Which is preferable? Being institutionalised in hospital or at home? Frightful and fearful.
I ask myself and contemplate this question frequently not because I prefer either, but because I have been susceptible to both.
Currently I discover myself institutionalised at home. I have done so for the past five weeks upon my return home from America and Europe due to my ill health. I thought that making the decision to listen to my body so to return home early, as opposed to remaining in a foreign country for my health to become exacerbated, was the sagacious act!
However, since arriving home all I have managed to accomplish, is remaining at home each day, formulating my stringent routine which my mental illness thrives on to survive; having the mental and physical incapacity to muster the energy to venture outside the confines of the comfortable and secure homely premises.
Awaking every Tuesday to venture to the local medical centre to attend the arranged Doctors appointment and also on a Friday to successfully catch the bus into Auckland city to meet my Mum at her work in order to purchase the weekly groceries in the evening, proves arduous, yet routined; concerning myself with an abundance of questions (what shall I wear, how will I be perceived, who will I see, how will I act, what will I eat…) which viciously whirl inside my mind like a harrowing tornado, not ceasing to calm. A cacophony of perilous thoughts.
Social anxiety prevails.
Being hospitalised, whereby I adhered to eat the meals prepared for me, to the regulations to gain weight and listening to the medical professionals daily, to allow my feeble carcass to be a vessel of investigation and interest for the progression of anorexia nervosa treatment, was somewhat less challenging than being at home for all to be. challenged by one’s own volition.
However, it is relatively similar, routine wise (and more comfortable may I add), to remain at home and become consumed by my minds gruelling thoughts directing my every move; a foolish, ignorant puppet being manipulated on a string.
I am a twenty-three-year-old female, who by society is considered as, unemployed, mentally impaired with the illness of anorexia nervosa, depression, anxiety and OCD and an introvert with limited social capacity.
To present the completed truth, I constantly clean all aspects of the house daily to allow time to pass. I read and indulge in research to stimulate my mind. I bake and cook. I do all tasks at the same time each day. I interact via the means of social media, with others who wish to arrange a time to meet for a meal or coffee, which I effervescently reply:
“Certainly! I would love to meet you for lunch or a coffee. Just inform me when you are available, and we can proceed from there”.
All with good intentions, until I begin to count down the days, hours and minutes of having to meet the person. What have I done? I find myself thinking. Berating myself for agreeing to meet others when I am frightened. My physical body pulsing with every increased heart beat, until my mind and body intertwine in a tumbleweed of despair and anxiety.
Subsequently, I oblige to the sensation of my body and the demanding litany that are my thoughts. The evening prior to meeting the individual, I contact them to apologetically express that:
“I am unable to attend the gathering but hope to see them soon”.
Ahhh. My mind, body and soul become immediately soothed. I no longer must venture out or alter my all to familiar routine. I can remain at home in comfortable clothes, no makeup, hair in a ponytail, wake up at the same time, clean the same parts of the house, eat and drink the meagre amounts at my leisure at the same time, read and prepare all for my family so that when they return home from an extensive day at work, all is accomplished for them.
My haven. My serenity. My bliss.
I have returned to a state of homeostasis and have successfully, albeit cowardly, navigated my way out of the biological “Fight and Flight” predicament, that I immerse myself in constantly.
Please do not believe that I am an awful person or that I do not adore my friends and family by declining the outings, because I DO love, respect and care for my family and friends. However, my mind is my enemy and it controls me currently in every facet of life, not knowing my true self.
Am I me or am I someone else?
Am I Maddie?
Am I Anorexia?
Or am I someone and something else more intricate and complex than this?
Who am I?
Who is directing my mind?
How do I differentiate myself from the plethora of mental illnesses tormenting my vulnerable being?
It is frightening to challenge my thoughts and to inch my way outside. Heart palpitating, palms reducing to sweat, mind tormenting and frightening.
Yet, this is no excuse. Nor am I making it one!
Each day I challenge myself to get out of bed so to confront the world and the young woman that I am. Some days this challenge proves easier than others. Day by day, step by tiny step, I will no longer succumb to the wicked inner turmoil that I am constantly defeated by. I will surprise myself and others, by rising above all negativities in my life so to allow the authentic Maddie, whom has been diligently suppressed, to emerge powerfully and abundantly.
Social anxiety and all forms of mental illness are a debilitating caress yet is simultaneously comforting and warm when immersed in the crippling grip. It diminishes the soul and undermines all that one believes and desires in life.
So many of us in the expansive world, experience social anxiety on a daily basis, in conjunction with other types of mental illnesses. Do not be afraid to admit your vulnerabilities. Let us normalise these thoughts and diminish the stigma pertaining mental health!!
Doubt. Fear. Dismissive approach to all. Darkness. Loss. Tangents. Concern. Isolation. Stagnant. Observant. Manipulative. Analytical. Wilderness. Abyss of an ethereal existence.
These may just be empty words to others, but to me, they define me and at times feel they are me.
Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Allow yourself time to heal and transform. Be patient and understanding. Live your life happily and vibrantly. Proudly be all that you embody. Do not allow your thoughts to rule you. You are not your fragmented thoughts.
You are you and that is your power.
Disassociate from your thoughts and you will discover utter happiness.
I am walking my journey into the vastness of happiness, so to shine my light. Will you join me so to shine your light to this world?
Love, thoughts and hugs always,