This post is by our guest blogger and A Little Peace of Mind graduate, Amie Joof.
Here Amie shares her story of change – you can find all the posts in this series here: http://alittlepeaceofmind.co.uk/amie
For those of you who are new, for those of you who feel like you’re stuck, for those of you who have been here for a long time. I just wanted to share with you how different my life is now.
Before I started this programme, my life was really, really tiny. I went from my bedroom, to my front room, occasionally my garden and that’s as far as I went. I often made myself stay downstairs in the living room for hours just so when I went back upstairs it felt a little different.
It took me about 6 and a half months to build up the courage to stand outside of my house for 10 seconds. I could only have showers, not baths, because I had to be moving, I couldn’t lay back in a nice bath in case I quickly needed to get out. I could absolutely not be left at home by myself, not even for 5 minutes, I had to have my mum or my sister home with me.
I couldn’t have people come to visit because absolutely everything in the world scared me. It felt like I spent over a year straight depressed and scared. I lied to so, so many people all of the time, with excuses of why I couldn’t attend things. I had to leave the job I had been at for 3 and a half years. This is only a fraction of how things were for me.
The only way for me to describe it now is not that I had anxiety or depression, not that I was mentally unwell, but in fact, I was blinded. I had absolutely no idea about how the world really worked. It was like I was walking around with a blanket over my head bumping into everything, not being able to see, constantly in the dark and lost. Then I found this programme, day by day, insight by insight, I started to lift the blanket a little more and more.
Fast forward to less than a year later. The blanket is gone. Little did I know it never really existed, it was my own eyes that were shut. Now that darkness has gone and I’m in pure light.
There is nothing that I can not do due to anxiety now. I can happily wake up at 6am, go to work and do my shift, come home and be alone for hours, go to the gym with or without a friend and I do all of this without even a single thought about the fact that I’m doing it. When I think back to how I was, I find it really hard to understand how I ever felt like I did, it’s really strange actually. Quite like looking at another person.
My life is expanding more and more. In the past 6 months alone I have been strawberry picking, to the seaside, to restaurants, to job interviews, bowling, shopping, without giving any of it a second thought. However, those activities are not my freedom. My freedom is knowing that I can go to work tomorrow and if I had a panic attack 1). It wouldn’t mean anything about me and 2). It actually just doesn’t matter.
I am FREE to feel whatever comes along! And it’s wonderful! I can come home and feel a bit low or moody or anxious after work and I can sit there with a cup of tea and feel like that for as long as I want with the absolute knowledge that it’s the most normal thing for a human to feel human emotions! I don’t have to start journaling that I’m getting ill again or start taking medication just in case it’s a sign. I don’t have to make those stories up anymore. It comes, I feel it, it leaves. I’m reset. On to the next feeling. Which right now is just pure gratefulness for how everything has changed for me.