I had a break from my blog due to the difficulties that I face on a daily basis because of my mental health issues. I have filmed a short video which is a short,general catch up since my last blog. I made the decision to return to my Open University studies next month. The last course I studied was from 2011 to 2012. I have since tried to do other courses, but found it a struggle due to work commitments and my mental health. This time I have declared my mental health diagnosis so that I can get more support from the Open Uni. The course I am going to study is called ‘Voices,Texts and Material Culture’. ‘The module incorporates elements of art history, classical studies, creative writing, English language studies, heritage studies, history, literature, music, philosophy and religious studies.’ I am looking forward to challenging myself with this course. It will keep my mind occupied and give me a focus as I struggle with not having a job and a daily schedule. I started to see a counsellor in July and so far it is going well. I’ve had many counsellors since I was 18, some have been helpful and others not so much! This time it is helping me come to terms with different issues in my life and learn acceptance. Hopefully as the counselling continues I will learn to deal with certain aspects of my life in a more constructive way.
It has been about 2 months since my last post and I continue to try and deal with my mental illness in the best way that I can. It is an ongoing process, one that I struggle with at times. I wonder if any of my coping mechanisms are helping because sometimes I feel like I am going around in circles and never really getting anywhere. Ultimately I tell myself I am moving forward, even if it is just small steps. It is now summer and the sunshine causes issues for me in more ways than one. When I am experiencing depression, the sunshine makes me feel like I am wasting my days when I am at home inside my flat with the curtains shut. Sometimes I am relieved when it rains because then I don’t feel so guilty. I know that it is a pressure I put on myself but one at times occurs automatically. Right now I am in a good place and managing OK. The uncertainty of how long this will last is hard to deal with. I am trying to take each day as it comes, whether good or bad, but this is very challenging. Thankfully I have a source of comfort in my cat Treacle who I adopted from the RSPCA in April. She is the first cat I have ever owned. I previously fostered a cat for a local cat charity for almost a year. Treacle was left at the RSPCA following someone experiencing domestic violence. Therefore, I was told to expect her to be timid and to avoid shouting around her, which I would never do. In the 2 months she has been a part of my life she has settled in well and is content and happy. Owning a cat has triggered my anxiety, as I have dealt with situations completely new to me. Taking her to the vets following registration to have her weighed was the first anxiety trigger as I don’t drive so I had to find a taxi that was OK to have a cat in their cars. Next the visit to the vets was completely new to me but it went well and Treacle was well behaved. I have asked a few friends who are or have been cat owners and they have provided me with valuable advice, I’d like to say a huge thank you for your reassurance. Also my friend Erin who is a dog owner helped with information about pet insurance in general so thanks for that. Treacle is an indoor cat and provides me with many moments of amusement. A few days ago she almost escaped out of an open window twice! Then I accidentally shut her in my kitchen cupboard! She is very independent and likes things on her terms but she can also be very loving and affectionate. I wake up every morning to see her laid on top of the duvet next to me. I live on my own and having Treacle in my life has brought much joy and contentment. Just by knowing she is here with me gives me a sense of calm. I feel I have tested my anxiety by becoming a cat owner and I love every moment of it. The photo attached shows her sleeping next to me as I try to use my laptop!
My last blog post was in January, it was winter and now here we are in April and there are signs of Spring everywhere you look. During the past few months I have been gripped by the evils of depression, combined with anxiety, paranoia and any other aspects of my personality disorder that decided to rear their ugly head. Right now it feels like I have ‘woken up’ and slowly I am getting out and doing more. I have a bad coping mechanism of isolating myself when the depression takes an ugly grip. I recognise this is not healthy, however I seem incapable of stopping the downward spiral. Winston Churchill named his depression ‘the black dog’ and I can relate to that. It does feel like a black dog has leapt on your shoulder and darkens every thought and action that you have. I am an honest person but depression turns me into a liar. I lie to my friends that I am ok when in reality I’m not, I make excuses, and I don’t always admit to the depression. Why do I do this? Because when I am in the darkest depths of depression I feel inadequate, ashamed and worthless. I hid away from the end of January up until last week. The only times I left my flat were once a week to the chemist to collect my prescriptions and I attended the odd appointment with the my care co-ordinator and support worker from the mental health charity Rethink. Sometimes the anxiety, panic and paranoia were too great and I failed to go the chemist when my anti-depressants ran out, having a day or two without them. I wished for sleep during the day to take me away from the avalanche of thoughts in my mind but it would never come. At night I lay awake for a while before I settled into sleep, which only came due to the sedative effect of one of the anti-depressants I take.
Thankfully, I don’t feel the black dog’s presence so much at the moment. I am getting out more, seeing friends and enjoying the delights of Spring. The photo on this blog is one I took of a beautiful blossom tree near to my home. I love blossom, it is so pretty.
It has been over a month since my last blog post. I struggle at Christmas and New Year, being alone at these times is difficult to deal with even without my mental illnesses. Added to this, Boxing Day would have been my Dad’s birthday. My Dad died suddenly on 19th January 2008 and therefore I never feel like celebrating the New Year due to the impending anniversary. The weather this time of year is hard to experience too. The nights get darker quicker, the days are cold, wet and frosts are common. All these factors have and continue to challenge me. Today I had a walk to my local shops, although cold I enjoyed it and I felt better for the exercise. I took photos on my walk to make it more interesting. Walking alone, especially in cold weather can be boring. Taking photos helps me to focus on something else. One of these photos features on this blog. It is an abandoned building and seemed very atmospheric. I am going to try and go for a walk every day, even if it is just for a short distance. I know this will help my mental well being and physical health. Setting little targets is helping in my recovery. The only way is up!
I have decided to start my own YouTube channel where I can post videos talking about my various mental health issues. The first one I have done is about my anxiety. You can find it at:
Feel free to get in touch by leaving comments on my blog posts,YouTube videos or send me an email: email@example.com
A monster I hear you say? How can anxiety be a monster? Well, through counselling I learnt a technique to try and address my anxiety head on. My counsellor suggested that I try and draw what my anxiety feels like, so that when I get an anxiety attack by visualising it because you cannot see anxiety, then it could help to calm me down. This seemed like quite a challenge. How could I put down on paper the crippling anxiety that grips me like a vice, makes me unable to think straight and affects my short term memory? I used colouring pencils to draw the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about how the anxiety takes over me and makes me feel incapable and powerless. The result was a strange looking monster, the kind a child would draw. I did try thinking of this when my anxiety took over but then I forgot about it until recently. So now I am going to try and use it more often to try and help myself. I have learnt many different techniques to manage my anxiety. I attended an Anxiety Management course at my local branch of the mental health charity Mind in November 2015. I found this very useful, not just the actual course but being able to share experiences with a small group of people. I got on particularly well with Erin, we bonded as friends quite quickly and understand each other. We share a quirky sense of humour which provides us both with relief from our mental health issues.
Please note the attached picture is not my anxiety monster, just a monster picture sourced from Google Images.
My aim is to blog about my life and how I manage my various mental health issues in the hope that it may help others. Any names that I mention have been changed to protect the person’s identity.
First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m a female in my thirties and I have suffered with diagnosed depression since I was 17. Although I now believe I suffered with anxiety and mild depression as a child. In November 2015 I was diagnosed with ‘Mixed Personality Disorder’ which consists of Emotionally Unstable (also known as Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD), Impulsive and Paranoid, also anxiety, this diagnosis came after a few years of sensing there was more to my condition than just depression. In 1999 I was diagnosed with Bi Polar 2 and took lithium for 4 years but this later proved to be a mis diagnosis. Apparently, many people get mistakenly diagnosed with Bi Polar when they actually have BPD.
The photo attached is one I took last month and shows the contrasting colours of Autumn. I am discovering and appreciating nature and find that it helps ease my anxiety.
Until next time…………..