Category Archives: Reflection

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.

Picture from Pinterest

Advertisements

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.

Picture from Pinterest

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.

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.

Picture from Pinterest

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.

Picture from Pinterest

Dealing With A Suicide Attempt

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

Just a week ago I made an attempt on my life. I was in a dark place and couldn’t see the light. I felt like everyone would be better off without me. I felt I was a burden to everyone; my parents, my friends, the state and NHS. I just didn’t want to have to deal with everything anymore.

This may sound selfish but most of what I was thinking was how people’s lives would improve without me in them. It was far from a selfish decision, although I can see it may seem that way to others.

After I realised that I was not going to die I felt disappointed and like a failure. Why couldn’t I even kill myself? Was I that useless? It felt that way. I felt I was too weak to even manage to die. And I was still that burden on everyone else. I was also scared about telling people what I had done. I didn’t want them to be angry. Anger scares me. It’s a lack of control.

As the days moved on I felt like a failure on different levels. For one I felt a failure for still being alive, for another I felt a failure for not being able to use the DBT skills I had been learning to any effect. I felt I had let everyone down.

I was most scared about telling the professionals involved in my care. I started off by meeting with my care coordinator and told her what had happened. I thought she would be disappointed in me but she wasn’t. She said that she understood I’d tried my hardest. I then had to bring it up in therapy. This was tough because it is a group and I didn’t want to appear like I was attention seeking. It made people upset that I’d tried but the psychologists in charge were really good and said I’d tried hard so I wasn’t a failure. Although this is still hard for me to believe even now.

So where am I at now, a week on? I still am struggling with feeling like a failure. I still feel I am a burden. And also I still feel like I should no longer be living. I also feel bad that I’m not regretting it, or at least I’m not regretting that I tried. This feels wrong as people always tell you that they regretted trying. But I think that may come with time. I don’t know though as my previous attempts I have never regretted them. Am I odd for feeling this way? Who knows? Maybe it’s more common than I think? Or am I just too broken? There’s a lot of questions going through my head now and it’s very confusing. Hopefully this will become more clear with time.

If you feel suicidal please talk to someone, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you want to keep in contact with me you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Picture from Pinterest

I don’t look ill

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

I don’t look ill. But I am. I’m ravaged by mental illness. To look at me you’d think nothing was wrong. I smile. I laugh. I keep going. I say I’m fine. But I’m far from fine.

I don’t look ill. But in my head a voice tells me to die every single day. Sometimes multiple times a day. It tells me that I’m worthless. A mess. Useless. It says I deserve nothing but bad things. It gets louder and louder when I try to drown it out.

I don’t look ill. But my arms are covered in scars and fresh wounds. Self harm is my coping strategy. Self harm is a constant in my life. Self harm has taken over my life.

I don’t look ill. But each day I take medication to help my brain. I take medication to stop me feeling low. I take medication to keep my mood stable. I take medication to stop the voice in my head.

I don’t look ill. But I have tried to end my life on numerous occasions. I have wanted to die. I still want to die. These thoughts pulse through my head everyday. I can’t get rid of them.

I don’t look ill. But that means nothing. You never know what’s going on inside someone. Don’t judge.

To follow me further click here for Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Picture from Pinterest