|Sometimes you just gotta join in during scouts!! :)|
Over the past 2-4 weeks I had begun to feel both mentally and physically ill and to be honest I didn’t really think much of it and why would i? Things had appeared to be going great for me, my med reduction was going according to plan, I was developing new relationships with family members something which I had always struggled with and I was happily employed (I still am employed) It wasn’t until Sunday when I began to realise something was wrong, something wasn’t quiet right and that maybe I did need to have a chat with the therapist about things, it was Sunday when I began to get obsessive thoughts about self-harming. Up until Sunday I wasn't concerned about having a relapse because I put my physical and mental symptoms down to a number of different things, the possibility of coming down with a flu, it being my time of the month, just being exhausted from the stresses involved with the Summer Project during the month of July with Lucan Youth Service.
It became clear on Monday that it wasn’t just the small things getting to me it was something more, what it was I don’t know but it was when I began to get concerned about relapse, my mind was clouded with obsessive thoughts of self-harming, always being tired and not having the motivation to do anything and that then was when I realised this was something more. I didn’t do anything though to prevent things from getting much worse and I should have, I should have decided to talk to someone, I should have chosen to tell the therapist in advance of my appointment and I should have done things which I know help me through my dark days but I didn’t, why didn’t i? I honestly cant answer that, my mind was clouded with so many different thoughts, feelings and emotions that I couldn’t make myself do anything.
Wednesday was when it hit, Wednesday was when I realised I had relapsed, Wednesday I done something which I hadn't done in four months, Wednesday I engaged in self0harm I broke and left the monster which had once taken over my life back into it, leaving me venerable for it to take over again. With the knowledge of having an appointment with the therapist on Thursday I felt somewhat positive but again I chose not to talk to the therapist as much as I should have, I should have told her more than I did and as a result the appointment was pretty pointless because I chose not to let the therapist know what was going on.
After having an extremely bad night last night I feel I may have got through the worst of this relapse and reflecting on my actions last night I do regret what I did, I do regret putting my family through hell and I do regret letting myself get into that state. As I am sitting here writing this post I am fighting back the tears because I know now that had I not just brushed off all the warning signs of this relapse I wouldn’t have had this relapse. I'm still not doing great to be honest, I'm feeling pretty low and in general pretty shit but I am somewhat more aware of what is going on and a bit more positive that I will be able to get through this relapse.
I could have prevented this relapse but I didn’t because I was convinced in my own mind that I wouldn’t have any more bad patched, that I was better and that I don’t need medication but this relapse has made me more aware of how important it is not to get too carried away with this good times. For me I need to be aware, I need to know that I can go through bad patches again and that I need to recognise when a bad day is leading into a bad week and a bad week leads to 2 weeks and eventually I revert back to my old ways, I need to be aware so I can prevent that because at the end of the day nobody can prevent me from engaging in self-harm other than me!
There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, 9 small simple words that have the power to brighten up my day, give me strength to get out of the bed on my darkest days and that give me the courage I need to keep living my life! These 9 little words describe my blog, a place where I have written about some of the hardest things in my life, a place where I have begun documenting my journey to gain the perfect bit and a place despite being virtual that I can be myself and feel comfortable. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel is more than just a blog to me, its more than just a space for me to write things down, There’s always light at the end of the tunnel is my chance to make a difference, share my story and most importantly show people that no matter how bad things are they can and do get better.
I recently got told about an opportunity to take part in a therapy programme to help me deal with my borderline personality disorder, a programme which requires commitment and a positive attitude two things which I give to my blog, a positive attitude, no many how many knows I get from people leaving harsh comments I always get back up and write another post and no matter how bad a day I am having I always remember my commitment to post and to show people that it really doesn’t matter how bad you're feeling, or how crap your day is =, things do get better.
I began blogging not by choice but because my year co-ordination in transition year told me I had to keep a log of our activities throughout the year. At first I hated the idea, I really did and what was more is that my writing really sucked back then(I'm not saying its improved a whole lot but it has a bit) As the days went by and more and more things happened in school which I could write about I began loving the idea of having a blog and I loved being introduced to this whole new world, an online world full of inspiration, strong and brave people and it was a world I wanted to be part of. Slowly but surely my blog developed, every I.T class was something I looked forward to, every activity was more fun knowing that I now had this place to share it with the whole world and soon my blog became apart of me. People in my class knew me because of my blogging, Mrs L gave me sweets once because of my blog and my blog helped me to develop an identify for myself and it also allowed me to realise my love and passion for writing!
My blog has been a source of support for me through my most difficult days, it has been this blog that has given me strength to write about my mum, someone not spoken about much since she died, it has allowed me to deal with my mental health issues as well as show others that anything is possible but it is also this blog that has made me proud, it is something I bring up in conversation and it is something which will be with me until the day I die because this blog is more than just a blog, this blog is where I can truly be me!!
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?
We are all very much aware of the recent death of the much loved actor Robin Williams. Robin Williams death as sparked much conversation in the media regarding suicide and more specifically reasons as to why people believe Robin Williams took his own life but I am not here to write about that as I know all to well from first hand experience that there are many different reasons as to why people take their own life, something which is not a choice nor is it a cowards way out. In light of his recent death my brother sent me an article which was written regarding his death stating that Robin Williams did in fact not die by suicide but he died from depression, a mental illness which has the power to control your life, invade your thoughts and make living a chore.
This article ( http://www.umbrelr.com ) is thought provoking and really do make you think about things, even I found myself changing the way I think about suicide despite myself at times in my life attempting to take my own life on a number of different occasions. Had I succeeded in taking my own life people would have said I was selfish, I was a coward and that I was stupid to have not asked for help and taking such a drastic measure which will have prevented me from ever facing the issues which were going on in my life, but this article challenges that, this article allows people to become more aware of the illness behind the persons death. Just like the article says if a person who is suffering cancer dies from a blood clot as a result of having cancer they are said to have died from cancer and not the blood clot which could have been the cause of death. Similarly if someone dies by suicide it should be the underlining condition such as depression which is determined to be the cause of death. Just changing how people view someones death by suicide can allow for the stigma associated with mental health to be broken down and more understanding of mental health and mental health issues.
So just like a blood clot can be a fatal symptom of cancer as explained in the article mentioned above suicide can too be a fatal symptom of depression. It is not until we begin to change our attitudes towards mental health that people can really begin to open up and talk about their mental health issues. Suicide is not an illness in itself but it is a symptom of an illness, an illness just as real as any other because at the end of the day, just because you cant see something does not mean it isn't real! After all you cant see me writing these blog posts and I can assure you I am very much a real person.
Some can view 4 months as a long time while others consider it to be a short time. You can think of 4 months in many different ways as 4 months itself, 16 weeks 121 days, 2921 hours or even 175316 minutes.
For me at this moment I think of 4 months not only as 4 months but also as 4 months of taking positive steps to ensure I continue on my road to recovery. You might be wondering what I am talking about and well if you haven't already guessed it today marks 4 months since I last engaged in self-harm. That’s 121 days without harming myself, 16 weeks of battling intrusive and obsessive thoughts and 2921 hours of containing on a long road to recovery.
The past 4 months have not been easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. The past 4 months have been filed with ups and downs with many more ups occurring over the past number of weeks, which may be as a result of my recent med reduction.
4 months may not seem like a long time for some people but when thinking back to about 2 years ago when I would self-harm between 5-15 times a day, everyday 4 months without self-harm is a pretty long time. I have had long stretches of time without self-harm since coming out of hospital in 2012 but I have never had 4 solid months of no self-harm, not a scratch, a cut, nothing.
While you might be thinking so what, why is this such a big deal, you were the one inflicting it on yourself in the first place, you have to look at this from my point of view. For me while I did inflict injuries on myself I didn’t do it for attention or to get people to feel sorry for myself, I did it to help me cope, to get the frustrating, obsessive, crippling thoughts out of my head, to allow me to be able to get some piece and most of all to allow me to be able to live. While I understand many of you reading this are not in a position to understand self-harming and the relief it can give a person or how it allows a person to cope, something which I plan to cover of the next couple of weeks though different means on my blog but 4 months straight without any self-harm is a pretty huge achievement for me and what’s more is I am still feeling pretty strong and able to challenge the negative thoughts I encounter of self-harm. So for now I am happy to say that I am self-harm free for 4 months and I feel I could have another 4 months free from self-harm within me and even more in the future but for now like with my med reduction I am taking things one day at a time because after all I don’t know what tomorrow brings.
Having recently written a post about my journey to come of my medication I felt that the best way for me to ensure I continue on a positive path is to document this journey and being me and the lover of writing that I am I felt it best to document it on my blog.
Having spent just about three weeks on the lower dose of 150 mg I have been feeling great. The first three-four days of the reduction had me feeling very tired and I was initially experiencing many headaches something which I expected in many ways as I would have reacted in a similar way when my meds were increased some time ago. Despite the rough start and feeling physically crap for the first couple of days it wasn't long before I was fighting fit and back to myself once I had adjusted to 150 mg.
So as a result of this positive reaction to the lower dose, my appetite improves and fining I had a lot more energy at times I decided that while everything is going great and with the support of my GP I would take the next step and reduce my meds even further to 100 mg. Having only recently started on this dose I have had pretty much the same response, having started on Wednesday I think I'm just about over the tiredness and headaches but again I'm expecting maybe one more day of it but after that I reckon I should be doing just fine. With another two weeks or just under two weeks to go on this dose I'm feeling pretty optimistic about coming off my meds and while I know that this time two weeks from now I may not be ready to go down another 50 mg I am hopeful and positive about this new journey which I have embarked on.
I have to say that I have been very surprised by my reaction overall with this medication reduction after all I have been taking them for about 3 years or more so it had become something which was part of my daily routine and was at times the only constant thing in my life. Since I have started my medication reduction I can't recall having any extremely bad days, something which has been really positive and uplifting, I haven't engaged in any acts of self-harm making sure that my time without self-harm is almost reaching 4 whole months and what’s even better is the intrusive thoughts and obsessions regarding self-harm which I would often get are becoming less intrusive and less obsessive something which may or may not be related to my med reduction but is something which I am grateful for all the same.
I am still taking things day by day and it is something which I intend to do not only during my med reduction but for life because at the end of the day there is no point in assuming I'm not going to have bad days, that I'm going to have good days or that I am going to never self-harm again, it is something which I need to do to ensure I continue on my road to recovery so for now and the foreseeable future I am living my life one day at a time. I am aware that I may not be ready to reduce my medication further in the time frame which has been put into place but again it is not soothing I am focusing on or worry about because I am taking my life day by day but having a plan, having something written down that I can look at, having a log of my response to my med reduction to date makes me just that little bit more positive about coming off my meds, something which I have wanted to do for a while now but only now is actually possible.
This journey has shown me one thing; one thing that I always struggled to believe but is something that I now truly believe in and this is that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!