Two months feels like a lifetime ago. In two months so much has changed and I have continued to learn more about Ben, myself and those around me. I have felt proud; brave and happy. Three things that are so important to me and my mental health.
New Years Day I set myself a personal challenge. Once a month I wanted to break free from Ben’s confines, test myself mentally and prove to myself that I could take back some control. This doesn’t mean setting unrealistic expectations or pushing myself so far that I end up stuck in reverse. My achievements were small but meaningful. Baby steps.
I struggle with certain situations that I have touched upon previously, especially those surrounding eating with people I don’t know or I am trying to ‘impress’ and large crowds where I can’t immediately leave if I want to. So when my close friend offered to take me to watch my all-time favourite football team at a home game and eat a 5 course meal with people I didn’t know, I jumped about 10,000m out of my comfort zone and agreed.
Fast forward to 4;30am on the day of the match – I was laid in bed convincing myself that I couldn’t do it. Wracking my brain to think of any plausible excuse not to go. Allowing Ben to overcome my mind: telling me how wrong everything would go; how much safer I would be at home; how much easier it would be to say no. But in that moment I decided I didn’t want him to win anymore. I didn’t want him to take these experiences from me.
An hour later and I was winning. I had showered, got dressed and left. During that hour I had continuously battled with Ben but the control was with me. And that feeling was exceptional. It is so rare that I feel powerful where Ben is concerned and I took that opportunity and bolted.
That day exceeded all expectations and blew Ben’s shit remarks out of the water. I felt so proud and so happy (even after United’s barrell-scraping performance! But the less said about that the better). That day proved to me that I can take back control and share these incredible experiences with 75,000 people even when looking out to the stadium made me sh*t my pants.
I hope that this shows people, and myself when I look back on the bad days, that although this disorder is exhausting, unpredictable and frustrating – it won’t always be this way. There will be times where you’re laughing so hard that there’s no room for fear or worry. And these will be the best days of your life.