Category Archives: Reflection

My Suicide Experience

This is a personal piece. Please be aware some content may be triggering. This post will mention suicide but no methods will be shared.

14 years ago today I tried to end my life for the first time. I was 15. I had already been showing signs of mental illness for a couple of years as I had begun self harming. This had been picked up by my head of year at school but nothing had been followed up and I had no support. My parents were not aware of any issues and would remain unaware for a further 5 years.

My first suicide attempt came about as a result of many different things that were happening at the time as well as my past. Everything was overwhelming and suicide felt like my only way out. The final straw came when someone I was at school with told me “why don’t you just kill yourself?”. It cemented my decision.

I was home alone when I tried to end my life. I felt isolated from everyone in my life and I couldn’t see a way of coping. I didn’t know that I was ill. Mental illness was nothing I had heard about before. It was definitely something that wasn’t talked about at school or at home. Also the safeguarding of children surrounding mental illness didn’t seem to be in place as at school when they had become aware of my difficulties with self harm nothing was reported. Could this of stopped my suicide attempt? Maybe.

Since my first attempt to take my own life, I have attempted to end my life many more times, but this first time stays with me more than others. It felt like the start of something that still plaques me until this day. On the anniversary of this day I have made further attempts to end my life. I have felt the dread around this date. It hits me every year. The consequences of my first attempt are far reaching.

If you are feeling suicidal then I know it is difficult to ask for help and I know it is not always forthcoming, even when you ask for it. But things have changed since my first attempt. There is more awareness and acceptance of mental health and mental illness. It is more acceptable to ask for help and discuss when you’re having problems. It’s not perfect but please know that you do not need to suffer alone. The Samaritans are available at all hours, every day in the UK and Ireland. If you are from another country then please look at the crisis contacts in the drop down menu at the top.

If you are concerned about someone who you think is suicidal please reach out to them. Let them know you are there and will support them. Also don’t be afraid to ask if they are suicidal. Asking the question will not put the idea in there head but may save a life.

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Angry Again

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

I’m angry. I can feel it pulsating below the surface. I want to explode. I want to hit out and destroy the world around me. I want to hurt everyone. I want to destroy myself.

I hate how anger makes me feel but it seems to take over my head. I push it down and down until I can hold it down no more. I feel it throughout my body. In my chest, my throat, my arms, everywhere.

Normally I turn the anger inwards. I self harm because it feels safer than releasing my anger into the world. It seems too dangerous. I don’t feel I can control it.

I have seen anger since I was small. To me it was always something dangerous because it caused people to hit out. It led to hurt and pain. It scared me. It made me decide I would never show my anger. I didn’t want to be like people around me. I didn’t want to hurt others.

Now I feel anger and the fear it causes as it wells up in me is overwhelming. Sometimes it escapes. Sometimes I don’t care because the anger is all encompassing and I can’t deal with it anymore. Then I lash out. I hate myself for doing that. I hate the person it makes me. I hate feeling out of control.

This are just some of my thoughts from when I was angry. I struggle to find ways to deal with my anger. To share your thoughts around this subject feel free to use the comments or Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Feeling Trapped

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

I’m stuck in this place where I don’t know what I want. All I know is I want out. I feel trapped in a life where nothing feels good enough, where I can’t seem to share all that I’m feeling and thinking. I feel like everything is overwhelming.

I’ve recently started volunteering and while everyone says it’s a good thing (and I do get some enjoyment out of it) I feel like it is too much too quickly. I don’t feel in the right head space but I don’t feel able to say no or to give it up. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Also I’m kind of stubborn and know I will feel like a failure if I have to stop.

I also have changed care coordinator which has been stressful as I know the new one is only temporary. I have only just come round to this to have another blow come out of the blue on my appointment for my psychiatrist. It seems I have a new one. And now I’m scared that all the plans made with my other psychiatrist will go in the bin. I am terrified of being left feeling the same way as I already do. I’m so anxious.

I’m also feeling trapped in my mind. The voice is loud right now and working hard to convince me that I should be dead. The intrusive thoughts are overpowering and trapping me further. I can’t rid myself of them and I feel embarrassed by their content. Something I’m building up to telling my psychiatrist about. It means I feel so lonely.

I also feel lonely because I don’t feel able to speak out to others. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to come off as needy or be the friend that is always bringing down the mood. I keep using the phrase “not too bad” when asked how I am, desperately wanting people to see beyond the words.

Overall everything that is happening is just piling on the pressure and I feel like I’m going to explode or hit the self destruct button. I’m already harming myself and I want to do it more and more. I’m not satisfied with my current level of self harm. My head is telling me to do more or worse. Though why it should matter I don’t know. It’s just how I feel. Maybe I want someone to notice I’m in a worse headspace than I may appear to be, based on what I’m doing. I am trying to get help.

If you want to keep up with how I’m doing feel free to follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Why I don’t blame social media

There has been a lot in the news about how social media has a negative effect on mental health and it has even been blamed for the suicide of a 14 year old girl (check out the story here). However I personally don’t feel that social media is being given a fair trial and is not to blame, at least not solely.

There are many other things that have helped cause the increase in mental illnesses among young people. These are things that seem to have been overlooked in place of blaming social media outright. Social media feels like a lazy excuse for the ever-growing problem of mental illness among young people.

One major reason for the increase in suicide rates among teenagers (for statistics look here) is that they are unable to access the mental health care they desperately need. Waiting times have increased for therapy, if teenagers even get as far as being referred for it in the first place. There seems to have been a shift in what children will be accepted for treatment by CAMHs (Child and Adolescent Mental Health services) meaning that many slip through the net. Why is this the case? Put simply it is a lack of funding for mental health services as a whole.

Having a lack of CAMHs services also means that children and young people are having to get worse before they are considered for care. This means they’re in a worst place to start with when early intervention could stop them reaching crisis point. This could shorten the length of time they need support or lower the intensity of the support they require as well as preventing serious self harm and suicide.

Another reason for the rise in the number of suicides among young people, in my opinion, is the school system and the constant criticism that it brings. Everyone says that things are easier for young people these days and that the education system is too easy. For someone going through the system and hearing this makes you feel like a failure especially if you are struggling. This isn’t helped by the pressure from teachers. This isn’t the fault of the teachers. They themselves are under huge pressure to get results and meet targets, so obviously the pressure gets passed on to the students.

I’m not saying here that social media has no part in the rising tide of suicides among young people. Obviously with cyber bullying there is not the escape from bullies that you would get in previous generations. It is constant. But blaming the images of self harm and suicide quotes on Instagram I feel is taking the blame too far. There must be something wrong before they see the images to make them go looking for these images. Also these images are available on the Internet via a Google search not just social media.

Social media also has some positive effects on mental health. There is a very supportive community on the different social media platforms. There is also advice and information about different mental illnesses available via social media. Also it can help those struggling feel less alone and can encourage them to talk and get help.

I know my views may be controversial but I felt I needed to share them and I would love to hear your thoughts either in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Jealousy

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

I’m currently sitting here feeling jealous and as far removed from the mental health twitter community as possible. I feel like I’m not good enough and that my voice doesn’t matter.

The thing is I hate myself for feeling this way. I’m very lucky to be in this position with my blog growing. It’s taken a lot of hard work though and I feel like maybe people don’t appreciate this. But I shouldn’t feel this way. I don’t do this for follows or awards. I keep telling myself this but sometimes a little recognition would be nice.

Jealousy though is something that bothers me a lot though. In everyday life I am jealous of others and I truly hate myself for it. I should be happy for others who are achieving and going places. For those that have houses, careers and families. Yet I have none of that. I feel I barely have any friends either.

Don’t get me wrong I am not totally alone and I love the friends I do have as they are amazing but sometimes I wish I was one of the cool kids (this may be part of the problem as I’m nearly 30 so far from a kid 😎). I wish that people took notice of what I do and said well done or celebrated me in some way. This makes me sound shallow I know but we all need reassurance and recognition that we’re doing OK.

So I’m just going to encourage you to tell people when they’re doing well or if what they’re doing matters to you. (I’m not expecting you to say nice things to me I promise). One way that people in the mental health blogging and social media world can do this is via the MH Blog Awards. If there is someone you think should be recognised you can find all the info here (again I’m not asking you to nominate me but someone you feel is worthy of recognition).

Anyway feel free to share ways you deal with jealousy in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Mental Illness Competition

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

This will be controversial but it has come to my attention that having a mental illness feels at times like a competition as to who has it worst. We find ourselves comparing how we are suffering to those who are also struggling.

I’m guilty of this too. As someone who self harms I find myself comparing my degree of self harm to others. I feel I should be harming worse than I am. I aspire to hurt more. I find myself looking at images of self harm and wondering if I’m capable of hurting that bad. And I hate myself for this.

Mental illness should not be a competition. It is that simple. But try telling that to my brain. I am constantly comparing myself to others. I know I shouldn’t. But I don’t think I’m alone in this. It’s nature to compare ourselves to make ourselves better but what about when we’re making ourselves worse? Surely that can’t be right.

I think some of the issue here is with the requirements by mental health services to get help. It feels like you have to be at breaking point to get any help. If you have an eating disorder, for example, your weight has to be at certain low level before any intervention happens. For me the issue came when my self harm was said to be superficial and my suicide attempt was classified as “not serious”. This made me feel I had to harm worse and try harder to die. That noone was taking my distress seriously. This needs to change.

There needs to be a major overhaul of mental health services. Everyone who self harms, attempts suicide, has an eating disorder or any other sign of mental illness, needs to be taken seriously. Mental illness is not a competition and shouldn’t be encouraged as one by mental health services.

If you find yourself comparing yourself to others or trying to get worse to get help, please don’t feel bad about it. Unfortunately this in itself is a part of mental illness. It makes you try to get worse. It’s how it survives and takes an awful lot of work to fight. But you can fight it. I have faith in you even if you don’t. (By the way I’m not talking of full recovery but just being able to live with mental illness in someway as I know recovery for some people is just not possible).

If you would like to share your thoughts on this please feel free to use the comments, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Please be respectful to others.

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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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