Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Through The Looking Glass Of Acceptance

Hi folks,
 
I know it's been a few days since my last post, but there's no point posting if I have nothing to write about is there?
 
Well, today I do...


After initially waking up this morning feeling quite anxious about my therapy session with Adam May today, which has been on the cards for a couple of weeks, once I arrived I started to feel OK. After all, this is all for the good of my well-being and improvement in my mental health and Adam is such a nice chap. "Absolutely nothing to fear" I told myself.
 
For those who don't know, CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The idea behind it is that, in simple terms, is to approach things differently in life, using more positive language to 'train your brain' to think less negatively and not so black and white (rigid) like I have done most of my life; there's never been any middle ground for me and keeping this up is tiring. It attempts to educate you in how thoughts are directly linked to how you feel and this has been scientifically proven. If you want to know more, then go here.
 
As I sat on Adam's plush, leather sofa and took in the calm, quiet surroundings, I felt good. I wasn't fearful of what I wanted to discuss with him, more a feeling of urgency so I could get everything out in the hour we had together. And he has given me some very useful insight on how I have been looking at things.
 
The one thing that stood out for me today, was a kind of definition of somebody who is successful. A person who is successful, is only this way because they have managed their failures. And how to stand up again when knocked down. A setback in life is exactly that; a setback. Nothing more. The world does not end. You are not  a failure. In fact, how can you ever learn if you don't fail every now and again? Pick yourself up, re-appraise the situation, and look at it from a different angle.

It's exactly this approach that I need to adopt. I'm not a failure. Far from it. I have dealt with my emotional failures differently to others, that's all. But hey, guess what? I'm still here after all the shit I have been through. I'm still alive. I feel alive.
I'm not a weak person. Far from it. I challenge anybody to come out fighting after what I've gone through and continue  to go through, without giving up. I've been so close, so many times.
But I said no. The emotions may have been crushing me yes, but somehow, some way, I found the strength to not let it beat me. I can already feel stronger since the other week when I had my break down. That's not to say I'm 'fixed'; I've a long way to go for that to happen.

But who says, aside from me, that I need to be fixed? If my brain is just wired that way, then so be it and it's about managing it instead. I accept wholeheartedly that I have a serious mental health illness, the same way another has serious heart disease.
There will always be those naysayers out there who just think I'm 'malingering' to avoid work. Or those who may judge and sneer and talk about me behind my back as they don't have the stones to talk to me, face to face, man to man. And to those people I say; get an education. It's not your fault you're ignorant, you were born that way. The difference is, I want to work and be successful and I will be, but only when I am ready to accept those challenges and able to cope and manage the often difficult ups and downs that I experience.

I've gone for years not accepting who I am. Years thinking I was a failure at life. Thinking that I will never be accepted by others and stigmatised because of my illness. But hey, it's only me that's important here; if you don't accept me for who I am, you know where the door is (or in this case, the back button on your browser).

I have already started to make very positive changes to my life; things that I have never attempted in 17 years of depression and anxiety. Believe me, that is a massive step for me. This blog was a massive step for me, as I'm opening up to the whole world and it feels really good to talk openly about it without fear of discrimination. And if you do belong in that discriminating crowd, maybe it's time you got off your high-and-mighty bandwagon and had a closer look at something you don't understand?

Today, I'm in a much better position to manage my illness. I have a great support network in the form of my wife, amazing in-laws and friends. So maybe it's only now, at the age of 37, that it has been the right time for me to take a peek at my life through that looking glass from the outside and really put into play the strategies I need to put in place to come out fighting fit.

My life is no longer going to be about struggling. I don't have to struggle, only manage. My emotions don't own me and they do not control me, at least not any more. And one day soon, there will be a time that I will look back on my life in a positive way and to keep the changes that I made in place, to ensure that I live out my days feeling happy and content and to just deal with the little hiccups along the way without them knocking me down.

The only thing that'll stop me getting there, is me.

And that's not going to happen any more.

Thanks for reading folks.

Elton

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