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I entered a competition, want to vote??

Hey all!

I entered an art competition, for the first time in my life ūüėÄ

It’s aimed at people with mental health issues and is a ‘draw your demons’ competition. I drew how my psychosis feels.

If anybody would like to vote, or just see my picture, click this link —>¬†Demon of Psychosis

All votes are appreciated, thank you!

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Happy World Bipolar Day

Bipolar is a mood disorder characterised by periods of intense mood episodes.

Generally Bipolar mood swings last several months at a time, and rapid cycling Bipolar is characterised as someone who has 4 or more mood swings in one year. The idea that people with bipolar are constantly up and down, with moods changing many times a day, is generally untrue and more associated with other conditions, eg Borderline Personality Disorder.

The mood episodes caused by bipolar disorder are not ‘just’ feeling happy and sad, although that is a common mistake.

People with bipolar 2 have episodes of major depression and hypomania. People with Bipolar 1 have episodes of major depression, hypomania and mania.

Some people only experience mood episodes when they have experienced a ‘trigger’, whereas other people can recognise triggers that cause episodes, but are also hit out the blue. Common triggers for mood episodes are:

  • Late nights (eg. going out to a party)
  • Lack of sleep
  • Bright lights (eg shopping centres) or busy city centres
  • Chaotic life events, from losing a loved one to Christmas
  • Physical illness

What do these feel like, if they aren’t just being happy / sad?

Major Depression

This is far, far more than feeling sad. It’s having no energy to do anything, and spending days in bed because you can’t force yourself to get up, eat or shower. It’s feeling entirely hopeless, thinking there is nothing to live for, and everybody would be better off if you were dead.

It’s crying for hours every day, or feeling too empty and disconnected to cry, and so you just lie and stare up at the ceiling, wondering if you’re already dead.¬†

It’s planning how you would kill yourself, to the very last detail. It’s trying to kill yourself.

Hypomania

Hypomania is feeling a rush of energy, confidence, creativity and power. It’s thinking you are the best at everything, and that everything you think or say is amazing. It’s not sleeping for nights on end. It’s getting frustrated when people don’t agree with your outlandish ideas.

Some people experience a feeling of elation with hypomania, whilst others feel incredibly irritated. Hypomania often includes visible changes, such as talking super fast, darting from one subject to another, and being unable to sit still.

Mania

Mania is the same as hypomania, but cranked up.¬†People can usually continue a ‘normal’ routine with hypomania (eg. going shopping, to school, work etc), albeit with difficulty, but mania will smash that routine to pieces.

When I am manic, my sleep is reduced to practically nothing. I will sleep 3-4 hours a night, for weeks on end. My appetite will be non-existent, I can’t concentrate on anything for more than a few seconds at a time, and I’ll think all my ideas are genius. I’ll go on huge spending sprees (or would if my partner didn’t take control of spends!!), and instead of buying things I want / need, I’ll buy things that are most expensive. Before we knew how to deal with manic episodes, I would often leave us virtually penniless. I try get jobs, create my own business, sign up to university. Before I experienced psychosis outside of a mood episode, manic episodes were also when I would hallucinate.

Bipolar disorder is a very individualistic illness, it can vary so much from person to person.

Some people with bipolar experience a mood swing every few years, and are able to lead fairly ‘normal’ lives. Others swing from one episode to another, and are ravaged by the illness.

Treatment generally relies on medication, at least in the UK, although a two-pronged attack of medication and behavioural therapies works best. Medications range from mood stabilisers (including anti-epileptic drugs) to anti-psychotics and anti-depressants. There is controversy on whether or not ADs actually help those with bipolar.

Different medications work for different people, and all carry a range of potential side effects. For some people with treatment resistant bipolar disorder, they will try a vast number of medications with barely any improvement in their illness.

Bipolar disorder is an incredibly hard illness to live with, and today is dedicated to spreading awareness and smashing stigma.

Please excuse if this post is crappily written, I’m living off very minimal sleep for the past week, am full of cold and have had a rough day for seizures.

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Screwed up kids *trigger warning*

I was one of those kids that was obviously a little messed up.

I had my first suicide attempt at 10 years old; I tried to flush my head down a toilet. A teacher found me, and it was never mentioned again. I began self harming around the same time, and sustained injuries including a dislocated thumb whilst I was still at primary school and broken wrist at 13. I was totally unaware of the idea of self harm, cutting as a way to hurt etc.

I never had any confidence. I always thought I was a disappointment, I was excruciatingly shy, I hated my weight and began restricting my calorie intake whilst still at primary school.

My Grandad fought lung cancer for several years, and for a child I was too involved in his care. I was 11-13 years old, the responsibility was huge!

Around that time, I began restricting what I ate in earnest. I would go all day eating nothing, then binge mid-afternoon before anybody returned to the house. By sixteen I was eating under 200 calories Mon-Thurs, binging on Thursday, restricting below 500 up until Sunday, and then on Monday the cycle would repeat.

Compulsive exercising snuck up on me too; what started as ‘just walking home from school’ (a 45-60 minute walk) progressed to¬†hours of exercise every day. At my worst I was eating less than 500 calories a day and exercising for a minimum of four hours.

I lost close to 3 stone over a period of about 5 months, and I was slender to start with. Despite the obvious transformation and my clear struggle with food, my parents seemed oblivious, with my mum even feeding into my disordered thinking by complimenting me on my weight loss.

At fifteen my parents accidentally saw some self harm on my arm. I was lying on a bed and my pyjama sleeve had ridden up far enough to expose cuts. Instead of support, I was ridiculed and called ’emo’. That was one of the lowest points in my life.

At school teachers knew I was battling demons, but nobody did anything.

Throughout my teenage years I had¬†a dozen suicide attempts, wasted years starving my body, and was filled wityh despair, darkness, lonliness and self hatred. Shying away from family events, plans with friends, and instead holing myself up in my room thinking about how much I despised myself, how I’d be better off dead, and exercising crazily.

I received zero help until I was 19, when my boyfriend said I needed to go to the Dr’s as I had been suicidally depressed for several months. Despite my first suicide attempt being at 10 years old, I wasn’t pushed for help until 19.

When you’ve been dealing with mental illness so long, and since you were so young, you don’t realise a) how sick you are, or b) how ‘wrong’ your emtotions and thoughts are.

I didn’t realise that the depth of my despair wasn’t normal. I didn’t know most my peers didn’t feel this way.

The NHS is a shambles with MH support, and I basically never received adequate care. My bf has done more for my mental health than the NHS ever did. I still have extremely poor body image.¬†I still have periods of battling suicidal thoughts, I have unchecked bipolar,¬†I’m often overwhelmed with anxiety…and now I have psychosis and seizures thrown into the mix too!

But mentally, I am stronger. I feel better in myself.

Who knows if having support when younger would have helped me now -would I have been a fully functioning member of society? Idk. What I can tell you is that I would have loved someone to help me back then.

I would have loved someone to sit me down and say “look, you’re not okay. I know you need help and I’m going to make sure you get the help you deserve.”

I would have loved anything to make me feel less alone and scared.

It’s a crying shame that CAMHS (the children & adolescent MH services) are a sack of shit in the UK. We are doing a huge disservice to young people by brushing them aside when they are asking, crying, begging for help. How many adults are still battling such fierce demons because as children they were ignored?

It’s not enough to say that every childhood has rough bits, that every teenager goes through periods of being ‘sad’…that’s not okay.

  • Kids can have mental illnesses, kids can need support.
  • Teenagers can be lost in the darkness and need someone to guide them back to light.
  • Eating disorders are hell, no matter what your weight. Not everybody battling a severe ED is underweight!!

Everybody deserves to be listened to, and to be supported

That is a *huge* thing lacking in the NHS. They don’t want to listen, they want to wash their hands of you and move you along as quickly as possibly. You won’t feel heard, you won’t feel validated.

Hell, I had a GP appt last week to talk about my seizures. The GP let me say two sentences about them, said they didn’t sound like ‘typical’ seizures as I wasn’t convulsing on the floor (oh I’m sorry, have you never heard of simple / complex partial seizures?!) and told me I’d have to wait¬†9+ months to be seen by someone with knowledge about seizures…she blamed my MH entirely, and didn’t want anything to do with that.

We shouldn’t be ignoring these ‘broken’ kids…we should be reaching out to them and helping to glue them back together.

When I was a teenager, nobody knew where to turn for help – not me or my friends. They¬†were scared for me at various points, and desperately wanted an adult to help out – when I fainted due to not eating enough, when they saw my arm and it was laced with dozens and dozens of cuts, when I’d taken an over dose…they were frantic to help, but had no idea how. Who could they tell?

Not a teacher, who wasn’t approachable and would just tell my parents without trying to help me at all. Not my parents, who (at the time) reacted to everything with either ridicule or anger…where do you go? Who do you tell? What do you know at 13 / 14 / 15 years old?

There needs to be more understanding. More information. Mental health needs to be taken seriously. There needs to be adequate support and treatment for those struggling.

The world keeps talking about how much money is being poured into the NHS for mental health. Celebrities are all coming out saying they have depression, anxiety, bipolar, and there’s no need to hide it…but there is.

There is SO MUCH stigma in the world. People are disgusted by mental illnesses. People are scared by anything other than anxiety or depression. People think you are faking it. The NHS doesn’t want to help those suffering from mental illness; benefits won’t believe you need assistance¬†if you look physically well.

We need a huge overhaul here.

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Self-harm, suicidal and seizures, oh my…

Really, really shitty few days.

Seem to be having a mixed episode. This presents as not being able to sleep or concentrate at all, with the extra bonus of intense depression. W00t. Factor in several dozen seizures a day and I am struggling. Greatly.

Felt very unsafe these past few days. My partner was catching up with me on a walk yesterday and I almost jumped in front of a van. I wasn’t even really thinking about it, it was an impulsive urge that almost just happened.

I broke today. I couldn’t cope with the self hatred going round and round in my head. So I cried and cried and then I self-harmed. I think it’s only maybe the third time I’ve self-harmed this year.

Very grateful to my partner. Don’t deserve him, am an awful human.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day.

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Something to remember

I saw this today and found it immensely helpful, so reposting.

You are not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ if you:

  • Have low to no empathy
  • Have hyper empathy
  • Have a personality disorder
  • Have more than one person in your mind
  • Have scary / violent thoughts
  • Can’t take a shower or brush your teeth very often
  • Don’t have the energy to interact with people everyday
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Bad day turned good

Today has been bloody intense!!

I had seizures in the morning, and all day my psychosis has been terrible. On a dog walk passing through a quiet cul de sac I happened to see an old woman in her house sitting on an arm chair, and behind the woman I saw what I can only describe as a monster.

The monster looked human-ish; it was behind the arm chair leaning over the woman and muttering in her ear. It had really really long, skinny arms, a long neck, and very long pointed teeth. Obviously the woman couldn’t see it and was completely unaware of it whispering in her ear.

It was awful. I stopped walking and freaked out big time, I felt terrified.

I tried to do the ‘real or not real’ game with my partner, where I ask if he can see it and have to try and force myself to believe what he says, but it was extremely difficult.

At home was better. We had a puppy training class for my assistance dog in training this evening, which I really wasn’t in the mood for but we had to go as we’d already missed three weeks.

90 minutes before we had to set off I had another seizure, and fell asleep exhausted afterwards. My partner woke me up 15 minutes before we had to set off, and I felt awful – really nauseous and just horribly ill!

I almost cancelled, but in the end decided to push through it, and I ended up feeling much better within 15 minutes and our pup excelled at class – yay!

So, that was my day. I honestly think that’s one of the worst hallucinations I’ve had, up there with a child kneeling in the middle of the road as our friend was driving and another time a child stood covered in blood was standing next to the car window. Scary days…

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Migraines

My head is so sore lately.

It doesn’t take much at all to trigger a headache, and it doesn’t take much at all for it to lead into a migraine. My neck’s being a pain in the arse too, any time it even slightly aches, it decides to make a big deal out of it and cause a headache / migraine…me and my neck are arch enemies XD

My mood’s weird today. I’m not sure if maybe it’s not bipolar-related but actually seizure-related, and I’m just in for a tough day seizure wise.

I never knew seizures affected mood so much, but before certain seizures I either feel incredibly depressed or full of rage. So much rage I am scared I’m going to hurt myself (last time the urge to punch through glass was so strong I had to sit on my hands and bit my tongue until it bled) or my partner. After seizures my mood tends to be one of two ways – very sad and very teary, or completely off the walls energetic crazy. It is exactly like being manic, but it’s not mania, it’s just seizure after effects!

So it’s all really weird and confusing.

To say how many stressors there are at the moment though (new puppy, physical pain, seizures to deal with) I feel like we’re actually doing pretty good…no consistent suicidal urges for days, missing sleep but coping, dealing with seizures without wanting to curl into a ball under a duvet and never emerge ever again XD