Dissecting The Past
As I look back and begin dissecting the past, searching for answers as to why my mind acts like it does, one thing is common in all those memories. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to find. Maybe it’s the reasoning behind everything that led me to this point in my life.
The key element that I see in all my memories is breathing difficulties. Whether that be other people’s or my own. Maybe my mind has linked all the past breathing issues I have seen and faced and now is trying to convince me I have a breathing problem.
As a very young child I suffered with asthma, I was in and out of hospital for so much of my early childhood. There were so many episodes I can recall were I had a severe attack. Quite a lot of the time ending up needing a nebuliser in hospital. Constantly needing medication and steroids to keep this illness at bay.
I recall one episode quite clearly. We was out walking one day and all of a sudden I just started to have an attack. We were in the middle of nowhere, no medication on us and nobody else around. Now if you have ever suffered an asthma attack, you know just how scary it is.
Your mind goes into overdrive, chest tightens and it is very hard to calm down or concentrate. So your anxiety levels are peaking because you are fighting for your life, which in turn intensifies the whole situation.
My mum managed to flag down a police officer driving his car , we got in and he drove us to the bus we needed to catch. I can’t remember why he didn’t just take us to the hospital or straight home, but the bus it was. I spent the entire bus journey trying to catch my breath and calm down, eventually getting home and taking the medication needed.
There were lots of episodes like this as part of my early childhood and I thought it was quite relevant. I think it has a massive part to play as to why I convinced myself I had COPD as an adult.
As I grew older the asthma attacks started to ease off as I learned how to cope with them better, but I started to develop another trait which I’m positive has ramifications to everything. I began to overthink everything, became scared of lots of different things. Always on edge, I learnt to keep all this inside and not tell anyone.
I started to have vivid nightmares, waking me up in sweats and heart racing. I used to have episodes were I would do everything fast and my body would be out of control. Looking back now I think this was the early signs of panic and anxiety, building up over time and then spilling over in this form.
I remember being comforted by mum on these occasions as I couldn’t keep these episodes hidden, they were far to scary. My mum was/is an amazing woman who I have so much admiration for.
My Dad was very strict, very short tempered and not really someone you could share these problems with. I mean he may of understood but I think it would of been met with the phrase of, man up or the like.
I want to briefly touch on the subject of my dad, this is by no means an attack on him. He worked hard and provided for us as a family , but I feared him.
Now as a parent myself, I would absolutely hate the fact if my children feared me. I mean I genuinely feared him. He was very strict and very opinionated.
The house was ran by an iron fist and discipline was strong. He was never wrong and there was no way he was ever wrong.
I always felt nervous around him, praying I didn’t do anything wrong. Dissecting the past, maybe living like this gave me permanent high functioning anxiety, which in turn spiralled all the other conditions out of control, in my adulthood.
When I finally moved out, it seemed like a massive relief to me, as even as an adult I still feared him. Eventually we stopped talking as I grew further apart. I mean I had a choice now, he would just constantly upset me or my family. It was just easier this way.
A couple of years ago I got a phone call at work from my brother telling me that Dad had been taken into hospital. Never did i think for one second of the events that unfolded next. He was put into a coma and on a ventilator.
Now even though we didn’t speak anymore it was still my dad lying there fighting for his life. An image that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I found it hard to sit in the ICU, my anxiety and stress levels peaking.
The part of life you never imagine
It was 4 weeks of hell seeing him lay there on the ventilator and all the other wires and machines. When the doctors finally confirmed that they would be switching everything off, it was sort of a relief that he wasn’t going to suffer anymore. As I said my last goodbyes to him, yes I did feel regret that our relationship had broken down and ended this way.
I felt guilty for maybe not trying harder with him, but he was stubborn and set in his ways. All being said he was my dad, and to see someone you care about reduced to gasping for air. The panic I could see etched on his face is something you would never wish on anyone let alone your parent. I love you Dad.
These were just a few standout memories for me on why I think my thought process is the way it is. I think looking back at past traumas and key moments is important as it let’s you dissect and uncover things to fully understand who you are and why you have the thoughts you get with mental health.