Struggling to Breathe

An eerie sensation I can tell you. Staring into limitless horizons, surrounded by a bustling lively crowd. Yet still…struggling to breathe. Feeling your lungs begin to collapse, your muscles tense up, your body slip into overdrive. All these things happen to me on a daily, if not hourly basis. Anxiety is much more harmful and nullifying than most realize. For me, it optimizes my struggle. No matter how much I try to calm myself, dismiss my worries and think clearly; I am swallowed by a thick mist of angst – setting my whole being on edge. Lately, I won’t lie, this unwelcome closing of the walls in my chest has become a regular squatter in the deep depths my soul. I cannot help but fail to dismiss the negative feeling that there are some things you can’t shake, some habits and patterns of thoughts are ingrained in my very nature, intrinsic to my material makeup. This damaging thought, I know not to be true but so often it clouds my vision and creates havoc in my brain, alarm bells ringing, panic mode sets in.

Worries swallowing me whole. In that moment I feel completely dissipated into thin air, erased from existence, hollow inside and a mere puppet to the dark depressive demons pulling the strings on my soul – yanking it into an explosive lava pit, burning. Scorning any sense of self-esteem, obliterating any ounce of confidence. Anxiety completely consumes my life, I always have to check myself before getting carried away, too ambitious, too starstruck with possibilities. Why? Simple. I can’t control my nerves, my worries and my irrational instinct to self-destruct, sabotage and scupper any chances of complete fulfillment. I must admit I am pretty close now but that has been a long time coming; through pain, grief and quivering self-hatred, I can finally fully embrace me.

However, I must admit that even just trying to write this post is making my heart thump, my head spin and this sickening feeling stir in the pit of my stomach; causing such a simple act of breathing to become exhaustive, stressing and asphyxiating. The dizziness is dreaded with every thought, every action and every sentiment passing through me each day. Such tightness on my windpipe is honestly the worst feeling I have ever encountered. Nothing enhances this crippling, demeaning sensation as much as expectation. Expectation is the bane of my life. My biggest worry is letting people down. Not being good enough. Falling short. The walls of my lungs tighten, beginning to close in, trap me in a claustrophobic state of wheezy closeted panic, overdrive if you will – rushing to please, fix myself to fit the criteria of who ever is in front of me, rather than just relaxing and being un-apologetically Heather.

I wish I could be that free. That care free. Let my soul truly roam free. Be unleashed to accomplish whatever I put my mind to; not to please, to constantly second guess each action, movement, sentence or word choice. So, I think heading into 2020 I shall do my upmost to put the fear of letting loved ones down on the back burners and concentrate on pleasing me and letting that be enough. One day I aspire to be that strong woman that I know I am and brandish that empowering strength all women harbor within. But at the moment I know I am not quite there yet. Unfortunately, still feeling the wrongly-placed shame of being on antidepressant and anxiety meds, being self-deprecating and worrying others viewing it as a crutch. Nevertheless, racing into the new year I want us all to discard the stereotype and sometimes taboo nature of antidepressants. For me, I would not have made such transformative progress without them and I am truly in a much better place for them. So, I want people to increase awareness for the understanding of the place and importance of antidepressants.

If anything in this blog post or any previous posts has hit home and you are yet to have reached out, then please know there are people who love you, people who want to listen and your local GP is always a trusted point of call. This Christmas try to relax, break free from that struggle and loosen the chains grappled tight across your lungs. I am, so you should too!

Sabotage

I have alluded to such bulldozing force of ‘self-sabotage’ in previous blog posts to spread mental health awareness and promote visibility of such a dilapidating illness. I now would like to share a poem I wrote 1 year and a half ago and the words flooded out of me. I have never shared this before because I truly feel like I am bearing my darkest moment of my soul for all to see. But, with all the support I have received from previous posts I feel like now is the right time to publish this poem for all to see, and hopefully people will begin to truly grasp the seriousness of mental health.

Sabotage

Nothing great lasts too long
Such things are tampered with
Discarded
Railroaded
But by what you may ask?
Or maybe the more poignant question, by who?
Well that remains to be seen
Before I ever recognise any sign of fulfillment I am always greeted by the awareness of its absence
Dampened by the sodden tears of loneliness
Drowning in the she absence of joy

Why?
Maybe there is some truth with such wives tale
You never know what is good until it is gone
But what is the cause of such vanishing act of contentment

I have a persistent stomach churning itch of a monster lurking in the shadows
Again…only becoming aware of its actions after the fact
When the arms of havoc let emptiness embrace me
Gaining a tight suffocating grasp upon ME…the real me
Is this monster the cause of such depression?
Like an old friend it greets me with a certain familiarity
A friend it is not
As with is it, it brings unerring unpleasantness
And unwelcome attendance

With one set in stone intention
To break the status quo and sabotage
Sabotage any flickering light of hope
Sabotage any chance of redemption
Sabotage any chance of recovery
And finally sabotage any chance of peace my soul is yearning to find

It’s come the time where this unrelenting sabotage has caused me to feel an unbridgeable void to happiness
An unbridgeable void to belonging
An unbridgeable void to the old me, the best version of me

I crave to unmask such monster
Expose the true agent to this devastating sickness
However it clings to me
Torments me
Controls me
Possesses me
And inconceivably and senselessly crushes my soul

What is left is I in anguish
I in irreparable despair
I in unimaginable rage
Despite all that is left it is the monster whom is responsible for the actions of unrelenting disparity and sabotage
So why is it I who is left with a lump in my throat
Tears gushing down my face
Drowning me with guilt
Self-hatred

Why?
Because after such devastation every time the monster is unmasked
All I can see is a reflection
Adjoined with the realization that I am the monster of my own demons
I am the chains that bind me to this sickness
I am the master and deceiver of such demoralizing soul sucking self-sabotage
I find it unstoppable but unbearable
Fully aware of its deafening presence yet having no choice but to obey the laws of physics
Move out of the unstoppable forces way because that’s what makes it an unstoppable force

I am, however, aware that I have given it omnipotence in my mind
The destroyer or savior of my life is embedded in my mind
To save my soul I must save my mind
I must abuse this self-sabotage how it did to me
Bludgeon this self-sabotage how it did to me
Asphyxiate this self-sabotage how it did to me
Erase this self-sabotage how it did to me

All I have to remember is that my mind is my phoenix
My sickness is my flames
And one day I shall rise