Tag Archives: mood

Therapy 2020: Session 3

Date of session: 16/09/2020

Please be aware some content may be triggering. This post will be discussing self harm. Though I will try to avoid discussing methods it may become apparent with other things mentioned. Please take care. 💚

Today’s therapy session has left me feeling annoyed and frustrated. If I’m honest there is also a bit of resentment in there too I think. I feel like I’m repeating everything from my assessment and it has become obvious that this is because the psychologist has not read the background mentioned in the assessment. I understand have to explain a little but when she said she had no awareness of my living situation or my issues at home this annoyed me. Why did I bother with the assessment? Surely it’s there to help them know something about me before it is discussed. Like I said I understand going through some things but the basics at least should be noted.

I also feel I’m getting no new methods to help me. Everything is a repeat of things I already know and understand. For example today when asked at the beginning I mentioned my issue with sleep. She then asked if I knew about and used sleep hygiene to which I responded that yes I did know about and use it. We then spent nearly fifteen minutes going through each item of sleep hygiene to find out I’m doing it all, which I’d already said, and that it was not something we should focus on. When a session is limited to 50ish minutes and there are a finite number of sessions this feels wasteful.

We also discussedy self harm. This was also documented in my assessment but seemed to be a revelation to her. We discussed the seriousness of the current level of self harm. We looked at how things could go wrong with the self harm I am doing and how even a slight mistake could end my life. In all honesty I think she was expecting this to bother me. It didn’t. With my current mood that would be a blessing. She asked me how important stopping was to me and the honest answer is that at this time it doesn’t bother me that I’m self harming. Then I think she wanted to make me bothered by telling me we would definitely not be doing trauma therapy with this level of self harm. I’m angry about this as the assessment knew all this and still recommended trauma therapy. Plus my psychiatrist believes without trauma therapy the things they want to be better for me to do it won’t get better without it.

With regard to the self harm we also discussed about the use of DBT skills to help, in particular distress tolerance skills. I was able to explain that I find this unhelpful as my self harm is not impulsive which is what these skills seem to be aimed at. I was grateful that the psychologist agreed with me on this matter. I’ve not had much support with this idea elsewhere.

Currently I’m feeling trapped in a cycle which I don’t know how I can get out of. I feel like noone is taking into account what needs to happen to move things on or it is not being discussed between professionals. It’s making me lose hope. It’s making me wonder if there is any point to anything. We shall see how it goes I guess.

Technology was an issue again today with us being cut off but I did receive a phone call after this.

I was lucky that straight after I was able to have cat cuddles to help me calm myself.

Suicide Talk

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care.

When I feel suicidal I know that my answers to questions and what I say in general change. How I act may also seem to differ from “normal”. Here I thought I’d discuss some of my tells and some I have learnt about from others. Being aware of when someone is feeling suicidal means we have a better chance of helping them before we lose them. Everyone is different but hopefully this may help us identify the signs and give us the courage to ask these people “are you feeling suicidal?” and get them the help and support they require.

1. I’m fine/I’m tired

A huge thing is that when I’m doing really bad I say I’m doing good. Or I say I’m tired. It’s a sign my mood is rapidly dropping. I might not be at the suicidal zone yet but I’m heading that way most of the time. There are other phrases I’ve heard other people use that are signs they’re struggling which have included “not too bad”, “plodding along” or “up and down”. Obviously people use this when they aren’t heading into the suicidal area but it’s worth being alert.

2. Withdrawing

This is a huge tell of mine. In my head I’m thinking that I’m helping people get used to me not being around and showing them they don’t need me in their lives. I convince myself it’s for the best. It takes a lot to drag me back from this without me making an attpt although that has become less frequent in the last couple of years.

3. Suicide memes/quotes

I may start to spend a lot of time on Tumblr looking at the suicide hashtag. It’s normally something I will do without others being aware so not always a sign but occasionally I will share one or two of these.

4. Googling methods

Again this is something I may do on the quiet so not always obvious but I may admit it to others. It may be that other people don’t hide it as much and it is a sign to look out for.

5. Being really happy after being really low

Sometimes I will go to the total opposite. I will desperately try to hide behind humour. I will try and be really bright and help everyone and not answer when they ask how I am. I become really generous and do lots.

6. I don’t answer how I am

Yep I hid one in above. Did you notice it? See how easy it is to miss? Sometimes the signs are so hard to see. I dont always see them. I’ve had a friend make an attempt later the same evening I’ve been talking to them and never twigged how awful they were feeling. It brings its own guilt but it is not your fault.

There are other signs I have written about before but I thought these would give an insight into the less well known. And ones I’ve experienced. For others please look at my other blog post here.

If you have anything to add feel free to use the comments or you can find me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. If you are feeling suicidal you can contact the Samaritans in the UK or go to the page called crisis lines in the menu for help in other counntries.

Therapy 2020: Session 2

Date of session: 09/09/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering.

Today was session 2 of this round of therapy. And my goodness was it hard. The build up was very much part of the difficulty. I found last week extremely difficult and was scared what may come this week.

This week though the psychologist wanted to discuss whether I should even do therapy. She was unsure if it was the right time which confused me a bit as I had my assessment which was then discussed with others who agreed on therapy and this was done by someone I knew so could talk to more openly. I felt like I was going to lose the therapy before it even started and I could feel the panic in me rising. While doing therapy is hard the thought of not getting it just made me feel totally hopeless.

The psychologist decided we should do a pros and cons list for doing therapy and not doing therapy. They were as follows:

Pros of doing therapy:

  • Reduce flashbacks
  • More aware of causes of issues
  • Reduce self harm
  • Improve things

Cons of doing therapy:

  • Relapse may occur
  • Feel like a failure if I don’t achieve anything
  • Painful to do

Pros of not doing therapy:

  • Don’t have to deal with things
  • Don’t have to change

Cons of not doing therapy:

  • Lose hope

I then had to score how important each were and it came out that I really wanted to be doing therapy and trying. This is true. That con of not doing therapy was for me the biggest thing. Losing hope. If I don’t do therapy I don’t know what will happen. I feel stuck if I don’t as everyone is convinced in order to sort anything out it is what I need.

So it was decided I should do therapy but maybe not trauma based. This is disappointing in some ways as it’s what I feel is holding me back but as I’m self harming and hearing a voice she is not convinced I’m stable enough. The thing is the psychiatrist is convinced I need to do this therapy in order for these things to be help. So yeah… Where do we go to from here? I feel trapped.

I started to feel like I was dissociating during this session. I think it was self protective as I just wanted to cry but not in front of someone I barely know. I cried after.

So that was session 2. I think I’ve got a lot to process still. I’m feeling very vulnerable. Also a lot of pressure to stay stable. I’m not very good at that at the best of times. Thing is I feel BPD doesn’t help with stability. Who knows what will happen next?

Sorry

I’ve worried people. I’ve been selfish but for unselfish reasons (it will make sense). I hate myself. I’m sorry.

The last week I stopped talking to people. My personal social medias became empty. My others became sparse. Emails went unreplied to as did other forms of messages.

I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t deal with my head and everybody else. I couldn’t cope with the voice being there 24/7. I couldn’t reply to people it was telling me I was burdening due to the wave of depression that has hit me. And it is depression. I recognise it all too well. It’s not just a BPD mood swing. This is more substantial. It’s the utter flatness. The true feeling of detachment from everything. Nothing is enjoyable. Words are hard. Doubt has grown.

Also having had the first therapy session didn’t help. I desperately wanted to talk to someone about it. But I couldn’t. Depression robbed me of that. As did the voice. The utter shame I’ve felt since the session hasn’t helped either. I’m in a complete pit of self loathing andd I don’t want to burden people with these things.

The depression is very much still there. Self harm has increased. Suicidal thoughts have too. No plans though as that would take too much effort. Self care has taken a knock. A shower is now a big occasion. Every little thing feels like I’m wading through treacle to do. It’s less than ideal when I’m having to take on more responsibilities at home.

So I’m sorry to anyone I’ve hurt. I’m sorry to anyone I’ve worried. I’m sorry for anyone who has got caught in the fallout. And I’m sorry that I know this will probably not be the last time. I understand if you want to leave me. I understand if it’s too much to cope with. I’m sorry.

Therapy Fear

Please be aware some of the content may be triggering.

On Wednesday I start a new lot of therapy. I’m terrified. I’m always nervous about starting therapy (this will be my fourth crack at it) but this time the fear is hitting me more. I think possibly because in the assessment I’ve been the most honest ever and laid everything on the table without holding back. This means that they have decided that the best therapy this time will be individual trauma focused therapy.

I don’t talk an awful lot about everything that’s happened to me on here. I choose not too for a number of reasons including that it’s all my fault. This was my major reason for pushing for this therapy. It’s even on my assessment. I want to clear it up once and for all. People tell me it’s not my fault, that it’s the people I’ve encountered along the way that have hurt me and that’s down to them. I’m not so sure so I want this therapy to see who is right. To make sense of everything.

But it’s going to be hard dealing with the past. To go back to events that hurt so badly. I’m terrified. I feel sick to my stomach. Bits are turning up in nightmares again already. Tactile flashbacks linger longer. The voice reminds me that it’s silly when I know it’s my fault already. But I need to be sure. People are too nice to me.

Something that is bothering me is that this therapy is going to be done via video link similar to zoom. I will be sitting in my bedroom going through this stuff (some of which happened there). It won’t be a safe, separate space. I know I’m lucky to get therapy at this time but this was why I was so reluctant to do it via video link. How can I separate it from my home space? I want to be able to leave at least some of it behind but I think this will make it harder. Maybe I’m being silly. I don’t know.

Something else that makes me fearful is how unwell mentally I became last time I did any therapy and not having the support network I had then to put crisis plans in to action. Therapy is by its nature very tough. It brings up a lot and I find that hard to cope with alone. Often it increases my level of self harm and my suicidal thoughts. Last time I did therapy my self harm escalated dramatically, I was under the crisis team at times, I had extra appointments with my care coordinator and I made a suicide attempt. The thought of not having the same level of support this time scares me. I no longer have a care coordinator who can intervene to make me safe. It’s pretty much down to me. And I’m not always reliable at looking after myself especially when it means I actually have to ask for help rather than its just noticed I’m going down hill. I also find crisis services difficult to access. I’m hoping things don’t get too bad.

Anyway that’s just a few thoughts on starting therapy. I’m sure I’m not alone being terrified with these things and if you’re starting therapy and feeling this way, you’re not alone either. You’re stronger than you realise. You deserve help and are worthy of it.

I will probably do updates on my social media channels which are available on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. If you have any advice feel free to share on these or in the comments.

Do They Talk To You?

This is a kind of poem I wrote a while ago. Please be aware the content may be triggering and looks at hearing voices and what they say to me.

Do they talk to you?
Are they in your head too?
Do they remind you?
Do they make sure?

I should be dead
They say it loud
Convince me
You don’t want me around.

Hurt yourself
That will make it right
End everything
Improve peoples lives

Shouting loud
Making themselves heard
Killing me
With the words

Die they say
I see their point
I screw up the world
I disappoint

Death is close
The end is near
Die you idiot
Forget the fear

Losing Someone To Suicide

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. I will not mention methods of suicide or self harm.

I rarely talk about this but someone I knew who had a huge impact on my life ended their own life. I don’t talk about it much as he wasn’t a friend or family member but he was still a positive part of my life and very helpful to me. He was my sixth form psychology tutor.

I’d left sixth form by the time this happened but we’d kept in sporadic contact while I was in university as he was very supportive about my mental health. He was the first adult I chose to tell about my mental health problems. And I’m glad I did. He made me see I had nothing to be ashamed of. That I could tell people and ask for help and it would be OK. He helped me get to talk to someone more qualified and when it came to going to university he made all sorts of calls and emails to ask about support for me and my mental health. He also showed faith in my abilities. I got a U (Ungraded) on the first exam I did for psychology but he didn’t write me off. By the time it came to predicting my final grade he went with an A (the highest grade at the time). Although I didn’t achieve that it felt good he thought I could.

The first I knew something was wrong was when a friend from sixth form sent me a message saying he had gone missing. Everyone was looking for him and there was concern for his safety due to some news he’d received. The sickening feeling will remain with me forever. I was 20 by then. We’d had less contact as I’d gone into my second and third years of university. I’d had my own mental health issues deepen by then. I hoped he would be found at aa friend’s house or just away for a few days.

The news came soon after that his body had been found. That it had been suicide. I wasn’t in contact with many people from my psychology class by then but some of my friends had also been taught by him. One in particular stayed in contact and we were shocked together. As more information came through it became more shocking. I was in contact with another teacher from sixth form and had a short email conversation with her about what had happened. It appeared no-one had seen it coming, even his partner.

Later on there was a memorial service at the sixth form for him. I’d arranged to attend but in the end couldn’t face going. I didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted to shut it out. And that’s what I did for years. Occasionally it would come into my consciousness what had happened. But I always pushed it away. I thought it couldn’t have an effect on me as I wasn’t that close to him. I wasn’t friend or family. What right did I have to be effected by it?

But that’s the thing. Suicide does effect more people than you realise. I’m not saying this to make people feel guilty. I’ve tried to end my life since then and my thought always is that people are better off without me. I still feel that way even though I know how it feels to be a person left behind. The reason I’m writing this is because it does impact you. It does hurt and it can be hard to realise that person wasn’t being selfish. I know now more than ever he would never want to hurt anyone else and having had the opportunity to read more about it since I can see that more than ever. It’s something I wish everyone could see in those they lose to suicide.

Another thing that I think I’ve learnt from losing him to suicide is that even the best people have their demons. Everyone can struggle but still put on a positive front. We should never take that mask for granted and we should always be kind as we don’t know if we could make a difference to how that person feels. Also if you lose someone, however distantly, it’s OK to struggle with it and talk about it. Your grief is still valid. Death by suicide is particularly hard to process and it’s important to look after yourself too.

If you’ve lost someone to suicide there are places you can talk about it. The Mind website has some useful information. If you’d like to share anything feel free to use the comments or Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Please be careful if posting anything triggering and add a warning if necessary.

Image from Pinterest

This post is dedicated to CR. You were a positive in my life and many others. You reached more people than you know and made a major difference to our lives. Thank you. X

Mask Anxiety

This is a tricky post to write as I’m sure I’m going to get very mixed responses. All I ask is that you be kind and respect others.

What I want to talk about comes in light of the new guidance on face masks and the rule in the UK that they are compulsory in shops except for those who are exempt from wearing them. The topic is the anxiety that comes with wearing a mask.

I know I’m not alone in having anxiety when wearing a mask. I’ve shared about this on Twitter and had responses from others who are having similar difficulties. There are many reasons for the anxiety I have with wearing a mask.

My first reason for anxiety is that I feel I’m suffocating in the mask. I know this is not the case but it is the feeling I get. I’ve always had difficulties with things around my face or neck. I can just about manage a loose scarf in winter and at school I cut the top buttons of my shirts so they couldn’t make me do them up. It feels almost like a form of claustrophobia. I feel trapped and like I can’t breathe even though I know it is not the case. This leads to panic which makes it harder still to breathe and a cycle is created.

Another reason for my anxiety with wearing a mask is other people’s behaviour. I have noticed that masks seem to make people feel they are invincible and less likely to social distance even though that is still necessary. As well as this people seem to struggle with using them correctly or fail to carry out other hygiene routines. This makes me feel that the risk is higher and I’m terrified of people I care about getting ill.

I understand the reasoning behind mask wearing and appreciate that it’s for everyone’s benefit but there are people who are exempt from wearing a mask and that includes people with mental illnesses especially anxiety. However I know people who are truly struggling with wearing a mask but are scared not to due to the comments people have been making about those who don’t wear them, calling them selfish. Until it was made compulsory I was not wearing a mask. I took all other precautions but I just couldnt bring myself to do it due to the above feelings. I read all the comments from others about how awful people who didn’t wear masks were and I felt awful about myself. The thing is although it seems selfish it’s actually self care and a benefit to others. If you have someone have panic attacks in shops that is not going to help the situation. As long as people are still taking precautions and using good hygiene practices they are not being selfish.

If you are in aa shop and see someone who is not wearing a mask, it is not your role to have a go at them or ask why they are not wearing one. Be kind. You do not know what they are going through. If you are struggling with wearing a mask please look after yourself. You are not selfish. Here is information about wearing face masks and there is a link on there to exemption card templates if you feel this would help you to have on you. This information is by the UK government.

Remember you are not alone. Take care. 💚

Positives From Lockdown

Lockdown has been a hard time for so many people, myself included but I’ve also found some positive things have come from lockdown too. Therefore I thought I’d look at my positives.

1. A lockdown birthday

I had my birthday in June when everything was still pretty much shut and we could barely see anyone. It was one of my favourite birthdays. I went for a picnic and a walk and then went home and did what I wanted. No pressure whatsoever. So I reckon on my birthday we should have a lockdown each year.

Birthday walk and picnic

2. The 2 metre rule

Yep it’s been the bane of so many people but I want to keep this forever. I now have a reason to tell people to get out of my personal space or to move away from them without appearing rude. Long may it continue with people we don’t want to be near.

Picture from Pinterest

3. Wildlife returning

During my walks I have had great pleasure in spotting different wildlife that has returned to our local park. We had a regular heron (named Herbert by me and adopted by others). We also had some Little Egrets. We also got to see the regular geese, ducks and coots have their offspring. I got particularly involved with one pait of coots who had a tragedy when their nest was destroyed. Wildlife is amazing.

Herbert

4. Finding new hobbies

I have taken up drawing again. It’s something I’ve not done in years but I seem to of improved over the lockdown period. I’ve enjoyed extending my range and developed some confidence in this area. I even set up Facebook and Instagram pages for my art. I’ve also managed to do more Lego building, which I love but just could never find the time for. I’ve adapted my routines to incorporate these things.

A drawing of mine

5. Getting things done

I have managed to get so many jobs done. Things I’ve always put off as I’ve been to busy or tired to do them. I’ve enjoyed them too. It’s not just been the mundane daily life jobs but things I wouldn’t normally get to do. I built my mum’s Christmas present from 2018 for her which I’d been meaning to do since she received it.

Making Mum’s Christmas present from 2018

Overall lockdown has been tough for me and many others. It has by no means been a positive experience fully but there are positive bits in there. Sometimes we forget these among all the talk of death and failing businesses. What have been your positives? Feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Feeling Lonely

Today the feeling of being lonely and isolated has really got to me. I feel so so alone in this world. I feel abandoned by certain support systems and others are just unavailable due to unforseen circumstances. I just need to get these thoughts out so apologies for what is ahead (though I’m also hoping to share some resources).

Loneliness is not necessarily about being on your own physically. In fact for me it is far from that. I live with my parents. I have people around at all times and that’s hard in a lot of ways too and can make me feel even lonelier. I feel like I’m stuck in my head without an escape. Like there is no one I can share what’s going on in my head with. I feel like a burden to everyone so I don’t feel I can share with them.

At the moment I realise I’m far from the only person dealing with loneliness especially with the lockdown and being separated from friends and family. Being lonely is a horrid feeling to deal with and it has been stated that being lonely can increase your chances of premature death by 30% (More info here). Combating the feeling of loneliness is difficult. It’s more than giving people contact, it’s about connection. It’s about really listening.

Tonight I feel like I am lacking that connection. I can’t see the people I really want to. I can’t hug them. I can’t feel part of a friendship group. I can’t be me at the moment. Everything is so limited. And I know everyone is feeling the same. But I also think my mental illnesses are making things harder. Lately I’ve had a lot of paranoia (or maybe it’s not) that I’m being excluded from things. This has made me retract into myself at times as I feel it’s my fault that I’m being left out. I feel I’m burdening others.

Feeling like a burden definitely adds to feeling lonely. It adds to the lack of connection. I struggle to let people know what’s going on. I don’t want them to leave me alone but this makes me feel lonelier. Paradox appears again.

So some resources that may help.

1. Elefriends is a forum by Mind for people with mental illnesses to connect.

2. Samaritans are always there to listen (other services for other countries are in the crisis contacts in the menu).

3. In the UK your local Mind may be offering services to support people during this difficult time. My local mind is doing welfare calls and holding some groups via Zoom.

4. Let’s Talk Loneliness has more detailed resources for helping with loneliness.

My last thing is to ask that if you think someone is feeling lonely then please reach out to them if you can. If you personally can’t support them share some resources with them. Sometimes it’s not easy for the person who needs help to reach out.

If you have any tips or resources to help with loneliness please feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.