I do a good job of keeping up a front. Putting on a brave face when shit hits the fan has become like an armour for me. Trying to find happiness in the most minuscule of things, and focusing my attention on those, has been how I continue to navigate the world when I'm dealing with rough situations - particularly when they are somewhat out of my control.
I have no qualms that this has likely made me appear careless, or even heartless in the past, yet this bubble has repeatedly been one of the only ways to provide me with a means to cling onto my sanity, when everything has gone to pot. I've done it when loved ones are ill, when relationships have ended, but above all else, when my mental health has taken a turn for the worst.
In the past I have mentioned that I mostly write in retrospect; only feeling ready to put fingers to keyboard once I've got a grip on my feelings or an experience I have gone through... But I do this offline too.
My close family and friends can vouch for me when I say I don't talk about how I'm really feeling very often. The main reason I don't like sharing how I'm doing is because I don't like being made a fuss of. Whilst I know any intentions are coming from a good place, I find it uncomfortable and so would therefore rather keep myself to myself.
But like most things, there was only so long I could continue to bottle things up in my own ~ special way ~ and pretend to be okay. So, at the end of October, I contacted my boss to ask if there was any opportunity that allowed for me to work part-time for a while.
After I pressed send, I felt all sorts of things. Anxiousness that I may have made a terrible decision, relief that I had been brave enough to bite the bullet and do what I felt was right, but also a wave of disappointment in myself. I was suddenly awash with feelings of failure. After five years of study and work experience to get to this point, I feel embarrassed and deflated to be taking what feels like a hop, skip and a running jump backwards.
Considering I was celebrating a year of being in recovery not so long ago, it's painful to admit to myself that I need to slow down again. Just before I sought my last round of treatment, and in relation to my mental health, I was once told "You're negative all the time" and "You'll never change". Whilst this cut like a knife at the time, those words still continue to taunt me - especially at the moment.
What I guess I'm trying to say is, things are a little rocky right now. I'm not feeling as bad as I did at the beginning of 2016, nor do I feel the need for any treatment, I'm just taking a step back to preempt heading back to a dark place. Despite what I was told, I'm working to get better at being more open, no matter how tough things may be, and taking care of myself. I've come so far and recognising what I need to do, as well as taking the appropriate action, shows that.
My proposal to go part-time was approved to start next week, and so whilst I will continue to put up a fight, right now I'm taking a time out.