So it has been five days since my last blog. I have been doing them daily but my last four have disappeared. I know, I know it is tragic, I’m wearing black to mourn the loss of my writing genius, what will the world do without it (a lot better I’d imagine lol). *Disclaimer, I’m wearing black due to the lack of clean clothes, I have fallen out with the washing machine, and my clothes for not walking themselves into the washing machine, and expecting me to put them in there, like I’m a servant – but hey black works for loads of reasons.
So trying to remember the ramblings in the past four blogs – and I thought id just start again. I have been attempting to get my shit together this week – which made me anxious and I went without sleep for two days. Got up Tuesday morning, did not go to sleep until Thursday afternoon. Which then resulted in me being asleep until this afternoon.
This is very dangerous for someone with Bipolar and can lead to mania, rapid cycling, relapses. I know this. Except the pressure I was putting on myself to get everything done, and prove to the world I am ok was driving myself to it. Plus thanks to the long sleep, I didn’t get half of what I needed to get done, done. So it was counter-productive.
I am my own worst enemy, my own worst critic, my own worst bully. I listen to the negative inside voice faster than I listen to other people. It is like if it isn’t a criticism it isn’t true. I cannot take compliments, they make me uncomfortable, I get the face like I’m downing the nasty tasting shots you get in student bars (not that I’ve ever been in one, especially underage AHEM Mum and Dad, I swear) whenever I get one. You almost talk yourself out of them ‘she’s just being nice’ or ‘she knows you’ve had a bad time, just trying to make you feel better, she didn’t mean it’. So I push harder. Take more on, run round trying to get everything done, despite having took too much on, and go and go and go, until I hit breaking point and then nothing gets done. Then I get down at my own perceived failure. Then as I start to feel better, I take more on again to prove to the world that I’m ok, but in reality I’m trying to prove to myself I’m ok. Then the cycle starts again.
Well its time to stop. I have made a list, with ten things on, I have a week to do them, and if its not on the list, then I’ll get to it eventually. I need to respect my Bipolar for the life threatening condition it is. My self care is more important than deadlines set by other people, or me. I need to be more truthful – stop looking ok if I’m not.
This blog went up proving that I’m not ok, and nothing bad happened. Everyone, even strangers have been lovely. The worst part was the people closest to me feeling hurt I hadn’t come to talk to them about it. That I felt I couldn’t. I didn’t realise how affected my family are by my illness. Not just the illness, but me not sharing with them. How refusing to share things with them made them feel helpless. Like they were watching me in hell but they couldn’t do anything to help. Because I refuse point blank to say anything other than I’m ok. Whether that is the truth or not.
I felt like an absolute scum bag when I watched how upset my Dad was, when he said I never talk to him, and he worries about me. He’d read my blog and didn’t know how to bring the subject up, because, the same with anyone else, any attempt to talk to me about how I’m feeling is shut down – ‘I’m ok, don’t worry, I’m fine’ – despite my being online at 3.30 am is a sure sign I’m not. I feel like I put my own illness on other people, when its not their problem its mine. It is selfish to share the darkness, and by doing so drag them into darkness as well. When you love someone, you do what you can to shield them from whatever unhappiness you can. But its only this week I’ve realised that shutting people out, hurts them more than letting them in. They wont have a cure, or magic wand, but to trust them enough to share, even a little bit -is sometimes all you need to do.
So I am. Because I don’t want to upset my Dad of all people the way I have done. This week has been a lot better than some of the weeks I have had. I have a new nurse called Caroline. Now I am the stuff of legend in community care. Apparently I’m a lucky dip, either really nice, or screaming at them to fuck off. Mostly I tell them to fuck off. When one suggested mindfulness colouring, I was indignant in rage ‘fucking colouring in, are you joking, do I look 5, you trying to say I’ve got special needs, here colour this in *writes go fuck yourself in bubble writing* and then stormed out. Muttering all the way down the car park. Its only later on that I realised loads of people do it, its almost a craze, and its relaxing, she wasn’t talking down to me, and I had acted like an epic twat. I did apologise profusely, and I am quite lucky that particular nurse was understanding and took it with good humour (she had coloured in my sign and gave it back – which I took as black belt level banter and put it on my fridge). However the other nurses who suggested I go to a group with 25 people crammed into a little room when I hate crowds, and was very patronising when I told her I would not be coming back, deserved her fuck off.
Mental health care is hit or miss. Mostly, thanks to Tory funding cuts, miss. I go months with nothing, get put on inappropriate treatment plans, and have had some awful nurses and treatment plans. But Caroline is ok. I quite like her. She reckons this is an honour in itself, and she’s enjoying the smug ‘she’s not told me to fuck off’ kudos she’s getting in the office. We’ve even had cheesecake together. I haven’t opened up, but I’ve been talking to her. She encouraging of me returning to Uni, and has given me loads of advice, that is working for me. She doesn’t patronise me. Its nice to talk to someone about things, that I know I wont upset either through worry, or not talking.
Now as much as I have been critical about my level of care, at least I have some. I was listening to Free Radio (the local radio station for Warwickshire) and there was a lady on there talking about her daughter. Her daughter has tried to end her life three time in four weeks and has been told it will be SIX months before she sees a professional. SIX MONTHS. That made the hair on the end of my neck stand up. I can remember being in A and E one quite serious attempt and waking up to a psychiatrist at the end of my bed. I had one visit me at home every day for a fortnight and a nurse twice a day I was considered such a high risk. This poor lady is beside herself about her daughter and is getting no help. I wanted to reach inside that radio and hug her. I also wanted to reach inside the TV and choke hold Theresa May until she realised that mental health funding needs ring fencing so it gets where it is needed. If we want people to start talking, some of them will need professionals to talk to. One suicide due to lack of mental health provision is one too many.
Which brings me to my next good news. I am now a champion for ‘time to change’ an organisation who in conjunction with Mind and Rethink, are challenging the stigma surrounding mental health. I applied and got an email through, so here I am, a fully fledged champion. It involves challenging the stigma – in every day life, social media, and being part of the wider network willing to share their experiences. I have sent my blog off to be featured, as well as to other places, as I want to play my part in breaking this stupid stigma down and dragging mental health to the forefront. We lose too much talent through suicide, and enough is enough. I lost my first friend at 16 to suicide. He was also 16 and sometimes I wonder where he’d be now, how many kids he’d have, what job he’d be doing. He had decades of fresh air in front of him. Same as Jasmine. I have lost 9 friends to suicide in 12 years – all aged between 16-30. Five men, four women. I know I’ll lose more. But I wont sit by idle, while this happens. My biggest weapon is my big mouth, and I’ll use it to try to affect change, and get others to affect change. They can’t ignore us all together. No stigma, better treatment, more funding for treatment, fairer treatment in the workplace. All reasonable things, all achievable, all missing.
But for now I am on the up, apart from my blog posts going into the big cyber black hole. I have the joys of a autism referral form for my son to get through this weekend. As well as other work and paperwork I’ve not got through, but will do at my own pace. As well as a nice sprinkling of seeing friends and family in between.
I’ve seen my lovely god daughter Charlotte this week, she makes me howl with laughter. This child has been on the earth before, I’m convinced. The faces that she pulls, the fact she hates my curtains and tries to pull them off, her straight abuse of her mum and dad (she wont pull her own hair as she’s worked out it hurts, but she has no problem pulling big clumps of her Mum and Dads, which makes me cry laughing). Plus put her arms up for a cuddle now, which makes me melt. She’s very selective with who she’ll go to, so I’m enjoying being on her VIP list, even if she uses a cuddle as an excuse to wipe her dribble down my shoulder I’m still chuffed to bits. I call her ‘my little angel cake’ – she side eyes me her obvious cringing, but hey, she’ll just have to take it.
Her Mum really helped me out this week. She dropped me a lovely card, cheesecake, and what I call my board of fame – all pictures on for me to look at of the people who care (and a few of Pauls mate who couldn’t be cropped out the photo lol). It was really touching and gave me a brilliant lift.
So there is always chunks of light around if you look for it. Please keep letting me know what you think of my blog. I want to do a kind of Q and A blog, which might help people who have just had a diagnosis, or are struggling, so if you can think of any questions I could answer that may help someone that would be fab. I’ll will be doing slightly longer blogs to catch up with the four that didn’t post – annoyed about that. Please keep sharing my blog, and engaging with it – and I’m really, really appreciative of all the love and support I’ve had so far, it has meant so much. Thank you x
Laura 🙂 x