TW: contains mild references to self-harm.
Earlier today, my therapist asked me what I imagine my future to be like. It wasn’t a question that was especially relevant to the work that we were doing, but it has me thinking. Because I have absolutely no idea.
Let me explain. We are slowly realising that my MH problems probably extend back almost twenty years. For the past four of these, I have been involved with Mental Health Services. Prior to this, I was just trying to survive. I got through secondary school and university by putting my head down and working, focussed, blinkered and acutely aware that I felt ‘different’. I didn’t know it, but by the time I entered full-time work, my illness had already taken the driving seat. I couldn’t cope with a change of role, a change of office, lunch away from my desk. All of these things upset me intensely and, on one occasion, I treated the rest of the office to the messy reality of a full-blown panic attack.
Soon after this, I engaged with my GP and was eventually signed off work and referred to the CMHT. I never returned to work and my life became a series of assessments, appointments, CT referrals, (general) hospital admissions which meant I had to be considered for admission to a psychiatric ward. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to visit A&E to have self-inflicted wounds stitched. I have entered recovery and relapsed numerous times and each relapse knocks me that bit further back. Today, I’m still pretty ill at times and am undergoing further assessment for a couple of other MH conditions but I think I have a reasonable amount of control for now.
So that, pretty much, has been the pattern of my life thus far. In a nutshell. If I’m honest, I’ve probably never really considered my future, not with any conviction. I’ve been too busy surviving. I am too busy surviving. What kind of worthwhile future has me in it?