There's a mess in my head. It's some sort of combination of anxiety, grief, hurt, and about a trillion thoughts swirling and mixing and bashing into each other.
I both need people more than I have ever needed them in my life, and can't stand to need. I need people to come around me, to hug me, to let me cry on them, to message me. I need people to help me to look after myself, to pull me out of my room and guide me back into the outside world.
I'm pushing people away, though. I'm not replying to messages; partly due to the anxiety of saying or doing the wrong thing, but also because I'm terrified to let myself need people. The person who was always there for me and who would drop anything and come to me if I needed her has just left. She didn't leave on purpose, she died of cancer and that's hardly her fault, but she left and it hurts in ways I can't put into words.
The hurt is something I find difficult to describe. Each time I look at the picture above my desk of my Mum and I smiling together, I feel as though I've been winded. My stomach clenches, my chest gets tight, I can't breathe. I miss her so much and I would do anything to have just one more hug.
Anxiety is causing major problems in my life right now. I worry about everything. You'd think once Mum died there would be less to worry about; but my anxiety response has been triggered for months by every text, every phone call, waiting to hear news about Mum. Now it's still triggered, but by normal everyday things. Perhaps a trip to town or to the supermarket - pretty much anything can set it off. It's horrible because I want to be back doing things, I want to be returning to the volunteering work I was doing, getting back to uni and seeing my friends, but I feel unable to. Anxiety renders me paralysed and useless.
Depression often loves to join the party, too. It is so heavy and it weighs me down. My arms and legs physically feel heavy and moving them from the bed to the shower or out of my flat feels like pushing against a strong current that doesn't want me to move. Some mornings I feel as though there are rocks pinning me to my bed. It can make opening a text seem impossible and formulating a response even harder. It clouds my brain and makes thinking and feeling difficult. It's hard to explain an absence of feeling.
My head is a mess. I want my Mum, I need her, but I also want to not want or need anything. I want to be independent and get my life back and do everything and be everywhere; but I sit here at my desk and just thinking about going to the supermarket feels like planning a trip to the far side of the earth and fills me with panic. I desperately want to be okay and to feel better, but it seems I can't force that to happen, I just have to give my body the time it needs to recover from this weird thing called grief.
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I’m Naomi, a 21 year old from Yorkshire, currently at University in York studying Psychology in Education. I’m a Team v senior mentor for the North this year, having been a Team v mentor last year and a leader for Leeds the year before. I’ve done some work with the Boston Spa Neighbourhood Plan and continue to work with Young Minds, Shout Out Leeds and Scouts! I’m also the Disability and Access rep. for my college, colleges volunteering liaison for my students’ union, and have two part time jobs, one as a student ambassador and one as a nanny. I’m always up for a laugh and say yes to almost anything. I’m permanently busy and spend a large proportion of my life running on not-enough-sleep, but I love every minute of it. Anyway, this is me, one girl, from a small village, stumbling my way through life.Naomi.
Read Naomi's blog: https://storiesofayoungvolunteer.wordpress.com/ or follow her on Twitter @naomi_barrow