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Well the wheel turned and I’m doing ok. Reading still but at a reasonable level. I consider myself pretty happy, I’m taking care of me and my family, eating and sleeping well and I have want to do stuff that I enjoy.
I do sometimes wonder how my good days compare to those without mental illness though. I wonder if my mental health has shaped me so much that I don’t return to the normal baseline others have.
Today a friend posted a video on facebook. ‘Messages for anyone considering suicide, from people who’ve been there.’ I watched but I couldn’t help rolling my eyes and scoffing at pretty much all of them. I am not suicidal right now, although I have been too many times to count, but I still can’t help but disagree with those messages. They make it seem so simple and easy when it really isn’t. It isn’t all that clear cut. I guess that’s why suicide prevention lines have never helped me. I just get annoyed with them and think that if they can’t help me I really am screwed.
I’ve posted the video below and gone through with my reaction to each one. I’m not trying to glorify suicide or even trivialise these people’s feelings. I’m just going through with my reaction to each one, how my brain reacts to it as a suicide survivor at a time in my life when I am positively not suicidal.
“Although it’s cliche, and you may not believe it now, it really does get better. I promise you won’t regret sticking through it.” How long do you expect people to stick through it. Is it a year to get better? 5? 10? 20? What happens if 20 years after feeling suicidal for the first time the person is still fighting this depression and suicidal feelings. Do you still tell them, just hang on in there it will get better. What happens when there is more life behind the person, filled with depression, than there are possible years ahead of them that could be filled with happiness?
“You deserve to give yourself one more try. You deserve to live. You deserve to be.” Really? How many more tries should people give their life? Yes they deserve to live and they deserve to be, but do they not also deserve to rest? Do they not deserve to stop fighting?
“Open up, let someone in so they can find a way to help you through your tough times. No one deserves to go through life alone.” What about when you have tried opening up? When sharing how you are feeling only drives people away. When people no longer have the emotional strength to deal with what you are going through. When friendships go better if you just stop talking about your difficulties? Yes, no-one deserves to go through life alone but a lot of people just don’t understand mental illness or have so many stresses in their own life that they cannot hold someone’s hand through their own hard times. We deserve to not be alone but so many people are and there isn’t a solution to that.
“Please reach out. I don’t care how ‘dumb’ or weak you think you are or sound. Get the help you deserve.” See my comment to the previous. A lot of people do reach out but they don’t have people around that can help. So many times in my life I have tried reaching out only to learn that it is better to say nothing. Yes at times there have been people who have answered my call but not always. When you are suicidal, and you’ve tried to reach out, seeing things like this just make you feel even more alone.
“Suicide is not a solution. It doesn’t fix anything.” I guess I can see where they are coming from. But it is a solution. You feel like you can’t cope with life, you’ve tried and tried. You’ve tried self medicating, you’ve tried the drugs the drs prescribe, you’ve tried talking, you’ve tried keeping it in, you’ve tried therapy. You’re tired and you just don’t know how to go on. Suicide means you don’t have to go on and you don’t have to be tired and scared anymore. It does solve that problem. It creates a whole bunch of problems for those around you, but it does solve your problem.
“This world needs you.” Each of us plays a small part in the world. When we die the world does go on. The world doesn’t need us, in fact there are probably too many people for the world right now. The people around us however, they do sometimes need us. Our friends and family gain something from our existence, even if that isn’t shown when we are alive, people’s reactions to the death of their loved ones shows it. The effect I have on the people around me, how they will feel at my loss and the help I can be to them whilst alive, those are the reasons I keep living.
“Even when you think your light is too dim, someone sees it”. And this one I have no problem with. We do truly affect those around us, even in small ways we may not be aware of.
“The people in your life are not better off without you.” Now here is where I think I have just lived with depression and suicidal feelings for too long. This one immediately gets to me, despite what I said above. Some people are toxic to those around them, sometimes it is only some people around them. Sometimes my mental health really does harm those around me. I struggle so much not to think that I am blight on the people around me a lot of the time, although I acknowledge that it is not all of the time. Sometimes I think that blight is enough to outweigh the times I am good for the people in my life.
“Getting help is easier than the alternative.” You must be fucking kidding me! Getting help is stupidly hard. How many people commit suicide whilst waiting for help? It is far easier to kill yourself than to struggle through, appointments and referrals, waiting lists and bad health professionals, condemnation from those around you and side effects of drugs. Getting help is a long hard road that you have to be seriously committed to. Suicide can be a pretty quick action made in a rush of adrenaline and hope.
“Don’t suffer in silence; the liar is counting on you to isolate.” My problem with this is that I have found over the years that most people do not have time or energy to deal with someone else’s mental health. That opening up can drive a wedge between you and that person so not only do you not have their support with your issues but you also no longer have the easy friendship and laughs you once had. You can often get that back by no longer talking about the mental health but then things like this tell you to and you’re reminded how alone you really are.
“There’s a difference between wanting to kill yourself and wanting to kill the part of you that wants to kill yourself.” Yes that is true, but what happens when you have lived alongside the part of you that wants to kill yourself for so long that the thought patterns have bled in. When you can be having the time of your life and still have those same thought processes. When you can be on the best holiday of your life and still assess every room you walk into for how you could kill yourself there. Where you can’t look at a place without seeing your ‘escape routes’? What happens when there is no longer a division between you and the part of yourself that wants to kill you?
“It’s just a thought. Don’t listen.” Way to trivialise it. Damn if I realised I just didn’t have to listen to the suicidal thoughts my life would have been so much easier. What happens when you are like I was earlier this month. When constant distraction, sometimes with two things at once was the only way to stop listening to that thought. When you are scared to sleep because there will be a moment before you sleep and just after you wake where you won’t be able to block the thought. Where you fear going out in public because even among the smiles and idle chatter the thoughts will be screaming inside your head and you’re scared you will just crumble to the floor under the weight of it all. What happens when you feel suicidal deep in your bones, in the constant state of anxiety it has put you in. In the sensory memory of previous attempts so you can feel it on your skin and taste it in your mouth. Honestly, fuck off telling people not to listen to it.
“Someday the light will come and it will be more beautiful because you are a survivor.” No. Just no. I think we are at the lightest my life is going to get. I get happy, things are going well. It is not made more beautiful because I have survived my depression, anxiety and suicide attempts. I do not see my scars as I go about my day and think how wonderful it is that I made it through.
Maybe again this is just another sign that my ‘happy’ is not the same as other people’s. Maybe some people go through depression, suicide and mental illness, come out the other side and have beautiful, happy lives and look back at their past and wonder how they ever felt that way. Maybe they actually get better. I don’t think I am going to get better. It has been 21 years and more than a dozen different drugs, plus several different types of therapy. I have lost hope that I will get better. What I do hope, is that I survive. I have a wonderful husband and daughter who I feel I can have a positive impact on at times. I do think they will be negatively affected by my death. And so I will keep on trying to survive.
Like with most of my posts I’m not entirely sure what the point was in writing it but I saw this video and had a reaction to it. I guess I just wanted to be a voice for those who have faced suicide but don’t feel like the people in the video. You can make it past suicide and lead a pretty good life without feeling like everything is rosey. Sometimes you are changed by it all and that is ok.
It’s been a while since I have been here. I don’t even really know if I’m going to publish this, but hopefully it will be helpful to write.
Things are going well with me. My daughter is flourishing, she is 2 now and amazing and strong willed and intelligent. My husband has been my lifeline and my joy, he’s surpassed my expectations as a father and after 14 years he is still my best friend. Our house is good and the smallholding is going well. There are always things I wish I was doing better at but it is going well. All in all life is pretty good right now, if I had to pick a life to live this one would be right up there at the top of my choices.
So what has drawn me back here? I’m depressed. What, you’re not surprised?
Last September my step-father died suddenly and I haven’t gotten over it. I can go a couple days without crying now but I haven’t managed 3 days. I hope it will get easier but his loss has shaken me. I’m coping, don’t get me wrong, I am managing all that is generally expected of me, I’ve even been discharged from community mental health, but I am depressed. I am struggling.
I’ve noticed myself stepping back. When I was younger I was online a lot. Probably an unhealthy amount. I had sci-fi groups I was part of and self-help communities. I posted often on my livejournal and I had friends I would chat with on MSN (if you can remember that far back!). I look back now on Facebook ‘on this day’ and I see general ramblings about my day, things I’ve done, things I’m planning to do, random musings. I have never been good at making friends face to face but I had my online world. I was sociable there. I’m not posting on Facebook, I’m rarely talking to people on FB messenger, whatsapp or text. I’ve never done phonecalls. I’m not posting on a blog other than the smallholding one and that is sparse. I have withdrawn and I am feeling the effects. I’m feeling the self inflicted isolation and I don’t quite know how to break out of it.
I’m reading. That would sound like a positive but with me it isn’t. Reading has always been an escape for me. As a child and teen I would devour books. They took me away from my head, sent me somewhere else and gave me refuge from my own thoughts. I owe so much to them but they are often an unhealthy habit for me. When Paul died it was young adult fantasy fiction. I read so much. Things seemed to get better but the reading bug is back. I am reading Merlin fanfiction on my phone and whilst it was nice to start with it is becoming problematic. I am reading pretty constantly. Even when I am doing something that needs two hands I tuck my phone in my arm or brastrap, as I might be able to read in a second and god-forbid the phone isn’t there. I am reading whilst I am walking. I am reading until my eyes close at night then putting the phone on charge when I wake up and reading again. Somehow I am still managing with my little girl I can read books to her and play with the phone next to me, reading a line of my fic whenever she looks away but it’s not the way I want to be. I have tried putting the phone in the other room but my mind just starts racing and the thoughts get too loud and suddenly the phone is back in my hand.
I am eating ok, although I am back to obsessing about my weight. I’m monitoring it far too much and I feel old habits and thoughts creeping back in. I’d say I was sleeping ok but it’s half 1 in the morning and I am not sleeping because I don’t want to. I’m not particularly tired but I could probably sleep if I tried. The reluctance to sleep is an old habit. I know I could quite happily stay up until sunrise tonight and then start my day. The alcohol cabinet is calling my name. I can almost taste a malibu or sole gin on my lips. I actually walked towards it earlier then walked away. It wouldn’t be a healthy drink I’d have and ‘a shot to help me through’ isn’t a habit I want to pick up again.
I’m listening to music again. This is along the same line as the reading, when I can’t read the music goes on. I need to keep my brain focused on something else. Something else than what, I’m not entirely sure, but I know I must be distracted, I can’t stop. I can’t allow myself to think. When I do I find myself sobbing uncontrollably before thoughts can even form. It happened today when I couldn’t skip to a song I knew quick enough in the car. Sound crazy? It is. I shouldn’t be scared to think, so desperate to avoid it.
The frustrating thing is that logically I know my life is so good right now, I shouldn’t have this sadness inside. But I guess that has always been the case with my mental health. I guess that is what makes it mental health. It isn’t a rational reaction to what is going on in my life. My brain reacts to so much more than external stimulus.
But I’m discharged. I’m still breastfeeding and thus not on medication. I am not self harming or attempting suicide (they didn’t ask if I still think about it). I am well dressed, bright and seem to have good cognitive function. I’m functioning on a level that doesn’t require help from anyone. And that is a good thing, I am proud of all of those things.
I don’t know what the point of this is. I just wanted to reach out I guess, even if just to the ether. I’m here, I’m functioning, I’m depressed, I’m not ok, but I will be again sometime. Maybe there will be more posts, maybe I will pick this method of communication up again. Maybe I will be able to come here and share awesome things we are doing, personal achievements, share my good days and feel connected to something again. Maybe this will be a one off and this blog will be empty for another year or two. Who knows.
I will post this. I like the idea of submitting this out there to the ether. To breathe out that I am not ok but that I will be. If you’ve read this, thank you, you don’t have to comment or anything, I just needed to breathe this out.
Edited to say: I just looked back over this blog. About this time 2014 I have a pretty similar post. Wondering if it is a cyclical thing? *Sigh* I’m not ok, but I will be ok, but sometimes this wheel is exhausting. Finding myself back in the same pits I have been in before, no way to claw out, just wait for the wheel to turn to me being ok and a slave to waiting for it to throw me back into the shit again. I wish I knew how to break free of this wheel.
I’m nervous writing this post, and to be honest I’m not sure if I will actually even post it once it is written.
Life right now? We are on the smallholding. The house is in relatively good condition. No matter what I say about the bedrooms being small all rooms are actually a good size. We have polytunnels already up and fruit trees producing. The field has good grazing. We have been blessed by seeing more family and friends in the last 4 weeks than we did in months when living in Scotland. The cats seem to have all adjusted well and I have a smiling baby girl.
All seems good. I have so much to be thankful for.
So why am I struggling. Why has my anxiety and OCD cleanliness glared up to the point I’m opening doors with my elbows, avoiding light switches, wearing trainers inside and wanting to throw up when in my bathroom and kitchen. The house is pretty clean by most people’s standards but my skin is crawling. Why do I just want to cry? Why am I struggling to sleep each night even though I’m shattered and my baby is sleeping soundly. Why have I stopped taking care of myself, eating and drinking regularly and have become incapable of taking my medicines regularly if at all? Why are the urges to self harm back with a vengeance?
I finally have things I have wanted for so many years. Starting a family and the ability to get back to the land and become more self sufficient.
So why am I falling apart?
I am hoping beyond hope that it is just the cyclical nature of my mental illness. That, like so many other times in my life, I just need to acknowledge this breakdown and shelter in the care of my husband until this cycle passes.
Or maybe it’s the return of the hormones after having a baby. My breakdowns have often coincided with hormones to the point that once a month I would get suicidal like clockwork. Maybe in a week or so this will have passed. Maybe I should go back on the pill to control the hormones. I want so much to be as drug free as possible and natural but maybe natural me is no good.
What I really really hope is that I’m not feeling this way, despite all the good in my life, because I am in fact the spoilt, ungrateful, whiney child that my head is screaming that I am.
It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and I’m waiting for Pip to be a little deeper asleep before I put her down.
We did it. We’re living on a smallholding!
The move was hellish. Packing with a 9/10 week old is nigh on impossible. My husband had to take more time off than we had hoped, I think Christmas time will be hard as virtually no holiday left for him. There was lots of DIY to do to do to get the house presentable. Didn’t get it all done so he may be travelling back to do it.
Even with hubby’s extra time off he ended up not sleeping the night before and I slept very little. We were still packing boxes when the vans pulled up. Yep vans multiple as we have far too much stuff.
The drive down was exhausting, one baby, 3 cats and a dozen fish tank inhabitants and a 5 and a half hour journey that took 8 hours. The delay was partly due to driving slower for all the occupants, partly stopping every two hours to take Pip out of her car seat and largely due to A1 overnight roadworks/diversions.
But we did it. Pulled up at the new house at 3 am with all occupants alive and well.
It’s pretty much been nonstop since then. Still surrounded by boxes, still cleaning to do, things to buy, repairs to do, so much work to do outside and to figure out how things work. But we’re here, on a smallholding, ready to change the way we live.
More updates soon, including a new blog dedicated to the smallholding, but right now Pip is ready to put down and there’s a few more hours of sleep I can get before it is all go again.
I’ve been quiet on here but with very good reason. Alongside feeding Pip on demand we have bought a smallholding and are in the process of selling our house. We get the keys on Monday and I get to see it for the first time! Hubby went to view during the pregnancy when I was no longer able to travel.
I have to admit to being nervous as hell. There’s an AOC on the property and although we have talked to the council and they are happy with our plans I’m a little terrified that it won’t work out. We need me to be working on the land full time and make it successful. With my track record I have concerns, but I’ve always pulled through when animals are concerned. There’s also the hope that being outside, getting exercise, growing food and interacting with animals will help my mental and physical health.
It’s also not much land, 2.5 acres, of which about 1 acre is a fenced paddock. Large polytunnel, smaller polytunnel and a shade tunnel. Plan is sheep for meat and wool and skins, chickens for meat and eggs, currants for wine and productive fruit trees and veg. Hoping for veg/fruit boxes. Also very keen on bees for honey and increasing productivity of the fruit/veg. Further down the line would love goats and pigs but we’ll see. Trying to make sure we learn to crawl before we even think about walking.
Pip seems to finally be full and wind has settled so back to the packing grind for me!
Well I am a mother!
My little girl hung on for as long as she could in there. Past her due date, past curries and sex and pineapple and walks and bouncing on a ball. Past a pessary, broken waters and an oxytocin drip. She didn’t manage to out stubborn the emergency c-section though. Although at that point I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had said she was clinging to the walls as they pulled her out!
I did do the hypnobirthing in a form in the end and found it helpful but I did take the codiene after the pessary kicked in and then again after the drip kicked in. Had a shot of morphine after the drip too. Not quite the pain relief free birth I had wanted but the going with the body went out of the window a bit when it was clear my body was not wanting to give birth.
At the end of the day though (well a very long 28 hour day), my little girl was born weighing 8 lbs 6oz and perfectly healthy. I lost a lot of blood and then aggravated my tail bone by trying to the splits in DVT stockings, but otherwise was fine. Healthy baby and healthy mum were always the aim.
My biggest concern about being induced and about birth in general was being in the hospital on my own. I don’t do well in hospitals. The staff at my hospital were, for the most part, great. They managed to find a private room for us each night before and after the birth so that my husband could stay with me. I still didn’t sleep much in there at all, despite being in 4 days in total, but I felt calmer in those waking hours. I managed to get through my hospital stay with only 2 panic attacks. One during labour and one at day 2. Much better than I had hoped for.
Post-natal depression was my other big concern and I was very worried a few days after we came home, but touch wood it seems to have calmed down in the last few weeks (she was 5 weeks old yesterday). I am hoping it stays that way and I just get sad with the normal sleep deprivation like most mothers!
My mood has gone down hill a bit in the last week but I think that relates to my little girl (I’m gonna call her Pip in here) going into a Pavlik harness. They picked up on a displaced hip on day 2. She went for her hip scan last Thurs at 4 weeks old and they said the right one is badly displaced the left one isn’t quite right but will be helped with the harness. Most babies are in 6-12 weeks but they said with her hips we are looking at 12 weeks. It’s quite restrictive, cuddling is harder, we can’t remove it at all and so baths are out and no clothes fit. It’s been quite the adjustment even though I knew it was coming. Hoping I come to terms with it as time goes on, it’s only for 12 weeks and in just over a weeks time we get to take it off for a quick bath when they adjust the straps. I’ll do a whole post about it soon.
Right I think that’s all from me for now.
I’m still here. Still fumbling my way through.
I am hoping more updates will follow soon, updates on brewing, on our garden, on our plans to move South, on knitting and the million things in between.
Today though my mind is firmly on baby. I said back at the start of the year that I was pregnant, and briefly mentioned it in my last post. Baby is tucked up still despite us being past our due date. Everything is ready and waiting for her arrival so I am twiddling my thumbs.
I had really thought, based on my previous way of talking about everything so openly here and previously on my livejournal, that I would be posting all the way through this pregnancy. I would be writing about my increasing bump, stretch marks, the ever debilitating SPD, hypnobirthing,my quest into cloth nappies, all of it. But yet I’ve been quiet as a mouse.
I’ve not spoken to many people about baby and pregnancy and I have no idea why. I am hoping that this will fade once baby is here and I just want to shout to the rooftops about her to everyone who passes.
For now I will continue my wait, my time of zwischen as it is put in a good article a friend sent me. But I wanted to come here and post, to open up the route for me to come back after baby is here. Not much of a post, but something I needed to do.