1

Big things

We are finally getting somewhere! I have a new GP, who straight away referred me to a new psychiatrist, recommending to them that I be prescribed a mood stabilizer and referred on for CBT. Just like that.

But what did it take for me to get to this point? It’s time for me to be brutally honest with you all about what it’s like to walk in my shoes. I am giving you a fair warning that the following may be extremely uncomfortable reading, particularly if you are family.

It began around the age of 5, after my parents divorced. I began seeing a friendly, furry green monster at the bottom of the stairs. He was tall, very thin and had big eyes. He would dance around and sing to me.

Shortly afterwards, around the age of 8, i felt i was being watched by someone. This grew into the full blown belief that my entire life is being filmed, that there are cameras everywhere and i am being constantly observed, like some sort of experiment.

My moods became erratic, as with any teenager. The fact that mine were abnormally erratic was masked over by puberty.

I became obsessive (not obsessive compulsive). I would develop full blown obsessions with people, and not in your “high school crush” or “boyband” sort of way. I want to know them, believe that we have some sort of connection and become completely fixated on them. I feel like i love them, hate them and think about them all the time. It never crossed a stalkerish line, ever. It always stayed inside my head (and still does), but i fully believe these people know that they can make me feel whatever they want me to feel and jealousy is a large part of it, although i never let it show. There is only ever one person at a time and it changes every so often.

Additionally to this, i believe they are going to kill me. I am convinced i am going to be murdered and think abu. I constantly imagine what my death will be like, what the death of others will be like. I imagine what it would be like to die or to kill someone else and have a recurring daydream about waking up in the mortuary with a Y incision carved across my torso.

I suffer periods of massive anxiety, where i find it very difficult to be in social situations. It can make me come across as very ignorant, when in reality i am probably trying desperately to think of something to talk about. I also find it difficult to leave the house and when i am out and about i am very VERY self aware (why are they looking at me? Oh god they are staring and probably thinking *insert negativity here* and i am just too strange to be out here).

I don’t think i am a likeable person, which is why i have a non existent social life and no current friendships. I’m not good enough. It doesn’t help that I am convinced certain people can hear my thoughts.

Normal people daydream. I completely lose touch with reality for periods of time and “vanish” into a different world.

Despite all of the above, 3 separate breakdowns, a long list of additional symptoms and a serious attempt to end my own life (Which not only did lie to you all about, it was also brushed off as a “cry for help”), i was dismissed by the Norfolk & Waveney MH team when I needed them the most.

Mental Health is currently at the forefront of many minds, with BBC Three running their mental health season and many across social networks campaigning hard for awareness of mental health issues, better access to NHS MH services and to break down the stigma that we individuals face.

To help, I have joined Minds Like Ours (where I am an ambassador for mood disorders and forum moderator), a supportive community run by those with Mental Illnesses, all in various stages of our treatment. It was set up by Bex Walton (remember The Mental Health Struggle) who featured in Diaries of a broken mind, with the view to continue to raise the awareness generated by the show.

Since Minds Like Ours began only a fortnight ago, I have witnessed immense strength, great vulnerability and an amazing amount of support being received from a very large number of people, including Celebrities. However, I have also witnessed a shocking amount of stigma against those who featured in the BBC Three Mental Health season and also been on the receiving end of some very vicious and unnecessary verbal attacks.

This is what we are fighting for. We aren’t asking for the world, fame, fortune and to have everything handed to us. We are asking for basic support from the NHS, understanding and a little bit of compassion, three things which should be a given in our society.

The truth is we shouldn’t have to fight for any of this.

0

A matter of pride, A.K.A My Stubborn Nature

I haven’t written in a while, but it is nice to see you are still checking up on me :)

I have been busy enjoying the sunshine and time with my toddler before he begins nursery and I begin college in September.

Life has been rather more fulfilling recently, helping me remain stable. An acquaintance on an internet forum (when you live a life as lonely as my own , seeking solace from others online helps) recently questioned the validity of my condition, suggesting that I perhaps suffer from a seasonal affective disorder rather than something “more serious”.

For a time, this is something I have considered. Unfortunately, it is a mere coincidence that so called “traumatic events” happened in my life during the winter months and over my birthday. Apparently.

Further to that, life IS still lonely. I still have nowhere to go during the day and no one to see even if I did. Am I lonely because I am stubborn and unwilling to continue to forgive and forget? Or is it because I am afraid to answer the door to anyone and crap at communicating, something I used to be brilliant at?

I think I need another confidence boost before I can say I am ok.

P.s. Are you watching Diaries of a broken mind on BBC Three tomorrow? Interestingly, I was approached by the BBC myself to take park. I’m not sure if I am pleased I declined or not.

0

It all makes sense now

3 weeks ago i began exercising and dance again. It is said to benefit your mental health as well as your physical, and as much as i have read and even written about it myself i never had any motivation to try it until we moved into a bigger flat.

Once i got past that initial “wow i look like a complete dick sprawling and prancing around my living room while alone” feeling i started to get into it and it’s now become part of my daily routine. I actually feel worse and really quite crampy if i don’t break a sweat and feel the burn for half an hour. I’m more flexible, fitter and more motivated and determined in other areas of my life – i no longer feel like i am fighting a losing battle with any of my projects and don’t feel the need to impress the people that don’t really give a damn how their actions affect me. It’s like i’m finally succeeding at being me and doing all the things i’ve dreamt about for years.

Some days i wait until the afternoon to exercise – when my toddler happens to be awake. Has anyone else ever tried exercising with a small, hyperactive person in the room?

It goes a little something like this…..

…as lovingly demonstrated by the stickmen above.

And they say there is no excuse not to exercise.

0

It’s everything i am fighting for, so why did i shy away?

It’s no secret – I have spent the last few months setting up a website and generally “campaigning” to get the voice of the mentally unwell heard (no more sticking us in an institution and ignoring the problem!). You probably think that outside of the www, in “real life”, that i am a rather up front about mental health and if the subject comes up i tend to talk openly and answer anyones questions as accurately as i can.

If it catches me off guard though, i find myself trying to change the subject as quickly as possible which results in an incoherent ramble accented by short bouts of stuttering – highlighting the fact i’m rather embarrassed.

It happened for the first time yesterday. My husband casually dropped into conversation a time during my second major breakdown, in the very beginning, when he somehow ended up lost on a run. I ended up mumbling something about how unwell i had been as i tried to suppress memories of how horrible it felt to be the way i was.

This is something i think i would like to work on. I need to get back that little bit of confidence to say “yes, i WAS in that awful place last year, but i am NOT ashamed of it”.

0

Keep pushing me & I will eventually break your face

We moved back to the city only 4 days ago, and I have been busier in the last week than i have in the last three months. I have missed feeling as free (finding your wings again, according to my big sister) as i have in the last few weeks and as i do right now. I have taken up old hobbies, continued with new ones and grabbed life by the short and hairies with no intention of ever letting go.

However, with freedom and a reforming personality comes some form of resistance. I have noticed lately that i am being very subtly pulled up on some of the actions, comments and choices i make. I’m not entirely sure why – it’s not like these actions are dissimilar to how i have behaved in the past and this part of my personality never really changed. Yet these attempts to control what i do and who i am still exist.

Here is a little advice for you. You are not my husband, my parent, my sister or someone i would ever consider taking this passive-aggressive advice from. It’s not my behaviour that’s inappropriate, its yours. You’re not as subtle as you think you are, clearly. I also don’t believe for a second that it is out of “concern”. It goes deeper than that. This is your problem. Stop trying to control who i am, because if you keep pushing me…

This is my time and i’m not going to let anyone blow it for me.

Other things i’ve learned this week

  1. Don’t wait around for life to arrange itself. You can’t rely on it to come to you.
  2. Don’t let others make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about who you are and how you behave
  3. Never take a 21 month old on a train journey without an abundance of snacks, toys and as much Peppa Pig as your Smartphone can handle.
Ciao!
0

Moving along

The move and unpack is done. I think it’s a new record for us, taking into consideration our child, 4 years of accumulating various belongings and the fact that we couldn’t be more disorganised between us if we tried.

I feel so much better already, just being back in the city. Prior to unpacking, me and bean sprout went for a walk to the local shops. It was busy and there were people everywhere. There was life. There IS life. I’ve never been so happy to be woken up by lorries rolling past in the middle of the night. I was “better” anyway, but being here has topped it off.

I found myself feeling a touch emotional half way through the move. We are leaving behind our first family home and, although I spent most of the last couple of years feeling unwell, we have a lot of amazing memories in that little house.

One door closes and another opens. Although in this case, a thousand doors open.