It’s easy to talk about how there’s nothing to feel ashamed of when you have a mental health condition. There’s no need to feel embarrassed any more so than if you have a headache or a cold. I tell people all the time and I firmly believe it. But saying it is one thing, feeling it when you are having a panic attack, or in the midst of a depressive episode, is quite another.
I recently had a bit of a set back and found myself having a panic attack at work. My managers were great, my colleagues also. Everyone was so supportive and yet I felt like I had failed. I felt weak, and like I had let myself down. I was a disappointment, embarrassed and ashamed. I felt all the things I so strongly believe nobody should have to feel because of something that isn’t their fault. So why did this feel like it was my fault? I should have been able to stay in control, stay composed, swallow down those feelings. I’ve been there before, right? Shouldn’t I have a handle on it by now?
When I thought of people at work seeing me in such a dishevelled state I was mortified. My swollen eyes, puffy face, hyperventilating, out of control in panic. A panic I couldn’t stop from building up, sweeping over me washing me away to a place where I couldn’t feel my feet on the ground.
Obviously, rationally I know its okay to go through stuff. I know my mind is as unique as the next person, we are all wired differently and some of us are prone to these feelings. I know it isn’t my fault and it’s okay to break down from time to time. I know all that and yet I still feel these feelings.
But do you know what? That’s okay too. I’m not going to sit and dwell on these feelings because that is only going to make me feel worse. They will pass in time and I’ll once again come to the point where they don’t embarrass me any more and I don’t cringe and recoil at the memory.
But, until then I’ll live with it, accept it and forgive myself for feeling like I need to forgive myself. Moving forward one day at a time on this journey that is my life, trying to understand what makes me tick until I can live happily and comfortably in my own head again.