Fight or Flight

Friday 6th December 2019 (4.35pm)

I have not been able to do what I initially intended to when I started my series ‘The Road to New York’, simply because I have not finished it. I have not reported on my time in New York or the marathon itself. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you would have seen my daily updates and pictures. Sufice to say, evidence of an amazing trip, an incredible marathon and an amazing journey for me. One that one day I may repeat.

Over the last month, since returning my life has plummeted into chaos. Opened up by a chasm up hurt, suicide ideation, loneliness and yet intended isolation. It has included a relationship break up, a visit to the crisis team and intervention, counselling, financial worry and a move to a different area (thankfully still close to the one I have just left) and the catalyst of all of this, concern of the work situation which hangs over my head.

Mental illness, stress, depression, anxiety, call it what you want manifests itself in different ways. Some people talk openly about what goes on in their heads, others for their own reasons chose not to. I am guilty of both. I have aways been an advocate of talking but probably over the last 6 months I have been guilty of hiding away what has been tearing around in my head. This has resulted in detrimental consequences as once again I stepped on the path of destruction without a thought or feeling of who I hurt in the meantime. Yet, there was no purpose or intention in this, I just had no idea what I was doing until after each episode of being unwell. Time of reflection afterwards is always difficult as I reply conversations or see my actions. How could the normal, nice George act in such away? Simply, I had no control. This is not an excuse. I think there are many  of you out there who will relate to this. A stressor or a trigger can so quickly alter your mood state, play games with your head, make you believe something that you are not, make you act in a way that you goes against everything you were brought up to be, you stand for and believe in. I haven’t been diagnosed with any psychosis or mainia yet this  is what it feels like when I am in this ‘state’. Yet, my personality, inability to adjust to situations, lack of emotional regulation and anxiety mix together to form this lethal cocktail of impulsivity.

My impulsiveness is where the danger lies for me. It is the final piece of all those traits / states I have just mentioned. It determines my actions of which are lined up on a continuum of safety to harm. Unfortunately the harm action overrides anything to do with safety initially as I jump in the car and go off for a couple of hours with no idea of what I may do. This is where I battle with the conversations in my head, similar to the fight or flight scenario. The flight involves just driving and keep driving with no idea of where I am going with the intention of running away and hiding from everyone. The fight evolves around my gorgeous boy, Olly, my rock, my lifesaver, the one who loves me, who knows, who understands and acts as my shadow not letting me out of my sight. It is Olly which brings me back to reality. I never realised how much my life would change the day I picked him up.

I can now see what has happened and what I have done. Hindsight is simple and so is a relatively calm and half rational mind. I just wish I saw what I was doing but I was too caught up in my own stress to see past the inside of my head. That is where I have lived for too long. It was like I was box trapped inside my brain, with my fears, stress and worries wanting to escape but there was no way of any of that seeping through a membrane. Instead, all of these kept battering away at itself against the tough exterior of the skull, finding no way to reach my vocal cords to verbally communicate. I have asked myself why did I become like this when I had started to become good at talking to people. The answer is simple. Boredom. I actually got bored of myself, of having the same conversations with myself day after day. Mulling over the same problems, the same scenarios, finding different outcomes. I know life is not based on ifs, whats and maybes and too much time, effort and energy is wasted on doing this. It is because I bored myself with the same conversations in my head I felt too exhausted to talk about it at the end of the day when asked. I wanted to change the subject, I didn’t want to talk about me, as far as I was concerned I had had that conversation many times that day already. Unfortunately, this put me on shut down mode as my conversation would dry up. What could I talk about. My day involves walking Olly, some sort of exercise, working on a project, going to a coffee shop. Some days I would not speak to people. Yep that is also my choice.

All of this resulted in my downfall and a collapse in my personal life. My illness and faults became too much as I used up more lives than 5 cats. It has not changed how I feel about things and day by day I am doing my best to get by. On Monday, I faced my friends at run club for the first time since all of this happened. That was hard, but I am so grateful for such amazing support. Bit by bit I will re integrate with life but at the moment I am happy in my own bubble sorting things out. Many will say that this is not healthy, and yes I would agree, but it is my safe default position until I am ready. Am I vulnerable? Yes, I am but this will pass. I have too much going on at the moment to think about normality. I moved into a new place last Saturday and I am finding my feet there. At the moment it does not feel like home, It feels empty without the crazy pup and I look forward to his return on Sunday. I spend my days out, keeping busy. I have had many invites from friends and I apologise to you all for saying no. Time will come, and I will hunt you all down for that owe’d cake.

Today as I sat in a library doing some work (as far away from everyone in a corner) a male came and sat next to me. I would describe him as homeless from the way he dressed and due to his hygiene. I carried on with what I was doing, then something with him caught me eye. He was crying. I simply asked him if he was ok. He said he was. I told him that I could easily join him. I am not sure how long for but we just sat there in silence staring out  of the window. We were no different, sitting there consumed by our own thoughts and sadness. Looking at us, me with my MacBook Pro, iPhone 11 and numerous books; him with nothing. Yet, there was nothing different between us at all. Both lost. Both searching the grey clouds ready to open up over Cardiff, both consumed. Why do I bring this up? It takes nothing to ask someone how they are and look out for someone. Perhaps I have become soft, I don’t know. What I do know, is that every time someone has asked after me, it has meant something, it has lifted me and told me that people do care and want to help. The gentleman today didn’t want conversation, but that didn’t matter, what I hope did matter was the fact that I stayed sitting there, I did not move away, I just sat there in silence with him and sometimes that is all you want.

One Comment on “Fight or Flight

  1. I think there’s more strength required to be soft, to be vulnerable, than most people realise. George, I’m so glad you have Olly, and that he’s there for you and keeping you safe. I’m sorry to hear about all the difficulties, and please be assured that I’m sending all good wishes and the like to you for the forseeable future.

    A thought, which you may consider, or tell me to butt out (entirely your choice): Are there any quiet voluntary things you could do, say once a week? Like helping out at the library or something? Something that’s so completely different to what you did for work, but that gives you a focus that can help get you out of your own head (but not exercise related). If I’ve spoken out of turn, please feel free to ignore this suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

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