Those I am closest to will know that I have always been pretty well organised. I like to make sure I know what I am doing, when, how and have a time period set as to when I want that particular thing done. Well organised has its advantages but at some point when good organisation becomes slightly more obsessive you start to realise that it’s not organisation any more…
When I was about 11 I was in my sitting room at home. I looked into the kitchen to see my parents having dinner just like any other night of the week. My Dad still dressed in his oily clothes from the garage as he was a mechanic. For some obscure reason that was the first moment I realised that my parents would not always be around. It terrified me. Roughly three or so months later, my Dad died of a heart attack. I’m not sure just how much time had passed before I put two and two together but when I did make that connection, I never forgot it. From here I developed this idea that I had somehow contributed to what had happened to my father. I developed a mentality that every thought that sprung into my head would then materialise just as had happened with my Dad. Over the years I think I got used to it as I was quite young so for a long time I just assumed it was who I was but with age I have learned an awful lot about myself and know that there is a reason I get so anxious and that is most certainly as a result of what happened on December 24th 2000.
There has been a lot of talk recently about mental health in Ireland. Firstly because of Sinead O’Connor and her concern about Miley Cyrus (which she then turned on Sinead) and secondly as a result of Conor Cusack who spoke of his depression and reached hearts near and far. It’s reassuring that people are finally starting to realise the extent of mental health and that it doesn’t make you weak or abnormal if you experience a time when you need someone to talk to. I have visited a counsellor twice in my life, the first for bereavement and the second time as I was just feeling generally quite unhappy and couldn’t pinpoint why. When people hear the word counsellor they automatically think loony, psycho or some other complete exaggeration. Often they have a stereotype of the counsellor too, the cliché of someone sitting in a big fancy office writing notes as you awkwardly sit there. I can honestly say, it is just that, more often than not, it’s a stereotype. You might be surprised to think that it can be quite friendly, informal and leave you feeling a hell of a lot better than you did before.
From my second experience I learned so much about myself that I can’t even verbalise or explain it. I found out why I do certain things and how to recognise them. I am still learning even now but I can see far more clearly the mistakes I have made and patterns I may have subconsciously followed. For example, my way of coping was to set myself a goal and achieve it. I had basically been doing this for the last decade. Do a good a Junior certificate, do a good Leaving certificate, get into University. I was constantly striving for my next goal and they weren’t just limited to education, there were some very personal goals too. To a reader this may all sound quite obscure and not make too much sense but I can assure you if you have ever wanted to go and talk to someone about anything you should most certainly do so. The unhappiness I had felt was all related to losing my Dad and although it’s now thirteen years later and I am an adult now I was a child when I dealt with it the first time round.
My anxiety is something I have wondered about for a while. I often get worked about trivial things and others couldn’t and can’t see why I get so concerned about such little details. Now I know why and I know how to remedy it. I have wanted to write something about this for a while but truth be told I was worried people would judge me. I have had friends say to me that they think they should go and talk to someone about various things but they never do, maybe because of the fear of what others may think or what they may find out about themselves. One thing I certainly learned was that there is always a reason we are the way we are, somewhere along the way a minute detail may have had far more of an influence on who you are today than you even realise. It’s not the easiest process but it’s certainly worth it and while I could tell you more about my experience there wouldn’t be too much of a point as everyone’s is unique. We just need to stop worrying what others may think about that.