See that animated gif to the right? Well, that is basically me right now. I had a major breakdown in the end of November 2014, where I started getting really bad thoughts and I couldn’t handle anything any more. I was so fed up with having to pull myself together to live “a normal life” while feeling like crap because of POTS, which has become worse over the last couple of years.
I started getting help and for a month I kept on pulling myself to work everyday, but I just wasn’t getting any better. The stress of the situation made my POTS even worse, and that made me even more stressed. You get the picture, right. The circle of madness. So at the end of December I went on sick leave.
For the past month I have tried to get back up from that black pit, I had fallen into. And the best way to explain what that feels like is “bootstrapping”. That is to pull myself up by the means of my own bootstraps – Well, I don’t actually have bootstraps in my shoes, so in my mental image I use my shoelaces instead ;). Or to rephrase it without any footwear related lingo, it is to do something without getting help from the outside world. Just think about what an immense herculean task it would be to actually physically pull yourself off the ground just by pulling at you own bootstraps. Really try to feel what it would take. The point is, it is an incredible victory if you can do it.
Since I have a feeling of “pulling myself together” every day just to get out of bed, that phrase has sort of lost it’s meaning. And for a month ago it felt like there was nothing more to gather together – I was all out of self. And at the same time the phrase has lost it’s meaning, because of the way it is used. Pulling yourself together is said to someone who just needs to stay awake 5 more seconds or has to not eat that creamy cake while on diet. So it sort of ends up sounding like it is an easy thing to do, that “you just have to pull yourself together”. Honestly, I have been frightfully close to doing something violent, when other people say that to me, because believe me there is nothing “just” about what I have to do every day to simply function. And when in the black pit, you can multiply that with a thousand.
So for me bootstrapping is a better term. It is what I just did, and what I must keep doing not to fall back into the black pit. I did something that at the time seemed utterly impossible. Through meditation and yoga exercises and just trying to be in a state of zen 99% of the time, I pulled myself out of there. And yes, I have received a lot of help from all around – for which I’m forever grateful, thank you, all you wonderful people, I love you all – but the core of the situation was not, that someone threw down a rope for me to climb back up with. No, I bootstrapped myself right out of that pitch-black pit! Because, I truly believe, that if I had not fought through it, nothing would have helped. But now I actually feel like I’m back from that mental grave. Last week I had my first day back at work, just for a couple of hours a day, and we continue for a while with just 12 hours a week. And so I start to slowly reenter the normal hustle and bustle of the world, while trying to keep the calm and balance in my body and my mind – with a firm grip around my bootstraps (I mean shoelaces) just in case 😉