0

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.

2

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.

4

I’m a fucking idiot

**trigs for suicide and overdose stuff**

Whenever I’m having a hard time, it feels like my brain’s solution to make things better is to make everything worse…

It’s been like this for as long as I can remember – when I was at Primary school I remember (accidentally) banging my head and going to the dinner lady in tears, who sent me away because there was no mark…I then decided to bang my head repeatedly until it was bleeding, and go back and insist my head hurt.

When my parents used to yell about how lazy and disgusting I was, I would cut the word ‘ugly’ onto my arm so I could never forget what I was.

Any times I’m badly psychotic and having warped thoughts, or if we’ve just found out we have no money because I spent it all whilst manic, my brain leaps to suicide as a solution to all problems.

I am a fucking moron.

Yesterday was a really tough day – I mean I’m in a low episode, so of course every day’s a slog, but yesterday was really bad.

The icing on the cake was when our puppy flipped out in her crate after she’d been doing so well with crate training, and I fell off the deep end.

I became somewhat hysterical, I was full of panic and rage, and I lost touch with reality…my brain was also speeding at 100mph even though I’m nowhere near manic.

I ended up overdosing when my partner took our puppy to the toilet, and because I knew I didn’t have long I was chugging whatever I could…it was by no means a suicide attempt, more an ‘I need to cope somehow I feel absolutely terrible, quick overdose!’

My brain thought it would be a really good idea.

I didn’t take enough that we thought I needed hospital, but I’m annoyed because I haven’t had a substantial overdose in years…it’s something I’ve been trying so hard to avoid and I’ve done everything I can not to do it.

When I feel that intensely bad, and especially when I’ve lost touch with reality, I don’t have any coping mechanisms.

Listening to music, reading, walking, colouring and playing video games are all fine when I feel ‘pretty bad but not terrible’…but when I’m at my worst, they don’t touch the sides. In fact a lot of them make me feel angrier or lonelier.

And that’s when I struggle.

I struggle not to swallow pills, or self-harm, or break my wrist…and the worst thing is, if I fight off the urges and manage not to follow any of them, I know I’ll end up feeling suicidal and battling a suicide attempt instead. So I just don’t know what to do.

My damn brain 😦

First of all it fucks things up with these stupid mood swings, and then it fucks me up by insisting that in order to make this situation better, all I need to do is make it worse….

*sigh*

2

Ways I cope

With my last post being about self-harm, I thought I should talk about other ways I cope with shitty moods.

At some point most people will be advised by mental health professionals to do one / all of the following in order to cope with a variety of symptoms:

  • Colouring
  • Listen to music
  • Go for a walk
  • Socialise with friends
  • Exercise
  • Read
  • Do something crafty

While all those are nice ideas, professionals don’t seem to understand that when someone is feeling the worst they ever have…it’s impossible to do almost all of them, and the others are generally unhelpful. At least this is how it is for me.

The list of ‘ways to cope’ most social workers spew at me are helpful for when I’m not feeling that bad – probably a 3.5-4/10 on the mood scale – but any worse and they’re useless.

Today I wrote out lists of what activities might help me in various stages of ‘I feel like shit’

1st: I don’t feel too bad
~ colouring
~ reading
~ watch a movie
~ sit with a pet
~ eat junk food
~ watch my partner play a video game
~ bake
~ clean out a pet
~ draw
~ play a game

2nd = I feel Bad
~ blog
~draw
~ walk a dog
~ take a camera on a walk and snap photos of the world
~ listen to music
~ eat chocolate
~ look for random stuff on Pinterest

3rd =  I feel really bad
~ tickles (I love being tickled, it’s really calming for me, and I can also tickle myself)
~ read old blog posts
~ watch the fake jellyfish (see pic below)
~ listen to sad music
~ self-harm
~ see if Pinterest holds my interest

4th = This is the worst
~ self-harm
~ write out a list of my thoughts over and over and over (see pic below)
~ listen to sad music
~ just sit in the sensory corner and be

calm1

A little more about the sensory corner

This is a little corner of our little room where I have things to focus on / meddle with. When I’m at my worst I can’t concentrate on anything, so in this corner there’s a glitter lamp (like a lava lamp, but cheaper and filled with glitter!), one of those things you probably had as a kid where blobs run down a track, fake jellyfish that bob about in water, and a torch that projects dinosaurs onto the walls.

The torch is actually one of the most useful – not just because dinosaurs are cool, but because it provides something to fiddle with.

Most these products are targeted at very young children…but they can also work to soothe, distract and give me time to sort my head out. They’re great for focus. Sometimes they don’t work, sometimes they do. Worth a try.

calm

 

0

Hello old friend

**self-harm triggers, nothing graphic but treat yourselves gently**

Another really shit day today.

Had a moment on a walk with our youngest dog where I just tilted my head back, looked through the trees at the blue sky, and just enjoyed it. Gog asked what I was doing, and I said “Right now I feel like I’m actually enjoying this, so I’m making sure to remember it because I know it won’t last”.

It didn’t last, but it was nice right then, right there.

I self-harmed for the first time in a long time today, the last time I self-harmed was probably over a year ago.

I first self-harmed when I was about nine years old, and between ten and twenty I self-harmed fairly regularly…from banging my head against walls to cutting myself to breaking bones, I used it as a coping mechanism. Self-harm has never been an addictive or worrying behaviour for me, rather it’s a tool that – if I need it – I will use.

After about twenty I just didn’t seem to do it as much, maybe because around that age I started dating Gog…he’s a legend 🙂

I’ve never been particularly worried about my self-harm, and neither has Gog. He was scared by it at first, but over the years we’ve come to accept it for what it is – it’s helped us through some very tricky times.

Today I was filled with anger, alongside the low mood. I was literally trembling with rage, and I was getting really cross at Gog.

I’d say “I can’t do this anymore, this isn’t a life!” To which he’d respond “I know, you’re right”, and then I’d yell “Then how can you make me live?! This is mental torture!”

I spent several hours trying to work through it or find solutions…I tried colouring, listening to loud music, walking a dog, writing down how I feel, sitting with my rabbit, watching my new sensory things (I’ll post about these later), blogging, eating…nothing was helping at all. The anger was building and so was the desperation.

So I self-harmed.

I didn’t think it would help, the idea of it wasn’t comforting…then I did it and I feel so, SO much calmer. You cannot understand how much better I feel 🙂

I was at rock bottom…now I am not craving suicide, and I’m not hating the world. Am I depressed still? Oh yeah, everything is a huge struggle. But I am here, blogging, and I’m not crying with misery anymore.

A lot of people can’t understand self-harm. I know a lot of people who hurt themselves describe it as ‘an addiction’ – something that gets worse and they need to do it more and more. As I said, it’s never been like that for me. I will use it every now and then, when I need to, but it’s a last resort and I don’t mind it at all.

I’ve had friends and professionals tell me not to do it…most don’t listen to my explanations (I had one social worker that did, and then agreed for me it could be a useful coping mechanism), in fact they usually say “think of yourself in the future, having to hide your arm forever because of scars!”

Well, I’ve been doing that since I was 14 anyway! I learned early on that self-harming came with repercussions, namely never being able to wear short sleeves around anybody, no matter how hot the weather is.

I’ve managed that for a dozen years now and it’s fine – annoying, yes, but I can live with it.

It also helps that Gog is someone I am 100% comfortable with, and who I can wear short sleeves around. It’s nice to wear short sleeves sometimes 😉

10

Today is a bad day

Depression, anxiety and hopelessness are already being rated 10/10 on the mood chart today.

It’s one of *those* days, I feel like utter shit.

I need to be careful today, as I could easily risk an impulsive suicide attempt…I’m in a lot of distress, suicide looks good, but I want my suicide to be planned and gentle…whenever I impulsively try and kill myself it goes badly; obviously, I’ve never succeeded. Ha, weak joke.

I could self-harm to try ease any of this shit, but my self-harm urges are weird at the moment…I want to *really* hurt myself. Like breaking bones. Which would result in a hospital visit, a long recovery time, and being one-handed would make life harder for my partner and my dogs. So no.

I could go to A&E to see if they could / would help, but I can’t deal with having a bad experience or having to see Crisis Team.

I want this to end.

I. Just. Want. Help.

0

Why is loving someone you love so hard?

Something that I’m struggling with at the moment is showing those I *really* love (Gog) that I love them.

When I’m stable / happy I’m very loving…I don’t like saying “I love you” constantly, I try and save it for when I really really mean it (which is the complete opposite of Gog), but I’m hella affectionate. I like to be close, to cuddle, to play games together and really enjoy spending time with him.

And then there’s all the time I’m not stable, which is…well…all the time.

When I’m manic I’m very forgetful about being affectionate. There’s too much going on in my head and I can’t sit still long enough to hug anyone – I have to be on the go and thinking up new ideas all the time. If Gog tries to cuddle me I’m liable to squirm, shove him away or (depending on how irritable I am) fly into a rage.

Not good.

And then there’s when I’m in a depressive episode. I might find it easier to act loving towards him to begin with, but I also take everything out on him. I HATE this about me.

Whenever anything goes wrong I twist it and blame him, and if he does the slightest thing to annoy me I have a go at him…I don’t scream or yell, but I can be incredibly hurtful. I HATE IT.

As a depressive episode gets worse I find it harder and harder to communicate. Sometimes I will sit and stare at walls for hours, doing nothing, and when Gog tries to talk to me or involve me in something else I can’t. I’m literally stuck. I’m broken.

Usually when I’m low all my interactions with Gog are negative, even though I adore him. It’s not until he’s asleep or out on a dog walk that I really begin think about how much I love him, and how horrible I am to him, and then I sit in floods of tears and think how much I despise myself.

Other times I can’t talk, so am unable to tell him how grateful I am or how much I love him…it’s like as a teenager when I was really struggling and wouldn’t talk for days at a time. It was just too hard. It got to the point where teachers at school would find different ways to take the register or ask me questions without me answering verbally!

Sometimes when I’m struggling to talk I have things in my head that I really wish I could verbalise…things that could help lift my mood (eg. putting music on or cuddling our guinea pig) or that I would find helpful to talk about. But I can’t.

I just can’t speak. The words are locked inside and I can’t find a way to get them out…it’s like my body refuses to let me help itself.

We’ve tried ways to get around this.

We found a free programme online where you can type in a box and it will read the words aloud. Sometimes I’m able to write things in notebooks and have my partner read them. Sometimes I draw the words letter by letter in the air with my finger, or other times it’s like charades and I’ll act them out.

But most times I can’t communicate, I’m stuck. If I try reach for a notebook and pen, so I can write what I need, my body won’t co-operate. I physically can’t do it and we can’t find a way around it.

It feels stupid, it IS stupid, and I feel pathetic…but it still happens.

I have never loved anyone as much as I love my partner.

He is the most wonderful person you can imagine, and he tries so damn hard. I want to tell him how thankful I am that he loves me so much, and how lucky I am that he cares. I want to tell him I adore him and couldn’t live without him. I want to make him feel as important as he really is.

I want to do little things for him; cook him a meal, help out more around the house, but it’s so bloody hard when just dragging myself out of bed feels like climbing a mountain.

I need to do more.

Why is it so easy to be nasty to the people you love most?

I’ve never really known how to handle the rage or the hurt I feel in episodes. It always used to be long walks on my own or, more commonly, self-harm. I don’t fall back on that so much now, and I can’t go on long walks alone because it’s not safe…walking with someone else just isn’t the same, I end up talking to them and trying to be ‘normal’ instead of pondering.

Writing things out doesn’t help, doing something creative makes me feel worse, and reading / playing games doesn’t work either. When I’m feeling totally hateful I need something physical to get it out…punching walls, walking, banging my head against a wall.

I need to buy a punchbag…