Coronavirus & My Mental Health.

It’s a concerning time for everyone right now, with Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading across the world. Many countries are going into lockdown and confining people to their homes. In the UK people are panic-buying toilet roll, hand gel and paracetamol, and leaving the shelves bare of many other things too.

 

Many events are being cancelled. Social distancing means appointments are being cancelled as well as groups. People are working from home. Social gatherings are being banned. Restaurants are closing their seating areas and becoming takeaways. Schools are closing until further notice. Pubs, clubs, theatres, zoos are closing. We are now effectively in lockdown and can only leave our homes for essential shopping, medical reasons, work or exercise. Groups will be dispersed. People may be fined for ignoring these rules. Initially this is three weeks, but will be much longer no doubt. It’s worrying times.

 

I want to tell you about my own personal worries and how this is impacting my mental health. I really feel for everyone out there right now, who has a mental health condition and is facing the prospect of months of isolation, with no support. I’m with you.

 

Last Tuesday my peer support group got cancelled for the foreseeable future. It hit me really hard for so many reasons. I don’t have friends anymore. That group was the only support I had… socially. They were my only contact with actual human beings outside of my house.

 

In the year or two prior to attending the Wellbeing Centre, I had isolated myself. I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t talk to anyone, besides family. I didn’t have hobbies. I didn’t have goals. Things were incredibly bleak and black. I was on the verge of ending my life. I obsessed about it daily. I felt certain it would happen in the next six months or so. So attending the Centre has helped me tremendously….

 

I felt human again, after being out of contact with other humans for so long. The journals we keep in the sessions helped me to look at things more positively. I found more gratitude. I recognised my achievements. I started wanting to achieve more. This year I’ve signed up each month to walk 25 miles… trying to collect medals for my efforts. I’ve also got back into hobbies such as drawing and poetry. I’ve taken up new ones, like crochet – that’s helped me so much. I love learning all about it. I looked forward to seeing everyone and being able to talk about things with someone. So losing all of that now, it’s really upsetting.

 

It’s made worse by the feelings and I guess a form of attachment I have to one of those taking the group. I’ve battled so hard with that this year, secretly (other than writing about it on here). I’ve talked to the Centre about it. Unfortunately things weren’t left on a great note, as after the last session I had a conversation that sent me backwards in my recovery. I also think I upset the person I have the attachment to, and so didn’t get a chance to apologise for it. (This has changed since writing this – he’s reassured me he wasn’t offended and I’d just misinterpreted his comment…. so that’s okay, even though I wasn’t basing my belief on what he said but rather his body language… so I don’t believe him, but at least that’s ‘resolved’).

 

But now I don’t know if / when I might see him again. I already dreaded losing him one day down the line. But I knew it wouldn’t be just yet. I wanted to focus on the time I had with him rather than thinking about the inevitable loss… but with everything closing down for God knows how long, I’m forced into a ‘loss’ situation with him. I have a sense of grief for being without him. And worse than that I fear for him… I worry something might happen to him. And I worry I won’t get to see him again. I feel silly for caring about him. He’s not mine to worry about. But I do. And I can’t keep him safe. I have no control over if he’ll be okay or not. I won’t even know if he’s not okay. And I miss him already. The thought of weeks or months without him feels unbearable. I wasn’t ready for this. It feels like a darkness that will never end. It takes me to a place I’m scared of.

 

He brought the light back into my life. Even a three week break was too much for me. The light faded. It’s gone again. I fear it won’t ever return. At least I knew after three weeks I’d see him again… now I don’t know when it’ll be. This will be longer than three weeks, I’m sure of it. Without seeing him, having contact with others, or having any friends to talk to during isolation… I don’t see how to survive it. I won’t be the same person at the other end. I know that for sure.

 

I had just started making progress, which unfortunately got ruined a bit last time, but this is going to take me back to square one. It’s the not knowing when it’ll end or what life will be like afterwards… who’ll still be standing. It’s terrifying.

 

Not only that but the three year anniversary of losing my granddad was this weekend just gone, and I needed that support from the group. I needed to go last week and this week. Because nobody supports me online. I’m invisible to everyone online. And I have no friends. So that’s all I had. Also in a couple of months it’ll be the first anniversary of my friend’s suicide. Again, I have no support with that. Nobody talks to me. I needed to know I had the group to hear me. I’ll be all alone with these difficult dates. I’m highly aware of all the loss I’ve faced in the last few years…. and now there’s more loss, of the group and the person I care for.

 

It’s highly likely that every event I had booked up last year, to keep me alive this year will also be cancelled. I’ve got the theatre next month…. was going to see Queen in June and Westlife in July and August – was going to actually see them on my birthday this year – it would’ve been the best birthday ever….. but as usual it was too good to be true… just like last year getting front row seats – that was too good to be true, so my friend who was going with me took her own life five weeks before… turned a dream come true into something to just get through and grieve. I can never have a good experience. It’s true. Something always, ALWAYS ruins it. Every single time. So this takes me to a depressing place where I just think ‘what’s the point?’… Life was hard enough without all this.

 

Add to that the anxiety I feel. Before, my anxiety symptoms tended to happen outside the house – my blinking tic, my palpitations were associated with leaving the house. Now I’m having them at home. The fear of the unknown, the sheer scale of this and all the drama of it, it’s too much to cope with. To someone with anxiety it feels like the apocalypse… for real. I actually said the other day, this is pretty much like an asteroid situation isn’t it….. to which I was told it isn’t – because in an asteroid situation you’d just have to accept that’s it and you wouldn’t survive, whereas with this at least there’s hope and we will survive it. But it still feels ‘end of the world’ sort of stuff. Maybe because of my depression and that it is kind of the end of my world right now.

 

I’m also seriously concerned for loved ones. All of my family would fall into at least one of the vulnerable categories. I seem to be the only one who doesn’t. I’d say at least that’s something. But the thing is I’m not concerned about me getting it. I hate life at the moment. If something happens to me so be it. But losing someone I care about to it? That I can’t do. I can’t lose anything else. I have a very small family. I can’t lose any of them. I would gladly sacrifice myself, catch it and die if it could spare them all. Some of those family members I won’t get to see now. All I can do is worry about them from afar… again not knowing if / when I’ll see them next. What if something happens to them and I never got to see them again? I hope to speak on the phone to the people I care about. I have an older colleague / friend who lives alone. I really feel for her being isolated. I know she will hate it. So I will try and stay in touch with her too. I wish I could do more for them all, but I can’t risk carrying and passing anything on to them. So I have to keep my distance and not go out.

 

I’m used to isolation. Before I went to the Wellbeing Centre I’d stay in my room most of the time, with the curtains closed. I’m not one who typically gets bored. The only reason I’m struggling with the idea is the lack of support and social interaction with real human beings, beyond these four walls. It’s the fact that I had stopped totally isolating myself for about four months…. and now I have to go back to isolating again. It’s demoralising. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to break back out of my shell again one day. I’m not sure I will. It took a lot of effort to get where I did. If I hadn’t been shown the light for a few weeks then I wouldn’t miss it. I would find isolation an absolute breeze, as it was my reality for at least two years! It’s being given something and having it taken away that I struggle to cope with. But I will do my best to cope nonetheless.

 

I’ve decided to make a list of things I can do with my time. I plan to avoid the news, forget the reason why this is happening, and just treat it as an enforced holiday. I will do things I enjoy. I will look after myself and see it as a period of recuperation. Here are some of my ideas:

 

  •  Catching up on sleep!! Anxiety is affecting my sleep cycle at the moment, so I’ll try and get extra sleep and find a routine.
  •  Binge-watching boxsets…. from things like LOST, to Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, even Dawson’s Creek – many episodes of old shows to watch.
  •  Exercise – if a time comes when I can’t even go out for walks, I can still do exercise – either DVDs or online workouts, or the exercise bike.
  •  Trying to improve my drawing skills.
  • Get back into painting again.
  • Keep learning more about crochet and creating lovely designs. I bought another batch of colours the other day to keep me busy.
  • Playing guitar.
  • Listening to music.
  • Playing old Wii games.
  • Playing online games – on Facebook, Royal Games, Sporcle, or doing all the Escape The Room Games online. There’s lots to be played!
  •  Tidying and cleaning. Necessary stuff.
  • Playing board games with family. If none of us are going out then we can’t pass anything on to each other.
  •  As long as I’m able to leave the house and go to the postbox down the road, I’ll write to those I care about, living alone, and keep them in the loop. Otherwise I’ll just phone them.
  • Writing poetry.
  •  Blogging – on this blog and on my poetry blog. I can find old poems I’ve written and design the banners for each of them, which is fun.
  • Keeping a journal about all of this so that one day when we look back, I can talk about how we got through it.
  •  Learning new skills. I taught myself crochet by watching YouTube videos. I could learn other things too.
  • Brushing up on shorthand now I’ve found my shorthand dictionary.
  •  Losing weight. So that by the time I next see other people I’ll be a whole different person. They won’t even recognise me!
  •  Jigsaw puzzles.
  • Puzzle books.
  • Reading.

 

There’s SO much I can do with my time. I certainly won’t get bored of that. I might just feel a bit lonely. I’ll miss people. I’ll worry for people. But I can keep myself busy. Or not. I can equally just rest and do guided meditations to relax. We do what we must to get through this. And then hope that life can continue afterwards as it was before.

 

Staying at home is no problem for me. That was my life last year and most of the year before. I only went out for appointments or to volunteer. I didn’t see anyone socially. I didn’t go to the shops. I hardly left the house. So in a way it’s no different for me. The way I’m struggling, already, is the thought I might not see people from the Wellbeing Centre for months on end. The light at the end of the tunnel has been snuffed out. Also while I was going out to the Centre and meeting with people, I placed less focus on people online. Now I have no contact and have no friends to chat to, I find myself noticing how invisible I am again. I post and nobody notices. Nobody talks to me. I liked not caring about that for a while. Now I feel very isolated again. It has turned my mind back to things I’d pushed out of my mind – the friend who abandoned me, and the friend who took her own life. Wishing I had both, or either of them right now. I feel very lonely already. It’s forcing me to face all that again when I really don’t want to. I had started moving on.

 

Having experienced a change to the isolation I knew, I now feel it more to have to return to such isolation. It’s like being shown love, to have it cruelly ripped away moments later. With mental illness I find that hope can be dangerous… despair is my life. If all you know is despair then it doesn’t feel as bad as things improving and then getting worse again…. the despair then feels so much worse and like something you can’t survive. It makes you think it’s better to stay down in that pit and never see the sunlight for a moment. You start to fear happiness or hope. The darkness feels even darker after the light.

 

Anytime I’ve looked forward to something, something has ruined it. And just as I started to try and turn my life around this year, this has happened. What’s the point? By the time this is over, most if not all of that work will have been undone.

 

Nothing can replace what I feel I’ve lost at this moment in time. I  fear losing more. But I’ve decided that every Tuesday I will blog about the things I’d normally write in my recovery journal at the Centre. I will list three things or so that I’m grateful for, one thing I struggled with in the week, what I learnt from it, and three things I’ve achieved. It won’t be the same. But it’ll keep my mindset on recovery, gratitude and achievements.

 

It’s taken a while to get this post done. I’ve felt a bit under the weather the last few days. Was worried I had this Coronavirus thing, as I’ve felt breathless and been coughing ust a little bit. But probably just anxiety. I feel better today.

 

Anyway I hope everyone stays safe, follows the advice and rules and you can all find your way through this difficult time. We’ll come through this together. But I fully understand how hard it is for people like us. Stay strong and take care.

 

xxxx

 

 

Trigger Upon Trigger.

*Self-harm / suicide references and a lot of bad language – sorry to offend…. personal rant*

 

18th February 2020

 

I’m sorry to vent here, but it’s the only option I have…. I need to make sense of everything in my head. Today was a total headf**k if you’ll excuse me. How do I even put into words the mess I’m living right now??

 

For the last two and a half weeks I’ve been permanently triggered and in a state of extreme anxiety and paranoia. I have had to deal with this on my own. It was caused by somebody at the Wellbeing Centre. I had to wait all this time, until today, to talk about it and resolve how I feel. I went to my group. I had written something about my encounter with the person who triggered me (Z), how it made me feel… why I feel let down again and won’t be opening up anymore. I stated what it was I needed and why. It was not intended to start / continue a conversation. It was to end all conversations. It was just to let them know they f***ed up just like the previous MH service did with me.

 

I didn’t want to just hand over the bit of paper and run out, like the first time I tried to tackle my problem there. I had things I needed to add, to explain what was what, what I wanted and didn’t want, how I didn’t blame those running the group etc., that I don’t want to hear from Z again and had blocked emails from her, that I didn’t want my decision to be taken away from me to continue there…. I wanted to feel that the people running the group know my reality from now on, because nobody will see my reality if I carry on going. I will put on a front. I wanted to wear that mask today, but unfortunately before it started I was further triggered, by the people taking the group. And I couldn’t really control my emotions terribly well. Saying that, I did manage not to bawl my eyes out on the bus.

 

I have been in a constant state of anxiety for the last fortnight… going over and over what I needed to say to them before giving the bit of paper for them to read. I obsessed over it, because I was worried I’d miss something important out. I wanted to feel that sense of relief to have been heard and understood. The day FINALLY came when I could deal with this and put all that anxiety and the bad feelings behind me. I hoped so much that I would feel better after today. But no….

 

Being anxious and also afraid of my request being rejected, I wrote down ‘Sorry to do this… I have a lot of anxiety atm & actually feel scared and ashamed to ask this – but I have something important I need to deal with quite urgently, so could I please borrow the two of you at the end?’ and passed it to them. You can guess where this is going. They said no, basically. They said they’re in trouble for being late to the next group, but I could talk to someone else if I wanted to. Fair enough, but when you consider what I wrote it’s irrelevant. I wrote about my trust being damaged now. That I don’t want to talk to anyone else now. And I felt I wasn’t allowed to talk to them anymore. I talked of being a burden. I talked about closing down now. All I needed was a couple of minutes to just have one final conversation, to get some f***ing relief from this intense sickening anxiety I’ve felt … to feel I’d been listened to … to feel I wasn’t as worthless as Z made me feel. But now X (the person I have feelings for) has made me feel just as worthless, if not more…. because funnily enough he’s probably my FP (Favourite Person) at the moment, and his opinions matter. He affects me emotionally. So being rejected by him today has totally destroyed me. I already felt like a burden to him. I felt so ashamed to ask to talk to him this once more. I feared it. Because I feared more rejection and denial of what I needed, like Z had done. He wasn’t prepared to give me any time. I wanted to die. I still want to die. I have literally just screamed into a pillow and begged a higher power to just kill me. I can’t feel like this any longer.

 

And now having just broken down writing this, I’ve just phoned the Samaritans too. Not the best call I’ve experienced… lots of pauses that made me think they weren’t listening or caring, but never mind. Just one of those days I guess. At least I got some of my feelings out.  Got a sore throat now from that screaming before.

 

I had to phone the Samaritans. There was nothing else I could do. I was doing very bad things to myself, I wanted worse, and I’ve already had diazepam today, and last night, for the anxiety, so that won’t help. I ran out of options. Just have to hope it won’t feel this bad tomorrow. It’s pretty awful tonight. As people are saying I just have to wait and see what comes of what I wrote…. it’s the waiting that’s the problem though. I’ve waited two and a half weeks for relief…. I don’t want to feel this way a minute more. But there’s nothing I can do about it really.

 

Today triggered me, because it completely replicated the very thing I wanted to talk to them about. I asked to have my needs met, and it was denied. I felt like a burden. I felt alone. I felt like I was told to go away and deal with it on my own. I feared rejection in both cases and got it. Every tiny detail from the IAPT service I used a couple of years ago, is being played out at the Centre. And every single bad thing I imagine happening is happening…. so it makes me think I’m right that I will eventually end my own life. Because for the last couple of years my nightmares have all been coming true. It’s almost like premonitions. It’s quite scary.

 

The trouble I’m having is I’m now splitting on my FP – X. I’m angry with him. I’m hurt by him. I don’t want to feel this way towards him. But I do. And he and his colleague were the only two I trusted…. and Z made me feel I can’t talk to them anymore, and they’ve confirmed that by their actions today. I understand they got in trouble for some reason (which I’m now also blaming myself for, for taking their time before)… they don’t want to get in trouble. They’ve obviously been instructed by someone to not allow time to talk at the end if necessary – which is a damn shame, because that is what the IAPT service did too, and it was detrimental to my wellbeing, which I shared with X & co. once before. I do get that they have to do as they’re told. But even the Samaritans woman thought they should’ve helped me if I was asking for it.

 

Reality is I was not going to take much of their time, because I was already PAINFULLY aware of what a nuisance I’ve been. This was the very last time I would have spoken to them. I was denied that. Now I’ll never speak to them again, and I never got that final chance to. I’ve been denied a ‘goodbye’ or closure in a sense. The very problem I wrote about. They have seriously f***ed up. And I bet their response will be ‘Do you think maybe you should stop coming here?’ – as if I’M the problem and the answer is to run away. I bet they won’t stop and think they’re the problem here and can do better for me. I bet they won’t take responsibility for f***ing up. They’ll do what everyone else does and take the easy option of kicking me out and not having to deal with me anymore. I bet. Just wait and see. They do that and I’ll know they’re not listening to me. I’ve not felt this shit in a long time.

 

And all it would have taken to prevent this would have been five minutes of being heard. I hope they’ll reflect on this and realise that although they’ve been told off for being late, in this one situation they should’ve reacted differently. Now they know what the issue was, I hope they feel guilty. Because they have made me feel, like Z did, that their jobs are more important than service-users’ recovery and lives. X has managed to make me feel I don’t matter at all. What happens to me is irrelevant. What matters is having half an hour free so as not to be late for the next group. These people don’t want to bend the rules even a little bit to help someone in dire need. They had no f***ing clue the state I was in and what I’ve been through in the last couple of weeks. All they had to do was care and listen for a few minutes and I wouldn’t have reached this point right now. The point where I just want to be dead. Because nothing else will help this pain.

 

Both of them denied me the thing that would have given me ‘closure’ and made me finally STFU and leave them all alone. Z could’ve given me the reassurances I asked for in my email and I would’ve been spending the last two weeks healing. Instead all my wounds were violently ripped open, to the point I wrote about it, so that I could feel heard. I never got to have the closure and the chance for healing that I needed…. the next best thing would’ve been to feel heard and understood by X. He denied me that chance. They have both f***ed up big time. And copied each other too. I’m just so done with f***ing MH services and their lack of care for the wellbeing of service-users…. or me anyway. It feels like it’s personal.

 

All of this crap makes me wish I’d never said a damn thing to them about what I was struggling with. But I foolishly trusted them to not repeat the same mistakes as the IAPT service. But they have. And it feels a thousand times worse this time. So at the moment I HATE them, more than I ever hated the other service. And this includes the person I have feelings for. So.….

 

I’m just so tired of existing right now. It’s too painful. There is no relief from it. No comfort. No support. No light at the end of the tunnel. I know people care, but the person I want to care doesn’t…. that’s become clear today. And unless he does care, I don’t anymore. Nothing / nobody else matters. That’s what I mean when I say emotionally he is the key. All I needed was to believe for a second that I was worth something to him. That I wasn’t as worthless and irrelevant as I felt. All he had to do was lie. I wish these people would understand how little was actually needed to unlock my whole damn recovery and fix this f***ing mess. I wasn’t asking for much at all. But seems it was still too much. Which makes me feel worthless. I don’t deserve even the bare minimum. That’s how it feels. And the trouble is if they don’t do that little thing that was needed to help me, it creates a bigger problem that requires a bigger solution, which they will NOT give me. It’s the story of my f***ing life. I’m just not worth the effort.

 

 

19th February 2020

 

Made it through the night. Was an uncomfortable night because of what I did to myself, and kept waking up every hour or so, wondering what time it was. When I finally woke up I went straight into thinking mode, as I have done for the last couple of weeks…. my mind doesn’t have an off switch. The only time it’s off is when I’m asleep now. You know what sort of day you’re going to have when the first thing you do in the morning is cry, because of the day before.

 

I texted X to explain how yesterday triggered me further. I probably shouldn’t have. But sod it… I think I’m past that point of caring now:

 

“Hi X. If you’ve read what I wrote, then I hope you can understand just how difficult it was for me to ask to have that final conversation at the end. I feared that rejection I got.

I understand you felt you couldn’t and I know you said I could talk to someone else but you guys were the only ones I trusted. I don’t want to talk to anyone else about this anymore. I only needed 5 mins to explain a couple of things associated with what I wrote. After nearly 3 weeks of sheer hell I just needed a minute to feel heard & to relieve the anxiety I felt, all alone for the longest fortnight of my life. It’s all I would’ve needed. Being denied that was like being denied what I asked from Z… it replicated the very thing I needed to tell you about. Z made me feel worthless… like a number … a burden. Yesterday confirmed that for me. And again I’m sorry I took up so much of your time and made you late that one time. I felt awful about it. Now I pay the price for that.

So yes, I’m extra triggered now and have to get through at least another week of feeling even worse than the last 3… knowing there will be no relief because I’m never opening up again. That was to be the last time. Once I handed the writing over that was it… no more talking. So I had no closure. Everything’s a giant mess. And I don’t know the way out of it anymore.”

 

I don’t expect I’ll get a response. And if I do it’ll probably only trigger me further. I’m just so pissed off because this could all have been avoided had Z listened to what I needed, or if X had given me just five minutes yesterday… that’s all. SO pissed off that all of this could’ve been avoided so simply. It feels like they’re deliberately trying to frustrate me to get me to leave. Even hearing about X’s holiday with his partner was upsetting yesterday – I thought Z said she’d mention to him about not sharing things about his personal life, as it upset me the last time…. guess she didn’t do that. Or if she DID do it then he clearly doesn’t care about hurting me, and is doing it to trigger me and make me leave. They’ll get their wish soon I’m sure. But to be honest if I leave I die. So if they’re trying to force me out then they’re saying they’d rather see me dead than help me.

 

I had wanted a resolution to this whole issue before the three week break. I didn’t get it. I wanted a resolution yesterday. I didn’t get it. There can be no resolution now. These people who are meant to be there to help me have massively triggered me… how can they ever help bring me out of that state of high negative emotions? I can’t see how they can help. X could’ve helped. But since he’s made it worse, and he was the emotional key. There’s nobody else who can help. I don’t know what to do. This isn’t fair.

 

I was so vacant during the group yesterday. And then afterwards I wandered around town in a daze. I was just standing and not knowing what I was doing. At one point I was stood between my two ‘suicide options’… trying to choose which one to do. Thankfully I did neither, and got myself on a bus instead. I figured it was better I went home and hurt myself if necessary, rather than end my life. I really wasn’t safe. I thought of every possible means to exit this world yesterday. I seriously entertained the idea of something I normally wouldn’t. How can it be okay that those I trust to keep me safe and help me, left me feeling that hopeless and alone? Why don’t they care about what they’re doing to me? They’re the ones who need to fix this. It has to be fixed and turned around. The answer can’t be to give up…. If they give up, I give up.

 

(To be continued…)

 

Manifestations Of Anxiety.

I’ve noticed in recent weeks that my anxiety is getting much worse. I’m noticing how it’s affecting me physically. I’m really struggling with it to be honest and don’t know how to cope with it.

 

I haven’t really blogged about anxiety before, as it was more under control in recent years… it seems to have got worse since seeking help for my mental health. Anyone who reads my blog might have an idea of what I’m experiencing at the moment, and my mind is pretty preoccupied with that right now. My mind feels packed to the rafters. I feel paranoid, although to me I don’t think it’s paranoia, obviously. And I feel almost obsessive. My mind won’t stop. I’ve had to become obsessed with crochet for the last couple of weeks, to try and stop my mind obsessing over my feelings and the situation I’m in…. I’ve done so much that I’ve damaged a nerve in my thumb now. That’s the level of obsession and emotions.

 

I’ve noticed so many physical symptoms attached to my anxiety. I’m sure some would sympathise when I say that IBS can be an issue. My emotions definitely affect my stomach. More recently I just feel discomfort and lose my appetite. Food doesn’t interest me. The discomfort of eating in public is coming back – any situation that might require eating in front of people I don’t know, I will avoid.

 

I don’t want to sleep – I stay up late thinking – I think I was awake until 3am last night, and only had about six hours of sleep.  And when I wake up I’m straight into obsessing over everything, so can’t go back to sleep. I’m feeling impatient to sort out this issue that I’ve sat on for two weeks. I know I won’t feel better after having done it, as a new wave of anxiety and issues will start, but having to sit with such uncomfortable feelings on my own for this long, it’s been hard. Saying that, I sometimes just want to sleep through it all and wake up when I can handle it. But the whole ‘can’t eat, can’t sleep’ thing seems to be the main thing for me.

 

Very recently I’ve struggled with breathing. Feeling I can’t breathe deeply enough. Seeming out of breath when walking – and it’s not because I’m unfit… I’ve been walking more this year, so my fitness is doing better. I know it’s anxiety related.

 

I also have palpitations. I sometimes get ectopic heartbeats, so extra beats, where it can feel like your heart stops beating for a second and then it thumps extra hard – I think it’s something to do with electrical impulses to the heart that makes it add an extra beat. It’s odd that it’s actually extra heartbeats when it feels like missed heartbeats. I’ve had them before and the more you’re aware of them, the more they seem to happen. But recently it’s all the time. I’m not even aware of them in that sense. But if I’m imagining a scenario, or I’m about to go out, or exercising… or anything really, my heart is going crazy… like it hasn’t got a set rhythm. The trouble is that makes you start to worry there’s something wrong with your heart – which will then make it worse. I guess more than anything they’re annoying. But I do feel a little ‘off ‘when I get them. This is one of the biggest issues with my anxiety.

 

The other one being the tics. This happens mainly when I’m outside the house and around people. I’ll blink and it feels like I haven’t blinked hard enough. I know that sounds stupid… but yeah, I’d call it a blinking tic. And I feel sure people will notice it and think I’m weird or whatever, and that anxiety about people noticing it makes me do it more. It’s frustrating. I find it’s worse when it’s cold and windy – probably because I wear contacts, so it makes me need to blink more in the first place. I think the answer is to close my eyes and breathe. But it’s hard to do that walking along! I actually have a stomach tic too, which thankfully isn’t noticeable like the blinking one. I used to have this when I ate food, back in the days I was thin and didn’t really eat much food as I thought I was fat. I’d feel uncomfortable, so I’d tense the muscles in my stomach and once I started I couldn’t stop. But that’s not as often now as the face one.

 

Obviously I clench my teeth and get headaches associated with it. Same with other aches – I probably hold a lot of tension in my back, shoulders etc.

 

And my hair issues have become worse again too. For a few weeks I didn’t pull hairs out. I didn’t cut split ends off. It’s one thing that definitely improved. But it’s returned now. Obviously that’s something I do privately at home, but again, it’s obsessive…. it’s compulsive…. it takes over and I have to do it. I know it’s related to the anxiety and maybe the impatience I feel at the moment.

 

I just want to get on and resolve this issue. It’s the anticipation of it – having to psych myself up to confront it and follow through on it. Not knowing what reaction there will be. What consequences there could be. Knowing that once I’ve done it I can’t undo it, but also there will be nothing more I can do. Things are really bad at the moment… I just want them to be aware of it. I’m in a very triggered state right now, in so many ways. It’s too much to deal with alone.

 

I’ll write more about anxiety at some point, but just needed to get this out there. It’s a huge issue for me now.

 

 

 

Just An Update.

 

 

Just needed to update my blog with what’s been going on and where I am.

 

I’ve done just over 19 of my 50 miles. It still feels a long way to go. I thought it would be easier than this. It could be just unfortunate that it coincides with stopping chocolate and cutting down my medication…. that’s all kicking in more now.

 

I went for my walk today and felt so anxious. I had to stand at the front door psyching myself up to open it. And when I was out I felt on edge. The last couple of walks, noises have made me jump and feel panicky – the other day it was when three motorbikes went by – they were so noisy I felt scared and had to dig my nails into my hand to calm down. For the first half of today’s walk at least, I felt as though I was being followed. It kept sounding like there was someone behind me. On a couple of occasions people were there. I let them pass as I didn’t feel safe. I felt so self-conscious and really didn’t want to be outside the house. I don’t know if this anxiety is caused by withdrawal, or what.

 

I’m starting to wonder why I’m doing this walking thing… I know it’s helping me get fitter and feel more positive. But that’s not the point. I’m meant to be raising money for Parkinson’s UK, and other than closest family I have no other sponsors and don’t expect I will. I’ve loosely asked around, but I don’t know many people anymore. It’s hard to ask them to sponsor me. It’s getting me down a bit, especially at the moment, as it was also in memory of my granddad. So having raised nothing feels like a failure. It feels like people not valuing him or my love for him. And it hurts right now as I’m just a few days away from the second anniversary of the loss of him.

 

Last year I reached out, hoping to have the support and care of friends for the first anniversary. One person said something. Nobody else. This year I won’t make a big deal out of it. It’s setting myself up for even more rejection and neglect. This time last year was where my mental health deteriorated rapidly… the splitting and paranoia kicked in. That sealed the fate with my former friend.

 

That’s weighing on my mind a lot right now. I attempted something recently in the hope of finding peace as I moved on. I don’t think it’s really done any good. I’m still blocked. I’m still angry. I don’t believe the story I’ve heard. I still believe it was vindictive. I still believe they meant me harm. My paranoia is alive and kicking. There’s only one way it would ever be resolved… the friend realising how their actions have hurt me, undoing it and making up for it with the same effort I tried with them. Direct communication. And taking responsibility. That’s one thing that I’m unhappy about now – the inference that I’m somehow to blame for tensions between them and other people. No. If they argue with other people as a result of messing things up with me then that’s their fault, not mine. I take no responsibility for how they interact with others as a result of their inability / refusal to interact with me. I’m angry. I’m anxious about the whole situation and I wish I’d left it alone. I got upset about it today… about how they turned into this person. I never thought they’d treat me the way they have. It’s hard to accept.

 

Another thing is I still have such a problem with self-harm. People would probably assume I’m doing better now and therefore not doing it. They’re wrong. Yes I’m forcing myself to do my volunteering. Yes I’m forcing myself to go walking most days. Yes my diet is different, I’m coming off my medication and I’m finally taking some vitamins! All positive steps. But I still self-harm. Even when I have no reason to. Even on the ‘good’ days.

 

Because self-harm can be like that. It is like an addiction. Sometimes it’s all my mind can think about…. when can I next hurt myself and how? I don’t know why I’m doing it and why I don’t want to stop.

 

I feel all the old shame again. Because I’m trying to hide the fact I’m always doing it. I reckon people think I’m better than I am. I already know the people at work don’t understand and think self-harm is a one-off thing. So if they were to see the bandages on my arms they’d be like ‘Have you done it again?’ Well yes…. of course I have. It’s an ongoing problem. It doesn’t just happen once and then you get over it. If only.

 

No matter how hard I’m trying to pick myself up and push myself forward, I still can’t stop hurting myself. I’m even worried that family won’t understand that I’m still doing it, even when I seem okay. So I hide it. I know nobody would understand this mentality. I keep saying to myself it’s mental illness. It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s an illness, in that it’s something that’s got a hold of my mind and drives me to do what I do… to need it… to want it and to think I deserve it. But it feels like weak excuses. Nobody would understand unless they also know that feeling, having been there themselves.

 

In better news, I had a great night at the theatre last night, just as I had a good time at a gig last month. I’m halfway through the good things I booked up for this year to keep me going. They are so anxiety-provoking but I’m trying to learn to have good experiences again, and trust that things don’t always end badly. I’ll be honest I’m a bit scared of what happens after June…. once I’ve got through them all and there’s nothing left to aim for. It is playing on my mind a bit. Nothing to hold on for. Hopefully by then I might get some community support…. I’ll be contacting the Wellbeing Centre and Recovery College this week to see if they’ll help me. As much as I’m trying to help myself, my mind is still sick, so I know I still need the help.

 

Friend-wise, I’m all over the place. I’m extremely doubtful of anyone’s intentions to be my friend. I don’t think anyone truly wants me in their life. I’ll talk with people about meeting up and it never materialises. And as much as I could just suggest it to them again, as maybe they feel they’re annoying me by asking me again, it’s not what I’m able to do at the moment. At this point I actually need others to take the lead and invite me on a particular day, or tell me what we’re doing and when (as long as I’m free). I hate to admit this as it probably makes me sound needy and demanding, but I’m not going to initiate anything with anyone at the moment…. for two reasons…. first because I’ve been made to feel a burden, unwanted, uncared for and invisible for so long that I’d rather stay in my quiet little world of loneliness than to bother others and risk any more rejection. But secondly because I am scared. I’m scared of getting the ball rolling and people expecting too much from me. I’m scared they’ll do what someone else did with me last year, and keep messaging me before I can reply… I’ll then get overwhelmed having to respond to so much, and put it off…. and then I’ll apologise for taking so long and be made to feel shit for it. Which then makes me pull away as I think I’m such a rubbish friend and people deserve better than me. It’s true, they do. But I really struggle with interaction at the moment. I struggle with small talk. Got something to discuss? Great, go for it. Got a question? Ask it. Need my help and support? I’d be only too willing to help. I’d be thrilled that you asked me. But idle chit-chat I just can’t do. Just talking for the sake of talking…. and I know it’s what you do in a friendship, but right now I don’t have it in me, and I don’t want to hurt anyone by not replying. If I’m honest, as much as I post online, I’m in isolation mode again. Thinking nobody cares about me. I feel lonely not having a close friend anymore.

 

But I have someone in my life whose close friend has sadly passed away recently. A part of me feels I lost my friend at the time I did, to be able to sympathise on some level with this other person. It’s a different sort of loss, but we both have nobody close anymore. So I can imagine what she’s lost and how it might feel. I’m trying to see that things happen for a reason. It doesn’t mean it’s good that these things happen. But you can create meaning out of most things in life. You can turn a negative into a positive… even if it’s just using your awful experiences to help others who are going through the same thing.

 

I’m trying to be positive. It’s a little harder right now to do that. But it is a particularly difficult time for me at the moment and there’s a lot going on. I hope I can keep going as I have been and that things get easier. I feel like I’m paddling at the moment…. I’m not quite sure whether I’m getting anywhere or not…

 

Anyway, that’s just a round-up of what’s been happening. Hope everyone’s well.

 

xxxx

What’s Real??

 

What's Real_

 

*Self-harm mentioned*

 

 

Struggling so much at the moment. People probably wouldn’t know this. I’m not really opening up about it as much. I’m battling with my own mind.

 

I’m paranoid that the mental health services are fobbing me off. Despite what they said at the assessment, that they’re not doing that, and that I could access DBT in the future, just not right away – that I have to follow the ‘pathway’ by doing the Wellbeing Centre first…. I can’t help feeling they’re lying to me.

 

I was told they won’t diagnose BPD and that I don’t need a diagnosis. Then how come so many people ARE getting diagnosed with it? And are on waiting lists for DBT and yet I have to start at the bottom? Is it because I’ve done it before in the past? Does everyone have to follow this pathway? Or is it just me, being told something different to everyone else, as usual?

 

This isn’t helping my paranoia. I can’t let go of this feeling like they’re lying to me just so they don’t have to help me. Look, they got out of having to do so…. I’m off of their caseload already, after one assessment. I’ve been directed elsewhere…. yes, it could be because that’s the pathway… I have to try this other thing first…. but I cannot shake the feeling they are telling me that to get out of helping me….

 

And that they’re telling me they won’t diagnose what’s wrong with me, and that I don’t need that diagnosis, because they know that once I have that diagnosis, they will have to offer me more intensive help. Not diagnosing it means they aren’t expected to do anything. This might not be the case, but I have paranoia about everything in my life right now. And when I see other people seeing psychiatrists, and getting diagnosed and I’m being told the opposite and directed elsewhere, I can’t help but feel angry, resentful and rejected…. like they’re picking on me ….. like they don’t want to help. Nobody wants to help.

 

Having read the assessment letter I feel they minimised everything – the self-harm… saying it was ‘minor’ – how do they know?? They didn’t see it… they didn’t ask….. ‘minor bruises’ – actually I’ve still got great big lumps (hematomas) left on my arm from two months ago! I’ve deformed parts of my hands, and I’ve possibly even fractured things along the way but haven’t sought treatment for any of it…. I don’t personally think that’s ‘minor’. Do you?? It’s like when they say your cuts are ‘superficial’. This does SO much damage. My response to reading ‘minor bruises’, was to violently attack myself again, saying ‘I’ll show you ‘minor bruises’!’ … it’s as if they’re saying it’s not bad enough to warrant help or to be taken seriously…. it makes you do it worse. It’s like with the cutting – that’s not ‘superficial’. If I’m bruising tendons and having to steri-strip my wounds then I don’t think that’s superficial. The language around self-harm has to change. I will write separately about this soon.

 

But I felt like they tried to paint a better picture of me, to present at the team meeting, than was true. My eye contact was good because I couldn’t understand what he was saying…. his accent was too strong, that I had to look at his face to lip-read. I may look better than I am and relate well to people, because a part of my problem is I don’t let anyone see my reality. I always try and be nice, polite and friendly to everyone. I’m the girl who had her BCG injection at school, got up afterwards and said ‘thank you very much’ for God’s sake! How I appear has nothing to do with how I am and what I’m experiencing. I won’t go outside the house without putting my make-up on or doing my hair. Yes, I did that for my assessment. But it overlooks the fact that 90% of the time I don’t even go outside the house, so do not bother with these things.

 

I may look better than I am and relate well to people, because a part of my problem is I don't let anyone see my reality. I always try and be nice, polite and friendly to everyone. I'm the girl who

 

He said I was present etc. – but what about when I told him that I didn’t feel I was really there…..? That it didn’t feel real…. I felt disconnected from everything. I said that. He also obviously didn’t notice me digging my nails into my hand. He didn’t mention the fact I burst into tears, which he robotically ignored at the time… distressing me further.

 

Yes, towards the end of the assessment I felt we understood each other more and I started to relax a bit. I helped him with trying to get the printer to work…. I may have even laughed a little. Is this the snapshot he took, to report to everyone else? Overlooking the rest of it? That seems unfair to me. I’m a people-pleaser. I don’t like to make others uncomfortable.

 

I felt he played down the self-harm and the suicidal feelings. Why do people do that? Every single time in the past, when I’ve been asked whether I would act on my feelings I have, I’ve said no…. because I’m a people-pleaser! And I was scared of their reactions. This one time I was prepared to be honest and say ‘I don’t honestly know if I would act on it or not anymore…. because I don’t feel as in control of myself as I used to…’ and I don’t feel that opportunity came up…. so I don’t feel they had the full picture when making the decision….

 

But would the decision have been the same regardless? Were they always going to turn me away?

 

And it comes back to… would I have been given more help there and then if I had the diagnosis? To be honest I don’t feel that ‘BPD’ is my only diagnosis…. I feel more and more in recent times, that perhaps C-PTSD fits my life. I would have liked them to look at that side of things…. to understand that everything is traumatising me…. and it feels like a great mountain of pain, loss and trauma that I can’t get over… it just gets higher and higher with each hurtful or difficult event in my life. When I talked to him about what I had experienced in the past he said they didn’t want to know about that – that they wanted to know what my problems were in the here and now….. this is what made me upset in the assessment – they were invalidating my experience and my feelings….. they were saying my past is gone, it isn’t important. But the fact is that my past is why I am in such distress in the present. I needed them to help me with that. I’m not sure they will. I’m not sure anyone will. Even the IAPT service made it clear they deal with the here and now, not the past – WELL WHO THE FUCK CAN HELP ME WITH THE TRAUMA OF MY PAST???? If people keep telling me the past is not the issue, then soon I’m going to kill myself. Because it proves nobody understands what I’m going through. If nobody will help me heal the past then how the hell am I ever to have a future?

 

I wanted help with that. I wanted help with the paranoia too… but I feel that was glossed over. It’s a huge problem for me. It’s new. I don’t know how to cope with it. And as you can see, it’s now causing huge problems for me with mental health services too. I feel stranded at sea to be honest. And feel sick from all the waves of uncertainty and doubt.

 

I also have to make a personal decision soon too… and I’m struggling to do so, as I’m splitting and paranoid with that situation too…. I have nobody to discuss it with. So I can’t make a decision based on facts. I have to base it on how I feel. But my feelings are not centred in reality necessarily…. I don’t know what’s true and what is paranoia. So how do I decide? I also don’t feel it’s my place to decide…. the whole point is I want someone else to make the choice for me…. I need them to take the initiative… be pro-active… choose me and make the effort. I have to know they’re willing to do the things that are needed. But I’m seeing doubt and inaction. I know they may not know what to do, but it feels odd that I have to tell them. I feel I’m in this friendship alone… playing both parts. It’s crazy. And given that things are so unreal and uncertain for me at the moment anyway, it’s frustrating to have to convince someone to make an effort for me when it should be forthcoming.

 

Things are uncertain in every way right now. My mental health feels out of control. With the paranoia, splitting … and then the CMHT stuff and the friendship stuff too…. All of this and life generally feels too uncertain, unstable and unsafe since I lost my granddad two years ago. My grief was delayed. This is how it has manifested. Nothing feels the same anymore. I’m struggling to cope with this new reality. It’s not reality to me yet. Nothing feels real. So having to cope with anything extra is very hard to do. Making choices with friends…. knowing what’s right about mental health services…. being attacked online last year so many times, and then by a friend too after it all… it’s broken me. I’m struggling to adapt to life after loss… I’m paranoid…. I don’t feel safe in this world… and I need people to be supportive, caring and to make me feel safe and secure. I shouldn’t be sat here, having to decide whether someone can do that for me or not…. I should see it in their actions and their words…. I should be given these things without asking for them…. so I’m beginning to think I have my answer…. but then I come right back around to paranoia…. am I assuming things because of my illness? And then straight back to – ‘but if they wanted me in their life they would make the effort on their own’….

 

I am fighting between my head and my heart…. between reality and paranoia…. I don’t know what to do about anything …  and it’s making me sick.

 

stranded (1)

 

I have moments where I feel more positive about things, but they’re so fleeting….. before I know it I’m self-harming and a ball of anxiety about life. I do feel alone at the moment. Even if I do occasionally talk to other people… I feel isolated and like I have to cope with what I’m experiencing all on my own. And when people misunderstand you and you doubt your own mind, that makes it all the more isolating…. Being stranded and isolated in a world that doesn’t feel safe or stable anymore = dangerous. But what more can I really do…?

 

 

Believe It Or Not…

*Language & self-harm*

 

 

Believe it or not those with a mental illness can have fun, enjoy things in life, smile and laugh… whilst still having the illness and suffering with it daily. 

 

Something which was said to me recently was when I told people at work that I was going to a gig next year – I managed to get front row seats to see my favourite band on their comeback tour…. and I had someone say to me ‘What gets me is you can do that yet….’, as if to say if I can go to a gig why am I struggling with other things? My answer to that was simple – I won’t eat all day! My anxiety will be that high that I feel sick and can’t eat until I get home after midnight. This is usual for me. I can go to a concert, a show or other big event and though you may not see it, I struggle. I am anxious. But for instance this gig next year is to see a band I supported for half of my life – I love them and I have to be there – therefore, as a one-off occasion I will suffer the emotions that come with it.

 

I went to a gig last year, to see one of the members on a solo tour….. I was anxious and upset the whole time because of something that happened. I kept a face on generally and when I got home, I burst into tears and roared the house down. It was a bad experience for me. Just because you see me out doing these things, apparently ‘confident’ or having fun it doesn’t mean you know what’s going on for me. My mental health was awful at that time – I’d recently had my breakdown at therapy. I still went. I think the only thing I’ve done since is go to a comedy show – that was good. It’s nice to be able to go out and laugh and feel part of something.

 

There almost seems to be this rule that if you’re mentally ill you have to look miserable and a nervous wreck all the time. And you have to stay home, unable to leave the house. I’ll have you know that’s what I’ve done most of this year. My illness does make it hard to leave the house. It makes it hard to leave my room or put clothes on, or anything! So any times I go out should be celebrated. I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for going out and having much-needed fun. These sorts of events are needed for me at the moment, to give me things to look forward to and to stick around for, because most of the time I don’t want to live anymore. In some ways even seeing this band next year is not enough incentive to stay alive. But at least it’s something. I have a number of things I’ve got booked in for next year. And yes, some of them I am going to alone. Don’t think this is easy for me to do. It’s not. I’m dreading it. I’m trying not to think of it actually. But I will get through it as I have before. The reason I’m going alone is because I have been socially isolated this year… completely. So I had to make a choice… if I want to go to these things I have to go alone. It’s as simple as that. I made the decision and regretted it immediately afterwards. But I don’t have to think about those things right now.

 

On the days I can put on my mask you will see me in a work setting, joining in with the banter, laughing, chatting to customers…. it’s an act… to fit into society. I can’t show my reality for fear society will reject me. That is why I am not able to be in that work setting at the moment, because I’m unable to wear that mask. Who knows where I’ll be next year. I hope to feel better by then. I don’t see it happening.

 

I have a comedy show next week. I’m going with one of my parents, as I have done most things with them this year – they’re pretty much all I have, and are my rocks. I’m hoping laughing will do me some good. But I know it won’t solve the issues I have to deal with. Does this mean I shouldn’t get to go to something in the hope of a little relief from the suffering I endure every day of my life? After the gig I went to last year and other experiences, I’m concerned something will go wrong and ruin the experience. But I just have to go with the flow.

 

All throughout my illness people may have seen me laughing, chatting, messing around. Some of it an act… some of it me actually letting go and forgetting my illness for a while – which is nice! Does that mean I’m not ill and don’t have difficulties? No. Everyone is allowed to have fun and be happy and still have a serious illness. We shouldn’t live in fear that if we act normal or express contentment or enjoyment for a moment, that people will question the validity of our claims of illness…. but this is how I feel a lot of the time.  And this thinking keeps you stuck, not getting better because you never allow yourself to feel good. The worry is that people will see you laughing and think you’re not struggling anymore, leaving you misunderstood. But at the same time that is the mask people wear in order to be accepted… which means we feel ‘accepted’ but never understood … this is a big problem for me… although lately I feel neither understood nor accepted!

 

Believe it or not, people with a mental illness can also have strong opinions… and stand up for themselves…. and still have that illness. Just this morning I expressed my view online, and a troll decided to tell me ‘nobody cares!’ – I bit right back, saying that’s how I felt about their opinion, told them to have a nice day and muted them…. an outsider might think ‘Wow, strong…. she doesn’t care and won’t put up with any shit…. surely she can’t have anxiety or BPD like she claims’….. forget the fact that straight after that I harmed myself in one of the worst ways I ever have. Forget that it’s made me reluctant to say anything else. Forget that I had instant palpitations caused by this sod. Forget that it completely triggered me, because all this year my feeling has been that ‘nobody cares’ about me whatsoever…. friends, mental health services…. bloody government!! I’ve written about this several times this year.

 

But my response will usually imply I’m stronger than I am, because I was bullied all my life and I don’t believe in remaining silent, being made to feel like shit. I also don’t believe in worsening a situation to the point that I want to die instead of just cut. I believe in a curt response, putting the person in their place and then blocking them and moving on. I would have been able to do this had the troll not found my Achilles’ heel – feeling like nobody cares what I think or feel and I should be ignored. These nasty shitholes do a lot of damage to me, but fuck it, I’m allowed opinions. And I’m allowed to defend myself against bullies. This does not mean I’m not ill.

 

So often I have to weigh up my mental health and my RIGHT to say what I feel about things. It’s not right that it should be this way. I should be allowed to express myself without idiots jumping on my posts and attacking me, therefore worsening my mental health. Nobody NEEDS to respond to people they disagree with. I didn’t even say anything controversial. I was just telling my MP I won’t be voting for her again. What fucking business is it of that moron to tell me nobody cares?? You disagree, fine. Write your own post of support for the MP. This is the trouble I have with those with opposing political views to mine – they all think they’re entitled to explanations from us, and they can’t control their impulse to argue with everything and everyone they disagree with. Whereas we tend to let people have their views. I’ve never jumped on someone for their views. I had this with a friend a year or two ago (I say friend, I mean acquaintance) – she would always pounce on my posts, trying to appear ‘right’… but I never did the same to her. I let her have her views on her profile unchallenged, because I believe in freedom of speech but more importantly I believe in decency and manners. If I disagreed with something she said I would make my own post about the matter, separately, rather than trying to put her views down. But she didn’t do the same. So many on her side seem like that. Why can’t people just state their opinions independently without feeling the need to put others down?

 

Believe it or not those with a mental illness can be quite knowledgeable about their illness and still be ill. We can know what our issues are (which seems quite useful as professionals don’t seem to know how to help us anymore and ask us what help we want!!). We might know we’re experiencing paranoia, therefore knowing that the thoughts aren’t based on reality, but that doesn’t mean we can turn it off. I’ve experienced intense paranoia this year… I’m aware that it could be paranoia… I stated it and I wasn’t proved wrong, so actually in my mind it wasn’t paranoia now… but others would view it as untrue therefore paranoia. All I knew was they were obsessive thoughts that I couldn’t get over no matter how hard I tried. Knowing it’s paranoia doesn’t help. And it doesn’t mean I’m not experiencing paranoia.

 

It’s been years since I had it suggested that I had BPD / EUPD. I didn’t want the diagnosis when it was on offer, as my CPN made me feel there’s a lot of stigma around it. But in all those years since then I’ve had a lot of time to accept that it explains my experiences, so even without the official diagnosis I accept it, and have educated myself about my own illness. I know which of my behaviours and thinking patterns are problematic. Does this mean I can necessarily do anything to change them, without help? No. Awareness… insight….it doesn’t mean the illness is a choice. It doesn’t mean you have the answers. And even if you do have the answers it doesn’t mean you know what they are or how to access them even. I might know the level of help I need with an illness like this… I might be able to talk eloquently about what I’m going through… this may make some think I don’t have a problem in reality, as I’m not so bad that I can’t express what’s happening or what I need, but awareness and the ability to discuss my illness does not lessen the grip it has on my life. It doesn’t make it easier to deal with. In fact it’s worse…. to know what’s wrong with you… to know you need help and not be able to get it. To understand when you’re ‘splitting’ or engaging in self-destructive actions, but to be unable to stop and choose a different course, when people would expect you to be ‘smart enough’ to not make those choices. The illness is still real and has control over me… no matter how much I know about it.

 

So I might be opinionated. I might know a lot about my illness. I might go out and have fun sometimes. It doesn’t mean I’m cured. The path to recovery is long… and if every little step along the way is viewed by others as a leap and a sign of no longer being ill, this will lead to unrealistic expectations on me which will send me spiralling backwards. I am trying to survive. I can’t honestly say at this moment I am trying to get better. But I’m trying to endure the hell I live in. Most days it’s not a life worth living. There aren’t many good things in my life, so when I create them for myself this should be seen as an intent to keep striving for recovery, or at least a determination to endure the pain for longer. I should be allowed to have fun or speak my mind without fear of people questioning the reality of my illness.

 

Even things I enjoy, I also struggle with. Things aren’t always as they seem with mental illness. Often you can’t see it… that’s why so much stigma exists. And when doubts are thrown at us about the true extent of our illness, because of the things we CAN do, it is invalidating and makes us feel accused of making it up. I don’t know about you but I can say for certain, I don’t fake being ill …  I fake being well …  just so I can try and fit in and ‘get better’ for real. I realise how self-damaging this is now, as people expect more from me than I can give. That’s why I’ve pulled away from everything. I can no longer pretend to be well. But I promise you this – if you see me out and about either in the work setting or at an event, I will have my mask and smile on and chat as though nothing’s wrong…. it’s habit. It’s not easy to give up when you’ve been conditioned to appear positive around others. Just know there’s more going on underneath than you could ever know.

 

 

 

One Step Forward, Twenty Back.

I hate the unpredictability of my illness. One minute I’m excited because I got a ticket to see my favourite band next year, the next I’m punching a wall because I’m such a stupid person, who shouldn’t be allowed to talk to people.

 

It’s like once the anxiety and excitement of getting the ticket was over, I was suddenly hit with a full bag of negative emotions… I had anxiety and guilt over buying the ticket and panicking about having to go on my own… that then opened the door to the troubles I’ve had with my friend who would normally have gone with me…. I had someone raining on my parade, someone who keeps winding me up lately… I started having paranoid thoughts that people don’t like me again…. where I’m trying to keep in contact with people, I worry about saying the wrong thing – am I being too needy or demanding? Am I annoying them? I should just shut up…. then I got in the state of mind that I can’t say anything right and I became alert and sensitive to others’ words… or lack thereof. And I suddenly felt very isolated again.

 

I hate that it can switch just like that. Once it happens though it’s hard to break out of it again. I feel like shutting down. I cannot shake the feeling that people are just tolerating me…. they don’t like me… they don’t care… they want nothing to do with me. I view every interaction and every event through the lens of ‘I’m an awful person and they all hate me’. I interpret people’s words as them thinking I’m an idiot, being annoyed with me or that I’ve said something wrong… and I feel the need to ‘fix’ it and apologise, when I’m not even sure I have annoyed someone….  I view non-responses as me being too overbearing (it makes me dredge up other times I’ve felt this way, to back up that belief)…. and I just become this big rocking, foot-tapping mess, obsessing over what a horrible person I am – an embarrassment and a nuisance.

 

I’ve been trying to push myself forward through the paranoia… being sociable when I don’t feel up to it and whilst hating myself for existing, let alone speaking to people. It’s hard. And times like now I hit a wall (pun unintended) and think ‘See, this is why you shouldn’t open your mouth’.

 

I worry that sometimes my intentions aren’t clear and I come across the wrong way in what I say. That people misunderstand me. I also feel annoyed that people don’t LISTEN to me and to what I’ve said. And when they have to piss on my happiness, making me feel bad about it. Oh, and rejecting my friend requests when everyone else accepted. That upsets me too. It’s a combination of things today that have caused me to start splitting on everyone again. It’s a horrible feeling. I felt I was making progress but now it’s all back to how it was.

 

It’s not my friends’ fault… it’s my mind’s… my illness… I just hate that it does this to me. I feel alone enough as it is. I find it hard enough to speak out, with the voice inside me screaming ‘NOBODY GIVES A SHIT!!’ … but when my own mind does this it makes it more difficult.

 

I guess maybe I’m not so much splitting on others as I am splitting on myself. Going to hating myself and then going back over things today, and interpreting them as being in response to bad qualities in me… and then ‘hating’ others for what led to that. I don’t know… my head hurts too much now to know what’s going on. All I know is I don’t feel stable… or positive. I don’t feel emotionally comfortable. I feel anxious, tense and ashamed. My mind is like a very noisy, busy traffic junction of thoughts and emotions and it’s going to be hard to reconcile my paranoid thoughts with the truth, and not give them the power to isolate me again.

 

Getting the ticket today has given me a ‘reason to live’ until next June at least…. but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel I have every reason to die at the moment… for the reasons I said in the previous post. Yes there are little things to look forward to next year. But surviving this one will be the problem. In all honesty I’m not doing okay and I’m at a loss to know what to do about it. Today should have been a good day. Instead I’m going backwards. This illness seems to be a struggle – whereby you take one step forward and take twenty back… you end up going nowhere, except backwards. It’s frustrating. Demoralising. This feels like a battle I’ll never win.