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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MY [EMPTY] SELF

I’m bored of myself. Bored of my [empty] self. Bored of what I write.

I am really sorry my blog posts lately have been so uninspiring in tone. I feel actively and most passionately mundane, supressed, deflated, dull, pedestrian and un-shining.

The last time I was inspired was yesterday, which seems both not long ago while simultaneously VERY fucking long ago.

On Tuesday I wrote my piece for the local paper about mental health. I felt inspired then. I also felt proud yesterday when the charity CEO asked for my permission to share what I’d written with the team and when my social media idea was launched on world mental health day. But today, all that pride and gratefulness and positive feeling has drained away, and this is sadly the way it seems to go.

I cannot grasp hold of those amazing euphoric warm fuzzy feelings that I get and keep them.

They slip like sand through the hourglass with the passage of time…and not very much time elapses, usually.

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Emptiness is my ‘usual’.

I am feeling acutely aware of my unmet emotional needs just lately. I know why this is. It’s since the whole Facebook saga where I caught a glimpse of photos of a family wedding that I remained uninvited to and left out of.

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I saw evidence of their life going on, and I wondered why mine was not. That has made the inner emotional emptiness absolutely un-ignorable (I’m hoping that’s an actual word?!).

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Long-term therapy is what I need to get anything close to “well”, but as I can’t afford to pay for a therapist privately, I am reliant on my NHS psychologist not dropping me off her caseload too soon.

I said to her that therapy is okay and great and all that, but it is nothing like as nice as the warm fuzzy feeing that comes from having an attentive family; people who are there to stay and to love and support you as long as you need them. My therapist cannot maintain what she does for the rest of my life. She is here for a period of time that she will never ever tell me the proposed length of. I cannot know that I have a few more months, or a few more years or any kind of estimate. She simply refuses to do this.

She claims that I will not always need her, and I will naturally want to break away from her when the time comes. I tell her that is BOLLOCKS and will surely NEVER happen! I just can’t see it. I can’t envisage EVER feeling that her addition in my life is unnecessary or counterproductive or counter-therapeutic.

I am uncomfortably attached to a pretend mother figure who isn’t really my mum and never will be! and I know she isn’t really my mum, and she knows she isn’t really my mum, and we just basically play a weird dance of pretending that she is re-parenting me and teaching me psychological life lesson stuffs, and I go to the office weekly and have a good old cathartic cry, and then miss her inbetween so email her as I want to tell her psychologically relevant stuff that she MUST know that second, and then she finds me bloody intrusive and annoying (I would imagine) as I am eating into her time, and I know I’m eating into her time so feel awful and stupid and pathetic and demanding and fucking guilty, and then she knows and I know that the whole fucking shambolic mess of pretences and client-therapist exchanges would never be happening if I’d have had a less shit childhood, and at the end of the day it is all BOLLOCKS, but bollocks that if I didn’t have would cause me to become very fucking unwell, which is hard to imagine really isn’t it? as even with therapy and shit I am still fucking miserable and recurrently suicidal and fighting off impulses to do totes dangerous things like jump out of windows and carve into my skin with blades and swallow more tablets than I should be swallowing….and I really should be stopping this grammatically poor and overly LONG sentence NOW.

And breathe.

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I’m sick of having a empty space in my empty self.

I want to feel full.

Food doesn’t do it.

Booze doesn’t either.

Or sex.

Or Netflix on demand.

Or beach walks.

Or candle lit evenings with hubby.

Or meditation.

Or shopping.

Or writing.

Or drawing.

Or cleaning.

Or bleeding.

Or talking therapy.

Or coffee with good friends.

Or reading.

Or learning.

Or music.

Or nature.

Or hugs.

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Or praise.

Or reassurance.

Or expressions of love.

The only thing I’m full up with, is my own inner emptiness.

I am crammed full with emptiness, and weighed down by the weight of my (empty) self.

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summerSHINES©

 

DISSOCIATE DISSOCIATE

It’s time to untangle my thoughts and feelings, I think, after a bewildering few days. This morning was the head fuck shake, that is psychological therapy.

The headline news of the sesh today revolved around a very important and clinically significant fact. I have found out I wasn’t only of half the dose of anxiety meds that I thought I was taking for three weeks, but I’ve actually been on this incredibly low dose since MAY! [which, as now is October, is a jolly long time to be on what you know to be a very low dose of your meds].

It is disconcerting when your therapist lists things you have said and email exchanges that apparently have happened with your ex-psychiatrist that you seriously have no memory of ever happening.

The reason for this total amnesia, confusion and lack of ability to remain mentally present and attend to important details looks like it is dissociation.

Traumatised brains (like mine) are very liable to dissociative spells.

The lights are on, but mentally and cognitively speaking, no one is home.

Dissociation in simple terms is disconnection. Perceptions and sensations and all that incoming data are not processed in the usual ways, and you are left not feeling your usual self. Mild dissociation feels like daydreaming, and we all do it, but the type of dissociation I am talking about is more complex and pervasive and all encompassing/life destructive.

I mentally check out, and my attention funnels down into tiny separated elements. I cannot grasp the whole picture of something and the meaning of words. I hear words as separate words, but not hearing them as full sentences which are conveying meaning. It is perfectly possible for me (who is fairly academically bright) to listen to simple sentence and be absolutely unable to grasp their whole meaning until I have heard the sentence a few times.

Sometimes my brain gets overwhelmed and I can only listen to bits of words, or individual words. Sometimes people’s voices are far away, or other times they are booming and LOUD and make me want to crawl into dark nooks and crannies to hide from that sensory onslaught.

Sometimes when I read things I have to ask my husband to be the second reader, to grasp the whole message, but this has only happened at times when I am dissociated, which lately is extremely regular, and pretty much a key feature of my existence.

So, in this mentally/attentionally vacant and compromised state, I obviously had some email dialogue with my psychiatrist, which quickly tumbled out of my mind, never to be retrieved again, until now, when I am told I am apparently agreed this 50mg dose of anti-seizure drug, Pregabalin (Lyrica) all along!

This really disconcerts me. My actual words when I found this out via my psychologist were “are you FUCKING kidding me??!” [I was not in an eloquent mood today]. I was angry, and underlying my anger was anger at myself. It was not anger with them. It was anger that was self-directed, for my absolute THICKNESS at not recalling that this conversation/decision had apparently been made, all the way back in May, which feel like a lifetime ago.

No-one else but me would label myself as “thick”, and if someone else said it, I’d be hurt, but I can call myself thick, and I think that is more than okay because there is no other word in the English Language that I can think of (during times of emotion and surprise like that) that convey the full disgust and complete head-shaking regret that I feel, all associated with how my damn brain functions so much of the time.

Dissociation is a way to escape the inescapable. It is a brain shut down mechanism that enables people, and abused children especially, to survive the most terrifying and unimaginable traumatic horrors that can happen. Without dissociation, the terror in my childhood veins would have caused some kind of heart attack I’d imagine. That was how explosive my trauma felt to me, so naturally my brain numbed itself out, otherwise how on earth could I have survived in those awful circumstances, feeling pain as I did, and white knuckle fear.

Dissociation helped me, but now it hinders, because at the age of 36, my brain still does it! and it won’t stop doing it!

My brain will just not obey my orders, so the best way I could describe it is I sometimes have experiences that feel like early onset dementia, or MS or Parkinsons.

I feel old. So old.

I feel like a confused old lady instead of a savvy and smart 30-something mum of two.

I am ADAMANT that I had no knowledge of the psychiatrist instructing my GP to put me on 50mg Pregabalin, and they are adamant that (although I may not remember it), it did happen, so it is my memory that is at fault (due to dissociation), rather than them and how they communicated with me about medication options.

So I’m in a sitch where I’ve been on a shittily low dose of a drug since May, have had a very noticeable mental health relapse, stopped running, pulled back on volunteering, became suicidal, started self-harming again, and fell out with a few people, with the added mind pressure that I realise it is probably not someone else’s fault, but the fault truly lies within my own brain and how is dissociates.

If only I could exterminate exterminate the way my brain dissociates dissociates.

(I hope you are familiar with old episodes from the 1980’s of Dr Who, otherwise that reference will be totally lost on you)

That. my friends, is SHIT.

The shittiest pill I’ve attempted to swallow in a long time.

So basically, I have been on 50mg twice daily for months, thinking I was on double. Previously (at my ill-est and worsest, I took 200mg of lyrica three times a day, so being on only 100mg a day is very low for me, and was bound to destabilise me……… and it has.

So I start doing a bit of internet research earlier today about Pregabalin, only to find it is incredibly addictive, people easily become dependent on it, and it is a prescription drug that is commonly used for recreational use, (as the effect of it mimics the euphoria associated with opiates like heroin.)

I read that it is a drug that is incredibly difficult to come off, as the withdrawal effects are powerful, and bearing in mind I used to take 200mg of it, three times a day, (which is the maximum legal amount), 50mg twice a day was a significant drop.

“NO WONDER”, is the phrase that kept coming up.

No wonder you got so poorly.

No wonder you were edgy and depressed and irritable and self-harming and becoming increasingly hopeless and helpless and wanting your life to end.

You had drastically reduced a dose down of something that is (allegedly) as addictive as heroin. I am not going to get into debates with blog readers by the way about the specifics of this, or the various evidence for and against Pregabalin or other drugs. I will say that clearly in advance. All I know is I felt ill, because I was not getting my ‘fix’ of this drug.

I know now, with the benefit of hindsight and through observing my emotional state at different times, that when I am on Pregabalin my personality changes in a good way. I become mellow, and calm, and smiley, and protected by that euphoric feeling. I am friendlier, and more agreeable. The mood swings are not as erratic and I am more content to just ‘be’, and not be such a hypomanic hippo all the time with racing thoughts and agitation and insomnia etc.

My dissociation symptoms have worsened on this low dose of Pregabalin, without a doubt, because dissociation is a response to anxiety- so if we feel less threatened on a physiological level, it makes sense that we’d be less reactive to environmental stressors so there would be less need to mentally check out and space out and cognitively disconnect at times of high anxiety.

I changed from someone fairly oblivious and in my bubble (albeit a sedated one) of high dose Pregablin, to someone who was aware of every little detail and overwhelmed by it all; so at times when my senses became bombarded with incoming stimuli, I dissociated more and more, to the extent I had NO IDEA what pills I was taking.

I was so mentally foggy that for months I haven’t even had the cognitive ability to look at a packet and read the little numbers of it and take that information in.

I just see pills and I swallow them (only prescription ones, OBVS!).

That level of dissociative mindlessness is alarming to me. In truth, it’s been a big shake up for me.

I have sleepwalked through life, in a fog, and now I’m out of the fog and back on 100mg twice a day, I realise what’s been happening; all without me ever being aware.

I am taking now what my brain has been craving all the time, and I want more more more. I had already agreed (with my new psychiatrist) to try an increase to 150mg twice daily, possibly going up to 200mg twice a day, if I needed more.

But now I know the addictiveness of it and it’s similarity to providing effects that mimic heroin, I am thinking, yep, this drug sure makes me feel great, but do I really want to be addicted? and take it long-term?

I hate the thought of dependence and addiction on a prescription drug, but at the end of the day, Pregabalin is a literal life saver for me. I am suicidal and unstable without it. So if I want to be psychologically healthy, for me, Pregabalin is my best bet.

And the box it comes in also makes a very good top layer of a cardboard box (home-made) Egyptian pyramid! made for a school homework project! Here is a photo of it before my beautiful new dose of Pregabalin box was covered in tissue paper :D

I’m hooked, but I’m better on it, so this is what I’ll swallow.

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summerSHINES©

MENTAL ILLNESS. IN THE RAW.

Another email sent to my therapist- published to provide insight into the mind of someone who is emotionally poorly/in a suicidal and desperate state. So often things like this aren’t published, because of their rawness, and our fear that we will trigger or upset people who read it, but this is mental illness, for me, in the raw. TW**

 

“I feel clingy because I’m overwhelmed by my feelings, and I feel I need you, because they are too big for me to deal with alone.

I hate feeling I need you. Absolutely hate it. It’s a horrible feeling- a toxic sticky need.

I don’t know how I’m going to get through today. I honestly don’t know. I’m so daunted by the prospect of another day, feeling as I feel.

I want to cut my arms up. They are tingling all the time. My head feels inflated and my eyes are droopy.

I’m lying in a dark room alone (literally), and that’s a perfect metaphor for what living when you want to die is like.

I think I might end up doing something before long and taking some hurtful action. I want to today, except I don’t want to (for hubby’s sake). The need to act is getting stronger.

Do I ring the crisis team? Will they read out that pathetic WRAP plan that apparently I wrote? I cannot connect with what was written by that person who was me and now isn’t me. I don’t recognise her and who the hell she is, or was.

He will be taking the girls out to the fun fair, and doesn’t want me in a state when he gets back. But he will be gone hours, so the temptation is strong.

He says he’s taking the pills with him, and I’m too stupid to have had the foresight to hide some back for myself sooner. I’m so fucking THICK! I’m too dissociated to plan the action “quietly go and get stash” and walk there because walking is an effort and my brain is barely engaged. This is what I’m like all the time lately. Early onset dementia- trauma the cause.

I feel like that woman in the horror film who was bed ridden and bashed up her own legs with a mallet in frustration.

I can’t even plan my own demise effectively.

I was reading in a clinical psychology textbook yesterday all about suicide and parasuicide and self harm and the differences, and questions to ask to assess risk. It had a table with questions to probe different aspects of how a patient feels, and I was trying to answer the questions for myself, but just got confused because being my own psychologist is hard.

I don’t have access to lethal means, nor do I have a plan of everything to the last detail, because as I’ve already described my brain is absolutely fucked.

I knew today was a possibility, that something might happen with **** going out for several hours but I didn’t get tablets squirreled away yesterday which surely is evidence that I don’t truly want to make a suicide attempt? But I feel suicidal in my state of mind, and also unbalanced and longing to feel completely and utterly out of it and out of this.

I am confused, because the kids and **** don’t want me to do anything suicidal-esque, and I don’t either, in the sense that I don’t want to let them down, and I promised **** I wouldn’t. But if I’m not suicidal, why am I emailing you this email?

The psych. textbook said parasuicide and self harm is to elicit caring responses from clinicians, without genuine suicidal intent, which makes it sound incredibly manipulative doesn’t it. But I don’t think I’m wilfully manipulating anyone. I think I’m genuinely saying “please help me”; because living with a death wish and cravings to hurt my body and dull my brain with meds is very fucking uncomfortable- a painful way to live.

I think if I ring the crisis team saying I feel like this, but without having planned a stash of tablets ready, they will just laugh at me for wasting their time when there are people in “genuine mental health crisis”.

Apparently, according to the textbook, superficial cutting of wrists is attention seeking. Well, I’ve done that before, but didn’t feel I was seeking attention. I was doing it as a damage limitation strategy to satisfy my craving to hurt myself before it escalated.

I hate how people like me are perceived and how it feels to be unwell, but clever enough to realise that not everyone will be sympathetic and judgement free.

If I want to take a mallet to my legs and bash them in, or jump out of a window, or wander to the train track, or drown myself, or take hundreds of pills, but instead make some little cuts (that quickly heal) but are enough to make me feel sufficiently damaged and wounded on the outside, to partially reflect what’s going on on the inside, shouldn’t I be applauded for successfully de-scaling the damage?

I’m not challenging you personally, but as it was a textbook for clinical psychologists it concerns me, making me wonder how you/mental health services in general perceive me and others like me.

Not that it matters I guess.

Maybe I’m just trying to distract myself from my own desperation today.

I’m desperate, and this state of mind really fucking hurts.

I have my interview tomorrow. I emailed her saying I’d had a family upset but would be attending because this is important to me, but I have no idea how I’ll be interview ready, going by where I’m at right now today.

What a huge mess life is.

Hate this life. No clue how to cope with my feelings.

I desperately need therapy on Tuesday. How will I last out till then? With an interview inbetween now and then, and the need to impress? My mask will need to be firmly glued on if I’m to have any hope of landing that role.

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Life is excruciating right now.”

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Did you feel the desperation dripping through the cracks there? This illness is so painful. I cannot articulate how much I despise it. Today there is no living well, only living, and that in itself is impossibly difficult.

summerSHINES©

 

 

#2 OF 20. CRISIS.

Well, I did do a little sharpie scribble to mark today, but words are necessary too. I have messages to communicate across the interweb that require words. That’s because they’re important ideas. Visualise bubble writing saying “THIS IS IMPORTANT”.

Right, let’s begin.

Yesterday was day 1 of this….

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Note**I scratched out mental-ness this morning and replaced it with a more dignified ‘distress’, as mentalness is not a word I usually use. It was just a word I used, on one day, to convey my state of mind, which was very much NOT GOOD yesterday.

In short, I had a bad afternoon. I reached a state of mental health crisis. My illness overtook me, and I took steps to act to hurt myself, badly and permanently, but was stopped by my husband who put an immediate end to my actions.

 He blocked what I was doing, so I couldn’t and didn’t do it. I didn’t like him in that moment, because I wanted him to let me hurt myself. Needless to say he didn’t hold that same opinion.

He didn’t approve of my reckless impulsive act. It wasn’t planned and premeditated. If it was I would have waited till I were alone, but I behaved impulsively in the moment, and was stopped in my tracks by someone who loves me and wanted to keep me safe.

To say the atmosphere has been tense since then is an understatement.

That is the cost.

Another cost is friends.

This is because of a basic disconnect between what people in mental health crisis want and what people in crisis sometimes get when we say what just happened.

Why did I share with people what just nearly happened? The answer is there is no thought process involved, no careful weighing up of pros and cons. When I am in crisis I behave mindlessly, NOT mindfully. I have NO CLUE what I’m doing. I have NO CLUE how long it will last. I have NO CLUE how the fuck I’ll survive. I have NO CLUE how much my crisis may spoil or potentially sabotage my friendships with people.

The thing is, people don’t choose mental health crisis, just like people don’t opt in to cancer, diabetes, seizures, physical disabilities or heart attacks.

There is no tick list that we sign saying ‘If you are happy to reach a state of mental health emergency at some point in the future, please tick the box’.

There is no crisis consent form.

There is no planning of a mental health crisis in the diary, for the most opportune time.

Many suicidal acts are impulsive, done during the most brutally painful of moments, usually after a VERY LONG period of extreme distress.

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I am four weeks into my relapse. It all began with the Recovery College issue, and since then I have spiralled and spiralled.

Yesterday was my GO STRAIGHT TO JAIL, DO NOT COLLECT 200 POUNDS moment.

(The jail is in my head. No-one can see it. So when people can’t see or touch something they have trouble imagining it exists).

Here are some mental health crisis reactions and FAQ’s (typically asked, in my experience).

What happened to make you do that?

What meds are you taking?

When did you last see your psychiatrist?

What about your kids? Think about them.

You are SO LUCKY to have what you have.

 This is my response…….

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Also this…..mental health crisis is usually little to do with medication. If a crisis is because your meds have changed, most crisis experiencers will volunteer this information to you. If we don’t, it is because we know crisis is most usually not about incorrect meds/dosing. Usually as well, psychiatric meds alterations are precipitated by a decline in emotional/mental functioning, naturally moving you towards greater likelihood of crisis. Meds don’t always automatically cause suicidality. That is a common misconception.

Another common false belief is that if you are on the right magic medication (s) then mental health crisis will never happen. People think if only someone can find the perfect medication for them then you will never contemplate suicidal actions ever, or self-harm, or reach mental health emergency where you actually act to hurt yourself. This is a fallacy. Medications DO help. They really do, for some people. But people mistake the symptom reliever (the pill) as the causal factor, rather than understanding that sometimes there is no pill that can reverse the desire and behavioural act to try to die.

I am stable on medication that helps a lot and takes the edge off my MH symptoms, but the illness is the problem, not the symptom reliever (the pill), and no pill can make it all ok. If there were magic pills that could do that, everyone would be on them, including all the doctors out there that prescribe them.

I am on good meds that work for me, but suicidality is a key feature of my illness. Self-harm is also extremely likely (a maladaptive but short-term effective way to cope with the distress), regression into dissociative identities is a symptom which I used to get,  then it went, but now has come back with a vengeance, and my most severe and traumatic flashbacks directly cause mental health crisis.

This crisis happened because I have had a dissociative breakdown and fragmented into many separate identities. Strangly enough I didn’t choose to have a mental health breakdown, and equally I can’t choose an un-breakdown. There is no mental health equivalent of a reverse vasectomy. Once you’ve felt the snip of breakdown, you can’t be the person you were before your breakdown. That’s why it’s called break DOWN, and not break back UP if you choose.

As for the care team thing, I rang for help three times in ever increasing states of desperation explaining how poorly I was and there was LITERALLY nobody to speak to there apart from the bemused receptionists. So I did try and get help first.

I don’t have a psychiatrist, because I was doing too well to need one, pre-breakdown. I have asked repeatedly for extra support from the community mental health team in the last few weeks, and the best they can offer is a psychiatrist appointment in a months time.

And as for the kid issue, a word of advice DON’T GO THERE. Please refrain from comments reminding me about my children. For one minute THINK.

Do you honestly believe I don’t consider them everyday?

Do you honestly believe I don’t care about them?

Do you believe that focusing on how wonderful they are is enough to ameliorate and cancel out a mental illness?

This is where the differences between perceptions of physical and mental illnesses travel in different directions.

To someone who has just had a seizure, you don’t say, ‘how could that have happened, what about your children?’

To someone who has broken their spine in an accident and is paralysed, people don’t say ‘how could you have let that happen when it will affect your kids so much’.

To someone who has had a tumour appear, you don’t say ‘but what about your kids, think of them’.

NO BLAME IS ATTACHED TO PHYSICAL ILLNESSES.

But when your illness is psychological, caused by trauma that wasn’t my fault, the onus is on me to not be ill and not show symptoms.

For me, and many other people with serious mental illness, the propensity to self-harm and to consider and plan suicide (suicidal ideation) is a SYMPTOM of our illness. A symptom we are BLAMED for, JUDGED for, SCORNED for, DESPISED for, RESENTED for.

If you don’t resent the cancer sufferer, then please apply that same respect to me- the sufferer of a trauma-generated mental illness.

I’m fairly sure if the boot were on the other foot and it were you fighting impulses to badly hurt yourself, you wouldn’t want comments about your kids, as though you’d opted to not give a shit about the human beings you’d created and love and nurture daily. I’m fairly sure you’d just want someone you reached out to, to empathise with your extreme suffering and wish you well in your recovery from this crisis. You wouldn’t want to be reminded that your illness made you nearly act in a way that might have caused significant harm to the people you most love.

Separate ME from my ILNESS please. Understand that my illness and me are not the same thing; just as we say someone HAS cancer, not someone IS cancer.

Keep me out of this please.

This is not about morality. This is about uncontrollable and un-chosen CRISIS. This is a symptom of a real (though invisible) illness. Mental health crisis is as uncontrollable as a heart attack, a seizure, an ever-growing tumour.

It’s time to STOP judging the person having the mental health crisis and respond in the same sympathetic way you would if someone has had a heart attack, a seizure or the spontaneous growth of a tumour.

Change the record. Drop your blame and leave it at someone else’s door-not mine.

I do my absolute best to fight this. I don’t announce everytime I succeed at not self-harming when I want to, or every day I survive without attempting suicide. There are no medals for bravery doled out. But fucking hell, if you disclose a day when your mental illness got the better of you and you couldn’t stop your crisis, prepare for guilt trips and platitudes and bullshit in response.

I have to make it clear that it is not all people who reacted in this way….only a handful, and the majority of people who responded when I disclosed what happened were very loving, caring, supportive, without a hint of judgement, or emotive shit that will make my mental state and symptoms even worse. For those people, I appreciate you. For the others, please just THINK.

I cannot be me authentically. I am too honest. It hurts to be this honest. I must hide. That is the recurring lesson. Hide everything unmentionable and you’ll be OK because then you’ll be conforming and the status quo will be preserved.

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It isn’t OK to say, if your illness is a psychological rather than a physical one.

summerSHINES©

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