A Birthday Reflection.

As my birthday’s here I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on this last year of my life…. there have been some great moments in it, which I will talk about in a minute… but all those things are overshadowed by the negatives. This has without a doubt been one of the worst years of my life. I don’t want a birthday. It certainly won’t be a ‘happy’ one, let’s put it that way. I’d love to think that starting a new year of my life, I could begin again and have a better year going forward… sadly I don’t expect this to be the case.

I’m so isolated. I’ve lost my best friend, my Godchildren, my only other friend is dead, and so is my granddad. And looking back at who I used to be I feel nothing but disgust and shame, and longing to be a child again. I hate who I’ve become. Everything feels wildly out of control and unstable.

I remember after 2016 when members of my family were struck by various illnesses and my granddad was in hospital for six weeks, and almost died… at the New Year, thinking ‘This next year will be better… it has to be’… but I knew it wouldn’t be. I knew it would be the year my granddad would pass away. We’d watched him deteriorate for months. So there was the knowledge it would happen. In that way it could never be a ‘better year’. I thought 2018 could be a better one, but my granddad was still gone…. and people forgot. My friends neglected and abandoned me. I was abused online by left-wingers on three separate occasions. Had my voice shut down on every platform effectively. Fell out with my best friend. Was suicidal all year. Surely 2019 had to be better – I had so many fun things planned for this year…. no. The final betrayal and abandonment by my former best friend. And my other friend died by suicide. My mental health has smashed on the floor. My meltdowns are more public. I can’t control the demons inside anymore. I’m hanging on by a thread, living from event to event, wishing it all away… trying to get to the next goal and the next…. as though I’m trying to reach somewhere or something… only I don’t know what it is. An end??

So no… I don’t think this next year of my life will be better. If anything it will be purely about survival and recovery. It will be hard and lonely. No matter what good things may possibly be in store for me, nothing will change the fact my friend is dead and how broken and upset I am about that. Nothing will change the fact I’ve lost my best friend and my Godchildren. Nothing will change the fact my granddad isn’t here anymore. And nothing can change the past or make people care about me.

 

But anyway… in terms of what’s happened in the last year of my life…. it’s been the first year of my life where I haven’t seen the person I viewed as my best friend. This next one looks to be the first without even talking to them. But the events that have happened are:

  •  I had my last MRI & was discharged, & had my neurology appointment.
  • Was referred to CMHT, who initially rejected the referral, but saw me in January – directing me elsewhere first.
  • Westlife reunited and announced their tour!
  • Saw Dara O’Briain – wasn’t a great night due to my mental health & Brexit jokes.
  • Looked after the gerbils at least three times.
  • Went to the closing night of Take That musical ‘The Band’.
  •  Went and saw Boyzone on their farewell tour.
  • Went to the Leave Means Leave rally in London – great atmosphere.
  •  Walked 50 miles in 50 days for Parkinson’s UK.
  •  Went on my own to a new place – Brighton… for a heart-wrenching reason though.
  •  Went to see Take That for the first time – outdoor gig, close to B stage.
  •  Went and saw Westlife in the front row for the first time ever. Was amazing!
  •  Two of my colleagues lost their fight against that bastard, cancer.
  •  Samarathon  – 26.2 miles throughout July for Samaritans.

 

So a lot has happened…. good / bad. It’s interesting to look back at it like this… but it’s hard to feel anything about the good stuff. Like I said, it’s overshadowed by losing my two oldest friendships of 13+ years in the last few months, and the resulting grief. Being left with nothing is excruciating. I’m struggling to hold on. I’m so detached from life now and every minute that isn’t numbness, is pain. But I’m trying so hard.

I’m keeping to myself a lot more now, in the last couple of weeks. I’m hoping to set myself the goal of walking a marathon a month, to keep me active and better my mental health – I’ll be doing it purely for health reasons and that feeling of achievement, and not doing it for charity, as I failed to raise any money the last time, which negatively impacted on my mental health. It’ll just be for me. I’ll be focusing on getting the help I need, and looking into bereavement counselling. I’m also working on a new blog which will be more informative and helpful to others hopefully – less negative and personal. It’ll still be about my experience of mental illness, but hopefully more constructive than destructive.

My aim in the next year is to lose weight, to get well and to stay alive. Anything else is a plus. I hope to expect less of people and to accept I’m on my own, and to be able to cope with that reality better.

I’m looking forward to a holiday at some point, doing what I love most.

I may be turning a year older now, but I’m really only a day older. I’m still the same person. There are no miracles. I’m still dealing with the same stuff today that I was yesterday. Age is just a number, especially when you’re living from minute to minute, trying to hang on. Same sh*t different day and all that… the years spill over into each other. I have a lot to work on with myself… I need to find myself again and learn to like myself again. I have to do this alone. I know that now. And I’m going to try my best.

It may not be a ‘happy birthday’ but it’s just a day like any other. I think sometimes we can ruin ourselves by building these days up to be something they’re not, and thinking we have to act happy. I plan to tolerate it and carry on the fight on the other side. That fight is more important than just a day and a new age.

 

Hope people enjoy the long weekend coming up. Speak to you soon.

 

xxxx

 

 

 

 

Letter: I Did It For You.

Dear Liv,

 

So I did it. I went to see Westlife, without you here. A month ago I couldn’t have imagined going, not after losing you. I was fortunate to have a wonderful person and good friend step up and agree to come with me in your place. She was just the right person to go with. She turned something tragic and heartbreaking into something fun and uplifting.

 

Yes of course I was sad. I had my moments where my chest ached because you weren’t there watching them with me. But I really tried to make the most of it and enjoy it… for you. I hoped you’d be proud of me for going and enjoying it. I have never been as absorbed in anything before…. I was so into it that I almost completely forgot there was anyone else behind us. It was like our own private show. If I annoyed anyone behind me, or if anyone was judging me, I just didn’t care.

 

I sang, I ‘woo’-ed, I laughed until my cheeks hurt. I took way too many photos – I wish you could see them, you’d love them! Nicky was looking at me and I waved at him – he gave me a nod and smile – and I have someone to back me up on that this time! Nicky is my favourite – it’s decided… he’s the only one who’s ever acknowledged me out of the four of them. They all looked and sounded so great – even better than the last time we saw them.

The O2 has changed a lot…. there’s a shopping centre upstairs! The place we met before was no longer there. They have a dedicated merchandise zone. It’s all different. The checks were more formal.

 

We were stuck in a lot of traffic so we were running late. We were in the toilet queue with 15 minutes until Westlife came on – we missed the support acts… I don’t mind. I hate having to sit through things like that and pretend to appreciate it! We only just made it really. It was unbelievable being in the front row…. being that close to the stage. Knowing that in just a few minutes they’d be in front of us. I think turning up late was good in a way…. it stopped me having too long to really think about the fact you weren’t there. We kind of just went straight into the excitement and enjoying it.

 

I won’t say much about the show – I hope you were there with me, watching from wherever you are now… so I hope I don’t need to tell you. The medley was brilliant wasn’t it? The boys really seemed to enjoy it a lot more than in the past. I got utterly covered in confetti… as did my drink – couldn’t drink it as it got filled with little squares of paper! Money wasted! And the flames – so hot!! Did you see the Westlife babies…. the kids…. sat in front of us near the end, playing with the confetti? We think it might’ve been Nicole sat in front of me.

 

It was a special night. A bit of a blur – sometimes it didn’t feel real. There were moments I couldn’t take it all in. Times I let go and had fun. Times I held on to the locket and remembered you, saying I wish you were here. It all went too fast.

 

I had such an amazing night. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get home until 3am…. and didn’t get to sleep until 5am. I could hear birds singing outside… through the ringing in my ears. By this time the thoughts of you were creeping in, and the sadness. Looking at photos and videos… thinking you were meant to be there too. I had to go to sleep at that point, to stop this great night becoming something upsetting.

 

I miss you Liv. I wish you were still here. I miss having you to talk to about the show. If I share any photos etc. you aren’t here to comment on them or chat about it. That’s just the immediate impact of you being gone. When the hype about it all dies down, there are much bigger reasons I’m devastated you’re not here. You weren’t just about Westlife for me. You were my friend for over twelve years. You were my biggest cheerleader and my rock. That’s a much bigger loss than just not having someone to go to a concert with.

 

But I guess right now the main thing was getting through last night. I didn’t think I’d be able to. The last few weeks have been nothing but stress, on top of the crushing grief, of having to find someone to go with.

 

It turned out alright in the end. I went with someone I wanted to go with. Through the grief, the trauma, and also in the face of losing my best friend from my life, I went to see our boys, and I had the most fun I’ve ever had at a gig.

 

What happens after last night I don’t know. Today hasn’t been a good day. I won’t go into that here. I feel quite flat and down. Emotional. Delicate. Rejected. And like people don’t realise how big a deal yesterday was to me. The biggest thing of this year is over. The reason I had to keep going is over. It will be hard to continue on with life now. But I hope the good memories from last night will help a little on the difficult journey forwards. I hope you were with us. I hope you saw the show. I hope you saw me fight to be happy. And I hope I made you proud.

 

I hope you’re at peace now, wherever you are, my lovely friend. I miss you xxxx

Letter Of Self-Compassion.

Dear Me,

 

You got through Tuesday … well done. It was difficult. It was draining and emotional. But perhaps now you might feel better, knowing that someone believes you about the intensity of your illness… knowing that there is help out there for you. Maybe it’ll feel better now you understand why your mental health has deteriorated…

 

Having your medication increased before Grampa passed away was a mistake. Funnily enough it did what you wanted at the time – it numbed your emotions. It made you more subdued. It got you through the initial loss, more or less. But as it was pointed out to you in your assessment on Tuesday, numbing your emotions isn’t the answer…. it stopped you being able to grieve properly. For all the time until your body adjusted to the new dosage and the pills lost their effect, you didn’t experience your feelings fully…. you didn’t grieve. You already know you didn’t grieve – you were staying strong for other people. You didn’t know what grief felt like… it was your first experience of it. So in the initial aftermath when friends were there for you, you weren’t truly experiencing the full effects of grief. By the time the ‘benefit’ of the medication wore off and you felt the true and full effects of the loss, people weren’t there anymore. Life had returned to normal and it felt like everyone forgot you were grieving. It’s no wonder you’ve struggled all last year…. your medication wasn’t working, and nobody was there anymore, at a time you needed them more than they could have known. You needed them more last year than you did the previous year, when he passed away, because your grief was delayed.

 

So it isn’t right how you were treated last year. You didn’t deserve what happened. And hopefully in time she will regret hurting you. You needed care, compassion and support. And it’s perfectly understandable to be upset that at a time you needed that, you were met with silence and eventual hostility. It doesn’t matter what people had on. You can be understanding that others have their lives so can’t be there, and still feel upset that you were neglected. You don’t owe anyone an apology for being angry at how you were treated.

 

Your anger comes from a sense of injustice – knowing you didn’t deserve it, and from a place of frustration…. not being able to make her understand. Just being honest about your emotions and having that ignored and being made to feel like a burden, and being blamed for the state of the friendship… it’s okay to be as furious about that as you are.

 

You were the one with a serious mental illness…. you were the one experiencing paranoia and splitting – which you know are not rational patterns of thinking. She clearly doesn’t know this fact, so took things more personally than she should have. It became about her defending and explaining herself, when you just needed her reassurance and care. Her responses to your paranoia and splitting only confirmed the things you falsely thought. You needed people to not take it personally, to see it as a symptom of an illness… one which they could have helped with by proving those thoughts wrong – not through explanations but through love. She didn’t do this. Fact is, she was supposedly the ‘rational’ one of the two of you, therefore she was more able to communicate and to protect the relationship… if she’d wanted to. She was capable of reassuring you and forgiving you for your behaviours. She had the potential to be reasonable where you couldn’t. The bad things you felt about her were as a result of your illness, not a reflection of her… you made that clear… they were irrational thoughts… ones you didn’t want to have. The bad things she thought of you were her actual rational opinions, based on the symptoms of your illness that she did not recognise as such.

 

Yes you perhaps should not have blogged about your feelings…. it led to her being hurt. But you know how unintentional that was. You know the motive behind your own blog. You know how much she misconstrued what you were saying. You accept you could have worded a couple of things differently and you have as such apologised for the pain you caused. It’s more than she has done. You accept that sometimes when you’re in deep despair you don’t always make the right choices. It doesn’t make you a bad person. You need to forgive yourself – it wasn’t the crime of the century. A mistake perhaps, but not even that. The meaning was misinterpreted and you had a lot of things thrown in your face as a result of her misunderstandings… at a time you needed love and support.

 

I know why you’re so upset… You feel sad because none of this was your fault. This was suppressed grief worsening your mental health at a time when people couldn’t be there for you. This made you split and be paranoid, which you cannot help – you can’t just switch off paranoia with rational thought! Even today you still feel paranoid about some things. It’s hard second-guessing reality. Your mental health took a nosedive…. you couldn’t make the effort for her. You made it clear all year that you needed others to make the effort for you, as you were struggling. You explained your illness all year, and you said you felt like you didn’t have friends…. instead of being offended by that, you needed people to assess their behaviour and consider if they could do more to make you feel you had them as your friends. You needed reassurance. You needed effort, care and love. You didn’t get that.

 

You got distance. This may be for very legitimate reasons, not related to you at all… but she needs to accept that the splitting and paranoia surrounding her, which is off-the-scale now, contributes to your beliefs…. they may be irrational thoughts, but it’s what results from lack of reassurance and being attacked unfairly…. it solidified the split and made you doubt her intentions even more. So you are bound to think that everything she did was to upset you or have some emotional effect on you…. it’s okay to say that. If she thinks that makes you sound self-absorbed, selfish or it upsets her that you think these things about her, then that’s not your problem and illustrates perfectly what the problem is. She’s the one who needs to learn that paranoia and splitting is not within your control… that it may be irrational…. the things you think and say may be untrue …  but she is the ‘rational’ one – she has the power to dispel these beliefs… and she will only do that by being nice to you. By being reassuring, caring, kind and not holding it against you. She is not in that mindset currently. She had a chance to do that before, and she was simply defensive instead… she thought you were attacking her in that blog and went on a counter-attack as a result. Only time will teach her that you didn’t genuinely think bad things about her – her behaviour since may have changed that. You didn’t want the friendship to end. You were simply suffering with your illness and your grief, and felt powerless to get anyone to give a damn about you… you felt so alone. You just wanted her to understand and to show some level of concern or care for you. And every time she failed to do that, it compounded the irrational thoughts. And those irrational thoughts upset her, and pushed her away. She gave up on you. Because she thought you honestly felt that way about her. One day she’ll realise that wasn’t the case. One day she’ll understand how much she hurt you… what she did wrong… and she’ll know that she walked away from and gave up on someone who would never have given up on her. No matter what you may have said in the last year… the things that may have given her the impression you didn’t want her as a friend… you know and you wish she knew that those were the cries of a desperately isolated, helpless and paranoid person, quietly pleading for her friendship. You never gave up on the friendship…. you just felt she had. And her inaction proves it.

 

At this point you have given up on her. Because you’re not getting the care you need and deserve. Because she’s hurting you more than helping you. Because you’ve now done all you can.

 

You sent her and the family Christmas cards and presents. You wrote to her, to apologise, to explain, to show compassion and to make amends. You should never have had to put that effort in for her, when effort was the very thing you needed all year from her. When that compassion was what you needed. She should have been doing the running, not you. It’s always you. This has to stop now. Stop chasing after people and fighting for people who wouldn’t do the same for you. Grow some self-worth. That effort was wasted on her. Don’t ever do it again. It was not appreciated.

 

For the first time in over a decade you didn’t even get a Christmas card…. or a text to acknowledge you or to even thank you for what you sent. You were completely snubbed over Christmas and the New Year, and there’s been only silence since. No matter how hurt you felt and how much you didn’t want to hear from her, that is plain rude and disrespectful. It’s unforgivable and the final nail in the coffin. And it seems like it was done to punish you…. for that horrendous crime of writing about your feelings…. which she misinterpreted. She wanted you to feel bad… she wanted you to feel like you were the one in the wrong and didn’t deserve her. Don’t start to believe that. I know you thought it all year anyway – you don’t need people to make you feel that way… you naturally feel you don’t deserve anyone. That changes now. I know it made it look like you were the one in the wrong – there she was blanking you, pretending you were dead to her, whilst you went running after her, saying sorry and wanting to fix things… it makes it look like you were trying to make things up to her. Don’t worry what it looked like. You know the truth. You know that you sent what you did in the full knowledge of your innocence and knowing she had totally misunderstood you and hurt you as a result. You were being the bigger person. And you know what? You are. Because despite being the hurt party and being mentally ill and suffering as much as you were, you still made that effort for her. You took hours making those things for the kids. Days. You didn’t have to do what you did. But you did because you are not petty. Because you were willing to forgive her for her misunderstanding. Because you have a good heart. Because you thought you owed it to each other to not end things on terms like that last message you received. You deserve better than that. The message she sent you indicated she took no blame for the state of the friendship…. she didn’t like that you expected her to make amends with you (even though that was a misinterpretation of you what you said anyway)…. and she was worried people would think badly of her and would think she didn’t deserve you.

 

I’ll tell you who deserves you…. the person who questions if they do deserve you. The person who looks at their behaviour, can reflect on it, consider your emotions and do the right thing, without making you feel guilty for expecting it. You need to build yourself some boundaries young lady. Some standards, and stick to them like glue. You might lose people you’ve known all your life because of those standards you set…. let them go. The people, not the standards! You are not a doormat. You are allowed to use your voice and say when you feel you deserve better treatment. You may need to consider the way you go about voicing those feelings – as you well know you are not perfect and can always improve – you’re not so arrogant to think you are never wrong… in fact you’re frequently wrong and feel genuine remorse about it. You deserve people who show genuine remorse towards you too. People who would do anything to not lose you. You deserve that. People who are not too proud to admit their mistakes and apologise. People who remind you of the good in you when you cannot see it in yourself. People who tell you how they feel towards you…. without you having to put words in their mouth. They say it because they feel it and they mean it. You deserve relationships and friendships like that. You need it. Do not settle for less. I’ll kick your arse if you do.

 

Let her think what she does of you. What others believe about you is not your concern. Your concern is picking yourself back up…. gluing yourself back together… holding your head up high and carrying on with you life, with or without her.

 

You have to accept that it is highly likely this friendship is dead. No matter how much you don’t want it to be… if what you did (however misunderstood), upset her that much that she says nothing will ever be the same now, and punished you by snubbing you, then how long would it survive if resurrected? It would always be in your mind that she holds it against you, along with her interpretation that you gave her an ultimatum. It will haunt you that she saw the reality of your illness and said nothing will ever be the same now, because of one misunderstanding / ‘mistake’. That she gave up on you that easily. That she was that petty and that rude to snub you, when you had gone to a lot of effort for her…. How would that last? Think about it… seriously… I know you don’t want to lose her – the whole point of last year was because you were afraid of losing her. The reality is that she was not afraid of losing you. She must have let go of you a long time ago… you’re always the one left holding on long after others walk away. Don’t do this to yourself any longer than you have.

 

The simple fact is that you can’t go back and undo everything that’s happened. You have ‘trauma’ issues. Undiagnosed but possible I would think, that you have C-PTSD. And this means that you cannot let go of hurtful things that happen. Or rather they won’t let go of you. What has happened has scarred you…. in more ways than one. That damage is done. Equally you cannot go back and change what you have done. You cannot go back and unblog your feelings. You cannot change the words you said to make it clearer what you meant. You cannot go back in time and change how you reacted to the Hannah stuff. you cannot unwrite what you wrote back then… you cannot unbeg for her to consider your emotions. I don’t think you should to be honest. If someone won’t consider your emotions then sometimes they need to be told about them! But if you had known it would lead to accusations of ‘ultimatums’, then in hindsight you would not have approached it in that manner. You cannot undo that. And the past won’t go away.

 

People do overcome difficulties in relationships and friendships…. people do forgive and move on… but the difficulty here is her level of understanding, and your emotional needs do not seem to match anymore. Her actions or more importantly inactions demonstrate that she will not forgive you for what she thinks you did wrong, because she sees things less compassionately than your illness requires her to. Perhaps in her mind it is unforgivable and she can’t forget it. That alone is reason enough to call it a day. You don’t need to beg for forgiveness. You don’t need to suck up to her. Because you know the story. You have apologised. Do not make it all about what you did to her… that you wrote about things that involved her, without naming her. Because if you do that, it sweeps over the things she did to you. It absolves her of her sins. It makes it seem like you are a piece of crap on the floor, you don’t deserve anyone or anything, and you’ll grovel to anyone to keep them as your friend. You have already done more for her than she has for you in this situation. Stop giving. It is her turn to fight for you. To apologise to you. You have tried being compassionate and forgiving to someone who hasn’t sincerely apologised. And she appears to be unforgiving to someone who has apologised.

 

Reality is that the whole debacle was because you are mentally ill and struggling so much with it. It’s because you are grieving without support from friends. It’s because you were abandoned when you needed people the most. It’s because you felt you were misunderstood, judged, blamed and punished for the symptoms of your mental illness. That is purely wrong. It’s okay to say it is. Call out stigma where you see it. All people make mistakes… even her….  the bit that shows how redeemable someone is, and how fixable a relationship is, is willingness to admit those mistakes, apologise for them and show dedication to making up for them. I wouldn’t expect it from her. Not now. She is moving on… by the sounds of it she’ll be moving, probably far away from you now she doesn’t need to stick around for you anymore – what a way to find out you’re potentially being actually, physically abandoned by someone you care about – online. You used to be the first she’d tell about things. Now she hints about them (in your paranoid mind, to hurt you). It makes you feel excluded from her life. So she clearly doesn’t want you in it anymore. She’ll move on and like with Hannah, you will be painted as the villain.

 

Even this post would be used as ammunition. It would be all about what you did wrong here, rather than admitting that this is as a result of how she treated you…. that this is about self-compassion and fixing what she broke in you. That it’s not about her, it’s about you. It’ll always be about making you feel guilty and like you have to apologise for what you do, without her taking responsibility for how she’s made you feel. But you know what is true. And one day she will regret it. It is her loss. No matter how sad it makes you to lose her, the kids and a long history…. if she cannot see what she has done wrong, and won’t do what is needed to fix it, then you’re better off. Because one day you will recover from this mental illness. You may look back with regret at some things you said and did in the midst of your breakdown… but ‘you will still be you’, as Grampa always used to say. You’ll make it out the other side of this breakdown, and you will be the same person you were before you went into it…. you will be the same person you know you are right now. You know you’re still in there, and you needed your friends to look into your heart and recognise you as their friend. You’ll know that she let go of a loyal, caring, thoughtful and honest friend… someone who would never have given up on her. Time will reveal the truth to her. And she will one day regret losing you. But not right now…. right now she hates you. And that’s okay. She’s entitled to. She doesn’t know what you know.

 

Always hold on to who you are. Don’t ever let anyone make you doubt that you’re a good person. Don’t keep punishing yourself for mistakes you make… other people don’t punish themselves for their mistakes – they take it out on you instead!!! Put the anger and the blame where it belongs. Stop inflicting pain on yourself. Stop hitting yourself…. stop trying to break your hand and your arm…. stop cutting and bleeding for people who don’t even blink at the thought of hurting you or losing you. It’s crazy. Focus on your recovery. Focus on getting well again. And cherish the people who are around you, supporting you, loving you and who remind you of the good in you. The people who never give up on you, especially in your darkest time. Forget what you have lost, and focus on what you still have. You will get there. Just stop letting the opinions of others become your reality. Forgive yourself, focus on your health and one day this will all make sense on a higher level. Love yourself first. You’ve got this.

 

xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

Progress.

*This is a positive post but I do talk about self-harm and you may find it triggering, so please don’t read if you’re feeling vulnerable*

 

 

I feel in a different mindset today. I had a moment yesterday when I realised my energy has been focused on the wrong things… I’ve been trying to give a voice to all the painful emotions I feel, by explaining what’s gone on, defending myself, expressing my anger and my hurt and thinking about how to ‘fix’ things that are broken in my life.

I finally realised all of that energy is being wasted… I should have been focusing on giving myself the things I wanted others to give me. I need to be a friend to myself… I need to forgive myself… I need self-compassion… I need to apologise to myself and comfort myself…. reassure myself and build myself back up.

I have also decided to try and stop self-harming. It has become such a problem recently that I have hurt myself every single day, at least once, mainly by hitting myself with an instrument. I found myself in a situation where I have cut myself so much in one area, that my skin isn’t behaving normally anymore, so I am unable to tell how deep I am actually going. It always looks like I’ve not gone as deep as usual, so I keep going, not realising I’ve gone deeper than usual – I now realise how dangerous it is … and it was only a few days back that I hit something… I don’t know what, but I felt a different sensation and it freaked me out. I would hazard a guess I nicked a tendon. The problem is I cannot tell. I have bruised a tendon in my arm twice in my life… both within the last year or so…. I know what it feels like…. but where I’ve been hitting myself, sometimes in that area, I now don’t know if I’ve damaged the tendon by cutting, or if it’s just bruising from hitting. So in a way that contributed to me feeling something has to change. I have to let that arm heal so I can tell what damage exists. I’ve not given it a moment to heal. I’ve felt like I have to be in constant physical pain, partly because I felt like I deserved it, but also because it felt better than feeling how I did emotionally. It’s been hell.

I’ve been so focused on what I’ve lost, that I have overlooked what I have. I have had people be so kind to me recently… caring, supportive, encouraging and showing me the love I’ve wanted from others. I’m going to take all their kindness, pair it with self-compassion, and I’m going to write…. every time I feel angry, upset, or feel like hurting myself, I’m going to write a compassionate letter to myself (first one will come in the next day or two) – I may share them here… I might not. But I’m not going to let what’s happened destroy me. I have allowed it to… especially in the last six months… but not anymore.

A lot of my anger has been about how unjust a situation has been for me. It’s anger that I’ve not been treated right. Instead of focusing all that anger at those not treating me right, I want to try and transform it into treating myself right. Stop chasing them for things I fail to give myself. I don’t need them to see my worth in order to see it myself. I want to try and fix what they’ve broken in me.

It’s a long road ahead. I know stopping self-harm won’t happen overnight. I’ve managed to get through today without any at all, although I had a couple of urges. It will be hard. But for months I’ve not even contemplated stopping. I wanted to keep going. I didn’t care. So it’s a major step to even think I need to stop. I just know I need help.

I have my assessment with the CMHT this week. I don’t expect much to come from it, but you never know. Otherwise I’m just taking things a day at a time. If I slip up then so be it. At least I’m facing the right direction at last, even if I have quite a few large steps yet to take, to get to where I’m going.

I’m facing away from what has hurt me and towards a better future. I didn’t deserve the things that happened in the last year. I know that. This is where I make a change. This is where I stop giving my energy away and turn negatives into positives and keep it for myself, and for those who love me on even my darkest days. They mean more to me than they will ever understand.

xxxx

 

 

 

The Awesome Blogger Award Nomination!

 

awesomebloggeraward

 

I’m a bit late in accepting this, as my mind’s been frazzled, and the concept is new to me so had to work out what it’s all about!! But thank you so much to Ashley from Mental Health @ Home for your kind nomination. She’s a lovely, supportive blogger, with a great blog about mental health- you should check it out!

 

Awesome Blogger Award is….

“This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

Created by Miss Maggie @ Dreaming of Guatemala

 

The Rules Are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers
  • Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer
  • Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated

 

My questions from Ashley:

 

  1. What colour eye shadow? Usually browns, pinks and purples, mixed with a touch of gold. I like mixing up colours, using Sleek MakeUP i-Divine eyeshadows.
  2. Do you like sandwiches? (If yes, please describe favourite!) I do like sandwiches. I don’t have them as often as I used to, but I like a cheese sandwich, or my favourite is actually a marmite sandwich! I know… you either love it or you hate it.
  3. Flats or heels?  Flats. I’m tall enough without wearing heels – heels hurt my feet anyway. I can wear small heels, but I prefer to be practical and able to run if needs be!
  4. How much water do you drink every day, on average? Not sure… I drink quite a lot of it – it’s my favourite thing to drink… I struggle to understand how people can hate water or find it boring!!
  5. What is the best coffee you’ve ever had?  I hate coffee. I love the smell of it, but not the taste.
  6. How do you feel about the smell of rain? It’s okay… obviously living here I only get to smell that in the summer as otherwise it’s raining all the time!!
  7. If there is one blog you think I must follow, which is it? Any of the ones I’ll give a shout-out to in a minute….
  8. Corn chips or potato chips? I had to look up what these terms mean! Based on the description I would think ‘potato chips’. I like a variety of crisps though, like to mix it up a bit so I don’t get bored!
  9. Number one thing you want to do before summer 2018. Lose weight. Major goal for this year, alongside other ones that involve writing and mental health.
  10. How long have you been blogging?  Just under two years…. had a couple of different blogs before this one, but they’ve faded away now and my focus is on this one…. first post on here was 20th May 2016! I feel I’m still learning the ropes though!

 

 

Those I am nominating have made an impact on me, either by their powerful posts, their supportive comments on mine, or their bravery to talk about difficult subjects. Please do check out their blogs and give them a follow. Thank you!

My nominations:

 

My questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
  2. Do you like looking at your blog stats? If so what intrigues you the most?
  3. What is your favourite time of the year and why?
  4. Name three things (not people) you love the most.
  5. If you could give one piece of advice to a new blogger, what would it be?
  6. What inspired you to start your blog?
  7. What is your favourite TV show?
  8. Do you prefer cats or dogs? Or some other animal?
  9. If you could have one wish come true right now what would it be?
  10. How has blogging helped you in your life?

 

I look forward to reading your answers, and your blogs this year! And although I’m a week late, Happy New Year!

xxxx

 

Ideas: Crisis Box & Grounding Object.

On the first session of my group course, another member suggested something that has stuck with me, and three or four weeks before the end of the course I produced what she suggested. I created my ‘crisis box’.

I’ve had questions about this since then, so I thought I’d share it with you, to help inspire you. This is a box I can open when I feel at risk of harming myself, and it has lots of things in it to try and remind me of the good things in my life, and about self-care.

I bought a box from the Post Office, covered it in pretty wrapping paper, inside and out, and started adding things to it. I put in things like colouring books and pencils…. a spirograph thing I had as a child, with fine line pens….. a couple of dvds – these can be your favourite film, stand-up comedy, or even Disney, to comfort the child in you…. some bubbles….. a nice smelling body cream….. nail varnish in my favourite colour…… photographs of me with my Godchildren, to remind me of those who need me and bring me joy…… stress balls for when I’m angry……. a fossil, as I love fossil-hunting…… cheerleading cards – one of which is stuck to the inside of the lid, saying “Self-harm will not solve the problem…. resist the urge”…. fluffy slippers…. chocolate….and any pampering goods – anything to look after myself, nurture the child in me, and protect me from harming myself.

I created this box near the end of the course, as I kept going away from sessions and harming myself, and my family didn’t want me going to the course in the end, so I said to them, I will put the box on my chair for when I get home, so that if I feel bad I can tuck into it and resist the urge. It worked. Until the last session of course – as nothing could protect me from that level of pain I experienced. It was off the scale.

I shall share a few pictures with you, just to give you a better impression of it:

 

IMG_8380 (2)

The box, covered with wrapping paper – took an hour or two to fully cover it!

 

 

IMG_8381 (3)

 

 

 

 

You can personalise your own box – decorate it how you like, choose any size, as long as it fits everything in you want it to. Choose whatever items mean something to you. I didn’t put photos of my granddad in, even thought he means so much to me, because in a crisis, seeing him and feeling the loss will only upset me further. So be careful not to put anything in that might upset you in some way. They’ve got to be ‘feel-good’ items.

Here are some of the cheerleading cards I’ve put in my box – they’re not all finished, but so you get the idea:

 

 

 

 

The person who suggested it to me only attended the group for the first session, but their suggestion was the one that stuck out to me.

I really would suggest you all make one too, and see if it helps you in a time of crisis, or use it to help prevent a crisis forming if you’re on the edge of one. Have fun with it, and always keep it handy, waiting for you at home if you’re doing anything potentially stressful. I might create a mini one to carry with me. For now a grounding object will do – which for me is a ‘worry stone’ – a smooth flat stone, with a circular groove in it, to circle with your thumb. I tried different grounding objects but this one seemed to work best in the end. I can use it to calm myself down, or to keep me in reality when my mind is dragging me off somewhere I don’t want to go. My mum actually gave it to me during my course, as it used to be hers… so that when I got stressed or upset, I’d have it there, and it was symbolic, like she was there with me. I found that useful, to feel I wasn’t alone.

 

 

IMG_8640

My grounding object.

 

 

With the lack of support out there for people like us, we’ve got to do what we can to help ourselves – so these are just a couple of ideas to hopefully help you start to do that.

All the best,

xxxx

The Good In The Worst Year.

2017 (1)

 

2017 has been the worst year of my life. If you’ve read my blog you’ll know some of the challenges I’ve faced, the heartaches, the trauma. It’s been a massive struggle to get through it all, and at times I’m surprised I’m still here. What with the loss of a loved one, family health scares, big family fallout, friendship issues, therapy / transference issues and abandonment, my own worsening mental health which landed me at the MIU a couple of times in the last few weeks or so.

It’s been a battle… one I haven’t won yet. In fact I’m close to surrendering, waving the white flag and giving up on life. But so far I’m still fighting. And I thought I’d list the positives from the year… either things I enjoyed, achieved or got through. I suggest you come up with a list like this too, to show that even in the darkest nights there’s a little light to be seen.
I’m sure there’s more, but here’s what I came up with:

Good Things About 2017

  • I’ve spoken out about mental health more, which helps me and hopefully others too.
  • Did a 5k raising over £300 for Parkinson’s UK in memory of my granddad.
  • Gave up Chocolate for Lent / March “Dechox” raised £80 for the British Heart Foundation.
  • Ben Montague studio gig – Ben is a great musician and lovely guy, you should check him out…. was a great gig – and met two of my Facebook friends finally!
  • Seeing The Band musical. A really great show!
  • Looking after my brother’s place while he was away – gave me a much needed break – and got to catch up with a friend who lived nearby.
  • Built more confidence serving customers at work. Long way to go, but progress!
  • Went to Charmouth for the day.
  • Went to the doctor about several issues I had put off for months / years. And had tests done. Very daunting, but got through it.
  • Reached out for help from mental health services (even if it didn’t go well, reaching out was a big step).
  • Phoned Samaritans for the first time, when in despair. A big deal for me with a fear of using the phone.
  • Managed to sell a ticket I didn’t want anymore – figured it out by myself.
  • Cancelled a booking and got a refund on the phone – nerve-wracking!
  • Couple of gigs.
  • Went to fireworks with my Goddaughter for her first fireworks display.
  • Successfully babysat both of the kids at the same time, for the first time!
  • Harry Potter Studio Tour!!
  • Went to the zoo with my Godson.
  • Came off Cabergoline (so far so good!)
  • Finally got over someone who was no good for me.
  • Created a crisis box.
  • Made new friends from therapy.
  • Persevered with my therapy group, determined to see it through to the end. Despite major issues and times I wanted to quit, I didn’t.
  • Got back into writing poetry.
  • Tweeting about BPD connected me to many people on Twitter, who I’ve had interesting conversations with, and hope to continue next year.
  • Had over a thousand views on my blog – over 800 viewers this year. Reaching UK, USA, Germany, India, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Austria, Bermuda, Vietnam, Israel, Hong Kong SAR China, Bangladesh, Singapore, Serbia, Paraguay, Turkey, Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Denmark, Belgium, Trinidad & Tobago, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Romania, Nepal, Slovakia, Switzerland, Pakistan, Iraq, Georgia, Mozambique, South Korea, Hungary, Cambodia, Iceland, and any other who may have appeared since writing this……. Hello to all of you from all around the world – thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I really am a blog nerd, and love seeing where you’re all from!
  • And last but by no means least…. the most important achievement this year….

I survived!