Archive for the recovery Category

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.

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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/

you bleed just to know you’re alive…

Posted in mental illness, recovery, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/03/2014 by doyourememberthattime

self-harm is my abiding companion
it’s that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something vital
for me, that sensation is perpetual.

no setback is too small to trigger my blood lust
every emotion brings with it an attendant need to scar my body.

i miss my skin’s various & simultaneous stages of distress
gaping, fresh, untreated wounds
tidy blue stitches
thick scabs, ripe for picking
hot swollen masses of infected cuts.

i yearn for the pain
and
the itch
and
mess
and
blood

i dream of blood
flashbacks are dripping in it
inside my head is a swimming throng of red need.

the desire is pounding in my chest
each beat screams
cut.

not obeying is perverse
wielding a blade would silence everything
as my blood cooled
calm would rule.

you win again…

Posted in mental health, recovery, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28/02/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I had yet another hospital appointment.
this time with an orthopaedic surgeon.
for the last year or so i have been having difficulties with my left hand & arm.
my gp thought it might be related to my b12 defiecency as i also lose feeling in my toes.
apparently that is a completely separate issue.
my problem is in fact, nerve damage.
damage caused by me.

i have a splint to wear and have injections for the next three months.
the consultant will then decide how to proceed surgically.
i’m not thrilled about having another procedure
but
there is so much more to it.

i feel so very guilty.
i am entirely responsible for this.
most of me feels i don’t deserve to have this impairment corrected.
i feel unworthy
i unnecessarily deplete resources.

worse than that,
i feel that this will never be over.
self-harm will always be with me.
whether it’s the constant desire to hurt myself
or
the ongoing consequences of what i’ve done to my body.

all those years of people telling me how dangerous my cutting was
it never felt real to me.
it’s real now.

i’m living with the damage i didn’t believe i could do
my heart
my hand
perhaps this is my punishment

i should be happy
i always wanted to castigate myself
i’ve succeeded

all i have achieved is becoming even more of a burden
now people i love have another reason to worry about me
i require further medical intervention
i am a drain.

even now, I’m whining.
i’ve done it
i need to live with it.
i could
if other people didn’t have to be involved.

i’m comfortable with pain
i still seek it out.
i am beginning to wonder why i keep fighting the urge
if the shadow of self-harm is going to hang over me forever
why not just give in to it?

the shame
and
the guilt
and
fear
are constant companions

so, maybe i let it win.
isn’t it winning anyway?

the times they are a changin’ …..

Posted in mental health, recovery, self harm, therapy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 31/01/2014 by doyourememberthattime

i haven’t written since i returned home.
mainly because it’s been tricky to clearly define my thoughts & feelings.

i am endeavouring to hang into the lightness i felt in australia.
it’s a struggle.
i have mostly been just keeping my head above water.
And
putting on an impressive show.
i believe I mimic OK rather well.
i suppose i am adopting the ‘ fake it ’til you make it ‘ strategy.

i knew australia couldn’t be an overnight cure.
it has however been a positive force.
i have hope now.
i know happiness is possible.
i am certain a woman i like & respect still exists.

it’s a matter of fighting for her.

i intend to fight.

so, it’s the one day at a time cliche.
exploring new options
and
taking small leaps.

it is terrifying.

I still have EMDR on pause. i’ve discussed it with my psychologist & we agreed not to rip the lid from that box yet.
it will have to happen.
delving into those memories again is an alarming notion.
i remain convinced it is the best route to long term recovery.

whatever recovery means.

i am yet to decipher what recovery consists of.
those around me seem to consider not cutting to fit the definition,
i know that is not the case.

the battle continues in my head.
i hanker for blood,
itch to create mayhem.
i’m still not convinced the urge will ever leave me.
that i don’t deserve punnishment is becoming more feasible.
perhaps I can forgive myself.

recovery is an unrelenting war fought on multiple fronts.

i have to forge a new identity without self harm.

i hope i’m ready.