Perhaps it is people who don’t indulge in the creative arts who don’t see the restorative qualities they have. Over the last few weeks, after an initial period when I pretty much spoke to no-one besides my mother and just did what she told me to do because I felt swamped by any kind of decision-making, I have indulged my passion of theatre making as a kind of refuge. As a way of reminding myself who I am and waking my soul up. Back at work today I felt guilt because I imagine this looks to the outside world like I’ve been having a jolly. They might be right, they are also wrong. Nothing I have done recently has come easily. Not even the ‘fun stuff’.
If I could have afforded to go and do nothing, lie by a pool for a week and read a book, perhaps that would be deemed a more appropriate form of healing? And it would have been healing to create a quiet head space and get lots of vitamin D but like I said I couldn’t afford it.
Returning to work today has also been hard, though I doubt anyone could tell. Well, that’s the problem with poor mental heath isn’t it? Unless you are running around with underpants on your head saying, “Wibble”, who would know?
And so yes when colleagues ask if I am feeling better I say, “Yes”, because I am feeling better, than I was. I don’t feel BETTER. I am not well, not quite me yet. I am still healing and imagine I will be for a while.
It’s hard to understand, unless you have experienced it, that while your illness is not physical it is not without physical symptoms. Last night I had hideous anxiety dreams and broken sleep. Today I am tired, my shoulders, neck and back ache. This morning I had a dodgy tummy and all day I have had intermittent chest pains. I also know that that is probably as bad as it will get, and hopefully tomorrow will be better. It certainly can’t get any better if I hide away. Returning to work is part of facing my demons and finding healthier ways to overcome them. I have to own my own sanity and take some responsibility for my own health. But if it does get bad again, and I have to realistically assume that it could, I can deal with it. And I know that my love of the arts will be a massive help in getting better again, once I am over the worst of it.