Putting my needs first has been something that I constantly have to consider…

Sunitha‘s #MadCovidDiaries 25.04.2021 TW: Suicide, death, bereavement.

Hour glass next to a book with flowers on top. credit: Nathan Numlao.

I’m feeling really anxious again, not sure why but I feel like I have so much on my mind and so much that I need to do. All I feel like I do at the moment is focus on getting through the day but it feels like there’s not really any respite from the ever growing list. In some ways, I know that I can’t plan weeks in advance because when I ended up having my last breakdown, I did just live hour to hour sometimes and even then, I struggled to even want to live in some moments. In that respect, I feel as if I have made progress but with restrictions lifting and inevitably people start planning weeks in advance, I know I will have to put down hard boundaries and know that if I’m not feeling up for a particular social interaction, I have healthy enough relationships with those around me that there’s no fallout when I need to put my own needs first.

Putting my needs first has been something that I constantly have to consider. In the past, I was always such a people pleaser and that existed in all types of relationships. At its root, it came from a place of survival as I believed that if I was better, my dad wouldn’t drink so much. Often in past toxic relationships, I would find ways to repair the damage, apologising or making up for something that was never my fault. When I did some recovery work in Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA), I began to realise that this was toxic behaviour and I also recently recognised that helping others is almost a way to exercise control over the relationship. I want to say that following my breakdown, that I found a reason to live from within but I also know that the only reason that I’m not dead now is because I knew my death would affect people around me negatively. So trying to keep a behaviour in check that I know is the reason I’m alive today brings about some mixed feelings.

Death is also something that I worry that I have a weird preoccupation with and when I was visiting my brother, I told him that when I die, this is what he needs to do regarding my organs and looking after my partner. When it comes to my own death, I’m never scared but I just want people around me to be prepared if it happens. Last Sunday I found out that someone I know from queer parties died suddenly. In my mind, though we weren’t really close, he was part of the furniture. Although the first few times he met me, he forgot me, when he finally did remember me, he was always excited to see me when we bumped into each other by accident. At one friend’s place, I remember feeling dreadful and him taking the time to look after me in such a sweet way. Everything about him was this wonderful, beautiful energy and it’s not only that it was sudden or that he was far too young, it’s knowing that I’m never going to have any of these beautiful interactions with him in the future. Life just feels so much when people like that depart from this planet and it’s always those deaths that hit me the hardest. I think part of it for me is that it’s all that time and life that they didn’t get to live though I also know on a logical level, there’s no fairness to death. 

Fairness is something that I think I struggle to navigate with in life generally though. In the past, that manifested itself in me getting angry with the injustices I see in society, though these days I feel like I channel that anger into productive actions. On top of that, I know that it takes me time and patience to transform the world and strangely, it’s given me hope in ways that I haven’t had since I was in my early teens. In truth, life wore me down and without realising, my optimism eroded leaving me with realism, which was eroded further to leave me with pessimism accompanied by anxiety. It’s not to say that I’m not still depressed or anxious but overall I am an optimistic person who has moments of pessimism usually due to my anxiety spirals.

My mum asked me recently whether she thought the embracing of my mental health illnesses was something that was an excuse for everything now. She was really conscious that she wasn’t suggesting it to be the truth but wanted to just understand how this has made me feel. Though it might be something that people think about me, I know that in this pandemic, having some form of community has made me realise that my limitations are similar to others and I compare myself less to those around me in the rest of my life. For example, before all this, I was determined to return to work full time but I now fully comprehend that this is something that will not easily happen because the risk of another crisis is far greater when I constantly push myself beyond my limits. In the next months, I feel like integrating back into society is going to be a huge uphill battle for me. However, all I can do is take steps to mitigate that: Continue to write where possible and identify how to live my life for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: