Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things I say vs. What I really mean

This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading. 

There are many things I say to people that actually hide my true feelings. I might say things so others don’t get upset or so that I don’t feel a burden to those around me. I decided I would share some of the things I say a lot that actually hide my true feelings, and what I really mean. I am sure I am not alone in this. 

1. “I’m fine”- How many of you when asked how you are come out with these two words? I bet the answer is a lot. And I am just as bad at using this phrase even when things are far from fine. “I’m fine” covers a multitude of feelings from being suicidal to being anxious. When I say I am fine, I am normally very far from being fine but want to hide it from those around me. In fact my GP stopped asking how I am as this would always be my answer and it his what was really going on for me. I use it because I don’t want to burden those around me with my problems or for them to think I am always down. I have got better at being more open about my feelings but with certain people I still use it a lot.

2. “I’m tired”- This is very much my go to answer when people can see things aren’t right with me. I always blame it on tiredness, which to be honest isn’t a total lie as I usually am tired but there is also a lot else going on. I think people see it as more socially acceptable to say “I’m tired” than to say “I’m depressed” and this shouldn’t be the case. We should be able to express how we’re really feeling without fearing judgement. 

3. “I’ve been up and down”- I use this phrase a lot when I have been low for a while to imply that I am not constantly down. This is normally quite far from the truth and I am in a pit of depression that I can’t see a way out from. I say it though to give others, and myself, hope that I won’t always be in this dark hole. A lot of people will grab on to the “ups” though, which I think is natural, but it can make things harder for me. I then feel I need to pretend to be OK when I really am not. 

4. “No worries”- Another phrase I use a lot, normally after people have apologised to me for something, for example not being in touch. I do it to make other people feel better and like it doesn’t really matter, but often I am hurting inside. I say it however because I don’t know if I should be hurting as much as I do and so want to come across as laid back about it. Sometimes this is dangerous as it makes it look like I don’t care when the opposite is true. 

So those are a few examples of what I say versus what I really mean. I have got better at not hiding behind those phrases but it can still be difficult. Do you have any phrases you say when you mean something different? Please share in the comments or on Twitter

Picture from Pinterest 

Advertisements

I Hate Myself 

This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading. This is something I wrote a few days ago and thought I would share as a true reflection of my thought patterns. I am safe. I currently have support in place to help me. 

I hate myself. Three words that sum up how I currently feel about everything. Hate is a strong word but I mean it. I can see nothing to like, let alone love, about me. In my head these words dominate my thinking. I loathe even the smallest thing and chastise myself for every little thing I say or do. 

So why do I hate myself? I could list endless reasons. I feel like I am such a bad person. I see little things I have done wrong as massive errors and flaws in my character. I analyse each thing I say and go back over how others may have taken it. I see nothing but a burden and a mess of a human. 

Hating myself is exhausting. I am constantly on my case. Saying I am not good enough as a person; that I fall short at even the basics. Its a never ending stream of insults flowing through my brain. I’m vile, evil, nasty, a failure. Nothing I do will ever be good enough. 

Negative thoughts take over my brain. I am self harming; not only as a respite and for control, but because I feel I deserve to be punished. I hate myself that much that physically hurting myself consumes my mind. Mentally I am drained, physically I am hurting. 

I talk to friends (who I am amazed still stick around me) and they list off my good qualities. They tell me I am loved and special. I am lucky to have them, yet I can not believe what they say when it contradicts so much with what my mind is telling me. I just can not see any good in the person that is me. 

I try and carry on with self care but it is difficult. Why should I look after myself? It feels alien. I put on a front to my family as I don’t want them to see the mess I have become. It is difficult. To accept love when you don’t even like yourself feels wrong. You question how much you deserve this. You loathe yourself further for needing love and reassurance. 

The hate for myself makes me question if I should even be alive. Suicidal thoughts flood my brain and I curse myself for not being able to take my life. I wonder if I will ever feel better or if this is how I will feel forever more. People say it will change. People say that I will get better and this is a symptom of my illness. This is depression. I dont really hate myself; depression just makes me think I do.

If you are struggling there is help out there. You can contact the Samaritans any time. 

Picture from Pinterest

World Mental Health Day 2017

Today, October 10th, marks World Mental Health Day and the theme for this year is work and mental health. As I am currently unable to work due to my mental health, I decided I would think about what things I would like from an employer to help me manage work and my mental health. 

1. Time for appointments – I have been lucky in the past that my employers have made time available for me to attend appointments, be it a doctor’s appointment or weekly therapy. I know some people aren’t so lucky. Being allowed the the time to attend these appointments is vital to improving well being and keeping yourself well so that you are able to function and continue to work. Hopefully an employer will understand this and therefore be flexible with working hours to accommodate appointments.

2. Be approachable – If an employer is not approachable it is going to make the whole job of looking after your mental health more difficult. However if they are good at listening and therefore you feel you can talk to them when things are difficult it will make the task of managing your mental health easier. It also means it will be easier to ask for things, like time off for appointments, without the worry of how they are going to react.

3. Confidentiality – This is a big one and links to being approachable. It is important to know that what you discuss is not going to be shared with anyone who does not need to know about it. It is your choice, to an extent, which colleagues you wish to know about your mental health problems. Trust is important to making you feel secure. Obviously there will be some people they will need to tell in order to allow you time off. But it is important to know it won’t become part of gossip. 

4. Understanding – I would love for my employer to have understanding of mental health and mental illness, and how it doesn’t mean I am incapable but that sometimes I might need extra support. I have faced stigma when attending a job interview, where I was told I was unsuitable as I wouldn’t cope due to having depression. This is wrong. I was not even given a chance to show my capabilities in the interview but was instead judged on my mental illness. This is unfair and shows a lack of understanding about mental health and mental illness. 

So those are a few of thee things I would like an employer to be when dealing with me and my mental illnesses. What other things would you like from an employer? Please feel free to share in the comments. 

Pillshaming 

I am tired of reading what adds up to pillshaming, related to mental health. Therefore I thought I would write in response to some of the things I have seen as, to me, pillshaming is just not OK. 

Some of you may be wondering what pillshaming is. It might be a term you’ve never heard. Pillshaming is a term that has been coined to cover negative comments and articles related to taking medication, in particular psychiatric medication, which could then lead to people feeling ashasmed about having to take medication for their illness. 

I have recently read something that made me feel guilty for relying on my medication. It implied that those who take medication for a mental illness, in particular depression, didn’t feel the pain as much as those who managed their illness without, and therefore didn’t learn to cope as well. This is of course rubbish. Everyone who suffers with a mental illness deals with pain, and even if the pain level is different, mental illness is not a competition. 

But why did this matter so much to me if I knew it was rubbish? Because I could see the dangers. Pillshaming is dangerous because it can make people feel rubbish for taking something that is helping them. It made me feel rubbish and less of a person which is just wrong. Its wrong because if I stopped taking my medication it could lead to a deterioration in my mental health. Luckily at the time I knew this would be the case but if someone is vulnerable they may decide to stop their medication straight away. This could have terrible consequences including making the person more ill or causing them to be a danger to themselves or others. 

Now please don’t get me wrong, I know medication is not the answer for everyone. I am not saying everyone should be on medication for their mental illness. What I am saying though is that those of us that do require the help of medication should not be made to feel less of a person for going down this route. Everyone is different. Everyone will react differently and find different things helpful. No one should be made to feel ashamed of the choice they masks in their own treatment. 

So there you have my view on pillshaming. You may not agree with what I have said but I do hope you understand that everyone should have a choice and not feel ashamed about it. 

Picture from Pinterest 

#365daysofselfcare

If you follow me on twitter you may know that I have been taking part in something called #365daysofselfcare set up by The Blurt Foundation. The idea is to do some form of self care every day. Today marks day 365 of the challenge for me, so I thought I would reflect back on it. 

Self care is something I have always struggled with. I struggle with the idea that I am worth anything and therefore I don’t always feel I deserve to look after myself. However through this challenge I have learnt that self care is incredibly important for my mental health. 

Self care makes a real difference to mental health. I was sceptical when I started the challenge. I didn’t see how doing little things could make a difference to my well being. I was wrong though. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this is a magic cure and that you will feel brilliant all the time. By doing something for myself each day I felt I was achieving something which made me feel a little better about myself as well as showing myself some self respect. 

So what kind of things did I do as part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge? My self care took on many forms and ranged from small things such as a nap to bigger things like a day out at a scarecrow festival. Other things I did included haircuts, clean bed sheets, eating 3 meals, drinking plenty, talking to people, playing with my pets, relaxing in my hammock and enjoying time outside. 

What next? So now I’ve come to the end of the challenge I’ve been debating what to do next. I have decided that I am going to carry on with trying to do a bit of self care every day. I’m also going to still share it on twitter as I feel that recording it means I make sure I try to do something each day (I’m by no means always successful as is shown by the fact that to achieve 365 days has taken me over a year).

I would also like to say thank you to The Blurt Foundation for coming up with this challenge. It has really helped me and I would encourage everyone to give it a go. Remember you are worth looking after and deserve to respect yourself. You are worthy. Here’s to the next #365daysofselfcare. 

Picture from Pinterest by introvert doodles.

Things NOT to say to someone with a Mental Illness

Talking to someone with a mental illness can be daunting if you have not got much experience of mental illnesses. But we are just like regular people. This is a post about some things not to say to someone with a mental illness. They are things I have heard and thought are unhelpful. Some have been said to me, others are just things I have heard said to others. 

1. “Others have it worse than you”- This is the first on my list and is a particularly unhelpful statement. It is one I have even heard from a mental health professional when I was feeling particularly suicidal. Yes, we are aware that other people may have it worse than us but that does not diminish our pain or lessen the impact of what we are going through. It is a patronising statement as well as being hurtful and unhelpful. Just because someone may be going through something worse, it does not stop someone else hurting g. And who made it a competition anyway? 

2. ” Think about others”- This is another statement I’ve had said to me when suicidal and its one that really hurts me. When I am feeling suicidal I am thinking of others constantly and have come to the conclusion they would be better off without me. It is not a selfish decision on the whole and most people with mental illnesses are constantly thinking of others. The problem is our thinking is distorted.

3. “You’re selfish”- This leads on from my last statement. Most people who are mentally unwell think of others before themselves. Quite often they feel that they are a burden to others. They have thoughts that people would be better off without them. They are being far from selfish. Their think in is just distorted. They are struggling to deal with overwhelming thoughts and feelings. Sometimes they need to look after themselves first before they can help others. They are not selfish. 

4. “You’re attention seeking”- I have heard this used in particular with people who self harm or attempt suicide and it is simply not true. Most people who do this are in so much pain that this is the only way they can see of coping with it. Also people tend to try and hide these behaviours, far from using them to attract attention. Others with mental illnesses may hear this statement too. It is invalidating. Please remember we are ill, not attention seekers. 

5. “You have a great life”- Another invalidating statement. Just because someone has a great life does not mean they can’t get mentally ill because it is an ILLNESS. You wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer or a physical illness, so please dont say it to us. No one can help getting ill.

These are just a few statements that I wish people wouldn’t say. I am sure you have many more. Feel free to share in the comments. I may revisit this topic at a later date with more things not to say. 

Picture from Pinterest 

Intense Emotions

This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.

I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), also known as EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder), which effects me greatly. One aspect of this disorder I struggle with is feeling intense emotions. I thought I would write a little about my struggle with them.

People with BPD are sometimes likened to the emotional equivalent of third degree burns victims. This is because quite often we feel emotions so intensely it is like we have no emotional skin. This has both positive and negative consequences.

I spend a lot of my time dealing with depression. Depression is awful for anyone suffering with it. It sucks the life out of you. With BPD this depression is intensified. I go into crisis at the drop of a hat. I am desperate to die to end the unbearable agony. Everything hurts so much that I don’t want to be in my own skin anymore. Its all uncomfortable. Now you might say this is depression without BPD but the difference is I can’t just feel a little bit down. Each time depression hits it is with this intensity. I always want to die. 

Other emotions are felt with this same intensity. Anger, for example, is dangerous to me because I feel such hatred in me that it physically hurts until the point I am scared how I am going to act. I feel like it is beyond my control. It can be terrifying.

Its not just negative emotions that are felt intensely. Positive emotions are just as susceptible to the BPD intenseness. This can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be great to feel such joy for others when they achieve something. The feeling that the pride in them will burst out of you is intoxicating. Also when you are having a good time and laugh in the feeling is amazing and makes the event so memorable. It is great.

But it also has a negative side. The come down can be brutal. Especially if you go into a depression. The decline is painful. Also you can be more excited about something and obsess over something, while others treat it as not that important, not realising that to us it feels like the most important thing in the world. It can be very upsetting.

Another thing I have found difficult about dealing with intense emotions is watching films or TV programmes or even reading. All these things evoke emotions and I feel them so intensely. For example if something is meant to be scary it will make me incredibly fearful to the point I cannot watch anymore. It hurts. It is like the event is happening to me. 

So intense emotions are not just a quirk of BPD. They can be crushing and feel incredibly overwhelming. Please be patient with us. If you have BPD and feel intense emotions what is your experience? Feel free to leave a comment to share how you cope. 

Picture from Pinterest