I know so much more about fighting Ed than 18 months ago. I still struggle to do it, but I at least know what I should do. However, I am increasingly troubled by K. Her anxiety levels are constantly high, she fears death, but is obsessed by death, not just her own, or close family, but everyone she sees and meets. She cannot make any sense of life or work out what the point of even existing is. She has routines and rituals as well as irrational fears, of insects, of cat fleas or infection. I don’t know what to do to help her. Our CAMHS appointment is over a month away and I have no answers for the constant screaming terror in her head. I wish I could retreat under a duvet with her and hold her until we find help. I worry that my own level of depression means I will be unable to help. I find it increasingly difficult to get up in the mornings and while I’ve become used to the synthetic medicalised sensation that antidepressants induce, I am constantly exhausted by the effort of being OK. I need to stay strong for work and for home but feel forever distant from this person who acts her way through each day and never gets to say how she really feels.
Does anyone have any advice I could give to K? Are there any tips or strategies for reducing anxiety without the need for therapy or medication? I have tried telling her to have a mantra and to repeat it when overwhelmed. I suggest she texts me, but she says she doesn’t know how to frame basic words when in that state. My suggestion that she texts Help! Or Existential angst alert is met with a smile, but I know she will not do it. And if she did, and I was occupied talking someone else through their difficulties, it would be even worse.
Next week is Mental Health Day. Publicity will stress that every family is touched by mental health issues. Somewhere there is a family entirely unaffected – I think we have your share. Please collect it any time you like.