Stark Reminder

TW
Recovery, in an ideal world is a straight uphill struggle with a bright, happy life at the end. Realistically that couldn’t be further from the truth. Recovery is a complex, squiggle of overlapping lines and hurdles. Even when you think you’ve made good progress, it really doesn’t take much to knock you down.

I had a moment yesterday, that took me completely off guard and I’ve not really been able to recover from it. I went for a walk, a walk I’m used to and have done many times. When I reached the coast path, I carried on down towards the cliff edge to look for birds. Once at the cliff edge I was overcome with a desire to jump, it took over my everything and felt right, it felt like the right time to die. I stood there, confused over this sudden suicidality but managed to coerce myself away from the edge. Since that moment, I can’t quite get suicide out of my head, in a way I miss that self destructiveness. I miss having the courage to go through with such things, life is just so difficult with so many challenges and I’m just not sure I’m up to carrying on with it. Quitting would be so much easier.

I should never have survived the attempts, then I wouldn’t have had to carry on and face all the challenges life throws at me.

All these thoughts & feelings served as a stark reminder that struggling with mental health is long term, there is no quick fix. It’s likely I’ll always be faced with problems it creates. The important thing is having a support network or supportive person by your side to hold your hand and check you’re ok in the morning.  

Looking back

TW: Suicide/Self Harm

3 months have passed since I last posted on here! I seem to be securely on the uphill climb now, yes there are days when I’m reminded that I have Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder as my head/thoughts/feelings will be all over the place but generally I’m doing ok.

Being in a better place now gives me the opportunity to look back. Something that amazes me thinking back is how engulfed in darkness I was. Daily even hourly I was thinking about ways to end my life, depriving myself of food & drink to self harm, regularly taking overdoses & had absolutely no sense of belonging or self worth. Now, without those feelings, I feel like I’m missing something, like there’s a hole. I was used to those feelings, that was the norm for me. So I’m now hoping to fill that hole with positivity and good feelings. 

So, now I’m out of the darkness I can hugely sympathise with those still stuck in it. It really is a horrific battle to be fighting. People often say they don’t understand how someone can take their own life and that it’s selfish but it isn’t the person that carries out the act. A very important person taught me that my illnesses are just a little dark corner in my head, that battle to have control again because they are lost without it. Now that I’m well, I can overpower the black corner, those still in the grips of it can’t. So your relative/friend/partner/colleague isn’t the one carrying out the suicide attempts, it’s that dark corner. When you are weak from fighting, it can and does take over the best thing that can happen for that person is that they are given compassion, support & kept safe to the best of your ability. If you’ve lost someone to suicide, they didn’t want to hurt you, they didn’t want to die they wanted the darkness to end and the darkness convinces you the only way out is death. 

If you need any support or help or a shoulder please message me. I’m more than happy to help.

Abandonment

The one thing that still triggers the thought of ‘I’m done’

I’ve always struggled with separation, as a child I had awful separation anxiety when leaving my mum, I had to be within sight of her at all times or I’d be a crying, shaking & anxious mess, this remained a thing until 5ish years ago & it still pulls my heart strings if I have to stay away from her for a length of time. So primary school for me was quite difficult as I had to be away from her.

When this separation anxiety turned into a general fear of being abandonded by everyone? No one really knows, there’s theories that leaving me screaming at school every day led to my brain programming that as being abandonded every day. There’s a theory that my mum having to go into hospital for cancer treatment when I was about 13 contributed to it. Then there’s my times in hospital for anorexia, when visitation wasn’t allowed, I perhaps perceived that as abandonment. My sister moving out, my emotional support assistant from secondary school being off long term sick, pets dying, friends moving away, there’s a whole long list of potential triggers that many therapists have tried to untangle and make sense of over the years. Then, a few months ago I spent time with a therapist that I actually clicked with and made the most progress with me that any professional has ever made. She determined that due to my low self esteem and self confidence that has always been present due to being such an anxious child (I later discovered I have Asperger’s Syndrome which explains the anxious childhood) I can’t see why anyone would want to have me in their life permanently. So for most of my life I have lived with the opinion that I’m not worthy so will be abandonded eventually, if I don’t let myself get close/avoid anything that may result in abandonment then I’ll be fine and much happier.

Obviously living life on your own and without making relationships is near on impossible and as I’ve grown up friends have come and gone for various reasons. Intimate relationships is when I struggle the most with abandonment. On the front of it I seem to cope fine but internally it’s a massive battle & the one thing that really gets to me and brings me down because I hate being like it. The fear of abandonment is present almost always, constantly encouraging you to question most situations. Question why someone would want to be with you, find all the things they may hate about you and come up with little ridiculous scenarios of how or why they might hurt you. It’s horrible but I’ve come to discover I’m stronger than giving in to irrational thought processes. Though I know that’s what they are and recognise that, it doesn’t make them any easier to cope with & they will still often have me in tears.

I have hope that now I’m feeling much more secure in life & once a couple of abandonment provoking events are out of the way, I will be able to overcome this fear and move on with my life. It’s the ‘out of control’ feeling that triggers it all, not knowing what the person you love is doing, where they are or if they are safe. So all I can do is try to have as much information as possible when triggering situations arise to enable me to feel a bit more in control, distraction, be honest & just ride through the emotional outbursts. Having Asperger’s adds difficulty to this fear, as a trigger of feelings abandonded is usually accompanied by a change in the routine you’re used to, for yourself & other people. It also leaves me struggling to ‘see things from another persons shoes’ so I can’t understand/see that a person can still love/think of me when I’m not there. It’s a mine field, it really is.

So yes, I’m in recovery but it’s still a complex & bumpy ride. 

World mental health day

A talking point

Each mental health related day/event brings us another step closer to stamping out the stigma that surrounds it.

Billions of people in this world & they all have mental health, it shouldn’t still be a taboo subject. Some have no troubles with their mental health, others have struggles and recover, some have a lifelong battle and unfortunately there are some that don’t survive it – I was sure I was going to be one of them. But here I am, still breathing and actually living my life rather than just surviving. 

Due to a number of reasons, funding, cuts, lack of staff, lack of resources and many more, there just isn’t enough professionals & services to go around. Because of this, it’s important to stamp out this stigma to enable people to reach out to those closer to home and get support from those around. 

My recovery was a long one and is still ongoing but the most positive impact on my mental health didn’t come from professional help and support, in fact the ‘help & support’ side was questionable. My help came from someone who wasn’t qualified in psychiatry but instead was an understanding, non judgemental, caring person who kept me going, gave me small goals to look forward to and gave me someone who cared if I was alive the next day. All it takes is someone to be open minded and accepting of another’s conditions to drastically change a persons perspective on life. If only there were more people in the world as genuine & lovely as the person that helped save me.

This doesn’t work for everyone, but for me & those around me it saved a lot of heartache and has given me a fresh and prospective outlook. I’m looking forward to the future for the first time ever.

Give it a go, offer a helping hand, a question of ok? or a smile of support. 

You could save a life

End of an era

I can now say I’m no longer a mental health patient, I have officially been discharged. 6 month ago me never thought I would get to this point & I certainly didn’t expect to be so ok about it.

Yes I still have my mental health illnesses & likely will for the rest of my life but this proves that I’m able to manage them independently, I no longer feel I’ve failed at being a human.

This afternoon it hit home that I will no longer be seeing my care coordinator and I actually got quite emotional at thinking about how far I’ve come. Previously a small bump in the road would result in various end of life plans, self harm, food deprivation and more whereas now it results in me being a puddle of tears for an hour or so with no thought of self harm or suicide. It was such a relief to cry but not feel in danger, I imagine this is how real humans deal with emotion.

It’s been a rocky road and this is the first time in 11 years that I’m truly free. Since my first admission to hospital at 13, I’ve spent the rest of my time going between intensive services, inpatient, crisis teams, psychologists & community mental health teams.

It is most definitely an end of an era for me and I can, for the first time in my life, say I’m truly proud of myself. I’m a survivor and I won the biggest battle I’ll ever fight; the battle to stay alive when none of your body wants to be.

Long may recovery continue.

No news is good news

As the title says, the lack of posts recently has actually been for a positive reason; I’m doing ok.
A huge thank you to all who have contacted me to check how I am but thought I’d come back with a quick update of what’s been happening and why I may be quieter than previous.

Just over three months ago a guy that I’d met on a couple of occasions through a wildlife group contacted me following a concerning post on Twitter. He was lovely and displayed genuine care that I was safe. During a conversation fairly early on in our friendship he mentioned ‘nature therapy’ and rose to the challenge to help me find some happiness through nature. Since then we have spent hours and hours exploring wild places and nature reserves, every time I have seen some truly remarkable and memorable things. When we aren’t out exploring he has always been there to listen, advise, support & pass on some positivity. Most of all he has been amazingly strong and even at my most negative, stuck by me in the hope of getting just one smile from me. Through this incredible support I have managed to regain some of the happiness and positivity that I had previously lost, I feel my life has worth and a purpose again. Something I was craving so very much.

I feel incredibly privaledged to have such a person in my life, it’s amazing how much of a positive impact one human can have on a persons entire being. So with him by my side, I becomes We, Illness becomes Wellness. Long may it continue, I can see a future evolving.