Talk To People…

So the caption and advice of, “Talk To People” is an endless trending message re. Mental Health these days and I thank those with a platform whom are willing to discuss ill mental health, as we live in a follow fashion society and celebrities posts are listened to, influence, motivate Joe public more than The Royals/Politicians/mental health specialists and survivors in recovery like myself these days, especially for the young ones, whom inevitably are our future.
I like that mental illness is being discussed rather than shunned and hushed, it’s on the radar and people are getting more acquainted with mental illness and what it may mean. Yet there is still an ambience of being sugar coated, polished, filtered, watered down and cut. Ill mental health has a vast spectrum and many, many layers. It is complex, it has no cap or guaranteed time limit. Each experience is personal. Most experiences have a domino effect and the pain unintentionally ripples through our nearest and dearest. Some people just aren’t equipped to help and support people in immediate/impulsive/high risk/sudden/long standing crisis and that is OK, often there needs to be professional intervention. Unless someone has been through something similar personally or knows of someone and how the mental health system works, therefor having empathetic ears and memorised go to responses, hearing that someone is suicidal is a huge responsibility that may have a knock on affect and cause detrimental damage to the chosen someone, making them feel guilty, some part responsible, to blame and then mentally unwell due to the strain and guilt. Not everyone is equipped to deal with another in a mental breakdown/psychotic episode/crisis and that is OK, but something we must teah and preech before sending out a global message to those that are unwell, saying just tell someone/anyone when not everyone can handle the responsibility and then the rejection could make the ill more sick.
Not everyone has empathy and emotional common sense. Generation’s/Religion/Nature/Nurture/Upbringing/Exposure may sway our minds in response to comprehending the magnitude of seriousness mental health issues obtain.
Many people turn to social media for help, not understanding that social media is simply smokes and mirrors, people are more into putting out than even giving attention to what comes in. The ill persons message and cry for help may not be seen until too late, maybe just not even at all. People love to post messages of love and heartache after lives are lost rather than being around to comfort when people are on the line. It is all rather insincere.
Clueless people yet my own loved ones have said, “Why didn’t you tell me you were feeling like that”, “Do you think you are the only one”, “If you’re going to do it (commit suicide) hurry up and get on with it”, “We are all fucked up, not just you”, “You know we love you” post suicide attempts and so that is why I do not reach out to anyone, because abandonment and rejection are two heavy symptoms of my Borderline Personality Disorder, if I am feeling suicidal, reach out to friends whom never check in, family whom say the above, my impulsivuty will be the final straw. If you reach out for help and don’t receive it, it will make you worse, so being advised to just confide in anyone is poor advice, it’s a goal but we are not all there yet! Maybe that someone is great the first time but flash forward three years, they are over it with a call my bluff attitude or tough love, or even nonchalant way of thinking, distancing themselves from you, purposefully excluding you, segregating you, not realising that the sick persons actions are not a choice and cannot be switched off for respite. I guarantee that the strain they put on you does not even contend with what they are going through. Please don’t neglect your duty of care to your daughter/sister/mother etc. External support can be critical but love is a powerful medicine!
Sometimes when in need, I haven’t even been able to get in touch with my mental health team and two-five hours later when I do, the advice is nothing more than common sense, which is not a remedy for someone out of their mind.
If you cannot call anyone that you know, please call the likes of the semaritans.
If you don’t like talking or even know where or how to start, please call 999 or 111 and they will act accordingly.
Please think about what options you have and try them all before attempting the final straw.
Flashback a few months to a year before you hit rock bottom. Please go to your GP and disclose your ailments, they will refer you accordingly. Figure out what distraction techniques work for you when you are having a bad/hard time. Even if without detail, let someone you are close to (family/friend/colleague/partner) know and so they are in the loop. Remember mental illness is more common than you would think and therefor the stats of ignorance and ridicule are slowly dropping.
If you cannot talk face to face or via text, please write a letter or blog or poem, you don’t have to send or post but it may be an easier way for you to share your vulnerability.
Someone out there loves you or that someone is coming. You deserve love, kindness, patience, understanding and happiness.
Who knows what happens when we go, I guess in this lifetime we will never know and so please hold on, it’s a bumpy ride, but try not to check out before the end, it will come, so please wait and let it, this suffering may have a purpose but only time will tell, if you keep defying and reaching, don’t let the darkness eat you! ❤️ ;

Boy’s Don’t Cry

I had a blue day today, I was just both physically and mentally exhausted. I couldn’t really sleep last night, despite being super tired! I’ve had a few negative thoughts running around my head and it scared me a little. I have not long come out of hospital and when that happens and you feel off, you can’t help but panic that you are going to loose control again. Luckily I had a home visit from a mental health nurse from , “The Oleaster, Home Treatment Team” today and I must applaud them. They are all so lovely and extremely helpful. The nurse told me not to panic, as everyone has blue day’s! That reminder was helpful, I may not process emotions as well as others but it is comforting to know that it is not I alone, who occasionally just feels off.
My support worker also visited today, instead of talking or sorting out this and that, I picked out four movies. She took one away, then I and then she again and we ended up with, “Boy’s Don’t Cry”. Well it is one of my favourite movies, although it is based on a true story and horrifically sad, it is one of those films that helps you put your own life into prospective. It always makes me cry. My support worker definitely got more then she bargained for. She left in shock.
Please read no further if you do not know the outcome and want to either explore the story of Brandon Teena aka Teena Brandon or watch the movie in tribute, ” Boy’s Don’t Cry”.
In memory of Brandon Teena, Lisa Lambert and Philip Divine, I have wrote a poem…

Diversity Is Not A Crime

I’ve seen him in the flesh,
He’s a man and so leave him alone,
Your acting like kid’s in a crèche,
But your sticks and stones ain’t broke no bone!
So leave it,
You’ve had your say,
Let’s be done with it,
Just go away!
John Lotter and Tom Nissen,
They just wouldn’t listen.
Beaten, Raped and Beaten again,
He had to fleet to a safe house for protection.
He was brave enough to press charges,
But all hell had broken loose,
It was pure carnage.
“Why do you run around with boy’s if you’re a girl yourself!?”
Said the sheriff who didn’t care,
And put the case on the shelf.
He had a sexual identity crisis,
He wasn’t a terrorist from ISIS!
Three lives lost,
Was the cost of this ignorant misunderstanding,
“Brandon Teena”, ” Lisa Lambert” and “Philip Divine”,
Perhaps now it would have been different?
A different place?
A different time?
Diversity is not a crime!

Coming home…

Coming home has been most strange. The flat was not like how I thought that I left it. Of cause having a visit from home treatment team today was indeed an eye opener! When I left my house twenty-three days ago I was out of sorts. Being hypnotized by psychosis, under pressure to conform to the wants, needs and most particular instructions off the two voices with no face (he and she) as I call them, I was obviously not at all in control of my mind, body, soul and actions. I remember certain particulars that I felt obligated to complete, to clean the flat, do all of my laundry, pack hospital bag, write goodbye letters, to prepare a deathly cocktail of alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs. I remember feeling tired and emotional, wanting to sleep but feeling forced to be up all hours completing my set tasks. I believe I did conk out for a short while, waking up in hope that the crisis had come and gone, but it had not. As if I hadn’t slept (and I hadn’t much at all), the orders continued and I completed but all on their ghastly list. Soon after, luckily home treatment arrived and for a brief period of time, just having a kind and familiar face in my home, I managed to articulate and confess as to what had happened. My fate may have turned out somewhat different if my nurse had not come exactly when she did. Once I confessed, it was game over. I don’t remember much else. I was all of a sudden in an ambulance, then in A&E. Today I got told that I could not walk, talk or keep my eyes open, apparently they had to put me in a wheel chair to evacuate my house, that explained why my new hall way rug was rolled up when I got home Saturday. How scary! I had completely forgotten, the paramedics,the ambulance journey, my time in A&E, apart from being pinched, poked and prodded a lot, yet I could not move nor talk, paralysed from the lethal concoctions that I had taken. I must have been there all day. I then got wheeled to a psychiatric decisions unit where I was instructed to lay bedding out on a reclining chair in a communal room. I did and I slept. The next day I was admitted to a female acute psychiatric ward. I have spoken about the trials and tribulations of my twenty-two day hospital stretch since then and there is nothing else or new to report.
I was discharged from hospital Saturday. My mother picked me up, we stopped off at Aldi and then she drove me home, helped me take in all of my hospital bags and shopping and then left me to it. I panicked straight away. I could not find where I had put me house keys, I ran out of my flat, pressed the code to exit my garden on the big, black, cast iron gate, shouting, “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy” as she speed off my driveway and up the road. She didn’t hear me, she didn’t see me! What was I to do? At that very moment, I felt so very vulnerable. After three weeks in an institution where you hate that everything that you do and say is watched and recorded, I panicked about being alone, about having to be independent instantaneously. I found my keys but sat down and had a huge panic attack, followed by a huge cry. I am more then aware that I am not a child, but that innocence, insecurity and reliance on being guided, lead the right way and reassured are all but the same guidelines that one needs when they are feeling vulnerable. I may be out of hospital but I am still feeling very vulnerable. The voices have dumbed down and so I am no longer in crisis but my own thoughts are louder then ever. I am trying to process what happened but I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I can’t focus on one simple task at a time and keep ending up with several half done chores. My emotions are tender, my head is sore. I miss the noise from the ward, even the fifteen minute checks, including torch lights shining through your door all through the night! It was all so tight sceduled , it made me feel safe. The chaos from other patients disallowed me to focus on what I had done, what had happened, what was going on, what was happening to me.
Now home alone, I have no choice but to acknowledge what things had lead to my latest relapse/crisis whatever you want to call it. One thing that I know for sure, is that there is an awful lot to process. I feel a burden asking for help, especially when I am not sure what it is that I need help with exactly. I do know that whether I am in hospital or not, I am going through some mega trials and tribulations and support, even just a text, is very welcome, such communication means so very much to me, it proves that people care, it gives me strength to start to believe that my existence on this earth is not worthless and that I am not undeserving of the gift of life, because that is how I mostly feel. When manic, it all seems so silly and I feel like nothing is really wrong at all. When depressed, it all seems terribly unfair and unbearable. Those moments terrify me. I fluctuate from both, over and over, all day, everyday. They say that you can only help yourself but occasional contact from people that may assume that I know that they care, would benefit me beyond belief. Radio silence from all and sundry leaves me feeling paranoid and worthless. Unfortunately I need to be told that I am cared for, important to someone, some people. With my low self confidence, I cannot take it as read. In all honesty, I never have. Perhaps if with your help and the strength that I hope to find and build, in time, I may be strong enough to ignore my psychosis, there is no guarantee that I can rid of it but perhaps one day, I can put a lid on it, feel worthy and work on the rest from there.
If people out there do not know or understand my mental heath issues and want to talk to me about it, it won’t be easy, I cannot promise to have all the answers but I would rather talk it out before you write me off and I loose you. My blog is rather informative but if you need more, reach out to because the sad reality of all this, is that it isn’t over and I have no idea when and if the hallucinations, impulse and self destructive behaviour will come again, and therefore I cannot promise that I will be as lucky, should there be a next time.
Please just take comfort in knowing that I am trying my very best to reach the top and stay on it, being low is not a good way for me to go, but it is happening more and more over the years and I feel like it is out of my control.
Be in my life, help me make positive decisions and stay on top, then and only then will I really help others, by speaking the truth about recovery, should I personally discover it.

CRISIS

Today’s blog is about what to do when you are in crisis.
Firstly, how do you even know if you or someone you know is even in crisis? A good question but a hard one to answer as one man’s crisis could be another man’s euphoria compared to what they suffer from. Everyone is different and mental health is so vast, I believe that it would be impossible to give a, “one answer suits all”, and so I will write from my mental health state point of view, someone with anxiety, depression and bpd, because this is what I know!
So let me firstly remind you that I have suffered from depression from a very young age, the first signs of this is when I developed alopecia at the age of ten. I believe that whether you understand your problems or not, you cannot deny them and they will become active in one way or another. Being unaware, clueless and therefore not acknowledging or receiving help, your body will still find a way to release, to try and rid of what is wrong with you, like bodies do. Your body will show that something is wrong, for example psoriasis, eczema, acne, weight gain or decrease etc. When I was ten years old,I developed alopecia areata. I was not even aware that I felt down, but looking back now, I realise that I had serious dual parent envy. Something, well actually someone was missing. My life was lacking the presence of my biological father and knowing that he was alive and well, able to father his other children yet having no time, love, respect, consideration or feelings for me, made me feel unaccepted, different, unloved, unworthy and incomplete. Something was definitely missing from my life and all of that pain and strife that I could not handle, control nor understand as a child, found away out of my body.Overtime the situation worsened. I had a step father for nine years but he left without even a goodbye! That added salt to the wound, especially as by then I was much older. I was a teenager with all the regular teenage angst and hormonal nightmares but on top of that, I had been rejected and abandoned by the two fathers that I had in this world. The alopecia continued and worsened. The treatment was horrific, bullet shot injections straight into my head which would result in bee sting like tender bumps. My alopecia never ceased, it worsened to the point of me becoming basically bald. It had transformed from alopecia areata to alopecia totalise (from spots and patches to whole areas of the head, if not its entirety) even my eyebrows went and I nearly lost my luscious lashes but fortunately they stayed. Once we are on the topic, there is one more type of alopecia, it is called alopecia universalis, that means that all your body hair goes. I always say that God or the universe, whoever is in charge is having a laugh at my expense! I still have to shave other unwanted hairs on my body, the places where I want hair just don’t abide. By the age of twenty, I had to have the last bits of my hair shaved off. Afro hair is hard to manage and only having a quarter of a head of hair was far more trouble then it was worth. It was twelve years ago now but I still remember crying as my best friend shaved it all off and I sat on my bedroom floor. It never grew back. Also eventually both eyebrows also fell out and now I have to get them make-up tattooed.The whole alopecia thing has made dating particularly difficult, perhaps 7 out of a potential 10 boyfriends in my life have done a runner upon discovery and now I have being overweight and my mental health issues to also disclose and give men fuel to run off, but that is another story!
My point is that sometimes we don’t realise when we are unwell and/or in crisis. If we don’t know, if we can’t recognise and then fight the warning signs or symptoms, our body and/or minds will act on them anyway.
The best thing to do is make notes on what has happened before you fell ill as soon as you have enough clarity to do so. Keep a diary, overtime you may discover common triggers. Triggers don’t have to be big drama’s like deaths, arguments, fights, fall outs, break ups and confrontation. Triggers can be as small as smells, tastes, words, audio or visual. It’s the little triggers that we could all do with recognising, they could link to bigger episodes that we have forgotten.
I used to live in London, mostly in Hackney. At one point I would commute from Leytonstone to Hackney Central quite often. One day, a normal day on a normal journey, I blurted out, “I hate Hackney Wick” to my boyfriend at the time, as the train passed through. He asked why and for a second or so I questioned myself, and then went on to disclose that about seven years prior, I had been sexually assaulted by a female work colleague at a house party in Hackney Wick. She got me on my own, pinned me down, pulled at my clothes to expose my breasts, whilst forcing me into a position that I could not free myself from. She rubbed and grinded on top of me, forcing me to spread my legs and be still, repeating, “Come on, it’s ok”. She manipulated my body for her sexual pleasure until she satisfied herself. The next morning, we caught trains home from opposite platforms at Hackney Wick train station and I never saw her again. She never came back to work! I supressed that memory for seven years, never spoke of it, I had forgotten about it, buried it so deep and therefor I did not deal with processing the trauma. It was Hackney Wick itself that sparked the memory. That is one of the first times that I ever experienced a panic attack, it was mild but happened none the less. Now I am aware that, that place, conversations about abuse, explicit lesbian sex, butch black women, thoughts and memories of the episode, can trigger panic, anxiety and deep depression in me. It has been a long process but patience, analysis and diary logging have been worth it. The more triggers that you are aware of, the less alarming it all becomes.
I have two states of mind. I suspect that most people do. I can think clearly and rationally but engage in bad habits or think unclearly, loose control of thoughts all together and engage in self destructive tendencies. Despite the catalyst of the situation, the outcome is almost always the same, self harming and over dosing. I made up the useful term, “PRC”, myself. “Problem”. “Reaction”. “Consequence”.Ideally, “I” for, “Intervention”, should come before, “Reaction” and “Consequence”. In order for this to happen, you need to realise and understand that you are in fact, in crisis.
A) The clearer, more self aware elements to my mind, is far less out of control then, B) when I am in disassociation mode, the other more dark and irrational frame of mind.
A) If there is a problem and I am aware, which is 25% of the time, I will call the home treatment team, but I have found that it is usually a callback system and that is if they answer at all! You can call the likes of, “The Samaritans” but I prefer not to have to go back to the beginning of my mental health history every time I have to have a conversation.Each to their own though. There are also of cause 111 or 999. If rational and in control, tell someone, anyone, before you loose it.
Admittedly the other 25% of the time, feeling anxious about disclosing the problem, being unable to pin point the problem and feeling unworthy of any attention, like a nuisance for bothering people, it is quicker to self harm rather then it is to pick up the phone. It gives me instant release and I feel much calmer, way quicker then going through the rigmarole of dialling, waiting, chasing and speaking.
B)when psychosis kicks in and takes over, unfortunately I feel that I have no option but to obey their orders. They are impossible to ignore. I often don’t realise what I am doing until my self-destruction is over with, but when I come round, I do always either tell someone or ask for help.
It is always hard to identify, acknowledge and accept when you are in the midst of crisis. If you are fortunate enough to have loved ones, they should also look out for triggers and/or signs mid crisis. If not, keep communicating and the professionals should be aware, maybe even realise the level of crisis that you are in before you do.
I personally have a very poetic and creative brain. I may not say, “I want to commit suicide”, out loud and outright but if you really listen to me, you can often hear that I am trying to communicate that something just isn’t right. Drawing from the past, I may use phrases like, “The storm is coming”, or, “I keep glitching”. Whether I understand the context of what I am saying, whether I am aware of what I really mean at the time or not, those types of confessions should not be listened to lightly and be interpreted as me needing and asking for help.
I hate confrontation, I live quite an isolated life. I have a small voice, a lack of resilience and barely any confidence. I expect my nearest and dearest to know that I am a, “suffer in silence”, kind of person. I need reminding that I am safe to be honest, that I am loved and deserved of being so. I expect people to recognise changes in me, to visit and contact me, not just when I am noticeably ill, when things are dramatic but all of the time. My personal illness goes above and beyond crisis, I struggle everyday, battling both audio and physical hallucinations that go on and on about how unloved I am, how unlinked I am, how replaceable I am, how annoying I am, how much hard work I am and such negative things take their toll after so long. I don’t like to be a nuisance. I don’t like to have to ask, yet I really do need more consistent support all round really, professionals and loved ones, but from friends and family would help heal the fragmented pieces of my broken heart, mind, body and soul, and give me ammunition to fight and continue.
To summarise, mental health should be observed and treated indefinitely. Over time, patterns will emerge and we must take note of them. Things like therapy, communication, medication should help to avoid crisis. Deter you away from what you know can trigger an episode. If you can identify that you are in crisis or just feel different or unwell, always make at least someone who cares for you (medically/ professionally/personally) know. If you find yourself in danger, try to contact help. If you have already been self-destructive, still tell someone, to avoid further damage. You are important and deserve to be helped sincerely, without question or judgement.
It is neither weak or attention seeking to admit the truth and ask for help. Except when you are offered health, even though you may think it unnecessary. Ultimately, being unwell or in crisis is all relative, mental health has a deep and complex spectrum but fighting it alone, may well be impossible in my opinion. The road to to recovery will certainly be slower. Crisis is awful and terrifying but help can bring a little light. Light your own candle. Let the help shine a torch and keep both going. Then you may live to see another day and find the sunshine may banish the demons away.