Sunday, 7 February 2016

Dear Emotions

Dear Emotions,

I just wanted to write to you to congratulate you. To say well done for managing to control yourselves so much more over the last month or two. Sitting in my room in Mile End feeling shut out from the real world and locked into my own head, tears running down my cheeks day in and day out, I really thought you'd lost control. One minute you were sadness, the next you were anger, you were opening a cage and releasing butterflies that I didn't need.

You were frustration. Frustration that I didn't know what to do. Awareness that sadness was dropping in regularly, a daily visit accompanied by tears and his good friends anxiety and panic. Yet knowing I wasn't moving. I wasn't doing anything to deal with these unwanted acquaintances. I was glued to my bed or to my desk looking out of the window and wanting to run. Wanting to pack a bag, throw it on my back, walk out of the door and never look back. I was messaging friends far away asking if they had space for me. Wishing they would tell me to just hop on a plane and come find them, that I'd be safe there. Knowing that even if they did, I wouldn't move. I was scared and I didn't know what to do.

I spoke to friends and I spoke to family. They saw what you were doing to me and how sadness was taking over. Everyone told me to do what I thought would be best. What felt right. It's hard to know what feels right though when everything feels so wrong. I knew what I wanted but I didn't know if it would help. I didn't know if I would suffer more by taking that leap. I come from a family where brains are rather large. In my aunt's family, of her and seven offspring, four went to Oxford and one to Imperial. In my family of 4, both my parents were at Oxford and my brother is about to graduate from Imperial too...and then embark on a PhD. My sister has one and so do a number of her friends. As I say, brains are big.

I'm not saying I'm not clever. I know that I've done well and that I probably could but I also know that from the age of 14, I kept the golden light at the end of the tunnel as the day I could leave compulsory education and not do anymore. I know that those thoughts stayed with me right until that day in September 2015 when I realised:

Damn...I haven't found an alternative plan.

So I went and things happened exactly as my fourteen year old self probably thought they would and so I left. My point is, emotions, that that was the best decision I made. I know it hasn't been long but, since I'm writing to you, you can probably guess what my focus is. I'm feeling so much better. Even before I had moved all my things out of my room in East London, I had an appointment booked with a GP. A time sorted to talk about my problems and see what could be done. As I expected, I failed to complete our calm and collected chat without bursting into tears. I left with anti-depressents. A box of little pills to try and stop the tears and the over-whelming effect that you were having on my body.

By the week before Christmas, I had my first appointment booked with another man. A man trained in Psychology who could send me to someone else who could help. I told him everything. I started with my childhood and worked my way up. We talked about friends and family and even relationships until he felt he knew me well. He gave me new pills. Pills to quell the butterflies and quieten the thoughts in my head. Another week and I had an appointment booked with Louise. My new best friend. The lovely lady who is helping me get through things and allowing me to smile. I follow her instruction and carry out her tasks. Everyday I make a plan, writing out what I want to do and get done. When I have a worry I pick it apart to make you realise that you're not needed. No need for frustration or anger, sadness or worry. I can fix this problem and everything will be ok.

Earlier this week, I saw my psychologist man again. A man who, 2 months ago, asked me to fill out some questionnaires that measured feelings of depression and anxiety. 2 months ago my scores were 33 and 23. On Wednesday they were 10 and 8. I laughed when I saw the difference. When I remembered how unhappy I'd been and how much I had cried. How many scores of 4 - feeling so bad it's almost unbearable - I'd given to so many things. Now the highest score I'd given was 2 and only for a couple of things.

My point, dear emotions, is that I'm working to sort you out. I'm taking control and it was only this week that I really realized how much I had allowed you to have control before. Now, I'm letting you stay, I can't chuck you out all together but you're living by what I say.

My body, my life, my rules.

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