This post is by our guest blogger and A Little Peace of Mind graduate, Amie Joof.
Here Amie shares her story of change…..
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.