Anxiety

A New Year and a New Recovery

A New Year and a New Recovery | Libero Magazine
So what next? A new year and a new recovery. I’m trying not to see it as starting from scratch again. I've recovered before and so I believe that I’ll recover again and perhaps faster, with more understanding and strength.

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Sometimes the future seems simple and it feels like everything is coming together. Other times, however, things aren’t so clear and life can change paths very quickly.

At the moment, my future is hazy.

I wasn’t even sure if I was going to write this article. In November, things were going fine, or so I thought. But toward the end of the month, I found myself suddenly plunged into one of the worst relapses of my anxiety disorder since 2008. I experienced two of the darkest weeks of my life. I have even flown home to South Africa to stay with my mum while I recover.

As I write this article, I am still in the middle of it and so I wasn’t sure I should risk writing this because I am afraid of what the future holds in regards to my recovery.

Even though it’s understandable to be scared while I am in the throes of my anxiety relapse, I think by writing this article I can strengthen the belief in myself which has been badly damaged by this experience.

By writing this I can say, no, I won’t be the victim.

A few weeks ago I was happy to be the victim, I tuck-tailed and ran home. I guess that’s okay. I needed to get to a safe place, but as time has passed here I’ve realized as much as I may want to, I can’t keep my head buried in the sand.

In London, after a week of torment from my irrational thoughts and fears, I finally went to the emergency room to speak to a psychiatric nurse. At the time I was afraid they’d institutionalize me (this was, in fact, all part of my anxiety). The nurse and a few people subsequently told me that I was displaying symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was a little shocked because the official diagnosis I’d received in 2008 was General Anxiety Disorder. Either way, it was a horrible experience and I am glad to say that the worst of it seems to have passed.

What I learned in that time was it doesn’t matter how dark it gets (and trust me, it was very dark), hold on! Hold on because it will pass. The thoughts may be darker than the worst thing you ever thought you could think and you could be hating yourself for existing. HOLD ON. It will pass. The sun will shine again.  Speak to someone, anyone. Go to the emergency room. Phone a friend.  Sometimes it feels like you can’t face anybody, but I found that when I forced myself to speak to someone, it helped.

As I head into the New Year, everything I thought I would be doing has gone out the window. I was planning to go to France to volunteer at a Christian Retreat Centre. Instead, I find myself back home in a small town in South Africa resting and recovering from a severe relapse. I’ve been quite hard on myself about it, as if my condition is my fault. It isn’t. It will take time for that to sink in.

A New Year and a New Recovery | Libero

So what next? A new year and a new recovery.

I’m trying not to see it as starting from scratch again. I’ve recovered before and so I believe that I’ll recover again and perhaps faster, with more understanding and strength.

It’s hard to set goals and resolutions when I am in this state of mind but I suppose something I want to aim toward is loving myself.  Through the journeys my anxiety has taken me on, into therapy and into the dark recesses of my mind, I’ve discovered that in my situation, what could lie at the core of my “condition” is a case of severe self-doubt.

And so, however I do it, I want to learn to believe in Seb. I want to learn to believe that he is worth it and he can do it.

I want him to know he is loved and he deserves that love. A big goal maybe?  Maybe not? But it’s what I hope for this New Year and it’s what I hope and wish for everyone else struggling with similar things to what I am going through right now.

If you’re “in it” right now, hold on. The darkness will pass. I promise.

Sebastian is learning life by living it. Born in Zimbabwe, High Schooled in Zambia, and living in Cape Town, he isn’t really sure what to say when people ask, “Where are you from?” Seb went to Film School in Cape Town and has worked as a video editor for the last four years. He has battled with anxiety his whole life and has been through two severe episodes, experiencing intrusive thoughts and depression. He is on the road of recovery and has found that peace and a life free of fear is possible.


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