*Disclaimer – I swear a LOT in this post. If you don’t like it, stop here. But it’s worth the read so if you can filter my F-Bomb’s please read on.
So in the last 3-4 months pretty much everything has changed. Because of events earlier in the year triggering a pretty fucking huge setback with all things inside my head, I decided I needed to do some new stuff and have a change of scenery. Well talking real I wanted to run away, hide under a rock, disown everyone and everything and hope no one ever looked at me ever again so I can just let the shame and hatred I had for myself take over. But that wouldn’t be very productive now would it?
If we look back to a few months back, I had to take a look at what wasn’t working for me. I was in a position of doubting everything about me. The only constants I could count on at the time were my family and close friends. My Corner. I’m so lucky to have them as I wouldn’t have made it through that time without them.
So a relationship ended pretty unexpectedly and pretty horrifically. It was pretty muddied waters cause it started through my Hockey Club, so there’s some crossover with people and I don’t know who the fuck I can trust anymore. You start seeing people very different going through any kind of personal trauma, almost like you’re viewing your life through someone else’s eyes. Like the camera angle of any first person game like GTA or COD. Being in that kind of dissociative state is not only really shit as you don’t live your life the way you want to but it also makes it hard to get any kind of balance or clarity. So I went back to basics. Who CAN you trust. Who’s the people in your corner. Who can you still count on. After reminding myself who they are I went through a period of needing certain people on pretty much a daily basis. I felt like a lost child who’s been left at the supermarket, and no matter how many aisles you check you can’t find your parents, and when you finally do you don’t leave them for fear they’re gonna abandon you.
Hockey has been a pretty big deal for me most of my life. I’ve played for the same club my entire life, for 20 years of an amateur hockey career. My Brothers and Dad also play for them and the place is like one big family. So when someone within that environment treats you so awfully, with such a disregard for how their actions are going to tear you apart even though they know you’re pretty fucked up already and so that the only way for you to put yourself back together is to Fuck Off and find somewhere else to call home for a while it feels pretty fucking shit. That place was a huge part of me and to walk away hurt. No one made me do it, it was my choice and everyone respected that it was the best option to move on and recover. But still, there weren’t that many people trying to make me stay and at the time it felt like the place that I’ve given so much of myself to over the past few years was a waste of fucking time. Now I could wax lyrical about the pain I went through, but again it’s not really very productive. And it gives the situation the power over me again and I’ve only just won that battle. Well maybe not won but I’m starting to win.
To quote a certain perfectly rational French Footballer “I love this game”. So we start from scratch. Where to move to. I don’t really know anyone at any other clubs around where I live. What to do. After speaking to my brother, who used to play for a different team a bit further away I got in touch with them and I’m so glad I did. From the start, first game I went to back in Summer League I was welcomed with open arms. Whilst it’s a bit inconvenient having an extra half hour travel each way it seemed that I’d made the best choice. And I was out of what had become a complete cluster fuck of a toxic environment for me. Since then I’ve gone from strength to strength with them, playing some of the best Hockey I ever have, in a team that is headed for success. The anonymity I can give myself as well has allowed me to channel a large amount of the anger and rage that I was feeling into my sport. Cause that’s the only time in my life I manage to switch off the monkey in my head, when I’m on the Hockey pitch. For 70 minutes every Saturday I get to be free. The team are a perfect fit too. Everyone brings something different to the table but it just works. Talent, attitude, mentality, playing style, commitment, it’s got everything I want to be a part of.
Ever woken up mid conversation moaning about work on a Friday night at the Pub and suddenly realise how fucking boring you sound? Yeah so after 3 years of that I realised it’s probably time to sort my fucking act out. The joy of qualifying as a Soft Tissue Therapist (glorified massage therapist) this year was overshadowed by the trauma I mentioned earlier. I’m finally in the position to start living my life the way I want and help people with something I’m passionate about and I’ve done precisely fuck all about it, frozen into maintaining my current security and comfort. So we start looking at this properly. And wouldn’t you know it, when you start actually looking you can find some interesting shit that’s not gonna make you miserable. So I got myself a job working with a women’s football team as their Sport Therapist. Voluntary and part time but a top opportunity to gain experience in an area I really want to work in. And 2 weeks later I manage to get a full time Sport Therapist Role in a gym, 2 minutes from home. All seems to be slotting perfectly into place doesn’t it? Wait. This is still context.
So I’ve made the changes I needed to. Everything’s golden and I’m sailing my way through life on a cheesy little rainbow with a nearly psychopathic smile on my face all the time with my own personal theme song (“I Got Love” by The King Blues if you were wondering) playing in the background? Wrong.
Since I stopped counselling (because I felt I was ready to go at this on my own, not cause I think I’m “better” or in “remission” or whatever bullshit term you want to call it) things have been rocky as fuck. Every time I think I’m making progress and actually getting to grips with my own mind, something stops me in my tracks and sends me down a spiral. Cause this last few months I’ve been outside my protective little comfort zone. I’ve had to work really hard in new social situations and forming new relationships with people as a result of all the changes I’ve made. And that shit fucks me right up. I find it hard enough at times being in social situations with people I’ve known for years and completely trust. Not that I’m a quivering melt all the time (only half!) but when I find my anxiety getting stronger and my symptoms getting more extreme I can’t always control it and stop it from taking full control of me. Sometimes I just have to give in to it and withdraw to the dissociative state I hate so much. Most people who have experienced this will know too well the constant plate spinning running uphill through quicksand feeling, and how unbelievably draining it is to just keep going. So sometimes giving into it, as shit as it makes you feel and as hard as it is for the people around you, is the only choice. I hate the effect of my illness has on the people that care about me. They are always so amazing and supportive no matter which version of me turns up. I can’t be grateful enough.
Now I’m not just complaining for the sake of it. I know all the changes have been good for me, and I’ve benefitted from them. This isn’t about that. This is about the 45 minutes it takes me to send an email or a message to the company whataspp group because I’m petrified of the way someone is going to take it. This is about the hour each day I have to spend doing yoga and breathing exercises just to keep me from losing my mind and to ground me enough to carry on. This is about the agonizing 6 hours of mental torture I put myself through for something I’ve said in the bar after Hockey (I’m not exaggerating, literally screaming at myself in the car on the way home, negative self talk in the mirror, sleepless nights cause my head won’t switch off, random bouts of tears and agonising physical symptoms. Sounds fun huh?). This is about the hiding in my treatment room at work when everyone is socialising at the Christmas party, because if I stay in the room for any more than 10 minutes I’m going to not only scream, but run away from this place and cause a scene that’s going to make everyone see me in the worst light, I’ll probably lose my job and never get another one in this field again (trust me, I know how ridiculous this sounds). This is about the spiral of thoughts that enter my head every time I treat a client and we’re in complete silence because I can’t get words out as I can’t see through the whirlwind mess inside my head. This is about the crippling fear of going back to my old Hockey Club to watch my Brother or Dad play, and knowing that just walking in there is going to set me off for a few days. This is about the need to drink in social situations just to be able to talk to people. This is about the weight of pressure that is on my back, every day at work. This is about the changes I’ve had to make to keep myself safe, and feeling victimised as I never should have had to. It’s a regular story: person does terrible thing, victim has to completely alter life, person who did terrible thing gets away with it and everyone moves on like nothing happened. I know I’m sounding bitter and vindictive and to some extent there’s still those feelings there. I hate what has happened as it was so unnecessary. I spent so long being angry at the people involved, wanting them to feel even a moment of the pain I was going through and the shame I felt. But I like to think the universe works itself out in the end, not that I’m hoping those people have similar experiences to go through, I just know that for all the bad that has happened, the good will work it’s way back again. I had to forgive those people as part of moving on. The hate is baggage, and makes us lesser people. Hate never solves any problems, it only causes more damage, like a nasty little bastard of a snowball. These things are sent here to test us and force us to learn from them if we want to keep going. And trust me I know every day that life’s not fucking fair. But this last few months gave the monkey inside my head so much power and strength over me. So now I fight every single day just to keep myself from falling into that dark place again. The place I never, ever want to return to. Cause I know that I’d struggle to come back from there. It was way too hard the first time.
Anyway, aggressive philosophy over, this is not a cry for help or a call for attention. I am ok. I have my coping mechanisms: yoga, coherent breathing, CBT, journaling/blogging, exercise, routine and goal setting. This is just me getting this out of my head, cause it’s been eating me up for a while without me doing anything about it. I know that any change is going to mess me about. It is going to make me question everything and need support at a very base level. It is going to hurt every time. But that’s ok because I have the proof that I can do it. Like I said in my last post, I’m not a martyr standing here saying look at me, I can handle change so I should be praised and lorded. Fuck that. I don’t want any attention for living my life, I just know that we have to keep speaking out about this, cause there’s always someone who needs to hear it.
So there you have it, a more honest, brutal and soulful post that I’ve needed to do for a while. Do with it what you will: mock me, ridicule me, hate on me in the comments, like my words, rate my writing or support my message. I don’t give a fuck. I know that someone out there is gonna read this and relate. And who knows, it might actually help someone as much as it’s helped me putting the words on paper.