Completed a concert/series with Birmingham Philharmonic – first time in roughly 15 years. Rough start (holy shit I really thought I was done with panic attacks), and certainly a wake-up call in terms of my playing abilities (I feel dangerously close to being past my sell-by date!), but damn…
I did it. I never thought I’d ever be able to make it through some FUH-REAKING HUGE mental obstacles, and sweet baby Jesus, is that Black Dog barking really goddamn loudly in my ear right now.
But I did it, y’know? I made it through.
People say “oh you’ll be fine”, but the thing is, you DON’T know I’ll be fine. I nearly didn’t make it. There were too many times on a Sunday morning, before leaving the house for rehearsals, that I would sit on my bed doing everything within my power to calm the rising panic, to push away the immense fear, to tell the mental bullshit to just fuck off and do one. To literally, just (just! Hah!) keep breathing. Get off the bed. Walk downstairs. Pick up your cello. Get in the car. Go.
These last two months have been some of the toughest months I’ve had since my last significantly major breakdown (1999-2001 – thanks to a fuck-load of meds and stints in mental hospitals, I have no recollection of my life in those 2-3 years, and I’m not sure I want to remember in full detail).
But I survived. Not because you “knew” I would be ok, not because there was “nothing to be worried about”, not because it’s no big deal.
You “didn’t” know I’d be ok (neither did I), there was plenty to be worried about (and more, as it turns out), and it was a fucking almighty big deal (and whilst I try to tame it, there’s still room for it to be bigger).
I’m proud of myself. I’m thankful for the help and support I’ve had from my friends (actual friends. Like, REAL actual friends. REAL ONES.) whom I won’t tag because I’m certain they don’t want this on their wall, but Sally, Richard, Jo, Naomi, Angie and MANY more, to name but a few.
I’m tired now, and I’m pretty certain that a major “episode” is looking at its watch, waiting for me to crumble and succumb to the darkness for a bit.
The Black Dog is barking, loudly.
I’ve ignored him as best as I could for quite some time – in theory, I “should” have broken at the end of August under the circumstances. But I held on, and I’m pleased with that.
But I’m tired, now. That Black Dog…he’s barking, loudly, and he won’t shut up. I don’t want to sit with him, but I don’t know what else to do.
So maybe I’ll just sit in the darkness for a bit, near the Black Dog, pretending to ignore him, fighting the urge to sink into the horrible but inviting blackness, and hope that my teeny tiny successes of the last few months provide a small glimmer of light in the corner of the room, for me to see when I feel I can open my eyes again.
I completed a massive achievement today. I hope I get to celebrate it soon.
Because it’s a Good Thing.
I fought the Back Dog, and for a long time, and I won.