What a title, ey? That will get you clicking for information I bet. Nah, but in all seriousness welcome to the rawest post yet as I sit here at 4:06 am unable to sleep after listening to 'thunder and rain sounds for sleep' for over an hour.
In all honesty, this post is coming out of anger, sadness and heaviness for me. Just what you want to read after all the news headlines that are pouring out of everywhere right now, am I right?
Storytime! Up until 18 months ago, I had seen 3 counsellors, 1 psychiatrist - who was batshit crazy, and 2 therapists. Yet, was still fucked up. Life, in all its ups and downs and glory and darkness, was ruling me and like many others, during the pandemic, it all came to this giant boiling point. Unable to cope with simple life changes and waking up feeling like 1000 bricks were balancing on my brain and chest - I decided that no matter how 'on-the-dole' broke I was, I am going to invest in professional help. (I say I decided - there was a lot of push from concerned family members too - thankfully).
Over £2000 lighter - luckily and gratefully, no longer broke as shit, and after 18 months of G-R-A-F-T, I am a new human, a new individual with multiple diagnoses that totally make sense and with a fixed soul. Don't get me wrong, I am also medicated - which is great for me - but I know that I now as a person can live my life with 85% less mental and spiritual pain.
My diagnoses are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Depressive Episodes and Tendencies
Long-term Anticipatory Grief
Severe Separation Anxiety
Sounds like a cocktail and a half but actually, I am so pleased with this because it explains exactly what has been 'wrong' with me and I can totally relate to all of it.
Actually, the main point of this point was to focus on number 3 - the long-term anticipatory grief. When I was first told what this is and basically that it appears that nearly 20 years of my life has been riddled with it - I was in a state of HOLY SHIT that is me. Basically, I have been living most of my life with sorrow, anger, heart-shattering sadness, anxiety and more, of a loss that has not happened yet. You are basically always on edge about someone dying or being hurt - even when it hasn't happened.
My anticipatory grief was always about my grandad - emphasis on the WAS - (I'll elaborate more on that later). To be frank, I would say 97% of my childhood memories (up to 4.5 years old) are only with my nanna and grandad. Days out, days delivering leaflets with him, days in the garden, days at the caravan, days, hours, minutes and seconds that layered my early memories of how vital his presence is and was in my life. In 2001, when I was no longer going to be around him all the time due to an international move - I would say that was the slow but real beginning of the anticipatory grief road. Nights spent worrying about 'what if he falls', 'what if he gets sick and I'm far away', 'what if he dies and I am not there' - these thoughts and more flooded my brain up for almost 20 years of my life. Nights of crying and bad dreams and insomnia-like states had become more and more frequent between 2016-2020.
Luckily, when I invested in my psychologist and was diagnosed - this allowed me to understand more about what was happening with and to me. I understood the grief and could process it and learn to be mindful and accept my thoughts but tell them politely to fuck-off, which, fortunately for me, has been effective + a nice 30mg dosage too.
As the pandemic has torn people apart and riddled those around us with even more issues. I was actually able to find myself and work on myself. An incident in 2021 with my grandad that happened just after I 'graduated' from therapy - could have obliterated all of my hard therapy work to pieces. In the moment of this incident - I had choices: 1. crumble and go back to the disaster that I WAS or 2. Understand the reality, feel the emotions, accept the thoughts and then keep going. Thankfully, number 2 was the path that I chose then and is the path I manage to choose 99% of the time now.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has done things to my loved ones that have ultimately changed the way I feel and have relationships with some of them. All I know now is that what once was a huge amount of anticipatory grief is now only about 10-15% present and on the downside according to my psychologist, I am 'mourning the loss of a key relationship in my life because the person who was in this relationship with you - is basically no longer there/is no longer that person anymore.' I couldn't have said it better myself. The past 8-10 months have shifted, for many people, but I find myself now mourning the loss of one of the strongest and most important relationships of my life and navigating these seas has been a hard one.
All I can say is what was once number 1 has now faded. The love is still there, the devotion is still there but the ideas of idolisation and inspiration have fallen - too quickly. Loss is never 'easy' but can be very hard when they're not dead yet.
As I prepare to guide myself through these waters, I hope that through these words, you realise that seeking professional help and investing in yourself - is the best choice you can ever make. I wish you all the best of journeys through this sometimes-tornado that we call life.