Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 21st

The 21st of march, this year a Friday, the start of the weekend, a night out , this Friday has so many different meanings for each person and that is the same for me. This Friday the 21st of March marks two years since I was discharged from hospital after spending 4 months in hospital and since that day I have not stepped back into hospital and have continued on my road to recovery.

To be honest when I got discharged I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared, happy, nervous, anxious and delighted. There were so many emotions going around in my head I didn’t know what to think however I can vividly recall the moment of relief as I stepped outside of the hospital for the last time, the last time I sat in the dining room, the last time I sat in the common room and the last time I talked to the nurses and doctors who without doubt saved my life, supported me and encouraged me to get on the road to recovery.

After being discharged I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I thought I might end up back in hospital within a couple of weeks, I thought I would  go back to my old ways, I thought I would struggle to adjust and settle back into my routine and I thought that my friends, my classmates and my community would look down on me, treat me as an outcast, be cautious around me and treat me differently. I was scared and at times I wanted to be back in hospital because that was where  I felt safe, I didn’t have to worry about people around me, I didn’t have to worry about school and I didn’t have to worry about getting back to reality. But despite my fears, despite my feelings of insecurity and despite my worries of relapse I made it, I stayed on the road to recovery and even though I have my bumps in the road I am still working hard to stay on my road to recovery.


Today I am like a new person, today I have achieved many things which can be considered a result of my experiences with a mental health issue. While I had a hard time in hospital, while I was in a very bad place in hospital and while I wanted to die and harm myself if it wasn’t for my time in hospital I would not have achieved the things I have achieved today. My experiences have led me to write this blog to show other people that there is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel, my experiences have led to me becoming a See Change ambassador and youth panel member and my experiences have led me to beginning a charitable initiative to help break stigma surrounding mental health. Without my hard times I would not have grown, without my hard times I would not have become who I am today and without my hard times I would not be as close as I am now to my family and friends. While at the time I went through hell as of yet it has done nothing but benefited me.

So on the off chance the doctors, nurses and all the other staff who treated and worked with me in hospital are reading this I want to say thank you, to my family and friends thank you, to my secondary school thank you and to everybody who has walked into my life, been non-judgemental encouraged and supported me to stay on recovery thank you! 


Monday, February 17, 2014

The monster in my life

Dazed and adrift I found myself consumed by the never ending negative thoughts of self-harming.

The idea of relief, begin able to breath and finally getting a break from the thoughts in my head are what I wish to achieve but does self-harming really do that? Yes it does, it allows me to relax, to breath and to have a clear head but of course there is always a negative. This relief, this break from my mind and this chance to breath is always short lived as once I begin to be free from my thoughts the urges and thoughts of self-harming come flooding back.

There feels like there is no escape, you begin to feel trapped and you are consumed with the idea of the positives which no matter how small self-harm can provide. It breaks you down bit by bit, ensuring you feel worthless, hopeless and isolated. It challenges any positive thoughts which you may have and ensures to capture any hopes you may have for the future and for overcoming your self-harm. It consumes every part of your life, affects your sleep, your appetite and you as a person but it goes further than just you.

It begins to work its way into the minds of your family. it destroys them as much as it destroys you, it causes worry, upset and fear that you may one day take your self-harm to far and unintentionally end your life. It makes your family and friends become cautious around you, watch what they say and wrap you in bubble wrap in order to ensure they are not responsible for any incidents of self-harm which may occur as a result of a conversation or spending time with a loved one.

Self-harm is like a twister, rushing in and breaking down your life, and the ones you love. It is like a drug, you crave it, desire it and will go to great lengths to ensure you get your next "fix" It begins with something small, just a scratch but it soon develops into something more, the cuts get deeper, the  amount blood is more, it takes longer to heal and the scars are larger.

While self-harm can provide immediate relief which can be seen as a positive the long term effect can have devastating effects. While right now it seems like a good thing its not, while this is the only way you know how to cope there are other ways, while you feel alone in your situation right now you're not and do you know how i know all this? I know because my self-harm got bigger and bigger, the effects began to become more negative and I watched as it destroyed both my friends and family.

I am now left with scars all over my body, scars which at times give me strength but at other times cause me to be judged, bullied and self-conscious. They have the power to control my actions, they have the power to decided my clothing choices and they have the power to decide if I will be accepted by society. While self-harm can give you relief it can destroy you, your family and cause you to be judged by society.

I have suffered from many years and I continue to suffer from this terrible addiction, while I now have more control over my self-harm I still suffer from the negative effects of self-harm. Don't make the same mistakes I have made, don't make that first cut reach out for some help, go online, talk to a family member, a friend, a teacher, a youth worker anybody who you feel comfortable talking to. Don't let self-harm into you're life, it will consume you and take over your life in next to no time. Don't destroy your body, cause hurt to yourself and allow self-harm into your life. There are other coping methods and they have more positive outcomes.

So should you feel that you want to harm yourself take a moment and ask yourself this question, Do I really want to let this monster into my life?

Should you be struggling contact Pieta House on 01-6010000


Monday, February 3, 2014

Dealing with a mental health issue

Around about four years ago I was diagnosed with depression and since then I have gone through years of treatment including psychotherapy and CBT as well as taking medication every day for almost three years. It took a while for me to come to terms with depression and it was not something, which I came to terms with over night, it took weeks for me to accept that I had depression. It challenged my thoughts, provided me with relief putting a name to my feelings, made me think about life and the way I was living and it made me realize there was a hole other world, the world of mental health.

Today I attended my weekly appointment with my community mental health key worker to discuss my new treatment plan. While learning about things they used in order to make my care plan something interesting arose. I was told I DO NOT HAVE DEPRESSION, you night think that I would be reveled that I do not have a mental illness but I was then informed that while not having an illness I have a mental health disorder and I actually have borderline personality disorder. Confused, lost, and shocked I could only manage to ask the question “So I don’t have depression?” No I do not have depression, I have borderline personality disorder. While I don’t have depression given the nature of BPD I have experienced depressive symptoms.

Right now as I am writing this I am losing my train of though because I don’t really know what to be thinking. I came to terms with having depression only to be told I do not have depression but BPD.So I wish I could have a point to this post but I really don’t, I a lot of personal stuff with my readers and so I felt I should do the same again. Keep an eye out for some post with information regarding BPD.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Taking ownership of my recovery

I have been told that now I am an adult I must take control of my own recovery, my own medication, my own appointments and basically take care of my own mental health unlike the way I child would look after their mental health, and so that is exactly what I have been doing.

  • I ensured I got an appointment with the adult mental health services after little was done by CAMHS to ensure my transfer was smooth, as a result of being told everything was taken care of it took four months until I found out this was not the case and another month trying to get an appointment. 
  • This followed with endless assessments being done by numerous staff members in the adult mental health services to allow them to develop a care plan, a care plan that I am waiting for still after at least a month.
  • When expressing my wishes to be reduced of my medication which was a factor for consideration since being a patient with child services I was turned down because it is not the right time according to the doctor but when will the time be right, is there ever a right time for something like this?

Will I ever come of my meds? Will I be able to come off my meds? So I do as the doctors and nurses ask, I remain on my meds, I work to continue preventing self harm, I have been honest in talking and telling them about any incidents of self harm and I have been working with the doctors and nurses but what do I get? I get told again and again that it is not the right time to come off my meds! How do the doctors know, there not in my head, living my life, dealing with my depression! Does my input regarding the right time to reduce my meds mean nothing? They say I need to stay on my meds because coming off them unsupervised can have negative effects so I remain honest and continue to take my medication as prescribed but that still seems to mean nothing. 

My cooperation, honesty and willingness to engage and work with the doctors and nurses all seems to amount to nothing, what do I get in return? I get treated in a way I can only describe as being treated like a child who does not have the ability to take ownership of its own recovery. I am trying to take ownership of my own recovery but how can I work towards a meaningful recovery when the professionals are not working with me, allowing me to try and reduce my meds and let me see for myself if it is not the right time to come off my meds.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Embracing Change!!

Something, which I struggle to deal with, is the idea of change. I hate change and would do anything to avoid it yet it is impossible to avoid change. However the certain aspects of your life, which you can control such as your style or your hair colour, are things, which I will never change, or so I thought.

In a bid to raise funds in behalf of Label Jars Not People I have decided I would embrace something which I hate, something I struggle to deal with and something which many people too struggle with, I have decided to embrace change and actively change something which I have control over in my life in the hopes of raising some much needed funds for our charity of the year, Console.

After some thought I have decided to dye my hair. What was originally meant to be my entire head soon went to parts of my hair as in my current situation with work and placement for college it is not practical to arrive with blue hair. So in a bid to follow through with my decision to dye my hair I have decided to dip dye my hair a number of different colours. The simple thoughts of dying my hair pink or blue even just the end scare the hell out of me and has me shivering thinking about it but it is something which I need to do to be able to help others as well as myself.

So the plan for this fundraising is as follows:

  • Once we have received ten donations from people through the Label Jars Not People pay pal account I will dye my hair.
  • I will dip dye my hair with 3-6 different hair colours such as red, blue, orange, pink, purple etc.
  • The process of my hair being dyed will be recorded and uploaded to our Facebook page to encourage others to donate to Label Jars Not People and to make people aware of how challenging something like this is for me.
So while I am scared, nervous, unsure and anxious about doing this I am taking a huge leap out of my comfort zone, I am going to expose myself to something which I have never even thought of before and I am hopefully going to help generate funds for Console through Label Jars Not People.

If you would like to donate please do so through our paypal account by logging onto paypal and make a payment to labelsareforjarsnotpeople@gmail.com

Or contact us directly through Facebook, Twitter or by email.

And most importantly just remember a little goes a long way!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I am a survivor


Have you ever noticed that only people with physical illnesses are seen as survivors?

Have you ever noticed that if you survive a serious operation which could potentially end your life you are considered a survivor or if you are in a near fatal accident and live to tell the tale you are a survivor or if you have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness and defy all the odds and survive you are view by society as a survivor?

Being viewed as a survivor symbolizes strength, courage, bravery and determination. Surviving something as life threatening as cancer or a rare heart condition gives you the title of a survivor, a courageous and brave warrior that never gave up fighting. It allows the people around you to become inspired, honor you and see you as a role model, all because society has given you the title of a survivor. It takes some strength to defy all the odds and become a survivor of a serious illness such as cancer, believe me I know the strength which it takes to battle cancer from watching my mum fight for her life to become a survivor if even for a short period but also to spend more time with the ones whom she loved most. I watched my dad as he endured serious blood clots in his lungs leaving him gasping for air yet determined to fight to survive to spend more time with the ones he loves and gain the title of survivor by society.

People who have experienced serious illnesses and come out fighting are called survivors, praised for their courage, bravery and determination. These people are seen as role models and people to look up to. These people are those who experience serious physical illnesses but what about those who fight against a mental illness to ensure that they are not captured by their own mind, the people who battle their own perception in order to prevent themselves from taking their own lives and the people who endure endless months or even years of treatment just like those who experience a physical illness.

The people who fight against their minds in order to live are not seen as survivors by society, they are seen as crazy, drama queens or even as people looking for some attention. They are shunned out of some communities and often viewed as outcasts, people not good enough to partake within society and people who deserve to be locked away to prevent danger to those around them. 

Do people who suffer from a mental illness not deserve the same praise someone gets for fighting a physical illness? 
Should they not be seen as an inspiration? 
Should they not be considered role models?

Why is it that the courage and strength which it takes to come through a physical illness or indeed face a physical illness head on and fight until your body can no longer fight is acknowledged yet the strength and courage it takes to fight against a mental illness is overlooked?

I have spent three years receiving outpatient psychotherapy for my depression, OCD and anxiety with the child and adolescent mental health services, I have received months of Cognitive behavior therapy to help me cope with the thoughts and urges to self-harm, I have been on medication to help me get through each day for almost three and a half years and I have spent time in hospital in order to keep myself safe, work towards recovery and fight my mental illness and whats more is I am still going through treatment.  What do I get for doing that? I get stigmatized, I get looked down on, I get called crazy, physco, weird, freak, disturbed and loony, I get judged, I get bullied, I get criticized and I get view as different from others. Why should I be treated so negatively for fighting back against an illness, an illness which can be as severe as a physical illness, an illness which can leave marks just like a physical illness and an illness that can result in death just like a physical illness if not treated correctly or caught in time?

I consider myself a survivor, I consider myself strong and brave for reaching out for help and most importantly I consider myself as a fighter who despite wanting and trying to end my life never gave up. I have been ridiculed, judged, bullied and looked down on because of my mental illness yet I keep going, I keep fighting and no matter how much I fight I am always put down by people around me. But you know what? I always get back up. You know why? Because I am a survivor.

While you may be thinking she is just looking for sympathy or looking for attention I can assure you I am not. You may think she is putting people down who fight against a physical illness but again I can assure you that I am not. What I am doing with this post is showing you that while it may not be obvious someone is fighting against an illness they deserve as much respect, praise, rights and support as someone who is fighting against an illness, which may be obvious. Don’t get me wrong I believe that people, young and old who fight against a physical illness are amongst the bravest and most courageous people in this world I too believe that people, young and old who fight against a mental illness are amongst the bravest and most courageous people in this world! An illness is an illness, it can be physical or mental but both deserve the same time and respect!

So the next time you look down on someone fighting a mental illness or ridicule a person for seeking support ask yourself this one question:

Would I be brave enough to fight like them?