January 30, 2013
I don’t really write much here any more. Sometimes that makes me feel guilty, this blog and the associated twitter account has meant a lot to me over the years. It has helped me through seemingly impossible situations and I doubt I would have survived the last five years without it. I have had some fascinating conversations and debates and been afforded sympathy and understanding when. I needed it most. It isn’t me any more though. I’m finally moving on with my life.
I am no longer the person I was when I wrote the majority of posts. Dare I say it, I’m happy. I still have a mental illness, I probably always will. I suspect I will be taking medication for the rest of my life but I’m fortunate to have found a combination that works and has bearable side effects as long as I take it religiously. It doesn’t define me any more, I have rediscovered the person I was underneath it all and although I wouldn’t say I liked that person quite yet, I’m certainly coming to terms with her.
In the next couple of months, I will most likely be opening a shop. This isn’t the path I would have envisioned my life taking but that doesn’t matter. As I said, I’m moving on. I am excited and terrified in equal measure but I am embracing the opportunities and I can’t wait to see where they lead. I don’t think I’ll ever get over falling asleep desperate for the new day and to see what it brings rather than hoping that I never wake up.
I’m not going to make some grand gesture and say I’m closing this blog down or that I’ll never write here again. Writing is incredibly cathartic and the best way to get my mind and thoughts in order. I am drawing a line in the sand though and opening a new chapter full of hope and and second chances.
What I don’t want to lose is the incredible, quirky, inspiring people I have met through doing this. When I started writing here, it never occurred to me that people would read it or that I would get the chance to know those people personally and count them as friends. I have met many of you in person and hope to meet some more in the future. Maybe I’ll host a knitting Mad Up in the shop! Please keep in touch. I now tweet publicly here if you’re interested and I also blog crafty things here.
I’m looking forward to the future in a way I would never have believed possible.
November 1, 2012
I’ve been rather unwell for the last 10 days or so. Fear not, I’m not going to be departing from this world any time soon but I’ve had something rather more than a cold but not quite flu. I am not good at being ill, particularly not slightly ill. I hate not being able to function at my full ability.
I’ve been doing pretty well for a while, a few bumps but it’s been smoother sailing than I’m used to. I have a big, big plan going down. There’s more details on t’other blog but I might be about to commit to something absolutely massive that will consume all my time and effort for a good few years. Up until last week it’s seemed scary but totally possible, I am after all awesome and should be capable at so much.
Now though I’m not so sure. My confidence has taken a huge tumble and all the doubts have started pouring in. I don’t exactly have a great track record in my overenthusiastic commitment to projects. In fact I’ve failed at just about everything I’ve tried. Even my current business, while not a total write off has only generated a few hundred profit in the last six months. If it wasn’t for my incredible other half, I wouldn’t be able to live like this. No matter how much I love it, it’s not sustainable.
If I take on BIG PLAN, failure will not be an option. I will have to make it work and I worry that I’m not capable of that. With the doubts come the familiar paranoia. Everyone hates me, they’re all better friends with each other and just tolerate me. I know it’s probably irrational but I can’t stop feeling it.
I’m hoping that now I’m recovering, I’ll start to see things differently again. I really would love to do this and make it work but I doubt myself so much.
September 21, 2012
I think I have a touch of winter blues setting in. This is concerning as it’s only September and I probably have a long, hard winter to get through. I have to remember that only last year, I was starting and crashing out of uni yet again before falling into a deep pit that was hard to climb out of. I’ve come so far, I refuse to go back.
My early warning signs:
- Feeling tearful. I almost burst into tears at the end of my stitchy meet up last night and I love those so it’s an irrational feeling.
- Lack of motivation. Spending less time doing what I love and more time mindlessly browsing the internet and achieving very little.
- Tiredness despite sleeping as much as I have been for the last six months.
- Paranoia. My boyfriend doesn’t love me and everyone hates me. Only he does and they don’t.
- Being badly affected when some random shouted at me rather than just brushing it off.
At the moment it’s ok, I can deal with it but I can’t afford for it to keep going or to get any worse. So, what do I need to do?
- Keep taking my medication. It’s obvious but important. I can’t afford to forget it or to mess up getting new prescriptions.
- Keep active. I really enjoy my twice weekly hours of Zumba once I’m there but it can be hard to get myself out the house in the first place. I need to keep going, it’s good for me.
- Keep being social. I know when I’m down, I withdraw. I need to keep seeing people. I’m very lucky to have an amazing group of friends, I’d be foolish to forget that.
- Craft! New projects are a great distraction once I get into them. I just need to force myself to start.
- Be kind to me. I’m not a bad person, I just go a bit wrong sometimes.
- Keep a careful monitor of how I’m feeling and not be afraid to ask for help before it gets critical.
July 21, 2012
I was talking with friends the other night about how you need to stay in a job for at least six months in order to get a proper feel for it and decide if it’s really what you want to do. Then I realised that I’d never had a job for six months, I don’t think I’ve even ever managed three. So I thought I would compile a list of all the things I’ve done since leaving college in a vaguely chronological order.
- Checkout operator
- Taking incoming calls in a call centre
- BA degree in Natural Sciences focussing on geology
- Geoscience intern at BP
- Student records clerk
- Database migration for an exam board
- PA to a college vice-principal
- HCA in an acute admissions unit
- Freelance first aid trainer and assessor
- Student nurse
- Benefit scrounging scum
- Student pharmacist
- Self employed craftswoman
That’s rather a lot of different career paths by the age of 26! I’m hoping the most recent choice lasts a little bit longer.
June 22, 2012
- Visit more countries than I am years old. I’m there so far but it’s going to get trickier as I get older
- Be driven in a convertible in the sunshine with the roof down
- Forgive myself for the past
- Make a sustainable success of my business
- Visit the Galapagos Islands and be a biology geek while there
- See the Northern Lights
- Get married and look and feel beautiful doing so
- See penguins in the wild
- Become a dive master or maybe even an instructor
- Like or at least accept myself no matter what
- Dive the Great Barrier Reef
- Teach again and share what I can do
- Walk the Inca Trail
- Turn my experiences into something positive against stigma and discrimination. I just need to figure out how.
- Get back to and maintain a healthy weight
- Ride in a helicopter
- Be happy!
I shall add to this as I think of more and then when I’m feeling down hopefully I can look at it and see all the things I still want to achieve.
June 13, 2012
A couple of weeks ago I started feeling poorly. By mid afternoon my head was spinning, I felt queasy and very zoned out. This continued for a number of days. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Paracetamol didn’t touch it nor did drinking plenty of water or eating sensible food. I checked my blood pressure and my sugar levels, I shone a torch in my eyes to make sure my pupils were reacting normally but everything was fine.
The only thing I could liken it to was depression but I was adamant I wasn’t depressed. I know depression is a mental illness but for me, it has a very physical side. I feel like a stranger in my body, everything has a surreal quality as if it’s not really me looking at it. It’s also noisy, there’s a constant buzzing in my ears that reached a crescendo in stressful situations.
A week or so later I was feeling a lot better so I took some time to analyse what had happened. It turns out the feeling ill coincided with a lot of stressors. I was going away for a weekend with people I’d never met and I had to do a lot of preparation for it. I’d been summoned to appear as a witness in court. My business wasn’t going as well as I’d like.
Feeling better coincided with the majority of these being resolved on top of a really good nights sleep. The defendant in the court case changed his plea so I didn’t have to go. The weekend passed as a glowing success and although my business still isn’t where I’d like, I had a good chat about it and came up with some new ideas.
It frightens me that such small, in the grand scheme of things, stressors made me feel so unwell. I’m relieved that with rest and the removal of stress, I recovered but I’m cross I didn’t realise it was that sooner. I don’t want to spend my whole life functioning at less than my theoretical capability because too much stress makes me ill. I don’t want to always be monitoring and preparing for a relapse. I just want everything to be ok, always.
May 25, 2012
I’m still struggling to lose any weight on Quetiapine. I’m really trying, this week I’ve done two Zumba classes and one Pilates but the weight isn’t going anywhere fast. It’s tempting to compare it to 2.5 years ago when I was considerably lighter and a fair bit fitter and wish I could go back there.
Lets look at this in a bit more detail though. Back then I was drinking abusively (although I’d never have admitted it) in an attempt to stop me damaging myself and to blot out the world. Despite that, I was self harming badly on an almost daily basis leading to infections and damage. I was barely eating because I couldn’t function sufficiently to do so. I was a paranoid wreck who spent too much time searching the house for the people I was convinced I could hear just outside my door. Other than that, I spent hours mindlessly refreshing Twitter and Facebook and listening to the same songs on repeat for hours because I was convinced they were really about me. I planned my death in elaborate detail and was just waiting for an opportunity to carry through with my plans.
When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound that great any more. I suppose if my options are skinny and very mental or fat and happy with a little mad thrown in, I know which one I’m going to choose.
May 9, 2012
I met with my new therapist for the first time last week. I was having a bit of a wobble due to screwing something up in the real world which made it hard. I cried which was really embarrassing and something I’d rather avoid. Anyway, she set me some homework to write a list of all the things I have achieved since I started to recover so that when I wobble I can look at it and see proof of progress. When I get upset, things quickly spiral out of control and I tend to forget or downplay all the things I have done so I can see that this could be useful. However it means being kind about myself which is something I really struggle with.
So here goes:
- It’s been two years, almost exactly, since I last tried to kill myself
- I haven’t self harmed for about 3 months and I haven’t self harmed badly for more like a year
- I am in a stable relationship with someone I love and who supports me with what I want to do
- I have found a good group of friends through my stitching group who I am happy talking to and being open with (plus I think they get on with me too)
- I have started a business from scratch. OK, it’s not big and successful yet but it has potential and most importantly it makes me happy.
- My self confidence has improved a little bit. This is an area that still needs a lot of work but I am doing things I would never have imagined I could. When I started doing craft fairs, I wouldn’t talk to anyone now I can give customers the story behind my products and chat a little to other stall holders.
- I am actively engaging in recovery through attending therapy and taking my medication regularly
That’s all I can think of for now. I may edit this if I come up with any more. Apologies for the arrogant post.
April 11, 2012
When I was Internet hopping the other day I came across this. It really struck a chord with me. As most of you know I have tried to kill myself several times in the past and on one occasion was very nearly successful. After each attempt most of my family and friends with a few notable and much appreciated exceptions pretended it hadn’t happened. People avoided asking how I was doing or what I was up to. They must have had questions, I know I would. Why? What was it like? Even did you see a bright light if they were so inclined? In some ways I can understand their reticence. They must have been worried about upsetting me or even making it worse however by refusing to acknowledge it all they succeeded in doing was reinforcing the stereotype that suicide is in some way shameful or even wrong. It became a giant elephant in the room, always there but never discussed. Not being able to talk about what happened led to me bottling it up to the degree that it still causes me problems.
I tried to find some statistics on what proportion of people attempt suicide but failed. Whatever the figures, that’s a lot of stories that are going untold. The taboo around suicide makes people less likely to seek help if they are feeling suicidal for fear of being judged or even laughed at. Until we break it down more people will die or suffer for the lack of a conversation. So please, tell your story if you want to, ask questions if you have then, you never know who you may help.
March 24, 2012
I had a rough time of it last weekend. I worked myself up into a completely paranoid mess. Boyfriend had gone back ‘oop north to visit his parents and I became convinced it was just a reason to leave me. Every time my phone beeped, I thought it would be an email or text telling me he didn’t want to be with me and wasn’t coming back. I was in a horrible state. For the first time in I don’t know how long I had to drug myself to sleep as I couldn’t think of another way to keep me safe. The urge to self harm or worse were overwhelming and I honestly couldn’t see it getting better.
You know what though? He did come back and he does still love me. I was being paranoid and it wasn’t necessary. While I’m frustrated that it took so little to bring those thoughts back to the fore, I’m proud and rather surprised that it faded away so easily and I returned to an even keel. I am making amazing progress and having a setback has actually made that clearer. I am not normal and I never will be but I don’t want to be. If I can be quirky in a positive way, a sort of good crazy then I’ll be so happy.
I was talking to my therapist, and realised that for the first time in I don’t know how long, I feel settled. Prior to moving here, I’d lived in five cities in as many years and before that it was three years in different uni digs. That’s a lot of upheaval even though I thought I was doing it for all the right reasons. I know I’ve only been here for a year as well but I can see me staying, I don’t need to move to chase whatever it was I thought I needed. I’m making friends through my stitching group, friends who I don’t have a history with and that’s a fresh start. I don’t need to constantly apologise for twatish behaviour in the past and I don’t need to worry about conflicts of interest and emotions with my ex. I still need my longterm friends, the people who saw me through so much but it’s good to have people local I can meet up with for drinks or a chat. Finally, there’s my fledgling business. Having the opportunities and control it brings. Doing something purely for me not because I feel it’s what I should be doing or what I think other people want me to do. Settled, it feels good.
I had a rough time of it last weekend. I worked myself up into a completely paranoid mess. Boyfriend had gone back ‘oop north to visit his parents and I became convinced it was just a reason to leave me. Every time my phone beeped, I thought it would be an email or text telling me he didn’t want to be with me and wasn’t coming back. I was in a horrible state. For the f