Archive for the mental health Category

Another year over, a new one just begun….

Posted in chronic illness, death, depression, hope, mental health, mental illness, self destruction, self harm, suicide with tags , , , , , , , , on 29/12/2015 by doyourememberthattime

I burnt the suicide notes I had prepared. 

Things are not great. 

Paranoia is at an all time high

But

I am going to do 2016.

That’s a start. 

Handle me with care….

Posted in depression, insomnia, mental health, mental illness, self destruction, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 19/11/2015 by doyourememberthattime

I saw one of those annoying self care lists earlier. 

They irritate me because it’s beyond my comprehension that anyone believes a hot bath & some candles will stop the war in my head.

As I scrolled through the ridiculously naive advice, I realised I had my own version of self care. 

I was in fact, in the midst of a session. 

Self harm is my self care. 

It ticks all the boxes. 

It helps me feel calm 

in control

quiets my mind.
The ritual of setting up keeps me busy

Peeling back the foil to reveal a pristine blade

Arranging my towels 

Carefully selecting where I will begin

All of things offer distraction from my despair

panic 

loathing.

They provide comfort 

&

root my in the present moment. 
The bloods feels good; hot & slippery on my skin

The release gained from it flowing out it a weight lifted.

It’s so much better than crying.

That first strike that slides right into my flesh,

When I’m through the skin & my fat offers no restistance.

That wipes my thoughts clean 

It’s just me, 

my scalpel 

&

my blood. 
That’s what compassion is to me. 

It’s stainless steel disappearing into an open wound,

the instant when my cut starts to frighten me

But

I just keep going. 

Rolling in the deep….

Posted in depression, hope, insomnia, mental health, mental illness, recovery, self destruction, self harm, suicide with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28/10/2015 by doyourememberthattime

i have bad patches. 

days when life is dark 

days when I’m dripping in sadness 

sometimes the days are weeks 

or

months

but

there is light. glimpses of life.

i struggle. it’s exhausting. I hate it.

there is purpose, though.

i do fight it.
i have a very definite tipping point.

my serious relapses follow an identical pattern 

insomnia cloaks me in a miserable fog

panic stacks come knocking 

guilt, shame, blood 

until i’m paralysed.

every minute of every day becomes intolerable 

the outside world is terrifying 

opening my eyes each morning is overwhelming

i attempt to soothe myself with scalpels 

and

opiates

but

nothing works, nothing lasts. 
i’ve crossed that threshold 

i’m in it.

we’ll all be lonely tonight & lonely tomorrow…

Posted in depression, insomnia, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14/10/2015 by doyourememberthattime

crying in the middle of the night is back.

dark rooms

dark thoughts

indiscernible tears.
i feel hollow

&

fractured.
multiple precarious cracks 

all threatening to give way

and i’m not gentle 

i can’t be trusted with my crumbling self 

i’m likely to stick my fingers in the gaps 

and

pull my roof down.
the safest option is 2am tears. 

just lie very still in a dark room

and

cry 

And the walls kept tumbling down….

Posted in depression, mental health, mental illness, self destruction, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/10/2015 by doyourememberthattime

yesterday i had to ask my best friend to walk me to the chemist.                            

it’s two streets away, but i just couldn’t do it on my own.

my friend is wonderful, but i still felt pathetic. 
today i had to get some blood tests. just routine tests that i have done regularly. 

but, it felt like an impossible feat.

i took a double dose of diazepam & was still overwhelmed.

i began to cry when the nurse was taking blood 

i found i could not stop 

and, so spent a humiliating half hour trapped in waiting room toilet,

desperate not to share my fragile state with strangers. 

now, i am home. Hating myself for all the things that i haven’t done. 

from housework to commissions. 

i don’t want to be back here,

frozen in panic

gobbling pills to survive another day.

i thought I was closing the book on blood

&

stitches

&

shame. 

not so. 

here i am once again mired in it.

even more frightening this time as i have more to lose.

and

because it’s a brutal reminder that there is no cure

this illness can crush me at anytime 

control is an illusion. 

guess what? I’m not a robot…

Posted in depression, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/06/2015 by doyourememberthattime

it has been a bleak weekend

there are reasons

and

no reasons.

 

predictably, when I couldn’t decipher my mind

I turned to my scalpel for answers

you know the rest.

 

perhaps the break made me clumsy

or

thirsty

in any case I made a tad too much mess.

 

with no option, but A&E to stem the blood flow

i wrapped my arm in a towel

and

mustered as much calm sanity as I could 

 

my local hospital has undergone quite the transformation

a swanky new uber hospital has sprung up in place of its crumbling victorian predecessor

within its walls the attitudes were more in tune with its origins.

 

The dr I saw was pleasant, he didn’t say much, but everything he was accompanied by a smile

this disarmed me a little

i wasn’t prepared for him to be a dick

he worked at speed that belied any concern for me

his method could only be described as slap dash

he did administer local anaesthetic

just not enough to actually prevent pain

a small part in the centre of each cut was numbed

the rest, I felt.

 

he closed the largest (10cm) gash with four stitches

I had cut clear through the fatty tissues

causing the resulting wound to gape alarmingly

obviously, I am not a professional

but

i have had less serious injuries closed with both internal & external sutures.

this time the dr just yanked together the edges (with some difficulty)

unsurprisingly the stitches had burst 10hrs later.

 

i didn’t challenge him

i just sat there

apart from wincing when the initial stitch went in

i didn’t say anything at all

 

i sat there and let him stitch two deep cuts without proper anaesthetic or care.

 

at the time i just wanted to get home.

later it occurred to me that the way I was treated probably wasn’t ok

i wondered why I didn’t request more local

or 

enquire about his technique.

the only answer I could summon was that I didn’t think I had the right to ask for better

for all my campaigning, 

in that moment my usually vocal defence of my rights was silenced.

it felt that pain relief for me, was a luxury rather than a necessity

the shame is so ingrained.

 

the voice in my head that tells me I deserve the pain is strong

the part of me that shrieks that I’m worthless

 renders me compliant

content to take whatever semblance of treatment is given.

 

afterwards, when these thoughts started to emerge

i even questioned my right to question

 

every day, i fight the thought that I’m nothing

i battle to recreate a life

i push myself to do terrifying things

partly to make me feel like a person who is capable of succeeding

and

partly to stop this shit happening to other people.

but

the truth is

no matter how many people I present to

or

how much they pay me

 

regardless of how better everyone thinks i am

or 

how many days pass without cutting

it still only takes one bad day

and

one cruel person

for it all to come crumbling down.

I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed….

Posted in mental health, mental illness, recovery, self destruction, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19/04/2015 by doyourememberthattime

I got a new tattoo last week. It’s a small poem that I wanted to have with me permanently. Six lines of simple typewriter script that embody an important part of my story. A tattoo seemed the perfect way to mark the progress I have made with my mental health. It is important to me acknowledge that yes I have struggled and I have used my flesh to illustrate those troubles, but they don’t define me. I have hope.

  

If I were writing this for a one of the mainstream mental health organisations I suspect this is where this piece would be cut. It would be a neat little story of redemption; unfortunately mental illness isn’t that tidy. The above is all true. I have made strides into a new life. I did want to commemorate my evolution, but I was also making a declaration of defiance. The fight isn’t over, you see. I am fairly certain it never will be. The urge to hurt myself has never completely left me. 

I have been doing well. I am working on some business ideas. Trying new things, stretching myself. I haven’t cut for quite some time. I had begun to feel that I was wrestling back some control. 

It’s never that simple though, is it?

A few weeks ago my nightmares returned. I cannot discern any trigger. Nor can I find any way to calm my subconscious. The disturbance has crept into my waking hours. Flashbacks have begun to plague me & with them come the overwhelming desire to spill my blood. The compulsion to cut is so strong that I see images in my mind, tiny little slasher movies starring me. Even worse though is the fear these symptoms bring. The sheer panic that my life is about to be shattered again. I am overwhelmed with the need to be swallowed up by my crazy. 

The glimmer of hope is that I have not cut. However, I can make no guarantees that I will not reach for my blade at some point in the future. 

And

This is the reality of mental illness. 

I fight to reclaim my life every day. I never have the luxury of being cured.  I just keep breathing and pushing forward. This is my ‘recovery’. This is story I want to tell.

We don’t need no education….

Posted in mental health, mental illness, recovery with tags , , , , , , , , , on 08/01/2015 by doyourememberthattime

A few days ago I was scrolling down my twitter timeline when I saw a tweet about an article in cosmopolitan on mental health. Alarm bells did ring ( it was in Cosmo), but then I thought perhaps the magazine was finally broadening it’s horizons & tackling more than blow jobs & fashion. Give them a chance, I told myself. Needless to say my initial instincts were correct. The piece consisted of ‘ insights’ from the book Fundamentals by Natasha Devon. It took the form of ten – supposedly helpful & informative – nuggets about mental health.

It of course included all the usual basic, but essentially useless stats. You know the things I mean, everyone has mental health, 1 in 3, there’s no such thing as normal blah, blah blah.

She also included the classic minimising physical activity improves mental health tit bit. When will they stop with that? Yes, going for a nice walk might help a person who feels a wee bit down. However, it’s not useful advice for a person who is terrified of opening their front door or too depressed to wash or experiencing hallucinations. In short all it does is make an ill person feel guilty for not being able to make themselves better & give ignorant people an excuse to tell us that we’re just too lazy to help ourselves.

Along the same lines was her suggestion that we should ‘practice thinking & behaving in positive ways to increase your confidence’. The notion of practicing thinking in a particular manner baffles me. How do you practice thinking? Surely you are either thinking or you are not? It is not a thing you can rehearse. Of course this counsel falls into the minimisation pattern. You’re not confident because you’re not practising. It’s places blame whilst simultaneously ignoring the fact that illnesses such as panic disorders or social anxiety can not be treated by just shoving a person into triggering situations over & over again.

The final point I want to discuss is by far the worst. I was immediately over come with rage upon reading it. Natasha’s 8th recommendation was that ‘there’s a right & wrong way to raise awareness’ . Apparently there is a fine line between talking openly & simply giving people ideas. We must not give details of our experiences only how we might have felt. I abhor this bullshit. How dare anyone tell a person how they can communicate their life experiences? It falls into that same old mould of not wanting to hear the dirty details. We are not permitted to be heard until we have sanitised ourselves. It sickens me.

Alarmingly the link to this article was retweeted by Mind’s official twitter account along with the policy & development officer for Mental Health Foundation. I despair. These are organisations who are supposed to represent & support all sections of the mental health community. Yet time & again they ignore our pleas to stop perpetuating this damaging nonsense.

So, I’ll ask again. No doubt my plea will be in vain, but I will continue on my attempts to be heard.

1/ Please stop giving credence to the minimising notion that excerise, healthy diet, hot bath etc will in any way help a person with a serious mental health condition.

2/ Please stop censoring honest accounts of mental illness.

3/ Please stop focusing solely on he recovery narrative. We’d like those who cannot recover or whose recovery does not fit the traditional shape to be allowed a voice.

You can read the article here
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/body/health/a10241/mental-health-information/

i’ve tried everything….

Posted in depression, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/07/2014 by doyourememberthattime

i have fallen into another slump.
i rarely know why this happens.
occasionally there are clear reasons for my depression worsening.
but, not this time.

life is struggle at moment
the urge to harm myself is overpowering
i am told the desire will leave me
i continue to wait for that peace.

in the mean time I try to live
i feel as though there is something inside me trying to break out
i can’t relax
it is impossible to just be.

i have resorted to doing, doing, doing
i do housework every morning.
i’ve cleaned out drawers & cupboards
organised my wardrobe
i’ve scrubbed every surface in the house
everything I eat is cooked from scratch
i bake
the next three months have been budgeted
i am keeping a detailed food diary
my life has never been so regimented.

i force myself to socialise
close friends are invited for dinner
i see films with my sister
plans are made with friends in other cities
i volunteer
i’m reading voraciously
my writing output has gathered pace
self-manicures have become works of art
my hair is styled, my legs are smooth.

from the outside i seem to be doing great.
my productivity has soared.
i appear to be creating order.

the truth is my drive is desperation.
a constant need to escape an unbearable internal chasm
if I don’t keep moving
i will butcher myself.
my increasingly despairing attempts to grasp control are failing.
i am left sore
&
sad
&
exhausted.

i long to curl up in my bed and hide
but
my spiteful inner voice will not allow it
there is a constant coaxing to shed my blood,
a continuous stream of gory images.
all accompanied by heavy hopelessness
&
the suffocating knowledge that it will return.
no matter how much progress I make
or
what heights of contentment I reach
i will feel this way again.

don’t patronise me….

Posted in chronic illness, depression, mental health, mental illness with tags , , , , , , , , , on 14/06/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I didn’t sleep last night. I’ve been in a fair bit of pain & my stomach hasn’t been behaving. My mood hasn’t really been behaving either. It took a dive earlier in the week for unspecified reasons. Perhaps feeling so sick has had an impact or maybe it’s just my head being a dick. Who can say?

On account of the above I slept late. Dragging myself out of bed was a struggle, but I did it. Mainly because I am currently dog sitting & no matter how shit I feel, not walking a dog is cruel. So, up I got, flung on whatever clothes were lying on the bedroom floor, brushed my teeth & took that pup for the longest walk I could manage. I did these not because they would lift my mood. Nor did I do them as part of an ‘action plan’. I didn’t derive any sense of achievement. They needed to be done, so I did them.

Later, my stomach had calmed down. I hadn’t eaten all day & was hungry. My fridge contained half an aubergine that had to be used today or it would only be fit for the bin. These factors combined led to me make some vegetable moussaka. I didn’t cook because it would make me feel that I was worth taking care of. I simply used the ingredients available to feed myself because otherwise, I would not eat.

I tell you these things not because they are interesting. I certainly don’t mention them because I want applause. I merely draw your attention to these mundane activities as they are the reality of day to day life.

THEY ARE NOT SELF CARE.

Mental health organisations & patronising individuals are constantly spouting the merits of self-care. I am so tired of hearing this bullshit. Everything I do does not have a therapeutic purpose. Mental illness (or for that matter physical) does not define me. I am a single woman living alone. There are always tasks that need taken care of. I take each day as it comes & do as much as I can manage. That’s just survival. In that respect I am no different from anyone else.

Obviously my illness can make simple jobs difficult. Things the average person may take for granted come harder to me. That doesn’t change the nature of life. I either keep living to best of my ability or I lie down and die.
To label each chore or treat self-care is to rob me of my basic humanity. I am no longer a person, but a collection of diagnoses. Mental illness becomes my defining feature. I strenuously reject that characterisation. To measure my wellbeing by how many dishes are in my sink is insulting. Similarly, to minimise serious conditions by suggesting a nice dinner will make it all better is also offensive.

I live my life as fully as possibly. I enjoy whatever I can and try my best to endure the rest. Doesn’t that sum up most people’s experience? I don’t hear anyone congratulating ‘non-mentals’ for continuing to exist, so why are they patronising me?