I BELIEVED HIM

I write this fresh after my psychiatric reassessment experience. Only minutes away I was sat with him [and her who was sitting in to interject, if I went (for want of a better term), “bonkers”].

That was the conclusion of the two-parter- the psychiatric evaluation with some fresh meat….Fresh mental health doctor meat, with fresh eyes and less preconceptions and prejudgments.

How can I sum it up? Hmmm…..let me try.

It was tough, though much more relaxed than the first one. I didn’t have to tell him to stop talking this time! My tolerance (for him and the evaluation process) was higher, because I am now medicated appropriately on 100mg Pregabalin twice daily.

He was a nice doctor, with a heart- but my god did he talk! He talked and talked and talked, and I interrupted (in frustration a few times), and occasionally he’d ask me questions, but for the most part he talked, and he philosophised and he hypothesised, and he got caught up in his own elaborate descriptions and metaphors of what he believed were my issues, and what was happening emotionally for me which was affecting my mental state.

It will take a while for all of that content to percolate through my awareness, and for me to reflect on it further, but this post is my initial impression on the conversational exchange between us.

He made me cry today, but not in a “this man is a evil psychiatrist” way, more tears of resignation and overwhelm that no matter how many people I meet and how many times I think I am starting afresh, people form the same kind of opinions about me and my personality and mental health and where they believe I am going wrong.

He did a long monologue at one point (one of many!), and it made me weep. No matter how much I tried to blockade the newly forming tears by plugging the gaps with my tissue, they continued to drip drip drip out of my glassy eyes.

It wasn’t a monologue that I shall remember because it was unkind. Quite the opposite. It was a monologue that I shall remember because I know his words were absolutely dead right, truer than true, and compassionate and very kindly meant, though aching in the sadness of their truth.

Even though I have heard variations on the content of that monologue from several friends, mental health workers and colleagues, I think it finally worked and had a bit of an impact today- because I knew he sincerely meant what he said. I am used to the same mental health professionals and once I can predict them, I almost stop listening.

I need newness and novelty and fresh people and new and interesting conversations. Because with new people I think I sometimes believe them more, and their words therefore have a greater personal impact.

As a survivor of extreme childhood trauma/ abuse/ mind control/ brainwashing/ torture/ manipulation/coercion and cruelty, it remains difficult for me to take what people say on face value as being an accurate reflection of what they really think and feel. I am always skeptical and trust isn’t given on demand. People have to work a little to gain it first. The doctor worked so he gained my trust. He challenged me and I challenged him, so mutual respect and rapport developed.

Respect and rapport isn’t always 100%. I find the world threatening, and people even more so. I have complex-PTSD. Therefore I am hypersensitised to social danger. I am always assessing people’s faces very very closely. I am noticing the tiniest change in their body language, eye gaze, intensity of attention, facial expression, and so on, and this a skill I learned to do as a child who was physically, sexually, and emotionally hurt on a daily basis. I had to find ways to predict when the bad things would happen so I studied people closely. I think my motivation to study human psychology at school then university is definitely no coincidence.

I trusted he meant what he said because of the emphatic manner in which he delivered those messages. Wishy washy definitely doesn’t wash well with me. He had impact, and was quite mesmerising actually.

He said stuff I’ve heard but rarely believed, and he’d helped me believe it. All because I believed in him.

I won’t write what he said just now, as I want to keep it just for me a bit longer.

I think I will change. I just need to plan how the hell to do it!

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I am motivated to change, because I believed him, and in him- and in the truth he was trying to convince me of.

summerSHINES©

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PATHOLOGICAL PUSHING

I have done a lot of pondering lately. Being an introvert, I favour reflection just as much as action. I have been an introvert (so far this year) who has actioned far too many things than my comfort zone would usually allow. There just hasn’t been enough time to reflect. I’ve just been doing, and never stopping, instead of being. And after so long of this life strategy I realise that this wandering away from my natural personality orientation is not emotionally healthy. Pushing ourselves is good, in small doses, but if that pushing becomes pathological, and merely the best attempt we can muster at an escape from our inner demons, it is nothing short of a harmful addiction.

I am all in favour of striving, and it sure beats languishing in our limited comfort zones forever, festering in our own [bored as a corpse] juices. Striving is what allows the confines of our personality to stretch. New thinking patterns and helpful positive habits can develop. Outdated shit coping strategies can be pruned away, making way for newer better ones, but there is a danger to this strategy, and the danger is psychological BURNOUT.

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Burnout is not a phenomena exclusive to CEOs and city bankers. In fact, I’d say burnout is a very normal reaction that many types of people can have, if you repeatedly exhaust your capabilities as well as paying scant attention to your personal boundaries; crossing and re-crossing those invisible inner lines that should just not be crossed.

I see people in danger of burnout, and people have seen that possibility in me. But the problem is, when people point out that you are placing yourself under lots of pressure and might want to consider possibly slowing down, our natural reaction is ‘SHUT UP. WHAT DO YOU KNOW?! I KNOW ME BETTER THAN ANYONE DOES, SO WIND YOUR NECK IN!!’

The thing with burnout, is that it is not up to us to point out if we think someone is perhaps heading in that direction, because that will provoke defensiveness. Burnout is therefore only realised when we are actually in it, and suffering from it- in other words, we can only see the risk of burnout, when we are already well into burning out! Anything before that point, and we can just say, ‘it’s ok, nothing to worry about, we’re just a bit tired, this is nothing that a good night’s sleep won’t fix.’

But we only realise we are maybe burned out, when we are pretty fucking far into that process of being burned out. We only realise we are burned out, if all the sleep in the world won’t cure our tiredness. We only realise we are burned out, when things that would usually be enjoyable for us, cease to be enjoyable. We only realise we are burned out, when we notice we are consistently using avoidance as a coping strategy to get us through our day. We only realise we are burned out, when anxiety about our day tomorrow, keeps us awake at night, tonight and most nights. We only realise we are burned out, when we realise we are socially retreating and getting easily pissed off and provoked by others. We only realise we are burned out, when it is impossible to be patient, with anyone, or with any task, for any reason, at any time.

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I know I am burned out, and also very depressed with it. People don’t understand that when we are depressed, that term stands for DEEP REST. We become depressed, when our minds, bodies and souls require DEEP REST. Depression is a mechanism by which we retreat from everything except our own pain, and we just lose any ability to be active. Depression is caused by burnout, but depression is also nature’s cure for burnout. Because to be depressed gives us that DEEP REST that we NEED.

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Depression is shit. It hurts. But it is evolutionary in basis, and a universal reaction to burnout and pathological pushing.

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I know people who push to pathological levels, fuelled on by invisible and usually unacknowledged addiction. I very much include myself in that category, therefore there is no judgement intended, only a worry that those people will be ok, as well as a worry I will be ok.

I am a pathological pusher. That is why I went to a job interview last week and attended an important meeting, pushing my current suicidality aside as though it wasn’t even there in the first place. My pathological pushing has led to me having more blogs and pieces of writing published this year than I can count on two hands. My pathological pushing meant that this year I have raised an unknown and very credible/heathy amount of money for mental health charities. I have been to Westminster, written two cracking speeches, organised a 3 day charity event involving lots of people, made contributions to reports and important policies, been interviewed on telly, and by someone very important (nationally). I also ran a 5k then a 10k, have progressed with my healing from PTSD/BPD, and then had lots of fab ideas for my future too.

But I am depressed today, and stuck in a state of requiring DEE—P—REST.

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The burnout can only be remedied now by the restorativeness of a depressive episode, but you know what, this is nice pleasant restoration. This is clinical bloody depression! This is life spent, feeling shit, most of the time- and nothing at all budging the epic shitiness. This is my punishment, and the pay off, for all my pathological pushing this year.

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So the depression means that I just cannot keep pace with my prior schedule of pushing, and instead, I become reacquainted with the joy misery of doing virtually nothing, and still feeling EXHAUSTED.

I cannot tell you how tired I actually am. Because that would be a very tedious blog post, but trust me, I’m tired!

Nothing will seemingly cure my tiredness, but I know this is only a reaction to my pathological pushing.

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Where does that tendency to pathologically push originate from?

These are my reasons……(identified during periods of very clever previous psychological introspection.)

I was born to three significant type A role models (my dad and my two big brothers). they were CONSTANTLY busy OR ill because of their previous busyness, so they were what made me think that this kind of self-pushing and striving was important and desirable.

I was born to a dad with a perfectionistic/narcissistic personality, who was affectionate conditionally, rather than unconditionally. His message to me and all his kids was…. ‘you only matter if you are impressing people, and if you don’t impress, you may as well accept you are an utterly USELESS human being who should possibly probably be shot for your ineffectiveness’.

I was born to a dad who…….yada yada.

I got all this from my abusive dad (and my repressed mum who just did what he wanted to keep the peace).

So if I know this unhelpful behaviour is all down to him and his influence, (as well as the influence of other key family members), why on earth can’t I just restore myself to factory settings, and delete my previous unhelpful conditioning?

Why can’t I just realise that pathological pushing leads to burnout?? ….and burnout leads to depression….and depression is SHIT.

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Why is that tremendously insightful insight, generated by perceptive self-analysis [due to tons of therapy] not enough?!

Feel free to tell me in the comments section, as I have no idea myself!

summerSHINES©

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MUTE THE NOISE

Tears are flowing as I type.

They have flowed all day.

Excessive tearfulness is one symptom of depression. I demonstrate many others.

I scare so easily too, and right now I am scared ALL THE TIME.

I admit it. This shit hole of a current existance is depression.

I am used to low mood, but the low mood usually lifts and my moods are variable and mercurial and I enjoy the ups and well as the downs. Lately my mood has not been variable. My mood has been stuck, in a bad place.

Someone please hold me hand until this passes. I need to make my way out of this alive.

Today I spent a considerable time contemplating an overdose, to the extent I told my husband of my (sketchy) plan.

To anyone who has not lived with serious mental illness, and BPD/PTSD, you will not understand me for saying I was considering this, and there is a likelihood you will negatively judge me for this. But it is not my job as a blogger to explain every damn detail of my symptomology and cope with the added prejudice of society.

So suspend your judgement, please.

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Stay positive? I am clinically depressed. Depression is an illness. I am currently very poorly with this add-on illness to my usual illnesses.

I have traits of BPD, the memory intrusions of PTSD, and right now, I am also majorly depressed.

I sat in the psychiatrist re-assessment appointment yesterday and I wondered how he couldn’t tell how depressed I was. Sure I was there, sporting a face full of makeup and smart clothing. I was smiling and laughing when it was appropriate to do so. I was highly intelligent, so he told me, and very finely tuned, aware of others and also my own internal states. The veneer was polished, my introspective abilities and ability to articulate myself emotionally was well developed, and I suspect he was very much taken in by that.

I am going to increase my dosage of my meds and he agreed that, but despite my ability to articulate myself fairly clearly I don’t know if I fully got across to him just how desperate I currently feel- in fact, I know I didn’t. Too concentrated I was on explaining my whole psychiatric history and ticking all the ‘good patient’ boxes, that I neglected to tell him about the extent of my current suicidality and hopelessness.

There was no time for me to explain my pain. My pain was put on the shelf, while he did his psychiatric thing.

I pressed my body as far back in the chair as it would go as time went on, to escape the incessant questioning and probing onslaught from him.

I said to him, “You must stop talking. Every single word you are saying is hurting my mind!”

So he shut up.

I silenced him, because the noise in my mind was deafening. But I couldn’t tell him that, as I was just trying to find some silence so I could become grounded once again.

The voices in my head were competing with his voice, as well as the inner commentary going on that originated from me and only me. His extra added noise was too noisy.

It is LOUD inside my mind, so to have questions repeatedly fired at me felt like someone throwing fireworks straight at my face, over and over.

My psychologist sat in the room to relax me. My difficulty with psychiatrists is well documented, as if my ability to make complaints. I need comforting presences there to soothe me. I also need people who are semi-objective and detached to provide some perspective when my emotional reasoning threatens to cloud my judgement and perceptions.

I got a doctor to shut up. Go me! I got a doctor to accept they are not perfect and sometime make mistakes. Go me! He even went and made me a coffee, just the way I like it, so I could sip it for the remainder of the mental health encounter to calm down so I could leave the appointment in a reasonably ok state. Go me.

That was good service from a NHS psychiatrist. I was impressed.

But I let him down I guess because I held a lot back. I held it all back, because of the pressure of being psychiatrically evaluated. We were unable to complete the full assessment due to me becoming overloaded and mentally shut down, so I will see him once more.

What I’ve done today is let it all out, every last drop of repressed emotion I have been harbouring yesterday and every other day.

It was released in my plentiful tears.

I have cried and cried and cried, and then cried some more.

I have cried alone. I have cried with my husband. I have cried in the arms of my children.

I had to tell them all that I have become poorly again with depression and that hopefully the increased tablets will help me to feel more like myself again soon and that I will get all the help I need from the doctor and my therapist.

The gorgeous creatures, (otherwise known as my children) know I had a disappointment yesterday. [I was knocked back for an important charity role I’d been interviewed for and really wanted to get.] Knock backs hurt. Knock backs make you question everything about yourself, or at least that’s the effect they have on me. Knock backs make me feel inferior, like I’ve missed the mark. Knock backs threaten my psyche and self esteem and muddy my shine.

I was born with a thin emotional skin. The personality factory had evidently run out of thick skins whenever it was that I was allocated mine.

I was maybe born during a national thick skin shortage?

The emotional skin I have is CRAP. I am highly sensitive.

Having skin as translucent and fragile as mine means knocks feel like dramatic body blows.

I’m out for the count. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.

Stuck in my mind.

Deafened by the din that only I can hear.

The only clarity I have is that I have realised how depressed I truly am.

It is getting to the point where I have two choices. Hurt myself, as an outer expression of my inner pain, or fight for my life and my future.

I am still deciding.

Just let me lie here a while. I need to seek some silence to calm me.

There is no shame in tears as they are only washing me clean.

I want to find clean.

I need quiet.

In silence I hope I will find the answers I will seek.

Please someone- just mute the noise.

summerSHINES©

This song is what I’ve listened to on repeat over and over. I’ve lost myself in it…a beautiful song. X

(HAPPY?) ANNIVERSARY

Anniversary is a word that can have positive or negative connotations when we hear it, dependent on how anniversaries generally are experienced for you, with your personal/life history and how anniversaries have worked out. 

Anniversaries (of the marital kind) can be joyful affairs  (if it’s your first one and you’re still enthusiastic about the state of your marriage, and neither of you have had an affair 😛), or they can be joyless, or even worse than that- joy sucking or joy diminishing. 

The joy diminishing anniversary may be experienced if you are newly divorced (or not newly, but very unhappily) divorced, OR, if you HATE your spouse and are no longer together, your wedding anniversary might morph into joyful once more! simply because you’re so relieved not to be with each other anymore!

Today is a significant anniversary for me. I am not divorced (happily or otherwise), and equally I don’t hate my husband. In actual fact I love him deeply and he loves me, and together we share a bond very meaningful and very special and close, so surely today is a happy day, yes?

Well…..no. Sadly it isn’t.

Anniversaries of any description can be incredibly sad days. They can be very much about what you’ve lost, just as much as what you still have. Anniversaries can be vacant emotional black holes. We can soar down in mood as well as up. Or feelings can be entirely mixed and confused and jumbled up.

But that’s enough abstract generalising, this is what I’m feeling today, on my wedding anniversary…..

In short, I’m feeling very very sad and very very ill.
But it has absolutely nothing to do with my husband or marriage. That is good. That is happy. That is worthy of feeling many good things about. But I can’t access all that stuff which is usually there and all about him, because I’m busy processing my losses.

***This is where yesterday’s post writing stopped dead. Why?

I became dissociative. The switch happened inside my brain and I became a different younger part of me, because adult me couldn’t handle reality. Eventually I regained contact with me again and my usual adult identity, before getting knocked sideways again, noticing a surname change on a blocked list of people on Facebook I’d rather pretend didn’t exist.

A very close relative of mine got married. I wasn’t invited. This was someone I held in my arms when she was a newborn baby. I temporarily unblocked and saw a profile bride/groom photo of them. Their lives go on without my involvement or awareness of me. Just as I blog on here and do all my media stuff and writing and being mentally ill without them (to my knowledge) knowing this is what I spend my days doing and being. 

I thought of my parents….imagining they would look quite elderly now….wondering about all sorts of things….and crying quite a bit too, in the arms of my two gorgeous children. I explained why I was crying and they sympathised with the unfairness of my situation with my ex-family. They were lovely. Then after crying and more cuddles we watched telly together to distract. 

What an anniversary that was. Even worse by the end than when it started! It started off awful then, amazingly, got even worse!  

I have no joy, and finding out about the wedding stamped out any chance I have of being reacquainted with any joy soon. 

I have a warm glow knowing I am loved by my husband and children, but a deep aching sadness that I am not loved anymore by people who I thought used to love me and I loved myself. 

I think my love for them was far purer and truer than their love for me, otherwise they wouldn’t have done what they did, so it is my heart aching seeing that wedding photo on Facebook, not theirs.

Happy?? anniversary.



SummerSHINES 




DYING WHILE LIVING 

TW- **suicidal themes.
Living, for me, is all about dying. I cannot separate out thoughts of living from thoughts of dying. It’s just how I seem to be wired.

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This morning the seascape was perfect. Blue sky and sunshine burning through the hazy clouds. Today is the first time the blueness of the sky has been visually detectable as the coastal fret (sea mist) has obscured my clarity, both figuratively and literally. The breeze was blowing in from sea straight towards me, the lone figure walking her dogs on the sand. It was a pleasant breeze, refreshing, but not enough to require the administering of anti freeze. The waves were foamy and the ocean was gently roaring in it’s white noisy way. For once the beach was quiet. Tourist levels are starting to diminish. I am very much looking forward to having the place back to myself. Living where I do, there is something beautiful about the winter, because the people go back to where they’re from and Northumberland becomes a place I really can enjoy.

There is nowhere better if you ask me, especially in the north east, than Northumberland in winter.

The coldness and barrenness of a Northumberland winter allows me to repair myself. There is little need to speak to people, because there are so few people. That’s how I like it.

As a friend said on the phone the other day, Northumberland is the perfect place for a peaceful life, but I am agitating the natural peace by travelling down to London and Newcastle all the time in my effort to make it big.

Fuck big. Right now, I want small.

Right now I want narrow and dark and safe and snug.

I want NO bloody PRESSURE.

I want simplicity.

I want the autumn to end and the winter to begin, so I can do the necessary repair job I need to do on me and my soul and psyche.

Social media makes me want to vomit sometimes. The toxin levels build up and I begin to feel nauseous. Consumerism is another sickness inducing irritant. I rarely buy anything. My husband does all the buying. He puts the petrol in the car, does the Aldi shops, buys knick knacks for me and the girls and the dogs, and occasionally even himself. But I stay in my hidey hole of a home and I tread the sandy beaches and I gaze at the sand dunes and  I do laundry and wash dishes and message friends and organise clutter so it looks less cluttered and I get sucked into TV dramas and I think, ‘what the fuck is all this about?’ What the ACTUAL FUCK!

Why are we here?

Why am I here?

What am I doing?

Why am I mindlessly living?- is it an ok and acceptable thing to do, just because mostly everyone else is doing it too?

If I’m so fucking happy then why do I gaze out into the waves this morning and want to walk right into them and not stop walking? I have tried that before. I got scared. I walked back to shore. I thought my children needed me. I checked into hospital. But I am seriously incapable of looking out to the waves of costal Northumberland, without imagining my body being washed back to shore. Absolutely incapable.

I think of dying every day.

Doesn’t everybody???

No?

Is it really “just me”??

I’ve lived while dreaming of dying as long as I can remember! My autobiography starts with a chapter about my first suicide attempt. I was a pre-schooler! I didn’t label it a  suicide attempt, because I didn’t know what suicide was, or that suicidal is what wishing to be crushed under the wheels of a fast moving lorry was.

I wanted to do it (dying) even then.

I still want to do it (dying) now.

This morning I wanted to walk into those waves. I really did. I OFTEN do.

How can I continue to LIVE like this??

Is this what LIVING is? Wishing you were DYING?

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference what age you are, this is all I’ve ever known, transport me to heaven on suicide’s throne.

 

Foamy waves- take me in- is suicide human’s greatest sin?

 

Can’t write anymore- feel too sad- wanna die. It’s because of dad.

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summerSHINES©