I am exhausted. I have a bit of a mild case of agoraphobia, which I'd thought I'd sorted, but it turns out that being back in Scunthorpe, much as I love the shit-hole, has brought it all back. If it's planned and I'm with someone I trust, I can just about make it out. Otherwise, I'm a bit buggered. I'm not even sure what I'm scared of. I'll stand locking and unlocking the door from inside, before a wave of nausea, crippling anxiety and exhaustion sweeps over me. It's odd, because I can stand in front of a room of people and tell them my life story (right down, even, to my abuse), but I can't walk around the block. I can stand there and talk, just don't make me get my own way there, like. I'm pretty fearless- ahem. Apart from snakes, the sea, dogs, Disaronno, milk, silence, the smell of lavender, calories, teenagers. Ahem- but I'm a nightmare right now. The effort of going out, when I do make it, wipes me out to the point I've started taking nana naps after a trip to the supermarket with Ginge. The mind can do some shitty things to a girl.
Going back to speaking in front of people, I know I've written before about the presentations, conferences and groups that I do, but fuck it- it's my blog. On Monday, before I came home, I presented at Huddersfield uni. The hospital staff were actually a bit funny with me about it, because they wanted me to take the two weeks leave from hospital, but I wouldn't until after I'd presented. There are few good things about me, but I honour my commitments (the good ones, anyway) and I can drink you under the table (not that that's relevant, but sometimes you need to remember how fabulous you are). A major, major shout out goes to the students in the lecture hall that day. I always swear to myself before I present that I will answer any question to the best of my ability, and it's a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing in that I get the opportunity to tell people what I wish people had asked years ago, whilst the trauma was still going on. It's a curse because I feel guilty about, I don't know, answering fully and perhaps negatively shocking people. If it can be negative. I mean, I know an electric shock is negative, but when it's a learning thing...?
Either way, I felt validated. I felt like I was being listened to. My biggest fear with these things is lack of two-way dialogue. I can talk for days, but I'd rather feel like I'm talking to people rather than at them. I need to tell my story, to reassure both myself and other people. I need to feel listened to and validated and safe and I need to feel empowered, because those feelings were ripped away from me, through the abuse and then all the hospital admissions. Throughout my treatment, the most effective thing for me have been these lectures. Like I said before, that was a particularly brilliant group on Monday and if any of you guys are reading this- thank you. With all my heart. Thank you for listening, for asking questions (especially the woman who asked me how it all started and the woman who shared her experience of anti-depressants). Thank you, more than anything, for the positive feedback that you emailed to your tutor, because they got passed along to me and were exactly what I needed.
I'm getting there. Shit's hard, people are great. And I'll be ok.