**CW/TW - Mental Health, Mental Illness, PTSD, Anxiety, Alcohol, Depression, Recovery, Flashbacks.**
It's been refreshing going through my recent blog posts and all my photos on instagram. I have seen a complete change. More confidence, a near permanent smile on my face, enjoying each and every day as much as possible. Facebook even reminded me of a blog post I wrote this time last year - 'Sobering Thoughts on my "Anniversary"' - which shows a huge progression in my recovery and how far I have come over the years. However, recovery.isn't.linear!!
Since leaving Italk back in February, I have done so much. I was concerned I would hide away, working from home and that my mental health would take a massive hit. Don't get me wrong, some weeks were a lot harder than others, but I made the effort to do as much as I possibly could to keep my mind and body active.
I've had some of the most amazing months, and the BEST summer in a very long time.
I participated in the Pretty Muddy 5k Race for Life event, which was extremely emotional, but SO worthwhile. I cannot wait to do it again next year.
I also met up with some familiar and friendly faces at Solent Mind to be awarded my R.E.D January medal. Remember that? Yeah, that feels like years ago now.
Went to gigs, wrestling events, art events, local city events, started going for forest walks, and took more photos from where I went.
Myself and my friend, Kolby, started a small production company called Queer Coffee Productions - we have made a 10 min taster of our film, HE, HIM, HIS, which has been sent off to a few Film Festivals. Working on the full-length gradually.
I attended the #MHBlog awards where I was filming and was also a nominee for an award. I met new and amazing people and cannot wait to be involved when it takes place next year.
Myself and Mitchell went to see The Muppets take the o2. It was AMAZING!! Yes, we cried, and laughed... A LOT!!
I had the most wonderful day at Southampton Pride with Rae.
The weekend before that was ArcTanGent - the only festival myself and Mitchell went to this year, but my goodness, it was fantastic!!!
We took a day trip to Paultons Park and I went on my first ever Rollercoaster (admittedly it was for children, but I still screamed my head off - which then turned in to hysterical laughter)
On top of all of that, I met new people, made new friends, met Kittens and babies and best of all, myself and Mitchell applied for Uni and both got in.
So, as you can see, everything has been rather wonderful. I've let the sun shine on my skin which helped my Psoriasis so much. I didn't care who was staring or what people thought. I drank less, or if I did drink, I knew when to say enough was enough and cut myself off.
The problem is, recovery isn't linear. If you read my post from last year it would seem that as the years go by, getting to September 2nd gets easier and easier. I was hoping that would be true, sadly not.
This year, I was still awake when the 1st of September became the 2nd. I was driving back from Bournemouth after myself and Mitchell has spent a lovely evening with a group of friends. I didn't even think about it.
Once I had woken up from not nearly enough sleep, I hopped in the shower and BAMN!!! I started to have the most vivid flashbacks. I started to hyperventilate and violently throw up.
In my head, I thought, There's beers in the fridge, grab them and just drink the day away. I didn't do that. I told people I was struggling. I knew I had to get out the flat.
Myself and Kolby went for a coffee, and yes, alcohol did follow and I got a tad drunk. However, I was surrounded by great people who knew the situation and were making sure I was alright. So, I guess I can sit here and say recovery isn't linear, but at the same time write about how I actually looked after myself, to a certain extent.
But the reason it isn't linear is because I assumed I would be alright. It doesn't work like that. When people joke around using the word "Triggered" it makes my blood boil. If only they truly knew how it felt to be triggered by something, by anything, which can then lead you down a dark and terrible path of self-hate, self-loathing, and self-destruction.
This was me on September 2nd, 2018.
I know myself well enough now that I know what that look in my eyes really means. That's not a happy me, that's a lost and terrified me, but I made it through. I made it through thanks to the love and support of amazing people. I made it through cause I knew if I hadn't had asked for help then I would be in a much worse place right now.
Recovery isn't linear. Recovery doesn't happen over night. This is 7 years on and it still affects me. The only difference is, is that I have learnt to use my voice, to speak up and say, "I need help", "I need support", "I'm not okay", and there is absolutely no shame in that.
Real Summer smiles below...