• Lizzie Astin

AM I CURED NOW?


Like many, I hoped for a switch. The ‘off’ button to the overwhelming anxiety that had turned itself ‘on’, I longed to be the person I was before all this. One of my 3 therapists told me this was a very common wish.

Many people, including myself thought that anxiety would be something I would just ‘manage’ for the rest of my life, it would be something I would live alongside, with, it was now; a part of me. But, honestly, I just wasn’t willing to accept that.

I used to be overweight, and now I am not, it is not a constant battle to stay a healthy weight, it is just who I am, I have no fear of becoming overweight - the shift wasn’t just physical, it was emotional, it was identity level. I wanted to make the same shift with my mental health.

I have been in trauma counselling for 9 months. When I started I was in a lot of pain, physically and mentally. I had been suffering with all consuming health anxiety, I had got ‘better’ and then a whole lot worse again, getting worse after getting better was actually worse than the beginning because the fear was that if I could get better but then get worse again, it might never just get better for good.

Trauma counselling sounds scary, but trust me, it is a hell of a lot easier than staying traumatised. My counsellor was the perfect fit for me, I wanted someone to guide me, and without me even realising she was doing that, she did, just that. I made some huge shifts and this week I told her, I think I can start to wind down my therapy now, I am in a very different place; and she agreed.

My anxiety, specifically health anxiety was provoked after losing my Mum to cancer three and a half years ago. My friend recently lost her Mum to cancer too, her pain is so familiar, so raw and I feel it so deeply. I have been able to offer her (some) of the comfort I needed to give myself, her ability to freely cry and feel pain has allowed me to feel mine, to understand mine and I have been able to hold her in the way I needed to allow myself to be held. I am truly grateful to be able to be there for her, I cannot take her pain away but I can tell her with total certainty that it will soothe, it will, I know that now.

SCATTERING MUM’S ASHES

I always hoped that the moment I scattered Mum’s ashes there would be a kind of letting go, a relief in some way, but that sounded too good to be true. The day I did it, in the end, it wasn’t planned. It was a perfect summer’s day. My husband, myself and my cousin went to Porthcurno beach. The sea was turquoise perfectly clear and yet almost milky, the sand shiny and although the beach was packed, it felt like it was just me. I went alone in the end. Climbed over the rocks in my bikini with a cardboard box containing my Mum under my arm! I found a small secluded spot and scattered her in, I had never felt anything like it but pure ease swept through my whole body and I cried the kind of tears that just pour with no effort, I said goodbye to her, and goodbye to my pain. Afterwards we swam in the sea. It was everything I hoped it would be and nothing I expected.

A NEW CHAPTER

And so, as I begin on a new journey in the next chapter of my life, I feel a sense of excitement and freedom. I still get aches and pains, I still don’t know what causes them or how long they will last, but my identity and my belief are strong. I started this blog with the intention it would be a story of hope, a story of healing, and well, it is and it was.

Thank you for reading and wherever you are in your journey, keep going, it will be alright in the end, and if it’s not, it’s not the end.

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