Monthly Archives: December 2018

New Year’s Eve

This is a personal piece. Please be aware that content may be triggering.

For me, New Year’s Eve is the most difficult day of the year. Last New Year’s Eve I attempted to take my own life. This year I’ve found myself planning to do the same (I have discussed this with my care coordinator and have a plan to keep me safe in place). I hate this day so much.

New Year’s Eve, apart from being a day of celebration for many, is a bad anniversary for me. This makes it harder for me to join in with the partying and celebrating. In fact I don’t understand why people see it as a reason to celebrate.

For me New Year makes me look back on the previous year and sometimes years before. This I find distressing as I relive all the bad things in my life. For example this last year I have attempted to end my life five times. This makes me feel despairing and wondering if the following year will be the same or worse. I find it hard to be optimistic about the future.

Another reason this New Year is difficult is that 2019 will see me turn 30. For me this feels really difficult to comprehend. I find myself worrying about what I will do to mark the occasion and whether anyone will be around to help me mark this milestone. I also feel pressure to celebrate my birthday when to me it shows my failure to end my life. Its very confusing. I know the things I said are a paradox.

I also have things to look forward to in 2019 but it’s hard to see this right now. The whole new year, new me idea is something I hate. Change to me is scary. It feels overwhelming and with the pressure of the new year, new me brigade it makes me want to hide away. I don’t feel good enough. I find myself comparing myself to others.

So what’s my advice for New Year’s Eve and New Year in general?

  • If you don’t want to celebrate New Year’s Eve then don’t. I will be sitting with the dog reading my book in my pyjamas.
  • Don’t feel pressure to change anything. If you feel it’s too much right now then it’s OK to do things at your own pace any time of the year.
  • Distract. If you find yourself dwelling on the past, try to do something to distract yourself.
  • Try to avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant so can make things feel worse.
  • Talk. Reach out to others. They can help you. You’ll be surprised how many others dislike New Year’s Eve.

So all that is left for me to do is wish you a peaceful New Year. Take care of yourself. You are important and you matter.

To connect you can use the comments, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Family

Family is complicated at the best of times but when you have a mental illness it can feel like a complex puzzle you have to solve. It seems family can go one of two ways; supporting you unconditionally or being more of a hindrance.

My family is the same. Some have been amazing and supportive but others look down their nose at me and act like I’m less of a person because I have a mental illness that makes it hard for me to work, have a relationship and live on my own. I feel like a second class citizen, the black sheep of the family.

I have had snide remarks made to my parents by other family members because I am not capable of doing things most 29 year olds are doing. I’m not getting married, having babies or buying a house. I’m an only child and so my parents are the only ones out of their siblings that are not grandparents. This has resulted in comments to them that they “don’t understand what it’s like to have grandchildren”. These comments hit me hard. I feel I’m depriving my parents of this experience.

When I see family I always feel embarrassed that I’m not working. It makes me feel less of a person when I hear of my cousins working in jobs that I just can’t do. I hate myself for not being good enough and an embarrassment to my parents.

Family is complicated like I’ve already said. If you have a family member who has a mental illness there are some things you can do to help them feel supported and less of an embarrassment.

1. Don’t ask awkward questions

Asking someone when they think they are going to have a baby or when they are going to get married is really not helpful. It can make people with a mental illness feel more of a failure than they already do if they are struggling with these aspects of their life.

2. Ask how they are feeling

It’s quite simple. Just an interest in how they are feeling can make all the difference. They will probably feel less alone and less of an outsider.

3. Don’t force them into things

If they don’t want to engage in a conversation or an activity try not to force them. They may just need some quiet time or to just listen. It may be that they are anxious about the situation.

That’s just a few tips for how you can help a family member in a social situation. If you have any other ideas feel free to use the comments, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas eve and I’m struggling so I thought I’d just write a quick post for anyone else who is struggling to let you know you’re not alone. Mental illness doesn’t take a break for Christmas. In fact with all that’s going on it can be tougher.

The busyness of the season means self care can take a backseat but it’s important to still try and fit some in as without it everything will feel tougher. You are worth looking after, however much you feel you’re not. I know how hard it is to believe though. I feel that way too.

If you need time out from others then the toilet is your friend. It may not be easy to find a place to escape but no one can tell you that you don’t need the toilet. It’s a place it’s acceptable to be alone in. I spend a lot of time in the loo when visitors are over as I find it highly anxiety provoking. You have no reason to feel guilty for needing time out.

I also struggle with gift giving and receiving. It feels like a lot of pressure. I’m terrified I’m going to give the wrong thing and even more scared I’ll offend someone who is giving me a gift. I have no solution to it but you’re not alone if you feel the same.

Going out for a walk is always good if you find your self feeling trapped. Whatever the weather getting outside helps me a lot and getting a dog has improved my excuse for getting out.

Whatever you’re feeling over the holiday period, know that it’s OK not to be OK. You can’t help what you feel. And what you feel is valid.

Now this is my view. It helps just sitting and watching some TV.

If you need to talk the Samaritans are available at all times or see the crisis numbers page in the menu. To connect with me you can use the comments, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Lonely This Christmas

Christmas is a great time of year for most people but for some it is really lonely. If you have a mental illness it’s quite easy to find yourself feeling lonely and this time of the year can heighten those feelings. Also if you are feeling lonely it is likely to have a negative impact on your mental health. Loneliness is a silent killer with people who are lonely dying years earlier than the average life expectancy.

Feeling lonely doesn’t necessarily mean that you are alone. You can feel lonely among a group of people. It is about how connected you feel to the people around you. You can feel isolated from people when you feel they don’t understand you. At this time of year with parties and get togethers, if you have a mental illness, it can feel difficult to connect with others and enjoy their company.

I often feel lonely at this time of the year as with my anxiety I struggle to deal with large groups of people. I also see a lot of family that can be stressful as I don’t always feel connected to the people and worry I’m being judged for having a mental illness.

So how can we tackle loneliness at Christmas?

If we’re going out with friends at Christmas it may help to trust a friend with our difficulties. They may be able to support us and help us feel connected to the group. It may also be useful to think of topics to help with making conversations. People like to know our interests and we won’t be boring anyone no matter what our brain is telling us.

If you are alone this Christmas there is a great push on social media to connect with others. Sarah Millican runs something called #joinin on Christmas day and other days of the Christmas break. This is a way to connect people on twitter who are alone at this time of the year. Even if you’re spending time with family you can still join in if you feel isolated.

If you need someone to talk to the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For othe crisis numbers check out the menu and click on crisis numbers. For other useful websites check out the menu and click on useful websites.

For more information on loneliness check out the Mind website. You can also find a link on their page to a blog post I wrote for them on loneliness.

If you have any tips or want to try and connect with others feel free to use the comments, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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End Of Therapy Reflection

I know I’m behind on sharing my therapy journey but today I finished the 6 months of DBT skills therapy and I need to reflect on it so why not share on here.

This six months has been hard. It has opened my eyes to issues I wasn’t even aware I had or maybe issues that I was hiding from. It has taken me to new lows. I’ve seen the crisis team once and made two attempts on my life. At one point it was discussed whether I should carry on with the therapy or whether the risk was too high. But I persevered and here we are at the end.

And how do I feel? I really don’t know. I feel kind of numb and a little lost. I know I’m luckier than most of the people I was in the group with. I have a safety net of a care coordinator and access to the crisis team and duty workers. Yet still I feel abandoned. Originally the therapy was meant to be for twelve months but was halved. I feel I could of done with the extra six months to reinforce the skills that we were learning.

I am kind of proud of myself too. This is an alien feeling but it was an achievement to get through the six months even when it took me to my lowest points. Feeling proud though, is that the right thing to be feeling? I really don’t know.

The people on the course with me have been amazing. They have been there for me at the low points and helped me see ways forward. I’m forever grateful to them. The psychologists running the therapy were amazing and we had laughs throughout the six months. There were also tears but we were well supported. I think this is why it feels such a loss. From having weekly support we are left with very little or nothing.

Overall I’m glad I did the course. I’ve learnt a lot of skills and I hope to integrate them into my every day life rather than them be isolated skills I just try to practice for therapy. I would recommend DBT skills to others. It made me see mindfulness in a different way which was an impressive feat as I was very anti mindfulness at the beginning. It may not always be easy but I can see it’s worth.

I will hopefully catch up with sharing the rest of my therapy journey soon. Feel free to use the comments, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to keep in contact or ask any questions.

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Festive Feels.

This is a personal piece. Please be aware some of the content may be triggering.

It’s that time of year again. The decorations are up, joyful music is playing in all the shops and everyone is bustling about in the cold. Yes it’s the festive season. And it can suck.

This year I’m feeling less than festive. My December started with a suicide attempt as well as an advent calendar. My mood has been so changeable recently and I don’t know what is up or down. In all honesty I dont know what I feel at the moment. I’m struggling more than ever to decipher my emotions.

With the festive season comes a lot of change to my routine. Not only am I finishing therapy but no doubt there will be others off work and I won’t be able to do my normal routine. This leads to me feeling anxious and on edge. It normally effects my mood and I feel low throughout the festive season.

Also with the festive season comes seeing family and more social interaction. This is something I struggle with normally and do my best to avoid but at Christmas this isn’t so easy and it’s one social interaction after another. Now some social interactions are OK. One in one meetings with friends I can manage but when we have lots of family over it becomes overwhelming.

Another thing about the festive season that people seem to forget that mental illnesses don’t take a holiday and can actually be worse at this time of year. I know that for me it is particularly difficult with some anniversaries that trigger me. This means I don’t feel like taking part in festivities but there is a lot of pressure to. I tend to try and hide my illness which results in self harm and suicidal thoughts. It’s not the best way to cope.

So that’s why I find Christmas difficult. You may have other reasons why the festive period is hard. If you are looking for ways to cope you can click here to see my advice. Feel free to add your own ways of coping in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Fear Of Abandonment

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), is diagnosed by seeing if a person matches at least give of nine different criteria. One of these nine criteria is fear of abandonment. This means you worry about people leaving you. This fear can be real or imagined. This is one of the criteria I identify with and have found very difficult of late to cope with. Therefore I thought I would write about how it effects me personally. Of course everyone is different and others will experience it differently.

When have I felt fear of abandonment?

I have felt fear of abandonment in a few different situations and for different reasons. The first event I am going to mention was a perceived abandonment. I was meeting a group of friends and became convinced they weren’t going to show up. I had no evidence for this at all but my mind became convinced this would be the case. It was totally unfounded and of course they showed up as planned.

The second event was when I found out my therapy was being halved from a year to six months. This led to me feeling fearful that I was being abandoned by the therapists involved in my care. This also happened when my care coordinator talked about reducing the support I received. I suddenly felt terrified I was being abandoned.

How do I feel about, and react, to fear of abandonment?

When I feel the fear of abandonment, the terror that takes over me can be all encompassing. It is like a blanket of fear and can make me feel sick with anxiety. I start to become very defensive and try my best to protect myself from the perceived threat of someone leaving, real or not. This can start in my brain where I begin to tell myself I’m not important and it doesn’t matter if they leave me. I then start to detach from the person as much as possible. I might withdraw or stop talking to them as regularly. I make myself much less reliant on them. I do all I can to make the abandonment feel less painful, even though in the long run it hurts me more.

How should I deal with the fear of abandonment?

With fear of abandonment it can be the little gestures that make us feel we are going to be left. To deal with this there is the skill of non-judgementalness. This where we try bit to judge a person’s actions but look at all the possibilities of why they may be acting that way. It is a hard skill to engage but an important one.

When the abandonment is more real, in that a person is actually leaving, it is more difficult to deal with. Here it can be a case of using skills to ensure our safety and not getting to crisis point.

How can you help with fear of abandonment?

There are a couple of ways to help us not fear abandonment and they include not breaking promises to us as well as reassuring us. These things can make all the difference. Sometimes we just need to hear that you’re still there and care about us.

If you have any tips on dealing with fear of abandonment feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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