TW: Suicidal thoughts, Self-harm, General Mental Illness Talk.
Hi everyone, long time I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long.
My last post spoke about hitting 100 days sober and since I’m happy to announce I’ve been able to have a drink. I’ve not overdone it or felt the need to have a drink every night and for that I’m so grateful. I continued to miss my April recap and I promise my May one is coming soon- I’ve spent a lot of the last month in tears and have been in a constant state of breakdown for so long that I sometimes disassociate from reality and I’ve really struggled to keep myself sane.
In April I had a blip, I sat on my bedroom floor at home and told my dad I don’t want to be alive anymore, that I’d done all I was around for and I had no good reason to continue to stay. I was terrified of the future and didn’t want to see it through despite being so excited for it. The problem with going to that dark place is you can no longer control your thoughts or what you say, though I continue to be honest to my family I hoped I’d never admit that to them. The people who put me on this earth, the people who helped me become the woman I am now and continue to support me in every way possible. They didn’t deserve to hear or know how I felt, my parents shouldn’t have to live in fear that one day my mental health will consume me, yet they do. I think sometimes they think I don’t notice; they call and check I’m doing okay and eating. Check I’ve been sleeping, going outside occasionally, that I’m not too lonely. But I see it and I’m beyond grateful, even in the height of a mental breakdown I continue to push myself through because I want to do it for them, and myself.
When I moved out at 18 to begin university my parents were blissfully unaware of my mental health, I’d shut them out because I was ashamed. They gave me the most incredible life, I had everything I could ever imagine as a child and I continue to. How do you explain to the people who more than provided for you that you don’t know what it’s like to live? To be happy? That you are slowly losing your memory and beginning to forget who you used to be? You don’t. I’m done hiding the fact that my mental health isn’t a rainbow affair, people think depression is the occasional cry and not feeling good enough. That anxiety stops you from social occasions and talking up.
The reality, my reality is I’ll cry until I can’t breathe anymore. I force myself to throw up from crying, I work myself to a point that I can’t calm down. My tears are silent yet rage down my face, my heart clenches and I feel as though it’s the end. My body goes into shut down and all I can focus on is the pain I’m in. I force my nails into my skin, scratching and pinching to feel something other than my heart and head exploding. I get my body to a place it swells from the immense pressure I’ve put on it, I can’t stop though. If I let go I lose the only stability I have through these breakdowns/anxiety attacks. My breathing is far from stable and I see in blotches, not because of the tears but more my vision becomes blurry.
It isn’t pretty. It isn’t ‘instagrammable’ nor something I’d ever be proud to watch or post. It’s the reality of living with severe mental illnesses. It’s not knowing who or what could trigger my emotions, not knowing how to fight or flight and instead enduring hell on a frequent basis. My mental health isn’t a trend, it never will be. I get taken for a joke; ‘bipolar acting up again’, ‘you weren’t anxious yesterday, why now?’, ‘if you really care about your anxiety, you wouldn’t go out and see your friends’. How about everyone stops telling me how to deal with something they know nothing about? The world would be a greater place if we stopped assuming how people fight to stay alive. Making a joke out of a mental illness which is literally draining my personality from my body isn’t funny.
My blip was months in motion, I moved to Dundee last weekend and since Monday when my family left, I’ve felt strangely okay. It took me years to know who my true friends were, I feel like I’ve gotten to know thousands of people and yet I remain with three main friends. These people I trust with my life, they are there night or day, rain or shine always. I’m moving away from them. Leaving them in a different country even, and I don’t know how things will play out. We aren’t children anymore, it’s not like I can just walk into school and make 15 new friends (2 of which will remain in my life)- the reality is far from that. If they are truly my friends, they’ll continue to be in my life though, they won’t leave. I’m dealing with realities about my infertility, in fact I’m choosing to ignore it. I’m 22 I shouldn’t be making decisions which could impact my entire life and yet here I am ignoring the weight on my shoulders.
I went to a job interview and spent the whole hour after crying, I can’t speak to a room full of people. I used to give talks on my mental health, to a crowd who had bullied, teased and tormented me. I sit in a room with three people, and I stutter, slur my words and forget how to conjure up a sentence. This pandemic has played with my mental health more than I care to admit, in ways I’ve worked on myself and figured out more than I ever expected and yet I feel 10 steps behind. I still don’t know what I want to be, other than a mother, and I struggle more now than ever to hold a conversation with someone I do not know. I still struggle with opening up, though I’ve gotten much better, I continue to self-sabotage and make myself miserable although I know I could be happy.
I want to quickly point out I am not in danger; I am not in a bad state but instead content enough to speak and tell you all my truths. We don’t speak about the darkness we all feel enough, and the following is not going to be light. Please do not think that I am doing something stupid because I am not, I love my life and I’m excited for my future. I have big plans which I intend on seeing through.
I’ve never really considered my thoughts as dark until I spoke to a therapist about how I’ve been feeling. The truth is I know if I died today though people would be sad, they’d understand I lost my battle. I know my friends would cope because they always stood by me and they wouldn’t think I was selfish. They’d be happy to know me, darkness and all- because without sounding too cocky I came into their lives and helped them. My family is who I worry about, they would forgive me eventually, but I don’t know if I’d forgive myself for putting them through that. When I was 14, we went to Switzerland with the scouts at my school and as I stood on the top of a glacier in the Alps I considered just letting go- I haven’t told anyone this before. The only thing that kept me walking and going was my sister was waiting for me to return from that walk. She doesn’t know that.
Growing up I felt guilted out of wanting to die, everywhere you look people are trying to force an image on you on how it’s selfish and how could you put your loved ones through that. I remember a therapist once telling me that I was a horrific daughter for wanting to die, she compared her youth to me and said over and over again about how I had it all. All the material possessions you could want, I was given freedom as a teen and stretched my parents thin by bunking school, getting in trouble and just being an overall nuisance. The whole time however I felt misunderstood and at fault for feeling like that, the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve been called ‘spoilt’ and a ‘princess’ and though I understand the privileged position I’m in I can’t ignore how it makes me feel. It’s almost as if just by being physically spoilt mentally I should be on top of the world when that is far from a reality.
I saw a tiktok this morning that said, “you’re a cis-white woman- what do you have to be depressed about?” – we live in a world where the stigma continues to be real surrounding mental health problems and rather than forcing the world to be a more accepting place for all beings, we continue to form divisions and belittle others. A person’s mental health isn’t subject to their wealth, social status, race or sexuality, though it’s proven that some of those can alleviate the problem it doesn’t mean they are the only ones subjected to being mentally ill. Let’s stop trying to divide and maybe make the world a better place so it’s not such a prevailing and overwhelming problem that most people face.
I’m going to end this here because quite frankly I’ve lost the point I intended on making, I’m not going to promise to be more active because I’m really struggling to keep on top of all of my university work at the moment whilst working through the trauma, I promised myself I’d resolve. It isn’t going to be a quick fix and the unfortunate thing is I could spend the next five, six years trying to force myself into learning and understanding my past and it wouldn’t be enough. I’ll still post, I just can’t make any promises on the consistency for the following weeks.
Thank you, love you all. See you soon (hopefully) xxx