Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care 💚
The fourteenth of February is a day everyone remembers and relates to their relationship with their partner. I’m no different except for me it marks the day I broke up my relationship with my ex, let’s call him J. It’s a bittersweet day and complicated in so many ways by the mix of thoughts in my mind.
My relationship with J was not a good one. We were introduced by a mutual friend. He was five years older, which doesn’t sound a lot but as I was seventeen and he was twenty two it did feel quite big. We had many laughs when we first met. To say there wasn’t a connection would be wrong, however much it now pains me. We quickly became an item and that’s when the issues started.
He very much wanted our relationship to become physical straight away. I didn’t due to some past issues. I tried explaining and he seemed understanding when we were talking via text. In person it was quite different. He made me many promises. Within a week they were broken and so was I.
I should of left him then. It sounds so easy so early on in a relationship. But I’d told him things I’d told noone else and boy did he know how to use that to get his way. And if that didn’t work then humiliation and force were his tools.
Now he wasn’t all bad. It sounds like I’m defending him but honestly there were things about him I liked and still do. He could be charming. He showed me a vulnerable side that liked to do cross-stitch which his nan had taught him. He loved his nephew. He could be funny. These things made me want to be with him. They made me feel lucky. Especially when he chose to open up about things to me. Maybe it was all manipulation but some at least felt genuine.
However there were areas where we clashed. Areas where he forced his will on me. Where he took away my choices. He told me I made him do this. I forced him to force me. Do I believe it? Yes, it still feels like I’m to blame a lot of the time. There may be small doubts but they are often erased.
During our time together my self confidence, what little I had as I was already mentally unwell at the time, was eroded. Any form of self respect was gone. He terrified me but I needed him. When he tried to persuade my friends to sleep with him I knew it was my fault. I’d pushed him to it. They showed me his messages. I still thought it was ok.
Eventually nine months in I had a sudden burst of feeling I couldn’t do this relationship anymore and when it came out he’d been successful in one of his conquests with another woman I saw it as an excuse to end the relationship. So on the fourteenth of February I ended it. I couldn’t do it face to face through fear. But I did it. I got all sorts of threats from him. I knew I would and I had my doubts over what I’d done. Noone else would ever love me, right?
I wish I could say he was out of my life after then. He wasn’t. He reappeared a number of times in different ways. He treated me in different ways from deep caring to painful incidents. He humiliated me many times and forced me to put myself in his control to avoid a friend getting hurt. It would be my fault if they did. He has periodically turned up over the last eleven years. I have very mixed thoughts about him.
So why have I written this piece? Because I know deep down this was not a good relationship. It hurt me a lot whether that was my fault or his remains to be seen though many say it was him. But I did end it. Somehow I found the words to say it was over. But it wasn’t a simple break up. And I think with many toxic relationships that is the same. The idea people can just walk away from these relationships is wrong. So much is tied up in them. Many thoughts go through your head. So if a relationship isn’t looking right please don’t think it’s simple for one person to leave the other. There is much more to it and sometimes one partner won’t let it go and can be threatening and manipulative. Please understand this.
For help and support with similar issues then you can check out Refuge in the UK. I’m sure there are similar charities around the world too.
N.B. Some people have called my relationship abusive. As you may have noticed I chose the term toxic. Maybe it was abusive. At times I say that. But my head hasn’t got around this relationship entirely. I know I’d call it abusive if anyone else experienced what I had.
Christmas has come around again and this year is going to be different. A lot of people may be separated from those they normally spend this time of year with. This may be a blessing for some but awful for others who may feel lonely. The pressure of Christmas to be good is still there too.
This post is just going to be some things that may be useful to know about and some other things to maybe consider. A lot will be UK based as that’s where I am but if you have something you wish to add feel free to use the comments so others can see it.
The first think I’m going to share is a hash tag on twitter, to help those who are feeling lonely or struggling with Christmas. It was set up by the wonderful comedian Sarah Millican a few years ago and has been very popular. The hash tag is #joinin. Everyone is able to connect via the hash tag and hopefully reach out to each other. As it’s on Twitter you can use it from anywhere in the world.
For a lot of people money has been tight this year with lack of work or losing jobs. If you’re struggling don’t feel you have to give a gift. And if you want to don’t worry about going expensive. Gifts, if able to be given, should not be about reciprocity. I give because I want to make people happy, not to receive something in return. I’m sure whoever it is you want to gift something too would rather you were able to manage to live than give them something and struggle. If they wouldn’t then they don’t deserve a gift (I know this is different and harder with children and I apologise for not having suggestions for this). Also if you want to give why not spread it out so they get a surprise in January?
In the UK if you need someone to talk to you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123. They are available at any time though lines may be busy. This doesn’t mean they won’t talk to you so please hang on. I know people who have found them very useful to talk to. There are crisis lines available in most countries and you can find some of these via the menu on here.
If you don’t feel safe mixing with other people during this time then remember you are allowed to say you don’t want to. If it helps to make an excuse then that’s fine. You have no reason to feel guilty for putting yourself first. You are important. I know this is easier said than done, I really do, but it’s not selfish to put yourself first.
Self care can go by the wayside sometimes during busy periods but this is when it is most needed. If you can, try and do one bit of self care each day. It doesn’t have to be huge and may be something you’re already doing. Taking note of it will show yourself that you are worth looking after. It can be as simple as having a shower (which isn’t always simple I know) or having some water. You are worthy of being looked after.
For those who have an eating disorder, Christmas can create all number of challenges. I’m no expert on this but in the UK the charity Beat will be available for support everyday from 4pm to 9pm. There is also information on their website about things to consider at Christmas and their support services.
These are just a few things that may help. As I said at the top of the post if you have a useful resource then please add it to the comments or you can share with me via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and I will try and get it shared. This means if you’re looking for something I haven’t shared it may be worth checking the comments or one of these places.
Please take care of yourselves this Christmas. You are all important and awesome. Be kind 💚
Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care 💚
Today was my last session of 2020. It was also meant to be the last session of this course of therapy but that has changed and will be now continuing in the new year.
Yet again the anticipation of the session was overwhelming. In all honesty I’ve just felt incredibly tired since last week and no idea what else I have felt. I’ve not really had the time to investigate what I’ve been feeling either.
Today we looked again at the stopping of self harm. To do this we looked again at the motives behind it and how I feel when I try to stop. The huge anxiety it gives me. This made her more sure this was now an OCD behaviour. We looked at intrusive and obsessional thoughts and how they relate to my thought patterns. I did get a little frustrated that I wasn’t being understood.
Because of looking at this as an OCD behaviour it has meant we are going to look at a certain way of combating this. I think it was called habituation and changing the way I see it from a need to a want. We looked at what is classed as a need and what is classed as a want. It did leave me feeling guilty about my self harm. There will also involve a behaviour experiment about what might happen if I don’t act on the thoughts.
Part of the habituation means giving up the self harm and riding out the urge and the anxiety it causes. This feels scary and my anxiety started to creep up just talking about this. It was edging on panic. The thought of losing the self harm is scary. I’m terrified. I have to log everything about how I feel, what I think, what I do to distract/help myself and how long the anxiety lasts. Apparently anxiety shouldn’t last more than 40 minutes. This is not my experience but we shall see.
This time of year is hards for me. Part of me wants to say this isn’t the right time to stop but is it just another excuse? I’m dreading later on when I don’t do it. Will I just be a failure either way?
I have two weeks to see how I go. Two weeks until another session. I hope not to be a burden to others. I’m hoping I don’t compensate with other behaviours I use to ease anxiety. We shall see.
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.
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.
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, FacebookorInstagram. If you have any advice feel free to share on these or in the comments.
Trigger warning: please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. There is discussion of self harm.
It’s Saturday night and I feel awful. Current time at writing is 22.53 and I’m laying in bed. I hate myself. That’s what I can identify. Pure hatred. I hate myself so much it hurts.
The evening involved trying to be positive. Or rather not admitting the negativity. I messaged some friends. I asked them how they were and they reciprocated. The thing is I just ignored the question. I diverted the conversation to discuss them or other things. And to be honest all I could say is I feel bad.
Emotions aren’t my strong point. Identifying them seems impossible and it’s bothering me more and more at the moment. I want to make people understand me and I can’t when I can’t understand me. The feeling is that I’m trapped alone. I’m trying to work on it but it feels scary and I feel like I should of done this as a little kid not as a 31 year old.
Since I’ve come to bed, I’ve self harmed. I tried a new area on top of the usual and felt a failure when I couldn’t do what I needed to achieve. My thoughts spiralled again and what I was trying to escape intensified. The hatred for myself at my failure is immense. I just wanted to destroy myself. Self destruction seemed a good option.
The voice is back as well. We’ll it’s never really left just subsided slightly. Not over the last few days or tonight. It’s telling me people hate me and want me dead. People are fed up of me and want me to die. I should do them all a favour.
So yeah that’s Saturday night. A night of mental illness taking over. A night where I hate my existence. And tomorrow will be another day the same. Waking up with blood on your hands will do that.
Currently having experiences of some form of mania on a regular basis. It can be part of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as well as bipolar. Tonight it’s awful. I can’t keep still. My thoughts are racing. I’m irritable. I want quiet but I want noise. I want to move but I want to lay here. I want to do things. But I don’t. Nothing is keeping my attention long. Everything is either very amusing and causing me to try and make things seem funnier to everyone else or I’m apologising profusely for being a pain. I hate this. It’s exhausting but I can’t sleep. Typing is hard. Words are in my brain but typing them out they have extra letters or are spelt wrong or put together in a way that I thought made sense but doesn’t. Luckily autocorrect is a thing and I can still see where I’m making mistakes and change them as I go but it’s frustrating me. I know my writing is probably rubbish. My swearing barrier is also less of a thing though I’m trying to restrain myself from swearing here. I’ve been trying to calm all evening. Doing calming activities but it’s all rubbish and I feel rubbish and frustrated. Nothing works. I’m trying so hard. The mania I have now is linked to a course of steroids I’m on for a physical health issue. I’ve not had mania like this in years. I realise I’m using the term mania a lot and it’s not like with bipolar I don’t think. It doesn’t last solidly. It comes and goes. Normally my mood stabiliser keeps me more stable with dips into depression. I forgot how exhausting this is. And I’m not a teenager anymore. People don’t expect this. As a teenager it could be hidden as just a teenage thing to many. Just someone who was passionate and had lots of ideas and a screwed up sleep pattern. Now as an adult it’s not so easy. My mum notices it. She put it to good use this afternoon moving soil and emptying pots. She saw I couldn’t settle to anything or think for myself so she provided a little routine. It helped. I felt less frustrated. But it’s back and I will go to bed soon to try and keep a routine but I’m not hopeful. The scariest thing though isn’t being out of control (though I hate that feeling) but the thought that what goes up must come downand this applies to my mood too. I will crash. Its inevitable. And I know it will hurt.
Please be aware that some of the content below may be triggering. There is discussion of suicide and self harm. I’m safe. This piece was originally written several days before publication. The content has not been edited.
Today I was told I need to learn to live with my suicidal thoughts for the rest of my life. It’s made me question a lot. It’s caused a number of emotions. I can’t lie that it hasn’t left me in a bad place.
I understand that living with an illness is something a lot of people have to do, physical or mental. I’ve always been fairly sure that mental illness will be part of my life continuously as well. So why has this hit me so hard? Why? I feel I should be OK. I’m not.
I think at the moment my mental health is particularly poor. Suicidal thoughts are there an awful lot of the time. Sometimes it’s continuous. Dealing with them seems near on impossible in a healthy way. Self harm is my go to. It’s far from ideal, though currently I’m not trying to stop the self harm (there are many reasons behind this). The idea of living with the thoughts forever just makes the feeling of wanting to die stronger. Why would I want to live like this?
But that wasn’t exactly what was said. It was that I need to learn to live with them and I guess I should think about what that means. Is it reducing their frequency? Or their intensity? Or the hold they have over me? Or does it mean I push them down and try to ignore them until I explode? (This last option seems like my current approach). I don’t know.
As some may know I’ve done DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) skills training. Not the full DBT programme as is suggested but the basics of the skills. I also go to a DBT peer support group which helps me apply the skills to my situation. It’s been helpful in some areas. But dealing with suicidal thoughts has not been one of them. The distress tolerance skills seem great, when I’m not in a crisis. I’ve tried them in crisis mode and it has not helped me de-escalate the situation. I know many people find them helpful to stop impulsive behaviours but I think that’s the problem for me: my attempts are very rarely impulsive and the desperate need to do something can linger at its height for a very long time with nothing seeming to bring it down. Believe me I have tried.
So I don’t know where to go from here. I’ve recently heard I’ve been put on a waiting list for individual therapy which I’m truly grateful for. Maybe it will help. But the thought it may not is there. I feel so guilty that it’s there. I know I am lucky I will get these 16 weeks at some point. But I’m terrified of failing and being in the same situation. A hopeless case.
That’s exactly how I feel. A hopeless case. Someone who will never improve and will be fighting forever more. Someone who, if they live, will be old and mad. The worst thing to be in this world when you need help. I can cope with the idea of being on medication for life, if I feel it will help me have a life. But the thought I’ll be suicidal forever is something I’m not sure I can live with. Why live when you want to die all the time?
I realise I’m probably overreacting (notice the probably, I’m not 100% about this at all). But in some ways it feels like a kick to just get it over with. To be gone. To stop being a constant burden to everyone. Because if I’m going to be suicidal forever isn’t that what I’ll be? (If you’re suicidal you are not a burden, it’s how I see myself).
At the moment I’m still processing this. It was said to me eleven hours ago. I don’t know how or what to feel. Apologies.