Sorry I have posted quite a few times this week, it's not been an easy one. I guess my problem right now (my problems change quite frequently) isn't really anxiety, but the feelings that my anxiety seemed to be stemming from - pain. A very visceral pain in my the pit of my stomach that I just couldn't identify. A pain that just seemed to be floating around in my gut, sometimes making me feel vaguely ill-at-ease, sometimes stabbing me until I just wanted to sleep.
I started counselling a few weeks ago at a non-profit charity and when I talked (gleefully) about the way my life was during a period when I was happy for about eight months, and I talked about how I used to be 14 years ago before any mental health problems truly kicked in, I was asked how I felt about the youth that has been robbed from me (too ill to enjoy my adolescence and most of my 20s so far) and parts of my personality, which seemed to have been battered out of existence (although I still believe they will reemerge), like my high energy lifestyle and assertiveness.
At the time I said I didn't know how I felt, and I was being honest, I couldn't connect any feelings to the thoughts, but I've been feeling awful today, so drained and upset and ill, and I finally pinpointed that what I am feeling is grief. I'm grieving for a lifestyle I once had, I'm grieving for all the opportunities I was given that I eventually had to turn down because I couldn't cope, I'm grieving for all the things I've lost because I've been too ill, and I'm definitely grieving for the loss of my youth. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't realise that straight away because I think about it so often!
I feel like it's a good thing that I've finally identified what I feel, but I'm so exhausted. Even just identifying that emotion has made me want to just sleep the next week out and I know I can't. I have counselling tomorrow and hopefully that will help.
My big fantasy, that I've had for a while, is being able to draw a line under all this and say - ok, that's done, time to move on. I want to make up for all the lost time. My daydreams usually go along the lines of me having an excuse to move to another city, meet new people, have a new job and just be a new me. Kind of the way it was when I went to university - a totally fresh start. It did actually help when I went to university, after all...
But because I'm a little older now and have responsibilities, it's unlikely this will happen so I'm going to have to find a new way to start afresh. At least I now feel at the stage where the mental illness is actually, really over. I don't believe I am mentally ill anymore. Now I really do think I'm just in the stage of mourning what that period of mental illness took away and yearning for a fresh start so I can put it all behind me and move on.
I guess I wrote this because I wanted to talk to someone about it. Has anyone experienced similar feelings because of the way mental health problems have affected their lives?