Please be aware some of the content may be triggering.
Today marks the day I started to lose you. To see you torn from me. To feel the pain of loss. The day my hate for myself became a forever thing.
Everyone says I will never know the true cause. But I don’t believe in coincidences. My actions led to losing you. My actions mean that we will never be together.
Everyone says I was too young. I get that. I was young. 15 nearly 16. 4 weeks from starting my GCSE exams. But that shouldn’t of mattered. Others dealt with it. Still do. I feel a failure.
I passed my exams but don’t think your passing didn’t effect me. I didn’t revise. It seemed pointless without you. One exam I did barely 10 minutes work of a two and a half hour exam. You were in my mind. Kept sneaking in even though I tried to push you away in there.
There are many what ifs. But it seems pointless to go through them. You’re gone and it’s all my fault. The ache is there. It’s always there. I know I have no right to grieve you. I don’t let myself. I’d much rather punish myself. And I do.
People say its not my fault. That I should grieve. I can’t believe them. I tried to end my life. But you could of been my life. My reason to keep going rather than my reason to give up.
I’m avoiding people at the moment. The thought of talking and trying to explain how I feel or why I feel like I do is something I can’t cope with. Being normal is out of the question. Nothing is holding my attention for long. I’m often staring into space. My thoughts lost. An emptiness setting in. I know people will hate me for being selfish. But I hate me already so what does it matter.
Just so you know. I love you. And I’m so so sorry.
So it seems like the world has been shut down for forever. Everyone is finding it tough. People are losing loved ones or being kept away from them at least. Life is restricted. Unfortunately my mental illness has decided to take advantage of this situation to cause ultimate unpleasantness.
I know this lockdown is not fun for anyone. I’m not pretending that I’m the only one negatively effected. Everyone seems to be in the same boat. But unfortunately that doesn’t help make it easier. In fact it’s making it harder. I feel guilty that I need support. I feel like a burden when I know so many are struggling to deal with this. I hate myself for being able to access support yet still feel on the edge.
The thing is I know I would tell any of my friends who are mentally ill and struggling that it’s OK and mental illness doesn’t make it easier but harder. That it will impact you more as you have to work harder than everyone else to stay well. I’ve even said these words to others. But I can’t apply it to me.
I think also that as things that help keep me more stable have been removed temporarily due to the lockdown this is going to make it harder. I’ve been lucky that my mental health team have given me permission to exercise more than once a day. This is allowed for medical reasons. (For more information click here.) But there are other things I’m missing that I’d not even realised I needed.
Social contact for me has always been exhausting and something I need a break after. I thought I’d be OK without it as I still can contact friends and others through social media or WhatsApp. But it turns out I need to physically see people. I need hugs. I need to be closer to them. I miss them. Yes I may need quiet time after but I still need the contact.
While we can all say lockdown is not our ideal situation I have found some things that are helping keep me a little bit saner (never completely sane, that ship sailed long ago). I’ve rediscovered things I liked doing. I’ve discovered I’m more skilled in them than I thought and that they can help others feel better. Drawing has been a major one for me, with me drawing animals and characters for others and children.
I’ve also found it useful to set myself projects. I’ve put together things I’ve been meaning to do for ages, I’ve built Lego I’d been meaning to make or made friendship bracelets for others. Focusing on this one thing has helped me keep moving and not dropping into deep despair.
The thing is it’s not always helpful. I seem to have a regular Friday night meltdown at the moment. I just disintegrate. My anxiety at times is so high it gives me chronic chest pain. I’ve got an almost constant headache. These are things that I’m struggling to manage. I’ve had a lot of anxiety that I’m going to infect my family. Hair pulling and skin picking have increased along with self harm. Things are not ideal.
Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to make this go quicker but we can help each other. Just checking in is helpful. And we need to ask for support when we need it. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to have some normality soon.
Please be aware that some of the content below may be triggering. There is discussion of suicide and self harm. I’m safe. This piece was originally written several days before publication. The content has not been edited.
Today I was told I need to learn to live with my suicidal thoughts for the rest of my life. It’s made me question a lot. It’s caused a number of emotions. I can’t lie that it hasn’t left me in a bad place.
I understand that living with an illness is something a lot of people have to do, physical or mental. I’ve always been fairly sure that mental illness will be part of my life continuously as well. So why has this hit me so hard? Why? I feel I should be OK. I’m not.
I think at the moment my mental health is particularly poor. Suicidal thoughts are there an awful lot of the time. Sometimes it’s continuous. Dealing with them seems near on impossible in a healthy way. Self harm is my go to. It’s far from ideal, though currently I’m not trying to stop the self harm (there are many reasons behind this). The idea of living with the thoughts forever just makes the feeling of wanting to die stronger. Why would I want to live like this?
But that wasn’t exactly what was said. It was that I need to learn to live with them and I guess I should think about what that means. Is it reducing their frequency? Or their intensity? Or the hold they have over me? Or does it mean I push them down and try to ignore them until I explode? (This last option seems like my current approach). I don’t know.
As some may know I’ve done DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) skills training. Not the full DBT programme as is suggested but the basics of the skills. I also go to a DBT peer support group which helps me apply the skills to my situation. It’s been helpful in some areas. But dealing with suicidal thoughts has not been one of them. The distress tolerance skills seem great, when I’m not in a crisis. I’ve tried them in crisis mode and it has not helped me de-escalate the situation. I know many people find them helpful to stop impulsive behaviours but I think that’s the problem for me: my attempts are very rarely impulsive and the desperate need to do something can linger at its height for a very long time with nothing seeming to bring it down. Believe me I have tried.
So I don’t know where to go from here. I’ve recently heard I’ve been put on a waiting list for individual therapy which I’m truly grateful for. Maybe it will help. But the thought it may not is there. I feel so guilty that it’s there. I know I am lucky I will get these 16 weeks at some point. But I’m terrified of failing and being in the same situation. A hopeless case.
That’s exactly how I feel. A hopeless case. Someone who will never improve and will be fighting forever more. Someone who, if they live, will be old and mad. The worst thing to be in this world when you need help. I can cope with the idea of being on medication for life, if I feel it will help me have a life. But the thought I’ll be suicidal forever is something I’m not sure I can live with. Why live when you want to die all the time?
I realise I’m probably overreacting (notice the probably, I’m not 100% about this at all). But in some ways it feels like a kick to just get it over with. To be gone. To stop being a constant burden to everyone. Because if I’m going to be suicidal forever isn’t that what I’ll be? (If you’re suicidal you are not a burden, it’s how I see myself).
At the moment I’m still processing this. It was said to me eleven hours ago. I don’t know how or what to feel. Apologies.
Anxiety can be high when things are different or there is a major event that is hurting many going on. Therefore I thought I’d put some grounding techniques together. They can also be useful for people dissociating.
This technique gets you to focus on your senses. First think of five things they can see. Then four things you can touch. Three things you can hear. Two things you can smell. One thing you can taste. Try and focus on each fully.
For this one it is useful to have pen and paper but not essential. The idea is to choose a topic, for example animals, and find one whose name begins with each letter of the alphabet. This can give you a new focus especially with the more difficult letters.
Choose an interesting item. It is good if it can fit in your hand but not essential. Focus fully on the item, describing it to yourself. You can do this in your mind, out loud or writing it down, whatever suits you. Focus on how it looks and feels. What do you notice about it? Does it change colour in the light? Is it smooth or rough? Are the edges straight?
Drawing Around Your Foot
This might sound a bit odd but try to imagine drawing around your foot. Think how you’d move your pencil around each part. How would it feel if the pencil touched your foot? What would it look like when it was done? What shapes to your foot had you not noticed before?
Listen To Music
This isn’t about the piece of music you choose. Listen to the music fully. If it has lyrics focus fully on what they are. Listen to see what different instruments are being used. Does it get louder or quieter in different places?
These are just a few grounding techniques I have learnt from various people and places. Not all of these may be helpful to you. It’s about finding what works for you. I hope there is something useful for you there. If you have other techniques feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.