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.
There are a lot of pretty and positive posts that circulate tumblr and instagram which are sometimes not really accurate or fully resemble what it is like to be in recovery from a mental illness. Don’t get me wrong I love these posts, a large portion of my bedroom is covered in quotes and brightly coloured motivational messages. But I thought it would be interesting to share a photo of me after a very difficult evening but managing to keep myself safe and coping without using any negative behaviours at all. This is a recovery moment that I am proud of. It is rough around the edges and very real, it is me with bloodshot and puffy eyes. It can’t be seen through rose coloured glasses and this is good in its own way since I know a lot of other people have had nights like this. Nights that we find ourselves picking up the broken pieces, from a situation that can be hard to explain to those around us in the best of times let alone when distressed. A lot of the times it is easier to explain these kind of nights and find a sense of belonging with others who have been struggling with similar things by sharing a motivational message or quote. I am proud of myself for managing a rough night in the messy, teary and real way that worked for me in that moment. I’m going to continue to keep on keeping on, just watch me fall down seven times and stand up eight because I know that the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind.
OH GOSH ITS BEEN A WHILE
sorry I haven’t posted anything in a little while! My excuses are- a mix of me slowly slowly regaining a social life and working through some tricky topics in regards to my mental health. I am going to a group at my local EDU which gives support for people who suffer with eating disorders but are getting to the point were they want to make changes. I have been getting on really well with it and I am finding it helpful. Topics are tough and facing the truth that I do have an issue with food and it has now reached a point that it needs to be spoken about and I need specialist help for it, is undeniably one of the toughest parts about treatment. I have been finding it hard to hear the words “your eating disorder” in a sentence that is referred to me, because that means I am accepting there is a problem. That I have an eating disorder. Which is kind of silly really because I have a diagnosis of an eating disorder and I have been approved by mental health team for specialist treatment for said eating disorder, but for some reason when someone says “Tilly, how do you think your eating disorder relates to *this* situation?” I still freak out slightly and want to say very politely “actually, I don’t have an eating disorder”. Oh brain, you are such fun.
My social life is blossoming for the first time since I was about twelve. I am secure enough in myself to go into shops with friends and walk past the pain killers and razors without buying them. Which is amazing! I am coping better in situations that maybe haven’t gone completely as I planned in my head. I am bringing sensory tools back into my daily life again as they have slipped slightly over the past few months. I bought myself a snazzy new phone case which is very sparkly and helpful to calm my nerves and give me a ‘real world’ focus, without it being blindingly obvious that I am using it as a *coping tool*.
I have several draft posts that need finishing up, so slowly I am going to work my way through those. I am doing a lot of singing and song writing at the moment and I’m thinking of maybe starting a youtube channel. If I do start one I will link it up to here as I have had some mental health related topics that I might post on there too. As for now thank you for reading my little update, I hope you are all doing well!
My recovery from self harm is moving full steam ahead and I have recently passed the five month milestone since I last cut myself. I am trying not to think about it too much since my self harm urges have been getting pretty intense as winter is always a hard time of year and cutting seems to be relentlessly nagging me. Something that has been helping me a lot for quite some time (and can be used in other times of struggle) is making lists and mind maps. The way I am using it at the moment is writing reasons why my life is better without self harm. It helps me to think of all of the things I am fighting for, because I lose sight of those reasons when I am in the midst of tackling urges. I have been known to cover several pieces of paper writing the same reason to continue staying strong over and over again. At the moment I am finding it helpful to remind myself of the day to day crap (for want of a better word) I had to face when I was cutting regularly. I no longer have to spend a small fortune on dressings and other first aid items. I haven’t had an awkward repetitive conversations with a member of A&E staff in the early hours of the morning for quite some time now. I haven’t had to deal with infected self harm wounds and all of the pain that comes along with it. But above all else I now have the power to choose. I know this might sound a bit strange at first, but when you have been living with a behaviour so closely and at such an intense level it will begin to limit you in every aspect of your life. I never realised how powerful this reason is to help me stay strong, until I managed to have some distance from cutting. It has put me back on track so many times. I need to remember that cutting brings a moment of relief but as soon as you let it back in, it becomes nothing less than completely suffocating. Recovery is the only option and it does not matter how many tears and hours of struggling it takes I am determined to get my life back and achieve all of the things that I have my heart set on. Focus.
I know everyone always says that they much prefer giving gifts than receiving- *pause for groan at the cliche statement* But this year I have really found this to be the case. Last Christmas I didn’t have the chance to buy or make any presents- and there are only so many risk free christmas crafts a bunch of mentally ill teenagers can make. I have made many a scrapbook page on all of the things I have been enjoying this festive season that I didn’t have access to last year. Such as;
- waking up in my own bed
- wrapping presents
- fairy lights
- A christmas tree!
And many more! But on christmas morning, 2015 the moment that made me the most thankful to be at home was handing over a gift that I have chosen or made, in wrapping paper with a ribbon that I tied around it. Giving someone a gift that I put thought into- I didn’t have the spare thoughts last year to even contemplate what someone would have liked for christmas. Having the means to get my loved ones gifts was really priceless. The gift of giving has gotten even sweeter and made for an incredibly special christmas.
“Last Christmas, I was in a psychiatric unit. The very next day not much had changed. This year to save me from tears don’t ever send me back there. Once bitten the nurses were shy, I threw my shoe and it almost hit her eye. So tell me Tilly ‘do you want some lorazepam?’ I say yes- it doesn’t surprise them.”
Just a silly parody I wrote this time last year when I was spending christmas in hospital. Never fails to put a smile on my face when I hear the original 😉
I hope you all have a Merry (and safe) Christmas and be kind to yourselves.