I’ve been adrift of late. I had stayed the course on fair winds for much of my life, navigating my way successfully from one planned waypoint to the next, dealing with the occasional storm quite well and never doubting my ability to steer through the tempests of life.
But then I seemed to lose my way. I still had sight of my broad destinations, and ports I wanted to visit along the way, but I seemed to lose my confidence and my will. Each new day no longer held the promise of the wonder of adventure, but rather the monotony of maintaining the ship. I stopped looking to the horizon.
I made a decision last year, after I had faced my first panic-attack monster, that I would share this journey publicly in the hope that someone else may in some way benefit from my experience. I already know some people who have, as they’ve recognised in themselves the tell-tale signs of pending storms in their own lives which they’ve decided to actively navigate around rather than just hope them away. I’m happy with that – it feels like there’s a purpose.
The down side is that in the midst of any storm one can become intensely absorbed in the process of surviving. This tends to cut communications with your loved-ones, and leave you all feeling isolated and afraid. It can also make you send up distress flares in panic, as you feel you’re surely about to capsize and drown, and these affect those around you who care.
I’m working hard on myself to reclaim what I had. I’m fully aware of the wonderful things I have in my life – my beautiful, incredible children, my amazing wife, a family who’d literally lay down their lives for me, and friends who’ve come to mean the world to me. I know there’s so much to be thankful for, and these things make the battle worth fighting.
This afternoon I have my first appointment with a psychologist. It’s both exciting and scary, and I’m trying to keep my anxiety under control. I don’t want to build up too many expectations, as I know it’s likely to be a long process – learning to be me again. In the meantime, if you’ve reached out to me, if you’ve offered a quiet word of encouragement or taken or more active role – I want to you to know, you have made an enormous difference, more than you’re likely to ever know. Thank you. xo