and have done for ages.

With the departure of my therapist, my safety net has disappeared – there’s no longer a limit to how far I can fall. When I start to fall I’ll just keep going until I’m out of sight and mind. There’s nobody to apply the brakes. I can’t sleep because I don’t feel safe enough to close my eyes.  I’m tired to the point of exhaustion – and fresh air and exercise seem to make little difference. I’ll get to sleep by midnight courtesy of my meds and then be awake by two. I usually fall back to sleep as the sun comes up and get another couple of hours, but it’s not restful because my brain is still trying it’s best to stay on high alert. Thanks, brain – I know you think you’re helping.

The world has always seemed a dangerous place to me, with hurt and abuse around every corner. There used to be 50 minutes each week where I could feel safe – properly safe – and know that I wasn’t going to come to any harm.

…I feel safe.

…I feel safe…

I feel safe… 

 

I bitterly regret ever having experienced how wonderful that feeling is. The weight of depression is immeasurable – too much for most of us to contemplate, never mind understand. I used to be able to take it off for a short time each week and get help in repacking it, so it was a little easier to carry.

Now it weighs far too heavy and it pinches and pains as I drag it along behind me. I don’t understand how this can be, because if I look inside all there is to see is emptiness.

 


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