Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Budapest Post

On the weekend beginning the 17th of October, I flew to Budapest with my best friend for three nights.

This was a HUGE deal.

Around 5 years ago, I had not only never been abroad (Ireland doesn't count), but lived in fear of doing such a thing. I lived in fear of leaving my house without the assistance of my parents and/or Nathan. Five years and three wonderful holidays/breaks later and it's fair to say I've fallen in love with exploration, with other cultures, with hopping on and off planes (no matter how stressful they can be!) and with seeing a part of the world which isn't Walthamstow Central station or the River Thames (as wonderful as they both can and cannot be at times)

I'd been away with friends before, sure, but this was before I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This was before I became depressed and before I had to start at square one again.

So Budapest was our city of choice, having heard lots of lovely things from a friend who is too from Budapest. We went to the top of St Stephens Basilica, visited Castle Hill and Fishermans Bastion, visited one of the best ruin bars in the city (Szimpla Kert, if you're wondering!), and got to eat at a beautiful Hungarian family pop-up restaurant. We sampled lots of traditional Hungarian dishes, visited the most gorgeous thermal baths (the one we went to was called the SzĂ©chenyi thermal baths - the largest medicinal bath in Europe!) and experienced a night cruise down the Danube river.

Influx of photos from my trip to follow now!

It was scary, but it was an experience I'd relive again and again in a host of different countries. I've officially caught the travelling bug and I just want to go everywhere. Money can buy you trips like these, sure, but once you're there, you absorb just how priceless your senses are. How priceless it is to be able to explore new sights, sounds, smells. How joyeous it is to hear multitudes of other beautiful languages being spoken around you. How privileged I am to be able to visit one of the third best bars in the world, or to bathe in one of the best thermal spas in Europe. There is so much in my life that I need to explore and yet these things tend to lie well outside of my comfort zone.

My future aims are to extinguish my comfort zone - how much fun can life be without one? Very much so, as I have found.

Farewell Budapest, you were wonderful.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Being out of control

Today I saw my therapist for the first time in months.

Not for any particular reason other than I haven't felt the necessity to go. The last few months have been surprisingly positive ones and I'm living in what is without a doubt the best year of my life so far.

Those who know me well will know that this time of year is often a tricky one, and has been for about five years now. It marks the development of the time I was severely depressed and hurt a fair few people, some of which I haven't still forgiven myself for five years on. I try not to focus on dates and associations with said dates - which is difficult to do, yet the same 3-4 months of each year since that incident I have become overwhelmed with depressive thoughts and anxiety. Of course, this may also be associated with a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and whilst I don't doubt for a second that that could be the cause I know that it was triggered by those negative experiences.

So I returned to therapy this week after what has been a challenging few weeks, trying to adjust to being back at University and being overthrown with work which I'm already behind on, it seems. Due to that and a multitude of other things I've found myself engaging in the anger/violent side of my BPD on a frequent basis. I spoke with my therapist about the feeling of being out of control, and what that means and the consequences that being out of control entails.

When are we ever fully in control? Sufferers of OCPD like myself and undoubtedly many other readers of this blog are used to that feeling of control, the same sort of control which led to my anorexia in my teenage years. The same sort of control which made me cry at the thought of missing a deadline, receiving a detention, being bullied, being shouted at, being rejected. I wanted, and still want to an extent, everything under my own wing. I'm not a natural leader by any means, but part of my anxiety stems from an inability to control a situation I'm in - such as being on a bus and having a bus accident, or being stuck in the middle of a crowd at a concert. Situations where I can't escape and thus, cannot control. In the last few weeks, my irrational and emotional mind has completely taken over any part that was rational, leaving the violent and irritable side of my BPD to unleash itself. Now, I feel out of control. I don't feel structured. I don't feel safe. I feel monstrous.

However my therapist made me think today about how living a life striving to be fully in control can make the uncontrollable parts of life that more momentous and unbearable. How by confining yourself to a side where you don't even allow yourself to slip control, catastrophes occur when this changes because of your rigidity, strictness and refusal to allow yourself to be otherwise. If these two extremes were more balanced, then this may prevent my constant extremities of mood at the slightest uncontrollable situation.

I won't deny that there are aspects of my BPD that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to train my brain to engage in a more balanced approach towards being in control in the upcoming months, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and today it helped me to discover a side of myself from the outside rather than through an internal judgement.

Unfortunately in the last few months I have succeeded at pushing people away. I don't mean to. I really don't. But to push people away means that I'm right. That people don't want to be associated with me and that I deserve to be alone. Alternatively, I'm terrified of losing people. How am I able to control the side of my personality that craves comfort yet knows that the world is better off without me. It will certainly take a lot of training and even then I don't know if it's something I'll ever rid.

I am definitely a more 'out of control' person than I used to be. I am free from anorexia. I've attended more events and nights out this year independently. I dyed my hair half blonde (superficial I know, but a big deal for me) and I managed to fly to Budapest with my best friend two weeks ago (more on that in my next post). I'll never be happy with myself but I'm living and moving on and that's far more than I was doing 5 years ago.