Enemies, family and the odd ex male chap may read this post and question my motives and reasons behind the post, they’ll claim it’s the work of a great PR gal. I do work in PR, but this is not one of my great PR tactics but the honest truth and as candid as it’s going to get. So, if you want to hear and read the candid open truth, grab a cuppa and carry on. If you, want to abort mission then close the tab. Speaking about personal topics and truths may perhaps be, seen as unattractive and make me even more repellent to the opposite sex or weak but at this moment in time, listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s on a Fright Night, I couldn’t give a monkeys left testicle. So, if you want to not read this, ghost the post if you like, I love not receiving closure….NOT. Anyway..
Last year, or for 50% of last year I was sick, both mentally and physically and was unaware- blaming it on other things than the cause of illness. November 2017, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and neuropathy a form of nerve damage. At the time of diagnosis, my consultant advised a course of treatment and in a world where we’re finding treatments and cures out daily, there is still nothing how to treat CFS; despite thousands suffering with the illness. My consultant, suggested the only form of treatment being, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT, is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. Being shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis. A physical illness being treated with a therapy for those in dark places. I rejected this.
Fast forward three months, I relapse having spent the months prior, beginning to get my life back on track and managing the illness as best as I could. I was around negativity in my professional environment impacting me mentally. Returning to full time employment, after 3 months essentially house bound, had ruined me- prior to my return I had accepted my illness and knew that for the next year things might have to go at a slower pace but returning to the hustle and bustle of London was too much. The second, I stepped into full time work, I was ruined, shattered and my confidence ruined. My emotions everywhere, crying at everything and anything, not sleeping and being a mess physically and most importantly mentally. The enormity of the mental side, had triggered a relapse. My, already shot energy levels shot to pieces couldn’t handle the stress. I’d say, that with ME, you’re always 70% charged never 100% but 70%. The stress, anxiety and low mood had given me 5% energy. I knew things, were bad after collapsing on a train home and returning to my GP crying. I never cry and all of a sudden, the doctor asking me ‘are you ok’ was like someone telling me a close relative or friend had died. At this point, I knew I needed help. Talking to friends and family was not cutting it. I was still trapped in a viscous circle of low mood, anxiety and fragility. I also knew, that maybe deep down I had not accepted my illness. Being constantly being told, that working in London was the sign of success, being told that living in the City was the peak of popularity and sass, being told that with an illness I was not good enough had ruined me. Ruined, mentally torn. My self esteem crushed, confidence destroyed and happiness swiped away.
So, I accepted CBT.
Before, telling you whether I think CBT is worth it’s profile on the NHS website, I’ll give you the truth. I’d been on the waiting list for 6 months before receiving the phone call for a referral. So, was it worth the 6 month wait? I was and have been rather critical of any service for mental health, because I thought it’d make me feel worse and hate myself more for going to see a person not my Mother at 10pm on a week night. I’ve been attending therapy, for the last 3 weeks or 2 weeks if you exclude the week of introductory and legal stuff. Each week, I bring a new thought and a new feeling. I focus primarily on the thoughts I feel are eating away at me, and maybe not the thoughts; friends and family can help me deal with. I’ve heard negative stories regarding CBT, and maybe it should not be used as the primary treatment for those diagnosed with ME since, it hasn’t been helping with my ME so much. Instead, this is how I look at it- when I’m anxious or stressed or just depressed, it eats away at the low energy I have and that combined causes a relapse. I’m not saying that I’ve got triggers, and that my ME is in my head but I know that to manage it as best as I can, I need to eliminate the issues that will make it worse.
Since attending, my weekly therapy sessions I have realised how much of the past I hold onto and use this as a crutch to remain anxious rather than, focusing on the present. The whats if’s, the should have’s eat away and cause me to be in a circle of worry, no sleep and low mood. I realise that if I have a negative thought, or a feeling that should not be there, I need to question whether there is evidence in the present to support this. Does, thinking about the past employer and what they did, in anyway help or aid my current position or does it mean the past person will be replicated in the form of the present person? No.It seems so pathetic, but according to my therapist I’m rather stubborn. Something, I never would describe myself as, but apparently I am. I have spent the last 9 years, basing every worry, every sleepless night over what ifs and should of’s rather than thinking in the present or in the now.
I personally, have found talking to a person who doesn’t know that i upload an Instagram/Facebook picture each time i go out for dinner, or that I blog or even that I fancy Ricard Hammond to be super helpful. By her not knowing me, she can be objective and there be no feelings between us. There is not the emotional connection, there is when talking with friends or family. Instead, she can see that the worries I have are based upon negative experiences with bullies but I am in the present. The present day, the present time where these people, comments do not exist and are not supporting the thought. The thoughts, or negative thoughts I have currently, are based around the last two years and at last, I’ve been able to let go of those fears, anxious thoughts and self loathing thoughts.
I feel that I can let go of the people, the comments and places to live my life and embrace the present. Embracing the new era of Evan, who can crack on with the things she used to do before anxiety, low mood and hideous peoples comments stopped her.
Photos by Millie Clinton