It’s OK not to be OK

I have felt incredibly stressed over the last few weeks. My anxiety levels have been through the roof, evidenced by physical symptoms and the sharp increase in my use of diazepam. My mood has also suffered, evidenced by an increase in the time I’m spending asleep and/or laying down, lack of motivation to do things (including study, work, leisure activities), increased crying, and the ugly appearance of suicidal feelings.

Evidently I have had chronic mental health problems for many years. However sometimes the aggravation of my symptoms are related to things going on in my life and I think it’s validating to recognise that obviously should I not have these pre-existing frailties I would not be suffering as much as I have been, stressful life events do put a major strain on everyone, even people who are healthy, and do affect their well-being. Stress is actually a normal human reaction and I need to remember that.

It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out quite why I’ve been finding things so difficult over the last few weeks:

  • One of my mam’s cousins died, and given that it wasn’t someone I knew very well I didn’t feel able to justify the ludicrous travel expenses that it would have cost me to go to the funeral, and to be honest I wouldn’t have been able to go anyway as my partner was at work and my anxiety would certainly prevent me from taking that trip alone. My mam and extended family have been upset about this and my mam more so due to other family issues which I won’t detail.
  • My granddad (mam’s dad) was hospitalised. He has been hospitalised about once a month over the past 6 months or so. He is severely disabled, but this time my nanna told my mam that it looked like he was gonna die, so she shot up there with my dad to visit, and luckily he was recovering well, all things considered, but he’d never even been at death’s door, so there was really no need for all that drama. He was in about a week and then went home and is doing ok (all things considered – his quality of life is really poor imo but that’s not my judgement to make really).
  • I went volunteering at a strange place with strange people for the first time and didn’t feel very well supported in my new role there, particularly by a certain individual who made me feel unwelcome, if anything.
  • I have missed a load of lectures/classes due to the increase in my health problems, which obviously is a vicious cycle of then becoming more stressed about it.
  • The deadline for my presentation title is the end of this week. I couldn’t even manage to do the presentation in semester 1 and luckily was eventually excused on the basis of mitigating circumstances (my anxiety had skyrocketed so I couldn’t reliably leave the house even to go to familiar places).
  • I had my PIP claim rejected, then a farcical mandatory reconsideration rejected and thought I’d have to proceed to tribunal, only to then have the DWP accept they fucked up and be told they would do a new MR and give me time to submit evidence etc but still have received no letter from them so am constantly terrified they have lied to my partner for a second time.
  • I have had a load of exams and mock exams recently. Next week I have an exam, today I had a mock exam, the week before last I also had a mock exam, etc. My biggest module has lots of continuous assessment which I find very stressful.
  • I have sore gums but I’m not registered with a dentist in the city, my anxiety means I can’t phone around and get myself registered, and I have to wait til my partner’s off work to ring for me, and then God knows how long I will have to wait for an appointment whilst I’m in pain and terrified about losing teeth or some other such scary eventuality.

So I think it’s fair to assume that even if someone didn’t have my mental health problems, going through all of that in the space of a few weeks would make them feel a little stressed!!

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