Human Bean‘s #MadCovidDiaries – Week 8: May 11th to May 17th
TW: alcohol, panic attacks, PTSD, shame
It’s been a week of two halves. During the first half I felt quite positive; I had a new found direction in self help from the springboard of therapy ending. Things at home were good, as my partner was (and still is) working from home and it’s nice to have another adult in the house. It was my sister’s birthday and we had a three way Zoom call with our mum.
The second half of the week has been trickier. I had an email from the preschool saying my elder daughter (who is four) could go back from June 1st if we like, but they need a decision soon so they can work out logistics. I can’t decide. There are so many strong reasons for and against. And then I got upset because so many of my friends seemed to find it an easy decision, whichever way they landed. I felt judged on both sides (though probably, no one was judging me). I really wish it was an easy decision for me, and I’m sure it has been a complicated choice for many people.
I had a very successful first self therapy session on Thursday. I went through the prompt questions that my therapist would use in our sessions, and then I went over things I wanted to think about in more detail after that. I feel it was really productive and I will definitely be doing it every week. Right after self therapy, every Thursday, I’m going to have a WhatsApp with other mental health pals. This will help me to shift focus to something else, since self therapy for me could easily turn into “ruminating all afternoon”. It means I’m going to have to stick to time though! Which is something my therapist was always bad at (and I was secretly glad about, as I got an hour and twenty minutes each week instead of fifty).
Generally I have had fewer and less severe nightmares and panic attacks in the mornings, but this morning was a bad one. I had nightmares about an ex who I’m friends with on Instagram, who liked one of my pictures lately. It was one that I posted to celebrate my sobriety. I don’t have an issue with this ex, but I think what it did was remind me of the time we dated, my heavy drinking days, when my mental health was particularly bad and my behaviour was really chaotic.
I went to a Zoom party for an old friend’s birthday last night. I hadn’t seen the other people there since one of his birthday parties a decade ago (when I was also really drunk and chaotic). I have a lot of shame about my behaviour in the past, and reminders of that time send me right back into those memories. Things that I have tried so hard not to think about. I become immersed in the memories like they are new again, almost like PTSD (which is something I have suffered from too). So I think that was the cause of the bad dreams. I woke up very short of breath and full of adrenaline. I turned off my alarm and slept in late, and then had a shower. I usually struggle to get myself to shower, but it can help reset my mood a little bit once I’m done. I felt like I could move on with my day.
I’m not sure what the coming week will bring mood-wise, but I will have to come to a decision about preschool. I’d also like to start to forgive myself for the past. A lot of it was down to my mental health issues, which I couldn’t really help. And as for the drinking stuff, well can I begin to forgive myself for that now that I’m sober? I should be able to hold my head high because I’m different now. I’ve sorted that side of things. I need to practise being as compassionate to myself as I would to someone else.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. We ask that you seek our permission before you use any of our material – this includes researchers who want to harvest our data for analysis!