Category Archives: Uncategorized

Suicidal again 

This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading. I am safe and in contact with mental health services. This is something I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I’m sharing it to give a true reflection of just how low I sometimes feel.

I feel suicidal again. I’ve lost count the number of times I have been down this road before. I nearly always have suicidal thoughts, which is distressing and difficult to live with, but feeling suicidal is stronger. This is when the thoughts take hold and my head starts making plans for my death.

I have spent hours in the last week laying awake, going through what I would do to end my life. How I would do it. Where I would do it. When I would do it. When feeling this bad these thoughts stop being distressing and become comforting. This may sound strange but having a plan in place makes me feel able to cope as I can see an end in sight. And at this moment in time, an end is what I feel I need.

There is a lot of truth in the saying “People who take their own life don’t want to die, they just want the pain to end.” Life feels painful at the moment. And right now that pain feels too much to bear. I want a way out that stops the pain. The only one I see is suicide. I know this sounds selfish. 

I’m sure a lot of people will say “but what about the people you leave behind?” I promise I have thought about them and this isn’t a selfish act. In my mind their lives will be improved without me in it. I am a burden. All I feel I do is take from those around me. I don’t know how to stop being a burden without stopping my life altogether. If there was another way I would choose it.

Death scares me. I desperately want another way out but there is not one. I have been told I will always have my illnesses to some extent. This means there will always be difficulty on some level and I don’t know what level that will be. If its the same level as it currently is I know I can not cope with it. I am not strong enough and it is not fair on those around me to have to deal with it either.

I hate myself for being at this point again. For wanting out. For being weak. I just can’t cope anymore. I feel hopeless and like I don’t have a future. I am sorry. Life is tough.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal you can contact The Samaritans any time.

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Christmas and Mental Health 

Christmas can be a really tough time for anyone and particularly difficult if you have a mental illness. From having to deal with lots of people to the enforced happiness of the season, it can all feel too much. Therefore I thought it might be useful to share some tips and advice to help cope with the festive season.

1. It’s OK to not be OK- First of all I think this is an important thing to remember throughout the season. Just because it’s Christmas does not mean your mental illness goes away. In fact it might even be a bit worse. And that is OK. If you want to say no to something because you feel it will make things worse that is fine. Don’t feel forced into socialising if you cannot cope with it. Your health is more important.

2. Take breaks- If you do find yourself going out and socialising remember it is OK to take breaks from people. If you need to spend five minutes in the toilet that is perfectly fine. You are doing what you need to do to get through. Also if you have a lot of social occasions planned, try to plan in an evening or day for yourself to get some respite. This can help you feel able to cope more with attending. If you are staying with family, try and find a quiet space you can escape to for a bit of peace. Its OK not to want to be with people all the time. 

3. Plan ahead- Christmas can be hectic with buying presents and organising social events. If you plan ahead it can make things a lot easier. For example, before you go shopping for Christmas presents maybe look online and plan what you want to buy for each person. Or plan which shops you are going to visit so you don’t feel like you are wandering around forever. Before a social event it might be useful to make a list of who will be there and who you need to buy presents or write cards for. Lists are so important to me to make me feel more on top of everything.

4. Don’t drink too much alcohol- This one might masks me sound a bit of a party pooper but drinking too much alcohol can have a depressing effect on your mood and make things seem much harder. I’m not saying don’t drink at all (although if you don’t want to drink that’s perfectly acceptable) but just drink responsibly. It can be so tempting at this time of year to drink a lot but you may end up feeling worse.

5. Remember to use self care- You are important. All of the tips so far link into looking after you but it is also important to make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating well and drinking plenty of water. It can be so easy to neglect yourself during this time but you are special too. Talking can also be self care and reaching out for help if you are struggling during this time is important.

So those are some of my tips and advice for making Christmas easier. If Christmas is a struggle for you remember The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you have any tips or advice for coping with Christmas feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter.

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Unconscious Self Harm *Trigger Warning* 

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

Just lately things have been really tough for me. I have found living extremely difficult and getting through each day is a challenge. Part of my coping strategies has been self harm. Now I have always been open about the fact that I self harm on this blog and with mental health professionals, but I have noticed I am not just harming consciously. There has been a lot of unconscious self harm going on. I therefore thought I would explore this topic about ways I unconsciously self harm to raise awareness. These methods I do not condone and I would never want to tip share so will not go into a lot of detail. Please be careful when reading the following post. 

A major way I have been unconsciously self harming is to make myself physically unwell. I have physical health conditions that can be exacerbated. Unconsciously this is what I have been doing by not taking proper care of myself. When depression strikes this is an easy thing to do as you can neglect your physical health in a number of ways unintentionally. This is part of what has happened to me but I have also pushed myself to limits I know I can’t deal with. 

Another part of not looking after myself physically has been not taking pain medication so I feel the pain of an injury I have at the moment. This is self harm as I am causing myself pain even though I am unconsciously doing this. I’m also possibly exacerbating the injury by not taking the doctor’s advice.

Another unconscious method of self harm for me is hair pulling (or trichotillomania). I know a lot of people do this consciously but for me it is an unconscious action and I suddenly find myself with a bald patch or missing eyelashes. It is self harm as it causes pain and also, for me, embarrassment which makes me feel worse. I will try to do a fuller blog post on this topic in the future. 

The final way I unconsciously self harm is to skin pick (or dermatillomania). I do this without thinking and pull away skin from my arms, chest and face. Quite often I make it bleed and am left feeling sore and even scarring myself. I know some people do this as conscious self harm but for me it is mostly unconscious and I have no idea to what extent I am doing it. 

So those are some of the ways I unconsciously self harm. They are things I do without consciously thinking about the damage I may cause myself. They are things I slip into when things are particularly bad. If you find yourself unconsciously (or consciously) self harming there are things you can do to help. Being aware of it is the first step. Then there are alternatives you can try. They may not work straight away. For more information on self harm check out the Mind website

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Bullying: My Story

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

There are many things in life that can have a negative impact on our mental health. There are all sorts of trauma that we can go through. One thing that has impacted negatively on my mental health is bullying. Bullying is something many people experience and it can have a lasting impact on those it touches. Bullying is not the only reason behind my illnesses but it has had a major impact, therefore I thought I would detail my experience and show that you are not alone if you have experienced or are experiencing bullying.

The first time I was bullied was in primary school. A boy in the year below me decided he didn’t like me so started by calling me names. These names were hurtful and stick with me today, over fifteen years after the event. The name calling soon escalated until eventually he hit me hard. That’s when I had to tell someone what was going on. He was dealt with and it did stop him from attacking me further. Then I went to secondary school…

At secondary school things were OK for the first couple of years. Then a group of people in my French class started picking on me. It was a mixed group of boys and girls. It started off with masking commented about me. French lessons became hellish. I couldn’t walk into the classroom without some comment. No teacher picked it up as we had a run of stand in teachers and I was much too scared to take it further and tell someone what was happening. My mental health was already suffering at this stage and I was self harming. The bullying made this worse.

Then the bullying got worse and I started to be followed on my way home by the group from my French class and some older children from different year groups. The comments increased and I was threatened with physical violence. Life started to feel not worth living and I was self harming more than ever, but still I didn’t talk. I thought it would make things worse. I hated school. I didn’t want to go. The bullying continued over years. 

The bullying continued to get worse. I dropped French classes but the bullying continued in other lessons. I found a new way to walk home but was always looking over my shoulder. I felt isolated. Then as I was nearing the end of my schooling, I had the worst comment I had to hear, “why don’t you go and kill yourself?” Suddenly in my head I felt like I had an answer to all my problems. I would end my life.

I made an attempt on my life. I was unsuccessful, obviously, and managed to hide it. I just made myself unwell. But it could have been so much worse.

While bullying was not the only reason for my attempt on my life, it did play a massive role. People’s words and actions towards me could have left me dead. Bullying is serious and needs to be treated seriously and not as something that we accept as part of growing up. If you are being bullied please talk to someone. Talking will help and that person can hopefully help you find a solution. It doesn’t matter if you’re being bullied at school or at work. It is not acceptable. For more information on bullying check out bullying.co.uk or anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk.

The Lies of Self Harm 

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

Self harm has been a part of my life for a long time now. It has been something I have battled with on many levels, sometimes successfully, other times I have lost the battle. Over that time I have realised that self harm has told me many lies to keep me ensnared by it. I therefore thought I would share some of the lies it has told me.

1. “I’m all you need”- This is a big lie that self harm tells me on a regular basis. It makes me think that as long as I self harm I will be OK. This is obviously not true as I need food, water and people to get through everything. I need to look after myself in order to get better and self harm is not part of this. Self harm is telling me this to carry on holding on to me. Unfortunately at the moment this is working.

2. “I’m the only thing that can help”- This is very similar to the lie above. It is self harm’s way of survival. It tells me nothing else will help control the thoughts I am having or the voice I hear. It says that nothing is as effective as its damaging behaviour at giving me a sense of control. It makes me feel like this is the only choice I have and that it is the solution rather than the problem. It draws me back in time and time again.

3. “I will give you control”- This is a lie of self harm that makes it very appealing to me. It draws me in because I hate the feeling of things being out of control. There have been times in my life when things have gone on that have been beyond my control but self harm has been there to make me feel like I am controlling something. This is a lie though. In fact at times self harm is controlling me. I feel I have to work it into my routine and make time for it. I feel I need it. It is like an addiction and I am far from in control. In fact if I stopped I’d be more in control. 

4. “I’m not hurting anyone”- This is a hard lie to deal with. Self harm tells me I shouldn’t worry as I’m not hurting anyone else by doing it. This is untrue as I have been friends with people who are self harming and it hurts to see them in such pain. It is so difficult to see someone you love physically and mentally hurting. So self harm is lying, it does hurt others.

5. “Its all you deserve/you need to be punished”- When self harm feels like its losing you it will say all sorts to hold on to you. This is something my self harm has said to me a lot and I struggle not to believe it. But please know if you are struggling with self harm, what you deserve is love and care. No one deserves to punish themselves in this way. I know it is hard to believe.

These lies are not all that self harm tells us and self harm may tell you different lies to what it tells me. I struggle still to always tell what is as lie and what is truth. Please know that if you struggle with self harm you are worth so much more than the lies it tells you. 

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Book Review: The Goldfish Boy

Overview

“The Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson is about a boy called Matthew who has OCD. Matthew finds himself caught up in trying to solve the mystery disappearance of his neighbour’s grandson, Teddy. As Matthew spends a lot of his time recording what his neighbours do, he is ideally placed to work out what has happened to Teddy. But Matthew is fighting his own battles in his head. This book looks at what thoughts Matthew has and how they can hold him back. Will they stop him solving the mystery of little Teddy?

My thoughts

I really enjoyed this book and found it really easy to get into. The story was interesting and moved at a good pace. It kept me wanting to read to find out not only what happened to Teddy but what happened to Matthew too. Although Matthew has OCD relating to contamination and germs, it was made clear that OCD wasn’t just about the actions but the intrusive thoughts Matthew had as well. It looked at how Matthew’s thoughts impacted on his behaviour and led to compulsions as well as the root cause for it all. 

The book looked at the treatment for OCD as well. This was good I thought as it showed how difficult it is to face a stranger and discuss what is going on in your mind when you are unwell. It showed that opening up takes time and there are many battles in treatment to overcome; it is not a magic cure. 

Another thing I liked about the book was that it looked at the impact having a mental illness, such as OCD, has on the family around you. It showed how Matthew’s mum was desperate to do anything to help her son but did not know what to do do for the best, which is often the case. It also showed how difficult it can be to understand the mental illness from the other side, as Matthew’s dad struggled to cope with it. As well as this it showed the impact on his parents’ relationship and how that suffered because of Matthew’s OCD. This was very realistic to life as mental illness has such an impact on others. 

This book was really good and really realistic about what having mental illness can be like. I would recommend it to anyone even though it is written as a children’s book. I think its very relatable and will reread it in the future. 

If you have read this book let me know in the comments or on Twitter what your thoughts were.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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

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