anxiety · bipolar · bpd · depression · help · mental health · paranoia · poetry · stigma

No love lost

Another strangers eyes breaks my gaze,
hands slip up my leg without a phase.
Another strangers lips touch mine,
as our bodies start to intertwine.
To bed I bring hope and chance,
As we go about our midnight dance.
Yet in the morning I feel guilt and shame,
This stranger only knows my name.
He has not even glimpsed within,
their interests go no deeper than skin.
Romanced myself into another dream,
Fuelled by the drink is currently the theme!
Arrived feeling lost, left feeling void,
not even angry, not even annoyed.
Why is the only question? Why I exclaim!?
Don’t I wait for a love which is mine to proclaim.

5c49e9d3ab5100cc3315244b9df8ca70--jarek-kubicki-dark-love-art

anxiety · bipolar · bpd · depression · help · mental health · paranoia · schizophrenia · stigma · suicide

What a difference a day makes.

Suffering from mental health challenges can sometimes mean one day makes all the difference. One day life is full of hope and possibilities, next it’s a struggle to even get out of bed let alone through the whole day. relatedmedia

One moment you don’t have a care in the world, then in a matter of seconds these thoughts and memories creep into your head! Plaguing your mind and causing you to question the very meaning of life, or to remember every wrong thing you’ve ever done.

A film starts to play of all the worse moments of your life again and again on repeat. Your mind searching for a reason to justify this sudden overwhelming and suffocating emotional pain. Anger and adrenaline swells up from nowhere causing you to be mentally and physically exhausted without having done a thing.

Then the next day all gone… you’re just left having confused everyone including yourself. Consumed on and off with irrational thoughts and emotions often not knowing why or how. Constantly trying to think of reasons why you feel this way, or if feeling desperate even creating them.

An exhausting roller-coaster of not knowing what kind of day you’re going to have.

depression-rollercoaster

There’s a massive frustration that no matter how hard you try to be happy when this cloud envelopes your mind it’s so hard talking, moving, even getting out of bed can feel daunting. 
Did I do this to myself? Am I incapable of happiness? Questions that spin around and a feeling of guilt that while others battle these emotions due to events and life circumstances I battle it for none.

Why do you feel depressed? What has happened? What triggered this?
All questions that cannot be answered.

It’s just a waiting game.

So be patient with those who are trying to explain their mental health is getting them down as there is no telling what kind of day they are having.

anxiety · bipolar · bpd · charity · depression · help · mental health · stigma · support

Medication

Pills

Mental health and medication has always been an odd subject to approach, personally from a young age and including my teenage years I refused medication, not liking the idea of a pill changing the way I think and feel. I was suspicious of it and didn’t want to risk the long list of possible side effects which can come with taking medication.
However eventually I did end up on medication in my 20’s and I have been pretty lucky with the results as it has been a massive aid to helping me get myself and my life back on track after years of turbulent emotions and events in my life.

Medication prescribed for mental health reasons is referred to as ‘Psychiatric Medication’ which includes all drugs which can be prescribed to treat different types of mental health problems, or to reduce the symptoms.

The idea of taking this medication is not to cure the mental health problems the individual suffers from but to help reduce the symptoms of their diagnosis and help them cope better.
It’s also known to be combined with other types of therapy so taking medication and undergoing a type of talking therapy can work together very well hand in hand.
Ultimately it is down to each individual on what medication and treatment is best.

 

Stigma towards mental health medication  medication

As this medication is ultimately for the mind there is a fair amount of fear and stigma towards whether or not people should be taking this medication or relying on it to help with particular mental health symptoms.

One big fear is the side effects, like most medication it is possible to suffer from them but when taking any medication there is always a risk.

I for one suffered many side effects with trying contraceptive medication but then suffered barely any on roaccutane which was prescribed for my skin at the time.

Personally I think if your symptoms are so bad you are considering medication in the first place it’s worth the risk. But many have a bad history with side effects, so again it’s down to the individual and how they feel, and what they want to do at the end of the day.

55688Personal Experience

The first from of medication I accepted was anti-depressants (one I believe most people are fairly familiar with) I had got to a point where I really needed the help! Depression as in deep, dark, forever looming depression laid heavy on me daily, and I needed ALL the help I could get so I made a doctors appointment and started on a low dose.

This very quickly was made clear to me that it wasn’t working, the dose being far too low. Personally I was unsure of whether this was down to the doctors testing the ‘placebo’ effect at first but either way the dose was quickly increased and I started to feel a difference. It was by no means a miracle cure but the sting of depression was no where near as painful and with no noticeable side effects (which were bad enough to complain about) I was happy to stick to taking this medication which was advised to be taken for the foreseeable future.

A different medication I was not very aware of was prescribed to me within a mental day care centre after a series of many difficult ‘episodes’. Here I was given an antipsychotic, a drug I could barely pronounce and knew very little about. Avoiding reading the long list of side effects I was told by a psychiatric nurse which side effects to look out for and as I was very tuned into my ‘mental make-up’ at this point I was confident going forward on being able to notice if I was becoming worse.
Thankfully I was lucky it had a positive effect, I mean it dulled my senses, particularly my emotions which considering I have an emotional unstable disorder wasn’t bad at all!

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Alcohol however often made both of these drugs either not work or do the opposite of what they were supposed to do, encouraging my episodes to spiral put of control quickly. I mean technically you can drink on them but then again the amount I was drinking it was not a good idea at all and caused many problems moving forward.

Not drinking has made a massive difference to taking the medication and I hope to eventually come off the antipsychotic medication all together and take it slowly and monitor the anti-depressants. But I am not ashamed to say that I needed the help this medication gave me and if I have to remain on it then I’m grateful I have it as an option and if I feel strong enough to come off it then again I’m happy it helped me get to the point that I felt comfortable enough to do so.

anxiety · bipolar · bpd · depression · help · mental health · OCD · paranoia · reading · stigma · support

TRIGGER ALERT

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When I first started looking on the internet to discover others who battled similar mental health problems to me I would often come across a few blogs or articles with the words ‘trigger alert’ written in the title which always confused me as I wasn’t entirely sure of what exactly reading the context would ‘trigger’ in me.
In fact the word trigger itself is one I have come to detest as it reminds me of many a counselling/hospital/therapy session when I would explain my feelings and someone would ask the inevitable question, ‘What do you think triggered this event or these feelings?’ The answer to this question 95% of the time is unknown to me but there was always this image in my head of someone’s finger on the trigger of a gun, slowly applying pressure moment after moment until at some often random moment the trigger had been pulled too far back and would fire leaving nothing but destruction in its path.

Related imageI have come to realise this term ‘trigger’ has a different meaning for many in particular circumstances, for example reading an article on OCD while you yourself suffer from the same condition could trigger old feelings or habits and could ultimately cause you to take a turn for the worse.
Another example is someone who has been abused in the past and therefore suffers possibly from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) a particular situation or even words can cause flashbacks and doubts leading even the best intended advice to actually cause more damage than good.

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Triggers could be anything and what they may trigger in that person can be unknown to the person accidentally or intentionally pulling it. I know for me at least triggers are incredibly varied, and though I am still learning about them I am now aware of these triggers and try to avoid them or try to voice them better.


To better understand what I mean by triggering emotions in someone who suffers with mental health difficulties I have had someone describe their experience below…

Disclaimer -In no way am I trying to say that this is what people mean when they say these things. I guess I’m just trying to show that:

  1. a) in this situation this is how I translate them
  2. b) more generally to show how we all subconsciously translate, and more often than not misunderstand, what people to say to us.

In this case when it is related to a traumatic event, or maybe a strong emotion/experience, I think this is exaggerated as we interpret almost everything around us according to how we’re feeling, for example letting it reinforce feelings of low self-esteem or self-doubt. Even if the ‘translation’ may seem irrational, and may be completely fictitious, the response and effect still feels very real.

In sharing this it’s not to say that we should necessarily do or say anything differently, although I think we can all constantly be trying to do this, but just to try and show how a lot of the time what is said, and how someone interprets it, can be very different – and I guess maybe if we are all a bit more honest day to day about how what someone says might makes us feel/how we have interpreted it we can try and prevent the often painful effects of these misinterpretations on both sides – I think this is the basis of the need for ‘time to talk’ about mental health.

I guess this is almost like a CBT exercise or ‘mentalizing’, and for me I found it therapeutic to write this down as I often feel guilty when I unfairly respond to what are meant to be supportive words with upset or anger, but this anger comes from fear, frustration and pain.

 

What People Say What I hear
‘It could have been worse’ People have been through way worse than you have, you’re exaggerating your own experience and belittling others ‘real’ experiences in the process.
‘You’re safe now’ How can I know that, or you know that, or anyone ever know if they are safe? In my head when I am out, whether it’s dark and I’m alone (or it’s the middle of the day and I’m with other people) I am certain someone will attack me – I know it’s irrational and sounds completely ridiculous but I am convinced this will happen and I’m in permanent ‘alert mode’.
‘If you feel/act like a victim then they’ve won, they have the power’ Not only did they have the power over me when it happened, but they continue to have power over me now – at the time I was weak for not being able to stop it, and now I’m weaker for letting it affect me – I let myself be the victim.
A response to worrying people might not believe you – ‘It’s how it feels to you that’s important’ There is already a lot of self-doubt and stigma, I’m looking for someone to validate me and say objectively it wasn’t my fault and it shouldn’t have happened. For me when you say this it sounds like you’re saying ‘I don’t really believe you’ or ‘I think you’re exaggerating’ but I recognise that it’s affecting you. The onlookers who saw what was happening and didn’t do anything already made me question myself, and now I’m doing this even more.
‘You should find someone to talk to about it’ I’m trying, I want to talk to you about it, but I don’t know if you want to listen. I understand why and I’m also scared that I’ll misread your response anyway and feel worse/misunderstood afterwards. But I want to talk about the facts not how I feel, because talking about the facts reminds me that it happened and that it makes sense for me to feel this way, just feeling is too hard.
‘What’s wrong?’ Maybe it’s 2 weeks after it happened or 6 months, but for me it can feel like yesterday and you asking this question can make me feel really hurt like you’ve forgotten, while I literally can’t forget/stop thinking about it as hard as I try. It makes me feel invalidated like it’s silly that it’s ‘still bothering me’


A poem I have written on this subject…

Each word you say cuts me like a knife!

Can you not see how sharp your words are?

Honesty and good intentions are lost in this pain,

Hit me if you must just please stop with these words!

You may feel lighter letting these words escape,

But your gain only comes at my loss.

Two steps forwards and these words have sent me so far back!

They bring no comfort only confirm my nightmares,

They bring no release only throw me back to the start line.

Please stop speaking and take a look,

Look at what your words have done to me.

But even your sharpest words cannot cut as deep,

For my own words have cut me to the core.

I know you mean well but please no more words.

Just no more words.

anxiety · bipolar · depression · grief · mental health · news · PTSD · self image · stigma

Lily’s speak out!

Lily Allen

Lily Allen has been brave and come forward admitting she has bipolar disorder and has suffered from PTSD.

Lily Allen said on Twitter that she suffered from PTSD

It seems this came to light on Twitter when told by another user that he felt she had mental health illness, she replied: ‘I DO have mental health issues. Bi-polar, postnatal depression, and PTSD, does that make my opinion void?’

In regards to suffering from PTSD after losing her son six months into her pregnancy in 2010 she said…

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Lily, 31, has been well known for her erratic behavior, such as appearing to be drunk in public and making outspoken political interventions.

Admitting she suffers from bipolar disorder (once known as manic-depression) is a brave move as many do suffer from this illness and can experience extreme mood swings which can last for months.

The disorder, thought to affect one in 100 Britons, has received more attention in recent years after stars like actress Catherine Zeta-Jones admitted suffering with it.

The singer has also spoken about her postnatal depression following the births of her two young daughters, Ethel, five, and Marnie, four. 

Lily Collins

Lily Collins has spoken out about her battle with an eating disorder, she detailed the harrowing tale of her secret eating disorder in a frank and emotional interview.

Lily explained she gorged on ‘every type of junk food possible’, later forcing herself to throw up, causing her hair to fall out and her nails to become brittle.

‘My hair and nails became brittle. My throat burnt and my oesophagus ached.’ 

‘My period stopped for a couple of years. I was terrified I had ruined by chances of having kids.’

She has admitted to suffering from this disorder after being cast to star in the film ‘To The Bone’ about an anorexia patient.

Image result for lily collins to the bone

“It really felt like the the was universe saying, ‘This is either something you need to address yourself, or something you need to bring to new people. It’s a conversation that you need to help start among young people—males and females—because it is becoming more and more prevalent for both now.”

“It is just such a taboo topic that I think people avoid because people feel uncomfortable talking about it,” Collins said. “But the second that they do, anyone who knows someone or is going through it themselves feels less alone. And it’s really a beautiful result to have the film give.”

Celebrity or not coming forward and opening up about battling a mental health disorder is a tough decision and one which can make us feel very vulnerable.
That is why I applaud those especially in the public eye which have the pressure of thousands of eyes upon them speaking out to help stop the stigma and shed light on mental health through their personal experiences.

anxiety · bipolar · charity · depression · mental health · paranoia · poetry · stigma

Bipolar Disorder

Image result for what is bipolar

This is another mental health disorder that sometimes people can get mixed up with other illnesses such as BPD and other emotionally unstable or personality disorders.

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.

People with bipolar disorder have periods or episodes of:

  • depression – feeling very low and lethargic
  • mania – feeling very high and overactive (less severe mania is known as hypomania)

When it comes down to symptoms for bipolar disorder it depends very much so on what mood they are experiencing at the time… one episode can last up to several weeks and many may not experience feeling in a ‘normal’ mood very often.

Similar to depression the difference here is those low, suicidal or overwhelming feelings don’t come and go but often stay with you for a much longer period of time which can also lead to manic feelings or episodes.
These don’t always have to be negative emotions, during a manic phase you may feel very happy and have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas. You may spend large amounts of money on things you can’t afford and wouldn’t normally want.
In this case you may just believe the episode is more of a positive experience however, you may also experience symptoms of psychosis, where you see or hear things that aren’t there or become convinced of things that aren’t true.

The high and low phases of bipolar disorder are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.

bipolar-disorder-infographics-02

To discover more on different types of episodes click here

*One thing you will find in common with most if not all of these mental illnesses is they’re not excuses but explanations to how others deal with their emotions, or battle their thoughts daily. I’m not denying it’s tough to understand, but by at least trying to understand you open up a chance for someone who suffers with mental health to not feel ashamed or the need to hide and be embarrassed, you provide an opportunity to better communicate and understand one another.

Poem I’ve written…

Prison Cell

It hurts so much this heaviness inside,

Though I try to conceal it it’s too powerful to disguise.

It builds up the pressure which I know will at some point blow,

Yet I try and I try to let this pressure go.

Left in this prison I created, even threw away my own key,

Have forgotten how to get out, have forgotten feeling free.

Though love and help surrounds me on which I depend,

This guilt builds up inside me that my misery too they might befriend.

Then alone I shall not be in this prison cell,

As even those I love I would have dragged down in my own hell.

 

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