Setbacks aren’t the same things as triggers. Triggers are the bits you’d love to try and avoid in life but can’t because your therapist said so. (Personally I find it very easy to avoid overcrowded tube trains – I just wait for the next one. And in cinemas and theatres it’s really easy to avoid the middle seats thanks to allocated seating.)
Setbacks are like rusty nails that life put in your shoes to poke holes in those clouds you were walking on.
And they don’t just poke holes in the clouds, but in your self esteem, and your pride, and everything you thought you’d been working really well towards. And they nibble inside your ears at the little voices that were saying “yeah, go on Al, you’re kicking arse” and turn them into “ooooh no we can’t do that. Look at what happened last time.”
Today was a Good Day. I had a day off work, and a very slight lie in. I went to the gym. I had a long shower and conditioned my hair. I watched a lot of Gossip Girl and Grey’s Anatomy. I scheduled some blog posts. And I was excited because I got Edd tickets for School of Rock and tonight we were finally going. I got to spend time on my make up, more than the fifteen minutes of attention it gets in the morning, meaning those bags under my eyes were greatly reduced. Concealer though, obviously.
And then we got to the theatre. And we had tickets in the middle of a row. Mid row. Hang on, I booked them, how did we end up with mid row?
Now, this is where I refer you to seating maps, ladies and gents. I check a seating chart whenever I buy tickets (and you don’t automatically select them). But some seating charts are very silly – we found this out with Cursed Child too. They make the seats look like they’re in a very different place, and like you’d be on an aisle.
So there it started. Those little worms having a chat in my ear, telling me that I couldn’t do it. The last time I sat mid- row at the theatre was 2010. And I had a mild panic attack then, without even realising why.
The little worms LOVE having a chat in my ear. Deciding whether or not they think I can do it. Telling me I can’t do it. Telling me I was stupid to ever think I could do it. And as much as I feel a lot cleaner (weird way of describing it) since I’ve been off the meds (4 weeks today), the meds were very good at killing the worms. NHS prescribed pesticide.
I left. I couldn’t cope. 8 minutes before curtain and I left. Poor Edd is still there, but only because I forced him to stay and enjoy it. Yes, enforced fun. You’re getting the hang of how my brain works now.
And this is the part where I have to remind myself of what I’d tell anyone else if this had happened to them.
You’re allowed setbacks.
This does not make you a failure
This does not mean you need to be back on the meds.
You’re not an embarrassment.
You’re not the worst girlfriend in the world.
You’re not mentally unstable.
But that doesn’t stop the ear worms does it? The positive affirmations and all that. They don’t stop those niggling little doubts. Maybe I’m not strong enough.