The below discusses some of my thoughts on mental health. Please take everything said with a grain of salt because I am not trained in anyway to deal with mental health. These are just my thoughts. And if you think this may cause upset by reading on, please don't read on. It will still be here if you change your mind. All my love, Z.
It was London Pride last weekend. And it was amazing.
I had a great time with wonderful pups.
I felt comfortable and happy and free to be Z.
I am thrilled I got to walk in the parade.
Almost more so that I did stints on all four.
I had a new collar round my neck, a wonderful alpha on the other end of my lead.
And some of the most brilliant, lovely people I have ever met all around.
On the Sunday however things were, although still lovely, different. My mental state took a turn, and I wanted to talk about that.
So as a pack we had stayed in a hotel, relaxed most of the morning, then panic packed as the checkout deadline approach. And I was fine. Happy, waggy, excited for just wanding around the city with friends. As soon as I set foot outdoors though it was like a switch flipped. As every single one of my senses exploded into overdrive. Every sound was too loud, the sights too bright and/or busy, every smell vile, even holding hands or being touched at all was just too much. In these situations my head has the default setting of, I am a burden, everyone feels forced to be around me, they don't want me here, I'm ruining everything. And my normal go tos are; leave unannounced and send a message or make up an excuse to have to go ASAP. Or if it isn't bad enough, pretend I am fine, allowing it to gradually get worse until option 1 is the only viable option. Neither of these are good for me, and make things way worse before better as I enter headspaces of extreme self-loathing and hatred. (Un)-Fortunately I was with my alpha, who is aware enough of me and my traits to not let me get away with either of those, so I had a third choice, acknowledge the symptoms, hope they went away. Nearly the whole day went on before I actually started to realise that wasn't going to work, and was getting so frustrated with it that things were actively getting worse. It only then occurred to me that I have always loved how my hood causes some sensory deprivation, and the obvious aid to dealing with this, was to wear my hood. This did help manage the issues, not the cause, I don't even know what that was still. But what helped even more was when two others in our group in solidarity, put on their hoods so I wasn't doing so alone. Then a chat with my alpha outside a store where I had it confirmed that others thought they were causing my issues (which they weren't) lead to us actually taking a steptowards resolving it, and going to a low sensory area to just sit and relax for a bit. A park.
And after a few good snuggs, and seeing everyone else relax too, my systems reset, and I was fine. Or the usual amount of fine for me.
Now, even I have had way worse mental states than this, worse sensory overload, deeper depressions, general anxieties. This was light and it could be dealt with. Even others in the group were going through their own issues. But when speaking to them, and being the emotional support animal I tend to try and be, I did see a common thread that was far easier to dispute when it was someone else. And one of the hardest to have constantly ringing over and over in the brain.
"I am ruining everything."
So to anyone who has felt that. You are not ruining anything.
Things may be different, as people respond to what you are going through. But that doesn't mean anything is lost.
If you were having a good time before, that good time still happened. Time speant looking after yourself, or others looking after you is different time and is it's own memory.
Some may be dissappointed yes, but that doesn't take away from the time had before, or the time you have as a result. Both can be amazing in their own right.
People may worry about you. But they worry because they care. And they care because you are worth caring for.
It is in the moments of care that some of our strongest connections are forged.
They may not be easy times, but it is not time lost. And nothing is ruined.
Of course, only you know what may help you;
Sometimes it is better to get time alone, so you don't feel any guilt about bringing people away, but guilt is not a good enough soul reason to expect others to just go. There will be those that would rather be with you than else where.
Maybe you have to ask others to stay with you because you need that distraction, specific individuals or general groups. That is fine.
Maybe you need food.
Maybe you need to refocus your senses on music or anything else.
Whatever works for you, it is okay.
And you will get through it. And nothing will have been ruined.
Thank you to anyone who has read this, and I hope that anyone can get something from this. And while it is important to remember how incredible times can be, like pride was for me. It often seems the the lows come after highs. And it is okay to talk about that too.
Thank you to all my wonderful pup friends for helping me. And being patient with me, and putting up with hayfever just so I could sit in a park, I am very sorry x
All my love.