Thursday, 17 June 2021

The Perception of Me

*Trigger Warning* 

Anxiety - Mental Health - Self-harm 

 “Looks can be deceiving”. 

“Never judge a book by its cover". 

2 different phrases that most people would know.

I’ve been struggling for a few days with my mental health. 

My long existing readers will know that my mental health has been a long 9 year rollercoaster of a journey. Sometimes I’m fine but then other times, when it’s not great, I tend to chat about it here. 

This time I’ve really been struggling with my anxiety; specifically social anxiety triggers. 

I wrote a post back in January called “Thou Shall Not Judge" where I spoke about being a Christian but not always a traditional stereotypical Christian. I expressed interest in taking my faith further, pursuing a life of service further on in my life. 

It was something I wanted to. Something I genuinely feel called to do but with my current life position and my health I doubt I will. 

On this path, Hannah and I have been helping our church and offered to help the sister church. 

It was difficult for me. That church, for me, is wrapped in a lot of past trauma. Going right back to before my nervous breakdown and before the boys Mum and I separated.

What happened when I stopped going was actually listed as one of the contributing factors to my breakdown. It was said “a loss of a community that I held my future hope in" had a significant impact on my, unknown at that time, Dependent Personality Disorder. 

Now don’t get me wrong. 

I was young (28) and I did a lot wrong. A lot that I’m not proud of but there was also a lot that I didn’t do, that I was blamed for and ended up carrying.

Over the years my understanding of my own mental health has become deeper and I can cope better. I have a better insight into it. I’ve also accepted and come to terms with my past and reached a point where I can move forwards. Or so I thought. 

However, I did something wrong at the weekend.

Honestly, it was an error. My mistake. There’s lots of miscommunication and reasons I could state but I admit that it’s flagged an error of judgement; something I’ve subsequently, repeatedly apologised for. 

But it really triggered not only my previous trauma but what became a 4.5 day anxiety attack. 

It was horrible. 

My heart was racing fast and hard. My mind was racing quicker. No appetite and no room for ease. Let alone the wash of negative thoughts constantly going through my brain. A constant argument of what I should have done differently, if I could. So much so that for 3 days I was caught, mentally, on the presumption of conversations that “could” happen and what the reply to questions “could” be just in case it was needed. What was worse was the fact that twice I was in situations and twice I didn’t say what my overthinking anxiety brain had prepared me to say; which then brought more anxiety, upset and self-belittlement. 

Sleep wasn’t my friend. Let’s be honest, between my psychosis and my Muscular Dystrophy sleep isn’t my friend anyway but this was worse. 

The problem I face is the Martyn that everyone sees. 

I’m not necessarily talking about the Martyn who was perceived in this scenario. 

I mean, there were some negative assumptions of my intent which disappointed, upset and fed my mental health crisis but that wasn’t the issue; it was the man I was presenting myself to be in front of the entire world. 

For the outside world I seem to be this outspoken, confident and strong person. The person that people go "You, outspoken? No, what a surprise" *inserts eye rolls*. When, in reality, I’m not.

Inside I’m the utter mess that I mentioned above on the brink of crying, screaming, breaking and running.

Everyone knows here that I’m a recovering alcoholic but don’t realise how much drinking was a coping mechanism or how extremely hard it was to go sober and maintain it for the last 9 years. I pretty much hid away for a year, breaking friendships and relationships just by not coping - but surviving. 

Since then coping techniques are in place. Some negative and some positive. 

That’s where I struggle with my image. Those who see the confident, chatty and capable person aren’t seeing the guy who has just ripped his fingers a part because in that moment he just hit a high peak of anxiety. No one notices. 


It’s not even an action that I do for self-harm purposes. I’ve not self harmed for 9 years and this is definitely different. This is an uncontrolled, anxiety ridden moment 

After, I regret it. After, I wish I hadn’t done it. 

Then the Internal arguments happen. Repeat the path of anxiety. I pick, scratch, I can't eat in front of people, let alone eat in general. 

It just feels like people don't see and don't understand that situations aren't how they appear and that this reaction isn't an overreaction.

I know I can't make people see a different me. That's their opinion. I just HATE the perception that they have of me. Not because their judgement is wrong but more because I’m jealous that isn’t the real me. 

It’s so easy to judge someone on appearances. 

The way, on those presumptions people can treat a person a certain way and not worry. Not think, "Hey, maybe saying it that way isn’t the best way to say it to them?" 

I try so hard to temper myself when speaking to others especially when I know it’s a person who is struggling. 

I tend to over-share and over talk the situation because it’s all I can do. If I don’t then I just run the risk of people doing this over and over which has been my experience. But people don’t like the over sharing. It makes them uncomfortable and it makes them realise they probably need to be more careful. No one likes their own accountability. 

This then just creates its own thing of sharing and not sharing because you don’t want to make them uncomfortable by over-sharing. 

For anyone with anxiety in any form I hope this makes sense. Right now, as I write, there’s a big part of my brain that thinks I’m totally crazy with how I feel. 

I just wish that this post can do 2 things:

 1. Show that actually, my outward appearance isn’t the real me. 

2. Make others think before they act because it’s not as simple as being an introvert or an extrovert. Some, like me, can be introverted extroverts. 


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