Sometimes Disney Just Gets It.

IMG_6614

I love (am borderline obsessed with) anything Disney so when I saw this excerpt from the book I couldn’t resist. Such a sweet message.


“Piglet?” said Pooh.

“Yes, Pooh?” said Piglet.

“Do you ever have days when everything feels… Not Very Okay At All? And sometimes you don’t even know why you feel Not Very Okay At All, you just know that you do.”

Piglet nodded his head sagely.

“Oh, yes,” said Piglet, “I definitely have those days.”

“Really?” said Pooh in surprise, “I would have never thought that. You always seem so happy and like you have got everything in life all sorted out.”

“Ah,” said Piglet, “Well here’s the thing. There are two things you need to know, Pooh. The first thing is that even those pigs and bears and people who seem to have got everything in life sorted out… they probably haven’t. Actually, everyone has days when they feel Not Very Okay At All. Some people are just better at hiding it than others.

And the second thing you need to know… is that it’s okay to feel Not Very Okay At All. It can be quite normal, in fact. And all you need to do, on those days when you feel Not Very Okay At All, is come and find me, and tell me. Don’t ever fee like you have to hide the fact you’re feeling Not Very Okay At All. Always come and tell me. Because I will always be there.”


Cue tears of happiness!

Back Again. In More Ways Than One.

IMG_6612

It has been a few weeks since I last wrote but I’m back again.

Back to the blog.

Back in hospital.

I found myself in a really dark place over the last few weeks; probably the darkest it has ever gotten. The depression and the anxiety and the self-harm and suicidal thoughts were constant and never-ending and I really didn’t think I could handle it much longer.

So I’m back in hospital. Back here to figure shit out and back here get support from my Psych and all the awesome nurses around me and back here to crawl my way out of the dark.

I’ve been here two weeks already with two to go and I’m not gonna lie, it’s been hard as hell. But I *think* (touch wood) I might just finally be getting there; I might finally see the pinprick of light up ahead. And I’m coming for it.

It’s All In Your Head Until It’s Not.

IMG_6358

Borderline Personality Disorder means I have a major fear of abandonment; the constant, reverberating thought of “people are going to leave me”. And I know this so I keep telling myself that it’s all in my head, that it’s my mental illness speaking, that it’s not reality.

Until suddenly you find everyone around you giving up and you realise that it’s not all in your head anymore, that it isn’t just your mental illness and it is becoming reality.

So what do you do then? Because I’d really like to know right about now.

If I Had To Choose One Word To Describe What Mental Illness Feels Like…

IMG_6357

If you asked me to choose one word to describe what mental illness feels like I could answer straight away. Having a mental illness can feel like a million different things all at once but there is one feeling above all that comes to mind.

Alone. 

When you have a mental illness you feel alone.

There are support groups with people in similar situations to you. There are Psychologists and Psychiatrists and other medical professionals to talk to and prescribe you medication and offer therapeutical solutions.There are the friends and family members who say they understand and support you.

But above all, despite this, you feel alone.

There are support groups where you may feel normal for an hour or two a week, but once you leave you’re back in the real world when you’re abnormal. Therapy is much harder to apply outside of the comfort of your therapist’s office and medication can only do so much. People may say they understand but they don’t. People who haven’t experienced mental illness have no idea.

It’s the type of alone that eats away at you slowly and painfully. The type of alone that is so immense it hurts. Sometimes it’s a dull ache and sometimes it’s so sharp it’s like a slap in the face. It’s not the good type of alone where you can relax and do what you want and know that other people are just in the room next door and you can end the feeling of alone whenever you want. It’s the type of alone where you literally feel like an astronaut lost in space, floating through a black abyss with no way out. It’s airless and crushing and a constant weight on you.

Having a mental illness is feeling so fucking alone all the fucking time.

 

Feeling Typical.

IMG_5918

 

Having BPD means I spend 99.9% of my life feeling like I don’t fit – not with my family, my friends, my community, not even in my own skin. Borderline Personality Disorder can be so isolating and even now, in 2018 it, continues to be one of the most misunderstood and mistreated mental illnesses.

I recently started Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) which is run as a two-and-a-half hour group once a week for about six months. I promise to write more on DBT and the different modules in my upcoming blogs (I know I said that a few blogs ago but I will get there), however I did want to touch on what has definitely been the most positive experience for me in DBT thus far.

I AM NOT ALONE. I AM NOT THE ODD ONE OUT. I’M NOT THE WEIRD ONE IN THE ROOM.

I literally come home from each session wanting to sing the above words at the top of my lungs. It’s such a refreshing feeling. Normally wherever I go (to work, out with friends, even at home with my partner) I’m the odd one out. The atypical in the typical. Everyone has issues and problems, but they all seem to handle them better, or have strong relationships to fall back on, or are at least able to exercise required restraint. Then there’s me.

My first session of DBT we were sharing experiences. Every single girl in that group spoke about the bad relationship they had with their Mum. Three quarters of the group had problems with Afterpay (definitely the devil when you have no impulse control and lack the ability to consider long term consequences) or credit cards or impulse shopping. Self-harm scars weren’t covered up – it was a 35 degree day and they were wearing short sleeve shirts and no one did a double take. Having out of control fights with their partners that included them throwing things and screaming at the top of their lungs and sobbing uncontrollably was the norm. Hospital admissions were aplenty.

For once I wasn’t the atypical one. I was just a typical one.

My biggest piece of advice out there for anyone experiencing BPD (or any other mental illness) is find a support group. Whether it’s group therapy like DBT, an online skills group or even a Facebook group – FIND YOUR PEOPLE. Because it’s absolutely one of the most refreshing feelings in the world to have people who see and feel the world the same way you do.

The Emotional Aftermath Of An Overdose.

 

IMG_5915

On Saturday I overdosed. Again. Not to kill myself, just for a “break”. BPD means I’m severely lacking in the impulse control department and therefore fail to think about the consequences. I’m all about “living in the moment” except not in the good way that phrase is normally used.

Since this is my sixth (give or take) overdose and the third one in which I’ve woken up in hospital hours and hours later with no idea what happened I’m getting pretty routine at the awesome (note: sarcasm) emotional tidal wave that follows. So let me take you on a little journey of the wide spectrum of emotions I experience after an overdose in an attempt to purge them from my system and maybe move on from my latest endeavour.

Confusion. This is pretty standard. The whole waking up with no idea what the time or day is and hours upon hours missing.

Realisation. The moment of clarity (well as much clarity as someone with a huge array of unneeded medication still running the final course through their body can have) when you remember what you did and work out where you are (if you’re lucky like I am, you’ll even have the same room in ICU as you did last time – this definitely helps move the realisation train along).

Uncomfortableness. Yes you’ll be physical uncomfortable – bruised and battered and muscles aching if you were shackled. But the emotional uncomfortableness is much worse. Because after realisation things come slowly back to you through your still fuzzy head. Flashes of things you said or did, remembrance of who may have witnessed this overdose. And that is fucking uncomfortable.

Embarrassment. Once again, pretty standard. After the uncomfortableness of remembering unpleasant thoughts pass you’re left to deal with the embarrassment you caused yourself in front of your family or friends or even the medical staff you’re probably never going to see again (or possibly will depending on how much you seek a little “break”).

Guilt. You’re now conscious enough to see other people in the hospital who are actually “sick”. Who aren’t there because they put themselves there like you did. This was all self-inflicted and you’re taking away valuable medical resources to treat something that was self-inflicted. If that’s not selfish than what is?

Shame. Guilt and shame go hand in hand. There’s the exasperated looks from nurses or doctors who don’t understand why you do the things you do. Even if it made perfect sense to you at the time in that moment, you can’t explain it now in a way that doesn’t convey how pathetic you are. The shame is one of the worst parts of the emotional tidal wave; the strongest point of impact where the water hits the surface with such force it’s like a roaring power unable to be contained.

Frustration. Frustration at yourself for doing what you did. Frustration at doctors who ask you why you did what you did and expect you to be able to give an answer they consider satisfactory. Frustration that no one will believe what you say. Frustration that despite being a functioning and contributing member of society outside of your mental health problems, in hospital you have nurses and doctors talking over or across you, disregarding and not even acknowledging what you say.

Anger. Anger that no one will listen. Anger at yourself that you didn’t do a better job. Anger that no one will allow you to be privy to your own course of treatment and your partner can find out more information in a single two minute phone call than you can after hours or begging nurses and staff.

Anxiety. There’s the anxiety of waiting to find out when you can leave the hospital. The anxious fear that accompanies your wait to see the negative consequences you’ve now inflicted upon yourself. The anger is gone and now you’re just a ball of anxiety waiting for the blows to come.

Depression. The final stage of the tidal wave. The remnants of water that trickles back to join the body of the ocean. Dark and deep and painful and so consuming that you’re right back to where you started, hungry for that “break” once again just to escape it for a little while.

It’s a never-ending cycle.

Lucky.

IMG_5728

Well, hello there. So it’s been about a month since my last blog. Since coming home from hospital things have been busy and hard and crazy and hard and… did I say hard? I’ve wanted to blog, but haven’t been in the headspace to do it. Nor have I had time – not with working full-time, weekly appointments with my psychologist and my psychiatrist and starting a weekly two-and-a-half-hour DBT course (which has been amazing – I’ll blog about this soon). It’s been really tough and I’ve found this past month one of the hardest ever. I don’t know if I feel ready to write about any of that stuff yet, however I did have a lightning strike of inspiration/motivation to blog tonight so I’m going to take advantage of it and write about something that’s been on my mind lately.

Alright. Let’s take it away.

If you’re someone who suffers from mental illness than I can guarantee you’ve heard this from someone (or lots of someones) before:

“You’re so lucky to have __________ (insert name of partner, family member, friend, etc. here).”

If you’re someone who suffers from mental illness than I can also guarantee you’ve never heard (or rarely heard) this from someone before:

“__________ (insert name of partner, family member, friend, etc. here) is so lucky to have you.”

It seems to be a fundamental fact that when someone is suffering from mental illness other people feel the need to remark how lucky they are for the people around them. I’m not saying this isn’t true and that I’m not grateful for those helping me through this – I am. However when you are struggling with mental illness there is a good chance your self-worth is at an all time low (i.e. non-exsistant). And having people constantly remind you how lucky you are for others and not that those people are lucky for you doesn’t do anything to help this.

“You’re so lucky your partner puts up with all of this from you.”

“You’re so lucky work doesn’t get mad about all the time you have off.”

“You’re so lucky to have me – no one else would let you pull the shit you pull and get away with it.”

“You’re so lucky to still have friends that care about you.”

These are all statements I’ve not just heard, but heard regularly; it’s an added bonus of having a mental illness. I am lucky. I can appreciate that. But you know what – all these people are lucky, too.

I work with children who have a disability. Even though I might feel flat and low, I go to work and smile and laugh and make their day more enjoyable. I come home and crash at four o’clock too exhausted to move because I’ve poured the small amount of energy I have into helping them. I could do the bare minimum and get away with it but I don’t because I care about every single one of them.

I never make eye contact with someone who I walk past in the shop and not smile at them. I tell everyone to have a nice day.

I force myself to take my dog walking even on days when all I want to do is hide under a blanket and sleep because I want to see him wagging his tail and I know a walk is the best thing in the world to him.

No matter how empty I may feel inside I see my friends and make jokes to make them smile. I might be struggling too much to want to talk, but I will spend over an hour on the phone to talk through my friend’s boyfriend drama and tell her how she’s way too good for him anyway.

I might be difficult to live with and have daily meltdowns and yoyo between loving and hating my partner and lack the motivation to do anything but curl up and distract myself with Netflix most nights. But I always make sure the house is perfect before he gets home from work even though I work full-time too, just because I want him to be able to come home and relax. I cook our dinner 90% of the time. I drive out of my way to the shops no matter how badly I want to get home to pick him up something he wants. I cuddle with him even when I’m feeling so emotionally sensitive that someone else’s touch is physically painful. I stay up late talking to him about things that make him happy even though I just want to be alone to try and reign in my thoughts enough to get some sleep that night.

Yes, I’m lucky to have these people. But these people are lucky to have me, too.

I’m a good person. I help others. I’m nice to everyone. I would never intentionally hurt someone. The world is lucky to have me.

Even though 99% of the time I hate myself and feel useless and worthless there is that 1%  of me that can sometimes realise that I’m not. And that people, that the world, are lucky to have me. And I think everyone needs to step back and realise that people with mental illness might be lucky for those that care about them, but all those people are just as lucky to have that person in their life, too.