Archive for the mental illness Category

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/

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worth it….

Posted in children, depression, family, friendship, love, mental illness, motherhood, pregnancy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24/11/2014 by doyourememberthattime

one of my dearest friends gave birth yesterday
she brought a beautiful baby girl into the world
and
i’m so proud of her
i’m so happy for her
i’m so in love with that little girl already

but
i’m crying
when she told me she was in labour i felt a stab of pain so sharp
that it took my breath away
because i’m selfish
and jealous
and another person i love is getting everything I want

the thing is once i got my breath back
i prayed that her labour was easy
i prayed for them both to be safe
i was excited.
all i wanted was for them both to be healthy & happy.

when i saw her beautiful little face this afternoon
i cried happy tears
she’s perfect
and her mummy has done the bravest, hardest thing by bringing her into the world
i know how full of love her life is going to be
and
how wonderful her parents are.

we live on different continents
i can’t be there every day
but
i want nothing more than to be a part of this tiny new human’s life
i can’t wait to watch this family grow.

So, yes
i’m self-involved
and
yes, it hurts
but
the hurt isn’t a patch on the joy
idoesn’t touch the thrill of a new life
it cannot dull the pride
Nor dampen the adventure.

there will always be pain
and
it will always be worth it

the huge, expansive love
will never stop being worth it.

novocaine for the soul…

Posted in chronic illness, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , on 12/08/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I’ve been really ill. I have a virus that my compromised immune system cannot fight off. This virus is kicking my arse. I am constantly exhausted, everything aches, dizzy, cold, nauseous, the works. This has been going on for weeks & I’m at the end of my tether.
Enter, self-harm.
I think perhaps feeling so helpless played a part, but mostly I don’t know what happened.
One cut turned into two turned into me practically dissecting my entire left arm.
I don’t feel anything.
There is no relief
It doesn’t feel right
Or wrong.
Yet, I feel compelled to continue.

The voice in my head that pushes me hurt myself has taken over
It’s not the same voice.
There is no emotional involvement
It is simply an obligation I must meet
I am measuring blood loss
When I reach my target, I may stop.
I don’t know what is happening.
But
I am not afraid.
I feel still.

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.

what a difference a year makes…

Posted in love, mental illness, relationships, romance, therapy, trust with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24/06/2014 by doyourememberthattime

last year I met a nice man.
he was attentive, intelligent, funny & well read.
i found him attractive.
perfect, I hear you say.

no

i rejected him in favour or rather difficult man i met around the same time.
the man I picked was selfish & uncompromising.
even in bed.
it did not last.

I
i’ve talked about this with various people.
my therapist, my best friends, my mum & sister
all of whom, agreed that i had a bit of habit of selecting inappropriate men.
i did not disagree.

what I needed to know was why?
further discussion & some introspection brought the answers to the surface.

that nice man was too nice.
i was suspicious of his apparent loveliness,
i didn’t believe that it was real.
surely, his best behaviour would dissipate
&
i’d be left disappointed.
more worryingly, i was not convinced that i deserved this nice man.
i have never been with someone who gives me what i need.
there is always a catch,
a perpetual shortfall.
the idea that i had met someone i could relax & possibly be happy with frightened me
it’s hard for me to think i am entitled to that sort of contentment.

i’m not worthy
and
he was bound to discover that fairly quickly.
how long before my craziness, disability & general not good enoughness was uncovered?
how long before i was rejected?

so, you see,
liking this nice man was just too risky.
it could only end badly.

he could be a fraud
&
i would be disappointed.

he could recognise what a sub-standard person i was
&
i would be rejected.

either way it was too dangerous.
getting close to man who may actually be possible of meeting my desires was too threatening.
it was easier to choose men who never could.
relationships with built in obsolescence could not hurt me.
i always knew it would end
& therefore never become emotionally attached.
i’m sure you can see the problem with that.

Earlier this year, he got in touch.

just to say hi.
we talked for a few weeks.
i remembered how enjoyable conversing with him was.
we decided to meet
&
this time, I am allowing myself to hope that maybe I do deserve this.
perhaps happiness is within my reach.

it’s very early days.
we’re enjoying each other’s company.
who knows what may happen.
the important thing is I am open to the possibilities.

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?

I’ve looked at life from both sides now….

Posted in chronic illness, depression, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/06/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I haven’t written in a while. I’m not entirely sure why that is. I seem able to write other more frivolous things, but any deep introspection eludes me.
I am volunteering again. A project I really believe in. it gives me a sense of purpose. I know I shouldn’t need to find worth outside of myself, but I do. I suspect if they were honest, most folk have a similar struggle for validity.

My body continues to malfunction in a variety of ways. Planning is redundant. Where I can go & what I do is ruled by my ability to manage symptoms. I am the queen of cancelling. I am so tired of disappointing others & myself.

My head is a mystery to me. There are days when I feel I am making huge leaps. Future aspirations bloom, hope is palpable. And then for no concrete reason I plummet. Days seeped in grey merge into one another. Life becomes a featureless landscape of withdrawal or a frenzy of anxiety.

Self-harm is never far from my thoughts. I am not actively hurting myself, but I still believe that is the true me. I am forever searching for a way to hurt enough & still function. I can’t begin to find the words to describe how it feels to daily fight your most ingrained instincts. In so many ways I am broken, I honestly don’t know if the damage is irrevocable.