Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Bin bags and Monsters

** Disclaimer: Trigger warnings for mental health and suicide. I am not a medical/mental health professional. These are my own personal experiences and thoughts and should not be taken as gospel (great advice for anything that comes out of my mouth, tbh). **

Three weeks ago today it was my mum’s birthday. She was 51. She doesn’t look 51, not that it would matter if she did. But she doesn’t. Just as I don’t look like my mental health is so fragile that I nearly killed myself on my mum’s 51st birthday.

The night before, I’d argued with my boyfriend. I can’t remember what about. It doesn’t matter, it never matters. He said something, my brain took the words and morphed them into something new, something horrible, and the switch flicked to turn me into a monster. I shouted, I screamed, I said nasty things. 

Again.

Because it’s the same every time.

I went to bed early and cried until stupid o’clock.

Again.

Because it’s the same every time.

The next morning, I couldn’t get up for work. I couldn’t do anything. Something was different, I hadn’t felt *this* bad before. This time it wasn’t the same. I stared at my mum’s birthday card and didn’t care. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want to wash. I did though. I got dressed, I smeared my face in make-up, I brushed my hair. I looked the part, the part of a functioning human being. But I couldn’t see. Nothing was in focus and all I could hear was white noise, and my breathing. I was so disgustingly aware of my breathing. I hated it. It was exhausting, it was all encompassing. My breathing was smothering me.

I planned in detail how I was going to escape from work later and do something really, really stupid.

There’s something comforting about being at ‘rock bottom’. Everything stops. Everything is still. You’re there. You’ve fallen so far down that you’re unaware of any life carrying on around you and there is no more dragging down. You know when you’ve hit it.

But when I hit it, the floor wasn’t hard. There was a bounce. And that bounce was me. It was my personality, my being, banging on a window desperate to be let back in. It was a short burst of electricity, like I was being shocked back into life. They say mental illness shouldn’t be treated any differently than physical, and I can believe that now. I was gripping on, I was semi-conscious, I wasn’t really there anymore. 

In that bounce, the little trapped me who had been banging on glass somewhere deep within my brain said, ‘I need to see the doctor.’ It was the tiniest voice, but it was there and it came out and that’s where my mum took me, on her 51st birthday.

The receptionists all looked at me like I was a three year old who had fallen off her bike. They weren’t sure what was going to happen next and were being extra nice and mumsy, saying everything was going to be okay but knowing full well that I could have a meltdown at any moment. That’s also the thing about being at ‘rock bottom’. It’s all inside. It was inside my head. There was nothing on the outside but stammering, staggering, and empty eyes. The meltdown had happened, you just couldn’t see it.

And that’s the most dangerous thing.

I nearly laughed when the doctor asked if I was suicidal. It seemed so stupid. Of course I was. Why wouldn’t I be? Why on earth would I want to be here? Feeling like that seemed so normal. I want to die. I want everything to be gone.

I know now that I didn’t want to die. In that moment, I wanted everything to go away but I didn’t want to kill myself. When the doctor said she wanted me to be taken to the psychiatric ward at A&E immediately, I panicked. This isn’t what I wanted. Was I really that bad? It was another electric shock, it was me punching through the glass I was trapped behind and screaming, 'NO, I WANT TO BE HERE.'

I told her I wouldn’t do it. I promised her. She told me I was in a very bad way, and I said I was just exhausted. So she wrote out a prescription for antidepressants and I was to go back in two days. 

It’s been three weeks now and I still find it tough knowing I’m on medication to function. I’m feeling better, but that sense of embarrassment and weakness is still there. But my best friend, God love her soul, said something that I’m holding on to: 

'These tablets do not change who you are, they help you become yourself again.'

She’s right. Some people need medication to stop physical pain so they can function normally, and I need medication for the same reason. 

I’m not okay now, everything hasn’t just fixed itself. I don’t expect it to, I don’t expect to suddenly act like nothing happened and life will be beautiful from now on. But I feel in control. And that’s important. My illnesses have been caught in a bin bag and shoved in the corner of my brain. They’re still there, and they still break out sometimes (bin bags are notoriously flimsy, after all), but they’re contained. And these tablets are soldiers, they’re guards who patrol my brain and keep an eye out for any runaway thoughts or feelings. 

There is always hope. Always. When you’re in the darkest pit and feel there’s no way out, there is always banging against glass. Listen for it. That is you. You are there, you have just been trapped by little monsters. 


My mum is 51 and I am nearly 22, and very much still alive.

Monday, 15 June 2015

There's a fly in my room. It's stupid and won't leave.

Oop. New layout. Fancy.

Ever since I wrote my last post, I’ve wanted to take it down. Edit it, break it apart and put it back together. But I don’t know whether that’s out of embarrassment, a feeling of failure/weakness/being pathetic, or whether it’s because I want order. I desperately want order and perfection and sense and logic and stability. I’m obsessed with it. I want meaning. If not for others, for myself. But I’m at the point now where I’m realising sometimes that’s not possible. I’m not okay with it, but I know life doesn’t work like that.

I’m struggling. Admitting it, right now. S t r u g g l i n g. I moved back home two weeks ago after three years at university and I am like a deer in headlights. And sure, I’m no different from any other graduand (that’s a real life word describing someone who has finished their degree but is yet to graduate, apparently ¯\_()_/¯). Unless you are sound in yourself, your career path, your surroundings, your opportunities (delete as applicable, just one would do), of course you’d be a deer in headlights. Hell, even if you ARE sound in yourself, your career path, etc, you can feel like a deer in headlights.  Life is fucking tough. This world is scary and mostly awful (if you need any pessimism, I have a lot to share around), and you can feel like and be the most independent little shit and still feel terrified about your future lying on just your shoulders now. No more fall back of education (if you’re not carrying on – and if you are, why, are you okay?) and knowing what’s coming next. I HAVE LITERALLY NO IDEA WHAT’S COMING NEXT, and no that doesn’t excite me, it terrifies me and has had me crying most days since I came home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just being dramatic about leaving the security and consistency of education. Well, I am. But I spent a lot of my last two years at my university’s medical centre or the hospital trying to work out some serious shit. It never got worked out. I won’t talk about it, I’m not ready to, and there’s a fucking lot to sift through. So I’m going to categorise it all. Do what I do best and lay it all out in sections. Then write about it. Maybe. If not for others, for myself. Yeah, I do want to help others who may have been through similar. I’d bloody love that, because I wish I had something like this to read when I didn’t have a fucking clue what was going on with me. But I’m tired of relying on others. I want to help myself. So I’m going to write it all here. Maybe when I’m smack bang in the middle of a ‘freak-out’, as I’ve labelled it to people, or maybe when I’m feeling alright and just want to get it out and write it down. I might even create a different page on here specifically for mental health. Because it’s important. It needs its own page, its own pedestal to shout from.

So I won’t delete last week’s post, and I won’t delete anything else. I know that I need to re-register with the doctor here at home and start again. That’s important. And I also know that maybe I should shut up about all this and not publicise it. Airing dirty laundry, or whatever they say.  But this is important and I care about my own health than others’ embarrassment, judgement and agendas. And if I'm honest, I just really want some support.

Anyway, I’m going to write about food next so you can all shut up and eat up.

Monday, 8 June 2015

White toast smothered in butter, please.

It’s 10:04 on Monday 8th June 2015 and I’ve just come round from 

come through the other side of

beaten

recovered from

about managed to stop shitting, being numb, my chest from feeling like an overweight, pregnant, giant elephant has set up camp on it, any adrenaline that’s actually left in my body from speeding around and punching parts of my body like an angry small child in the playground, and my mind and body from being in the most intense stand-off with each other since….well…since the last time I had a panic attack.

I don’t get them often. Anxiety attacks are my forté, my jam, my homeboy. They’re different. I know my anxiety attacks. I don’t know my panic attacks. They’re like the family members you see once a year, if that, who say, “Look at you! I haven’t seen you since you were THIS small!”, which is funny because panic attacks make you feel like the most small, fragile, muted, snotty little shit who just wants to cling on to your mum’s leg and run away from those family members who insist on invading your personal space and getting to know everything about you.

Is that a good metaphor? 

I’ve just finished an English degree, I should know. I should be good at them. I should just be good, I have a degree. That makes you good, doesn’t it? Isn't that how it works?

I had so many writing plans for when I moved out of Bournemouth and back home. I was going to dig out this blog, dust it down, give it a shake to wake it up, give it a makeover, and write so many brilliant posts. The big comeback! Jazz hands, my name in lights. I was going to plan them all, have some themes, a posting timetable, some main focuses, a logic to it all. I was going to feel wonderful again. Confident, and believe in myself. Determined. Okay. Just okay, really.

But panic attacks, and anxiety attacks, and any form of your mental health slipping off track, don’t abide by logic, or reason, or planning. Nor does this post. I’m tired of waiting to feel good, optimistic, calm, organised before I start writing again. It’s not going to happen. This will not go away. So here I am, sitting in bed and breathing normally, 352…353 words down.

I don’t know if it feels good or not.

I never liked planning anyway. 

I probably sound pretentious. I’ve already backspaced enough to make the arrow fade on the backspace key, because all I’m thinking is, “Sound like a twat”, “No one cares”, “Why are you bothering to blog, they’ll laugh at you”, “God you’re boring, change the tune”, “You’re no good at this anymore”.

Just realised I wrote that in the second person. I was going to change it, but no. Because that IS what it’s like. It’s not me thinking and saying those things, it’s something else. And that something else doesn’t exist. 

IT’S SO HARD TO WRITE ABOUT YOUR OWN ANXIETY.

AM I MAKING ANY SENSE?

Maybe I should have planned it.

I’ve written it now, so. Whatever. I did it, guys. I wrote something. I’m doing that thing again. Hooray.

This is how I’m feeling now, and that’s all that matters. Some truth. Something real. 

I want breakfast.
 
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