Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Black Friday

For a long time after becoming ill I wasn’t any good at all at handling things when things became unbelievably bad.
Then for a while I seemed to be coping better.
Friday was a very bad day. A day of utter despair and overwhelming depression. It hit me like a lead boxing glove when I woke up, continued to build as the day dragged on and by bedtime had become unbearable.
There are times when I slip back. Stressful events tend to bring on emotional instability, to use a detached, somewhat medical observation. I felt badly shaken after my latest social services assessment last Thursday because it felt so intrusive. I became afraid I would lose my son.
But on reflection it’s not so much what happens in life as how you react to it, and deal with it. This is quite basic therapy stuff.
How you react to a stressful event. How you deal with fearful imaginings. And how you deal with both your emotions and the responses of others.
A lot of what I deal with is the fallout from trauma and I sometimes have to manage very difficult emotional states. Having a therapist and an Emergency Plan stops me spinning totally out of control.
I called the Samaritans on Friday night because I needed trained, objective, sensible support. And compassion. I didn’t need to whip a friend up into a worried, bewildered state. And a friend didn’t need that either.
My Emergency Plan is the same every time. It hasn’t been used for quite a while, but it goes:

Camomile Tea

If it’s been a particularly bad one, I make a nest in my bed with pillows. And I have a cushion that you heat in the microwave and can sprinkle essential oils on. That helps a lot. It’s the warmth and scent that is so comforting.
The calm after the storm brings the recognition that I place a huge expectation on myself to be dealing better with a great deal of pressure. I have the self-control not to completely break down when my son is in the house. When he isn’t here is when I tend to let go.
My reaction to Thursday’s assessment was all about how I felt, not how it actually was. It wasn’t great, it was exhausting and it made me feel ill. But I have plenty of therapy under my belt telling me that at my stage of recovery, these emotional reactions are to be expected and dealt with the best way I can.


Jemma Brown said...

Hi Seahorse....hope you are well.

I'm sorry this is very off topic but the rules say i have to notify you that you have been tagged! (blame Zepher)

sorry its all a bit rude leaving someone a comment saying TAG!

check out my blog to find out more, its innocent fun really.


Wheelchair Dancer said...



seahorse said...

Thanks. It's one of those posts I know, but it charts going through a rough few days, and coming out the other side.

fluttertongue said...

Sounds like it's been nightmarish. Good you have a plan. I went through a similar thing around this time last year. Funnily enough it had a lot to do with the weather. It was swelteringly hot and the ticker just didn't want to go fast enough to get any movement going.

Actually, I think being able to cope and see past the episode is a pretty impressive thing. Especially on your own. I definitely wouldn't have the noggin to deal with it on my own and would have to rely on one of my already put upon friends to sort me out.

Let's hope this week is a lot better. And that you get a break from bureaucrats!

Beth said...

I work at Samaritans, and it's very rare I hear from people who appreciate the service. I'm glad you get the help you need from us if you need it.

Take care.

seahorse said...

Fluttertongue, yes nightmarish. With added nightmares. But you're right, I did have the noggin. Therapy isn't til Friday this week so I did quite well really. You're right about the time of year thing too - not at my best, as I became ill during the summer. I think it's all wrapped up in one big downer, but this year I have extra support which is good.

B - I have always finished a call feeling out of the woods. Always. And I try to remember to thank the counsellor who has talked me through it because I know there's a person on the end of the phone, not just an ear. The Samaritans are amazing. You do work that people remember, because people always remember kindness and compassion.

marmiteboy said...

Ah I see you've already been tagged. That makes two of us then. You shouldn't be so popular. See my blog for details.

Sally said...

I am glad to hear you have the framework of therapy to move towards each week. It seemed important to me to have it on the same day of each week, and the same time, like a ship knows the bouy is always going to be at the same point on the route. Thank goodness for the Samaritans at the lifeboat station.
Well done you to have been commenting positively around this time. Those physical comforters are important I know, although I always needed a bit more flavour with my camomile tea - have you tried Celestrial Seasonings 'sleepy time' tea, which is camomile with lemon grass etc. And a virtual hug is always around in this blogosphere. Take care.

seahorse said...

I must not eat celery and humous at my computer. Every time I go to dip the celery in the humous, my carefully crafted comment gets deleted as I brush against a key.
Bloody celery and humous. I need a new snack. Except I don't, because I love it so, and it's good for you.

Marmiteboy: Three times now! And it's my first one. Random suits me very well though.

Sally: Yes, it provides great structure to the week, how you build, how you reflect after, how you get on with things in between, and how to learn to do things differently. My biggest challenge. Celestial Seasonings...sounds good, will try. Got the hug, and I hug you right back. If you are awake sleep tight.

talj said...

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{{HUGS}} xx