2018 has been a weird year. I’ve made so much progress despite blips along the way. I wanted to have a year free from psychiatric hospital admissions but I didn’t quite get there, but that’s ok! I went into hospital informally and for the first time ever I didn’t fight the treatment and made the most of the extra support. On the flip side, Ive made huge leaps in other areas of my life. I went back into education which is something I never thought I would be able to do. I’ve started to learn how to drive! I started dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT) this year with a lovely bunch of girls who are so supportive and kind. I’ve opened up so much in regards to trauma which has quite possibly been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I think it is starting to pay off. So a very positive year in between some of the darker moments. I am really looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring!
“Light shines brightest in the darkest of places” This is a quote I have been thinking about a lot recently. Things have been really tricky and feel quite bleak. A lot of people who have BPD find themselves in and out of hospitals quite often and that is something that is running true for me at the moment. In my most recent hospital admission I met some incredible staff who really made such a distressing time so much brighter. From the doctors right to the cleaning staff, I can’t fault my local general hospital and the way they cared for me. They made me feel so supported as I waited for a bed on a specialist psychiatric ward. The staff on the general ward I was on were just as incredible as the staff in A&E. One night I couldn’t sleep and was getting distressed so a health care assistant brought me some colouring, a word search, some biscuits and a cup of tea to help calm me and keep me distracted. On another occasion I got myself really upset and the student nurse came over, sat with me, held my hand and reassured me that everything was going to be okay and if I couldn’t hold the hope for myself the people around me would hold it for me. As the hospital was tight on bed space I ended up spending my general admission was on a stroke ward, this meant I saw the ward staff being so incredibly kind to women on a spectrum of disability. The staff never once let patients dignity become compromised and treated all of us with the upmost respect. They really did make such a hard situation so much brighter, sometimes you do need a bit of darkness to really appreciate the light.
So it’s been a little while since I last posted anything on here. I’ve had major writers block and have been lacking motivation- but I’m back now with a post about something that happened to me recently. I’m currently in the long process of gaining trust with my family to be left to have time alone. It’s a struggle for me to be given time on my own without using it to hurt myself. It is a constant battle between wanting to show my family (and self) that I can use time alone safely and wanting to hurt myself so very badly. The other day I was given a few hours home alone and I managed to get through it without doing anything. Most people will see this as a good thing, something to be proud of. But for me I feel horrendously guilty for “wasting an opportunity” to self harm. Later in the day I spoke to my mum about how guilty I was feeling and she said something to me that was really helpful. She told me that everyone who is trying to overcome an addiction says that in 10 years time they don’t want to be still damaging themselves in this way. It’s all very well and good to say that you want things to be different years down the line but one day you are going to have to make a change. Today day I made that little change. I managed to take a step so that in the future I won’t be hurting myself anymore. And for what it’s worth, I’m a little proud of that.
This new year I have set myself a goal to try and do a doodle a day and also complete a writing prompt a day. Yesterdays writing prompt was quite an interesting one- “compare your past self to your current self”. My first reaction was a very negative one- looking just at the lack of change in self harming behaviours. Thinking they have had little change over the past few years, thinking that I’m not doing anything with my life and generally thinking very negatively. Taking another look at the question a little while later I have come back with a much more rounded answer to this prompt. In the comparison of 17 year old me to now 19 year old me you can see there has been a huge amount of change and progress. Although I am still struggling with negative behaviours, there is so many more things in my life that have changed in the past 2 years that I can be so so proud of. This time two years ago I was a month into a psychiatric hospital admission and was spending most of my day harming myself- to the point that I wasn’t safe to be left alone and was eventually put on 1:1 observations. This time two years ago I was 3 hours away from home, scared and struggling to eat. I had just turned 17 and was in quite possibly the darkest place I have ever been. Two years on, I am at home and have just celebrated my 19th birthday. I am still struggling massively with self harming behaviours but I am able to keep myself safe most days. Over the past two years I have made some amazing friends and learnt to let people into my ‘world’. To not automatically shut everyone out for fear of being hurt. I am still finding it hard to open up, but I know now that there are lots of people who want to help me and reaching out for them is always an option. I may have not changed as much as I would have liked to outwardly but that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been change. I am proud of the progress I have made, it has been hard to get to this point but I have faith that in the end it will all be worth it.
I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a merry christmas. Whoever and wherever you are, I hope you have a happy and safe festive period. Christmas can be a tricky time of year with or without a mental illness. So I just want to send out a little reminder to look after yourselves and take time out if you need it. Put the focus back on your family and loved ones and enjoy the day.
Have a good one, from Tee xx
I have been struggling a lot at the moment. It’s really hard to find the light when it all seems very dark but I have met some people in the recent months that have really gone the extra mile to help me. I recently found myself in a bit of a sticky situation where my brother ended up having to call me an ambulance. One of the paramedics that came was particularly lovely, she helped me to follow the emergency treatment that I needed to have. She spoke to me about my blog and writing to distract me from the whole situation. We spoke about writing quite a lot and I gave her the name of my blog so that she could look it up on her break. As I was waiting in A&E a notification came up on my phone of a new follower and new likes on my blog. You guessed it, it was the lovely paramedic who also has her own blog! After silly amounts of blood tests and junior doctors failing with canulas. She came into A&E with another patient but briefly sat next to me to say that she has been reading and enjoying my blog and can’t wait for my next post, so thank you lovely paramedic for going that extra mile to make that shitty situation so much better.
It is coming up to a year since I was discharged from a 9 month long inpatient admission in a adolescent psychiatric unit. It has been a very interesting year. Somethings were more challenging than I had thought they would be other things were a lot easier than I thought they were going to be, but over all life out of hospital is not what I expected it to be. Its been interesting to see that all of my hospital friends have followed different paths since we all left the same ward. Some have gone back into CAMHS wards others have turned 18 in the past year and have been admitted to adult psychiatric units. Some of us have gone back to school and gotten part time jobs. Some people have really distanced themselves from everything to do with their time in hospital. Everything that everyone has done is understandable and has its own merits but it is interesting how we have all done such different things in the past 12 months. For me, the past year has been about finding my feet at home and working with my mental health team to get the right balance of support while also maintaining a social life. The friends I have made in hospital are a huge part of my life still, we are a cheer squad for each other through the tough times and we are there to enjoy the happy times too- because we all know how hard we have each worked for those smiles. I’m incredibly aware of the fact that some jokes I made in hospital are not funny to people from the ‘outside world’ (keeping hospital friends close for these moments is crucial.) I also have come to realise some of the stories I hold from hospital are unique and hysterically funny to people who I have re-told them too. I’ve learnt that a year on from discharge I still am in awe of the staff I met on the ward and miss them everyday. I have also learnt that it isn’t a bad thing to miss people and I don’t have to beat myself up over feeling this way it’s a natural human emotion after-all. The past 12 months have made my relationships with my family grow even stronger and made every happy moment (however small) that we share together even sweeter. With my loved ones help I have been learning more than ever to find things that I truly love and grab onto them with both hands because if I’ve learnt anything in the past year its that those are the things that life is all about.