An Introduction

Welcome To A Jackals Voice. The intention of this blog is to be an outlet for myself and others on topics that are not generally discussed...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Unknown

Not knowing the outcome of a situation is stressful to me. I don't like not being in control of my own circumstances. I think its a mixture of Pride and Fear mostly. These last few months have been tough, and I know it is not yet over. I'm happy to report that my closest friends and family have rallied around me, even if sometimes it can be hard for them to see me in my current state. I'm thankful that I have these people in my life. Although, as much as I appreciate their help, I can't but feel like I've lost some of my independence. I'm incredibly stubborn, and that probably hasn't helped things.

I do not know what is going on with my mind right now, and I'm sure there are many others out there that feel the same. It is the not knowing that frustrates me. I have no answers for myself or anyone else at this point. All I do know is that I will be okay, one way or another. Whatever happens I'll survive. Things might be a bit different, but that is the way life works. Change happens, whether you're ready or not. It helps to know that I'm not the only one, if only a little.
I've met people with depression, anxiety, bipolar and various other ailments. All of them are different, and all struggle sometimes. The one thing they have in common is that they keep going, no matter how tough it gets. I've read stories of people with horrible conditions that I wouldn't wish upon anyone, but even these people carry on. You have High-Functioning people out there that force themselves through each day, and you have those that struggle a bit. Again, all of these people carry on.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Guilt

Guilt or feeling that I am at fault is something that has developed alongside my conditions. Now in most cases a person would feel guilty if they had done something wrong, or perhaps upset another person. I am not talking about such instances, rather I am referring to the guilt that comes with being mentally unwell. To me this guilt is worse than the conditions themselves at times. Strangely enough, I feel it more on a day when my symptoms are not aggravated. I mostly feel this way on the 'good' days.

I am the sort of person that is happiest when I am busy. Whether this means going to work, writing or getting absorbed into a good video game is irrelevant. As long as my mind is occupied, I am happy. Since my mental state took a turn a few months back and I was rendered unable to work, I have found it increasingly difficult to occupy myself. Most counselors or doctors will tell you to try and stay active, keep yourself busy: Go for walks, do your shopping, try to socialize. It's this which I find the most difficult part. Given that I have anxiety you would expect my reasons for not going out to be just that; I'm Anxious. I do not find these activities particularly difficult on most days, there are exceptions, but the reason that i do not want to go outside is because I feel guilty.
I feel Guilty that I am signed off work but I am still able to go outside. I feel guilty when someone sees me and says; "Hey how are you doing mate? Back at work soon?" How do I answer that? Yes they can hear my stutter and see that I'm moving strangely, but for the most part I feel and look relatively okay, at least in my eyes. If I do go outside it's because I need something or I'm having a particularly good day, but by the time I get home I'm upset with myself for feeling 'okay'. Living in a small town probably doesn't help, everyone knows everyone here so I can't really go anywhere private. As a result I feel guilty for going to see my friends because all I can think is; "If you're well enough for this, why can't you work?"

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Look on the Bright side

There are many things in this world that can bring a person down. At one time or another everyone will go through a period where they may feel like the entire world is going against them. There may be times that all you want to do is lay down and cry. Everyone is different in this regard, and some things that are a catastrophe to one person is of little concern to another. At the end of my first year of college I received a C grade for my Sociology exam. I was over the moon. Couldn't have been happier. However a fellow student of mine was almost destroyed when she received a B grade in the same exam. At the time I found it quite hard to relate, but I like to think I have grown somewhat since then. Everyone has their own challenge in this world, and it is important to remember that something that you consider a simple task could be incredibly difficult for another person.

I began this Blog as a way to express myself and to talk about things that are typically difficult to talk about. Yes, my anxiety makes it difficult for me to function at times. Yes, my hallucinations can have a pretty negative effect on me. The situation I am currently in is not particularly great, I'm finding it difficult to not get frustrated with myself. Having my muscles cramp up whilst I am walking to the supermarket makes me look like Igor. The stutter I  have whenever I speak to someone has a habit of turning into incoherent noises that could easily be mistaken for the mating calls of a camel. To top it off, the sudden involuntary movements of my arms and legs would have Neo from the Matrix impressed at my ability to dodge non-existent bullets. Whilst it is not always the most fun, it can be pretty hilarious. I think having a sense of humor is very important. That's what I would like to talk about today.

Around a month ago I met with a man to discuss my problem and try to determine a course of action. He told me about the human body's natural 'fight or flight' response to danger, and that this was the part of the reason I was in my current situation. The man I went to speak with however, seemed to have a slight involuntary 'tick'. Halfway through a sentence he would shut his eyes and hum. Every time he did this however, my body reacted. A five minute conversation turned into twenty minutes of me repeatedly making 'Baaa' noises and my body twisting violently to the left. Looking back on this now, I can't help but laugh, and I believe there is no reason why I shouldn't.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Back to Reality

Conditions of the mind can be incredibly hard to describe. How do you actually define anxiety when we live in a world of individuals who will experience the same things differently? This can make it very hard for other people to understand as well, for if something can't be described how can someone know what it is? In my opinion, this is one of the greatest problems those suffering with mental health conditions face. The day after my manic episode was one of the hardest days I've had since my current condition began. It wasn't because my symptoms were particularly bad or that I had a lot of triggers that day, it was because I went from feeling like the most confident person on the planet, back to my 'normal' self. It was that all the people that saw me on that day perceived me to have shown drastic improvement, when in reality I displayed another symptom. I was disappointed and it hurt.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Manic

Recently I have discussed some of the various long standing conditions that have affected my life. whilst all of my previous posts are still relevant, today I have had a rather strange experience. As I have said before; over the last 11-12 weeks I have been unable to leave my home for extended periods due to my symptoms of excessive stuttering and uncontrollable movements. I used to be quite a social person (even with my anxiety) and these last three months have been hard for me to say the least. Until today.

This morning I awoke at around 6am, unheard of at the moment as of current medications and sleeping habits. Yet I was alert and not suffering as much as I have been with my muscular pains. Although in my home I have grown accustomed to feeling relatively "normal" and didn't think too much of it at the time. I had agreed to help out a friend with a few odd jobs this morning, so I was just pleased I had managed to get out of bed. I left my house around 7:30am and didn't get home until just after noon, by which point I felt odd. I say odd as a relative term, as today I feel.... fine. In fact so much so that my stutter is non-existent and the body movements have stopped almost completely. I feel capable of interacting with the world  and even went for a haircut. Granted that doesn't sound like much of an achievement, but for someone that hasn't be able to sit or stand still around others for 12 weeks, it meant a lot.
Up until just after getting my haircut I had been riding on a wave of euphoria, it was a relief to speak again. However the over analyzing part of my mind kicked in very suddenly; my speech was incredibly rapid, my pulse was racing and I was overheating noticeably. If not for the blissful feeling I'd have thought I was going to have an attack. With this in mind I tried to take a step back to observe myself in a more critical sense, normally something those with anxiety are discouraged from doing. I concluded that I may be having some degree of manic episode.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Hallucinations

Very early in my childhood I told my mother that there were shadow people inside our house. I noticed them particularly at night, but they were still around during the day. These people would walk around or just stand silently and were not something I was afraid of, but something that simply was there. I had brought it up with my mother one day to ask what they were. There have been a couple of different explanations from different people over the years, but the older I got the less comfortable I felt talking about them. I knew for a fact that these things existed, but to my knowledge, no-one I had met had ever seen them, and furthermore I didn't want to be labeled as a freak.

The Shadows themselves rarely interacted with me, and normally the only 'issue' was that they simply existed. I didn't mind when I was younger, once or twice I even tried to befriend these things. They can't speak, but I came to associate them with emotions, and that was how I thought they talked. However, there have been a couple of incidents that have not ended well, even as recently as last year. Every now and then I find one of these people that is angry or otherwise threatening. Some  run at me and grab for my face. Others simply turn towards me and I am reduced to tears out of fear. I can't explain it, but at some point I decided to stop trying to talk to them, and certainly not to focus on them, in the event I upset one of them.

Friday, 6 January 2017

My Anxiety

Anxiety. A word I have become far too familiar with over the last few years. I have been told that it is something that everyone experiences to some degree, but I feel that the word Anxiety is too often used to describe an Anxiety disorder. This miscommunication can become misleading in my experience, as the two terms are very different.

The term Anxiety is described as; 'a state of uneasiness about what may happen', according to the Collins English Dictionary. People may feel anxious about starting a new job, moving home or even asking another individual for a date. These examples I'm sure everyone can relate to. In such cases, people tend to try to fight their fears and continue, and that is how we learn to cope with certain situations. In the medical sense, anxiety is part of the nature 'fight or flight' response in humans. Our muscles tense, our senses heighten and we prepare to deal with whatever is coming our way. this is perfectly normal, and at some point everyone will experience this response. However, what happens when this natural response misfires? Then we are approaching the realms of an Anxiety Disorder.

                                                

An Introduction

Welcome To A Jackals Voice.

The intention of this blog is to be an outlet for myself and others on topics that are not generally discussed. A lot of what is shared here is from my own personal experience and viewpoints, but I would like this blog to grow into a place where everyone feels safe to talk about what troubles them. I intend to share advice and stories that hopefully readers can relate to, along with providing a place for people to communicate and share their own experiences.
I decided to create this Blog after a lot of thought, for a long time I've felt like I have things to say, but did not feel like anyone would listen. Recently I've been going through some struggles in regards to my Mental Health, and it has brought a few things to my attention. Things such as the general isolation that such conditions can bring. The overwhelming amount of medical diagnosis sites that offer little more than a detailed description of what might ail you. The lack of stories out there from people that are suffering detailing how they feel and experience the world. Mental Health in my opinion, is not something like a broken leg or a disease. It effects personality, mood, perception. In some cases, it is just part of who you are, and reading medical articles has only succeeded in making me feel abnormal. As a result, I decided to try and make a small space fore people to talk.

Anyone with a mental condition will have heard, either through a friend or a doctor, that; 'There are many people out there that are struggling too. You are not alone'. I'd like to think I'm not the only person that has found this frustrating. It is all well and good to tell us that there are other people struggling, but the problem is those that suffer tend not to talk about it openly. This applies to many conditions of the mind. The symptoms themselves can make it challenging for people to speak openly about themselves, and the social stigma that surround Mental Health is suffocating in itself. Therefore, I intend for this Blog to be just that. A voice, so that people can talk about the things that bother them and, perhaps in the process, help others to understand.

Future posts will be a mixture of my own life stories, my own condition and how it affects my life. I would also like to put forward some views towards certain conditions. I make no claims to be a medically qualified individual, but I can say that I have at least twenty years of experience of mental conditions. I would like to stress that everything here is only my personal opinions and research, and I would encourage people to seek out other sites too as I am not a qualified doctor. I would also be open to other people sending me their own stories or views, the more the merrier.

In regards to the name, I did not choose it solely due to its similarity to my own name. I chose a Jackal because the creatures themselves are rather solitary animals. They live in secluded areas and generally avoid human confrontation. A fitting Metaphor for Social Anxiety in my eyes.

A Jackals Voice