TW: contains very mild reference to Self Harm
In the three years since I stopped working, my comfort zone has dwindled to almost nothing. In the early days of my illness I still felt able to cope, to an extent, in the ‘wider world’. I would meet friends for coffee, attend family functions and do routine things (go for an eye test or shop for essential items) for myself. As my anxiety took more of a hold, I felt less and less able to do the things that I used to take for granted and am now terrified of the High Street, eating out, weddings, funerals…pretty much ‘life’. I worry that I have brought this on myself, that I have inadvertently turned myself into a recluse. It seems that the less one does, the less one feels able to do. Or is this just the way of anxiety and depression? Does it start slowly and build in us until, before we know it, we have lost all control of our own lives?
I routinely rely on the CMHT to provide support in times of distress. If I feel I can’t cope or have harmed myself in some way, they always provide a rational solution. The CMHT are keen for my close family members to become more involved in my condition and care. But this presents its own set of problems – there are certain behaviours I use to help me manage my distress that they find difficult to deal with. I don’t blame them for this, but I do worry that there will come a time when the CMHT say that they have done all they can for me, leaving me to my own devices. I will then find myself in a lonely, isolated place with no idea where to turn for help. Equally, I worry that they will never cut me loose, that I have become rooted in the system and will never again manage to function ‘normally’.
Is this a worry shared by other people? It’s one I feel unable to share with my care team for fear that they will find it odd; what kind of person doesn’t want to be discharged and therefore well? Its not that I don’t want to be well, but more that I think the best thing would be for me to accept that I have an illness that is going to affect me, on some level, for the rest of my life and so I need to find a way to function around that. Whether this would involve me always having some kind of link with the CMHT I don’t know. I do know that, right now, I am stuck in a deep rut with no idea how to find my way forward and that I am terrified of being abandoned.
Would desperately love to hear other peoples views or experiences on this. Please comment.