World mental health day

Today is world mental health day. It seemed wrong not to post today given that my blog is about mental health. I have been wondering for the last few days what to write today, but it’s getting late and no plans came to mind so I’ll just wing it –

It makes me incredibly sad that many people don’t seek help for their mental health because they are ashamed. It makes me sad that they don’t think their friends or family will support them (whether or not this belief is true – sadly it often is). You wouldn’t hesitate to go to the doctors about a physical condition, but for some reason it’s different if it’s psychological. Because people should just “man up”, “it’ll all be ok in the end, you’ll see” right? People should just “get over it” and “cheer up” right?

If only it were that simple. 

So if you’re reading this and you’re one of those people who is scared to speak out, I urge you to seek help. Getting treatment could lead to a much happier life and can prevent things getting worse, getting to crisis point. No matter how badly you think of yourself, you are worthy of help, you are great and you will get through this. And if you have some help to do it, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe it’s even brave to face up to our struggles, to ask for help!

And if you’re one of those people who thinks people should just “cheer up” and “get over it” then I urge you to do some research, find out about mental health. The research speaks for itself, mental health conditions do exist – they affect the brain chemistry, they have a massive impact on people’s lives and it’s not their fault. Try to understand what it must be like to struggle daily with mental health issues and then maybe you will see that we can’t just “cheer up”, it’s not that easy. 

Maybe you just don’t know what to say? That’s ok! Sometimes all that is needed is a listening ear, sometimes being here is enough. We don’t need all the answers, but we need to be taken seriously, we need someone to talk to, someone to do their best to understand. That is enough, there are experts for the rest of it, but you – the family member, the friend – YOU are who we need to support us when things are bad. 

And for those of you who are fighting your personal hell each day, keep going. Things can change, no matter how hard it seems. Seek help when you need it (whether professional or support from a friend/family). Take time to look after yourself, I am a big believer in self care. Sometimes you feel selfish and worthless, but you are not, you simply need to look after your mental health as you would your physical health. 

I challenge you all to do something to help… Raise awareness, post on Facebook or Twitter. Fight stigma by challenging people’s beliefs, by calling people out on jokes about mental health. Ask someone how they are (really mean it) and listen to their answer, be there as a listening ear instead of rushing off as usual. Text that friend that you haven’t heard from in a while, smile at the old lady you see at the bus stop. Do something nice because you can. The world needs more random acts of kindness. 

Together we will get through this, together we will fight stigma. 

Lots of love,

Ellie xx

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Disclosing mental illnesses

Despite the fact that now it is a lot more “acceptable” to talk about mental illness, there is still a stigma. Even though there are laws to say that employers can’t use your mental illnesses as a reason not to give you a job etc., it doesn’t mean that isn’t sometimes a reason (it could even happen implicitly.)

I have been quite open about my issues… when I was first diagnosed, I told my work. At uni, I told my tutor, my departments etc. Close friends know (at least part of) what is going on/has happened. Most of these people don’t know the full story but they know I suffer from depression and anxiety.

I am off to Germany in 2 weeks, to a place where no one knows anything about me.

They don’t know that I have depression or anxiety, they don’t know any of it at all. And now I have to decide who needs to know and who doesn’t.

For example, I’m staying with a family for at least the first month… do they need to know? At first I thought not. And then I realised I probably should warn them about me screaming in the night sometimes (as it has happened a few times recently.) But how would I explain that? 

And what about the school I’m going to be working in? Or the university I’ll be enrolling at? Or the friends I make there?

Who needs to know? Or maybe the better question is, who do I want to know?

I would love to not tell any of them, and for everything to run smoothly, without my depression and anxiety affecting me in a major way… but is that realistic? Probably not.

I know that if I start struggling I need to reach out for help and support straight away, not wait until I literally have had enough and have booked myself on the next flight home. But what if I tell them and they judge me? What if I tell them and then I’m fine – I’ll look like I’m lying. What if I don’t tell them and then I need help?

Too many questions. And I don’t know the right answer to any of them. I don’t know how understanding/supportive they would/will be. I just don’t know!

Not much to say (but I’m still here)

I haven’t been around much over the last week. Partly because I was feeling quiet (like I already said) and partly because there has been nothing else much to say. Everything I have to say, I have already said before. I feel like I’m being very repetitive – I feel rubbish. I want to feel better. I am procrastinating my life away and doing no work. I feel useless. Nothing seems to make me feel any better. I am at a point where all I want to do is give up but I still know I can’t.

– I’ve said all that before.

Tomorrow is CBT, so I will probably have something to say after that.

I have still been reading, and have finally caught up (I think).

No one seems to know how to help me anymore. I feel stuck.

Hope everyone is ok and had a good weekend,

Lots of love

Ellie xxx

I am lucky

I have been feeling low for a long time. Sometimes I feel better for a few hours, even a day or a week, but then I fall back to the depths of sadness and depression.

Recently I have been remembering things, memories which are very scary, memories which have been haunting me when I’m awake as flashbacks, and in my sleep as nightmares.

But sometimes these things help us realise why we are lucky. I am lucky because I am away from him now. I am lucky because I have this blog, and lots of lovely bloggy friends here to support me. I am lucky because I have a boyfriend who makes me feel safe.

Last night I decided I needed to tell S about the nightmares and the memories. I sent him my last blog post, the one about nightmares. I copy and pasted it, he still doesn’t know where my blog is. I know he could find it if he wanted to, but I just have to trust that he respects my privacy and decision not to let anyone from my “real life” read my blog. I couldn’t talk about it, but I felt like he should know. It explains some of my strange behaviour. It explains some of the pain. I was scared that he would judge me, or tell me that I’m a slut. He didn’t. Of course he didn’t. He said

I love you so much. You know that right. I would never do anything like that to you. I love you too much to ever hurt you at all. 

I told him that I feel bad that he has to wait (for sex) and that I feel like I’m not giving him what I’m supposed to. He said

You shouldn’t use that term. Supposed to. You aren’t supposed to do anything. You give me everything I want. A cuddle and a kiss.

It brings me to tears now as I’m typing this. Because he cares, unconditionally and really. He doesn’t want to hurt me and all he wants is for me to be happy. It is strange for me that someone can treat me like this without expecting anything in return. I know my view of relationships is messed up, but I am realising how lucky I am to have S, and how much happier I am with him than I ever was with the ex.

A lot of bad things come from depression, but sometimes good things too. Today I have realised that I am lucky and I have someone who really cares and wants to look after me. Through this depression, I have learned things I didn’t know about myself, I have made this blog and I feel safe writing here, knowing that I have wonderful friends who will support me, celebrate my victories with me, and remind me that things will get better when I feel like all hope is gone.

So I just want to say Thank you, to all of you for being there for me.

Everything needs to change (back in Lancaster)

I have made it back to Lancaster. At times I thought I wouldn’t be coming back this term, but here I am, sitting in my tiny little bedroom and catching up on my blog reading.

I have finished 2 of my pieces of coursework. I’ve got 1 more to do, and an exam on Wednesday, and then the pressure is off (for a little while). This term, I hope to stay on top of my work. But then again, I always say that.

I am feeling very low, and still wondering what I am doing back here… Can I get through this term? Am I good enough? Why can’t I just go home and hide until it all goes away?

Last night we went out for Footballer’s birthday. It was nice to see everyone, and I got drunk for the first time in ages. There was a part of the evening where I started crying, and couldn’t stop. I heard my friend talking to her boyfriend, saying “never leave me”, and that was enough to set me off.

I wanted to go home. Actually, I wanted to die. (Not just because of that, but because I generally felt incredibly rubbish*).

I didn’t go home. I stayed out and went to the club. I didn’t want to let Footballer down by going home. Several other people didn’t come out, and (drunk) footballer got really upset. She thought no one cared and that no one was really her friend.

This is ridiculous; we all love her, we all care about her so much. But Footballer has a very idyllic view of the world, and she expects (and wants) everything to be perfect, but naturally it isn’t.

Someone didn’t come out because they were ill, some are not back in Lancaster, one was at work (but did come out afterwards). No one wanted to hurt her, but it did. She felt let down, and so I went out, and tried to make sure she had fun.

I think she did in the end.

When we came home, I went to bed. I lay there for ages. Just feeling nothing but pain.

When is this going to stop hurting? When am I going to get better? Or, worst of all… what if I never get better?

Today I didn’t get up until about 2. I was drifting in and out of sleep from about 10, but didn’t have the motivation to get up. I was very achy, tired and generally fed up. I got up eventually, and read some blogs.

I was supposed to be doing my lab report today, but I haven’t. It’s half past 6 now and I still can’t be bothered to do anything.

I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to work. I don’t want to talk. I don’t even want to sleep. I just want this to stop hurting.

Tomorrow uni begins again. This term my timetable is much better – no more 9-6 on a Monday! I don’t start until 11 tomorrow, so I can have a bit of a lie in. I don’t want to go to uni. I don’t want to do any of this right now.

People say I should “try and stay positive”, but how can I stay positive when I’m not positive to begin with?

Feeling very negative. And I wanted this term to be different. I don’t think it will be though.

I am hoping and praying** that things will get better. That the CBT will work. That the psychiatrist will be able to help. That I will lose some of this weight. That I will be able to get through this term. That I will do well in my work…

Everything needs to change. And I don’t know how.

*I always say that. “I feel rubbish”. Actually this is a massive understatement, but it gets across the general feeling.

**This is very hypocritical. I don’t even know if I believe in God anymore. I want to, but I’m in so much pain. I don’t really believe in much anymore. I pray sometimes, that God will help me, and show me a sign that he’s listening. It’s probably stupid. If he’s there, why would he listen to me, who doesn’t even know if I believe anymore?

Guilt

Guilt is one of those things that some of us feel more than others. I think people with depression and anxiety (among other things) are probably more likely to feel guilt in situations where a “normal” person wouldn’t.

For me, whatever I do, unless it turns out perfectly, I feel guilty. Who have I let down? What problems have I caused? And it’s all my fault. I must take all the blame and guilt and carry it around with me.

Even when it isn’t my fault, I often blame myself, and feel guilty. I have started to notice more where I shouldn’t feel guilty, and where it is not in fact my fault, but someone else’s. For example, I have come to realise that the way I was treated by the ex was not my fault, but his fault. And it is not something I should feel guilty about (but I do) and something HE should feel guilty about instead (but he doesn’t.)

But the problems arise when there is a situation which I feel guilty about, and I don’t know whether or not I should feel guilty. There is an internal argument. There is worry, guilt, changing-of-mind, and complete confusion in my brain…

And so, it is at this point that I am bringing the issue to WordPress. I want to ask my lovely readers for their opinion on the situation. I want to ask 3 questions:

1. What would you do?

2. What should I do?

3. Should I feel guilty?

I would really appreciate people’s opinions… and please be honest! I have asked people in “real” life, and they say I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I can’t tell if that is what they really think, or if they are just being nice!

So, here is the situation… (Beware: This is very long! – If you want to skip the long story, there is a very short version of events at the bottom!)

A couple of months ago (maybe less) someone started to talk to me on Facebook. I will call him X. Now he is someone who I have as a “friend” on Facebook, but don’t know very well. I have met him a couple of times, and the way I met him was though the ex…

So X started talking to me on Facebook. First it was quite normal (other than the fact that it was completely out of the blue, and we hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years!) and we chatted a little bit. I replied, although I thought it was a bit odd, because I didn’t want to be rude! We were chatting quite a bit, and at one point he asked for my number so we could text, and again, not wanting to be rude, I gave him it*.

So then, fast forward a bit, everytime I went on Facebook, he would pop up in chat and talk to me, as soon as I logged in. It was starting to get a bit irritating, but still not wanting to be rude, I went along with it. Then, if I didn’t reply instantly, I would get texts saying “why aren’t you replying Ellie**?” He also continually asked questions about what I was doing, who with, where etc all the time, despite the fact that he has never been to Lancaster, so wouldn’t know ANY of the places I was talking about.

As time went on, I started to get a bit annoyed, as he would not leave me alone. I felt like I was being controlled all over again… He would tell me how lonely he is, and that he doesn’t have many friends and that I make him so happy and he’s so glad that he has me to talk to… This of course induced massive guilt, and so I kept talking to him.

He would constantly say things like “you’re so beautiful”, and when photos went up on Facebook, before I had even seen them, I’d get a text saying “You look beautiful in your photos!” And one time, I told him I was going out in the evening, and he said “Send me a pic before you go.” Now at this point, it freaked me out. But on the other hand, he was only trying to be nice – wasn’t he?

Eventually I told him it made me feel uncomfortable, and he stopped, but made me feel bad by saying he was only trying to be nice etc.

At one point, he asked if we could meet up in the holidays. This was a few weeks before the holidays, and not wanting to be rude (noticing a theme here!) I agreed, although we didn’t make any plans, so I thought it was just one of those things you say – “oh yeah we should meet up”, “yeah”, and then you never do.

I got home and he kept trying to organise meeting up. I didn’t want to, and part of me (the paranoid part) thought/thinks this has something to do with the ex. So I made excuses, and eventually told him that I don’t have the time to meet up. Then he said “I could come and visit you at uni.” At this point, I drew the line. This was weird. I don’t even know him, and he’s trying to invite himself to stay with me?!

Again, when I made excuses, he made me feel guilty, saying how he doesn’t have many friends and people always let him down etc. At this point I told him that we aren’t friends, I don’t know him and I don’t have any loyalty to him. It was very distressing to me, and of course I felt really awful and guilty about this, but everyone said the best thing to do was cut him off before it got worse…

Then Christmas came, and he texted me Happy christmas, and sent me Facebook messages etc. Being Christmas, I decided to reply – just saying Happy Christmas.

And it all started up again. Once, I went on Facebook on my phone (so I wasn’t on chat) and he sent me a message, and I didn’t reply. I then got a text asking why I didn’t reply. I was getting annoyed now, as I had already told him he is too full on and I felt controlled. One day, I posted a status on Facebook, and less than a minute later I received a text about it.

Then, the day before New Years Eve, he asked if I would go out somewhere with him for NYE. I said no, and that I was staying in with my family. He would not take No for an answer, and continued to tell me “You have to go out on New Year” and that he had no one else to spend it with.

I told him I had already said no, and he kept begging me to go out with him. I told him I don’t like NYE, and that I don’t want to go out. And at one point I said “You obviously don’t understand depression if you won’t let it go.***” He responded saying “How can you say I don’t understand depression, just because I choose not to go to the doctor…etc.” After continuing to make me feel incredibly guilty, and to the point where I wanted to cut myself because of it, I eventually said “Leave me alone.”

Now, I am ignoring his messages. And despite the fact that I have clearly (on more than one occassion) said that I don’t know him, I’m not his friend, and to leave me alone, I still get messages saying “why aren’t you replying?”

(End of the long story! – If you read that, thanks! And well done!)

The Short version:

Someone I have met  a couple of times (through the ex) has started talking to me, and despite numerous attempts to get him to leave me alone, he still keeps messaging/texting me. He keeps making me feel guilty, and because of his strange behaviour (constant texting/messaging/asking why I’m not replying after very short amounts of time/asking what I am doing all the time/continuous attempts to make me spend NYE with him despite me telling him I have plans etc.)  I have now decided to ignore him.

End of the short version – Wow that’s much shorter!!

I feel incredibly guilty. Part of me wants to talk to him because I would hate to feel so alone if it was the other way round, but part of me thinks it is really strange that he is being so extreme in trying to create a friendship that doesn’t exist.

I really don’t know if I have done/am doing the right thing. I only spoke to him in the beginning to be polite, and he now seems to think we have this amazing friendship. Now, it is stressing me out, causing worry, annoyance and (of course) guilt, and considering the low point I am at now, I don’t see why I should have to deal with it. (Others have told me that it isn’t my problem.) However, I feel guilty about it because it would hurt me if I were in his position and I acted how I am…

So to recap, 3 questions:

1. What would you do?

2. What should I do?

3. Should I feel guilty?

What do you think?

Please help!!

EDIT: And I just realised I forgot an important (?) detail – I think he has some form of mild autism, which would explain not understanding boundaries etc. but at the same time I don’t know if that should make a difference/is important.

*This was possibly a big mistake, but I didn’t want to be rude!

**Obviously it didn’t say Ellie, but my real name!

***This, I definitely shouldn’t have said. It is not for me to decide whether or not he has depression. He kept trying to tell me he understands depression etc because he is going through it, yet he would not understand that I didn’t want to go out, and on a previous occassion, he didn’t understand why I didn’t want to see my friends. To me, it seems like it is unlikely he suffers from major depression. Maybe he does, and he just doesn’t show it, but it infuriated me that he kept claiming to understand, and yet wouldn’t accept that I am not able to do everything because of depression/anxiety.

Domestic Abuse

I have finally finished this post. It has not turned out the way I wanted, but it still carries the same message. Please read carefully, and please note that THIS POST MAY TRIGGER...

 

This is a pretty difficult topic to talk about, but I was talking to Footballer earlier about this, and we were saying how there isn’t enough awareness, and people think it’s only when someone hits you that it’s domestic abuse. So here goes, Ellie’s attempt at making the world aware of domestic abuse and its consequences!!*

So first off…What is domestic abuse??

“pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. It can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender, and can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse” – Wikipedia**

“Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you.” – http://www.helpguide.org/

Abuse

It is important to remember that abuse does not have to be physical. Of course, physical abuse does exist, but there are many other types of abuse too, and they are sometimes harder to spot – but that doesn’t make them any less painful or wrong.

Types of Abuse***:

– Physical

-Psychological

– Verbal

– Emotional

-Sexual

-Neglect

-Financial/economic (controlling your finances)

I have found a useful website about the signs of domestic abuse, if you think this might be happening to you or someone you know, it might be worth having a look!

It is NOT okay for anyone to treat you in this way…not a partner, relative, friend, there is no excuse and it should not be tolerated.

I was with my exboyfriend for nearly 3 years, and at the time I didn’t realise how bad things were. I thought it was normal to be treated the way I was, and it wasn’t until afterwards that it hit me how badly he treated me, and that the way he treated me was not right, and not normal.

I am glad to say I got out, but for the people who say “Why don’t you just leave your abusive boyfriend?” I want to explain, that it’s not that easy. For me, I didn’t even make the decision to end the relationship; he did. I am ashamed to say that if he hadn’t ended it, I probably would still be with him. I probably wouldn’t be at university, and I probably wouldn’t have got my friends back, and made lots more. It is one of those things, where you can’t see what it’s like when you are so close to the situation (ie. in the relationship) and it is only afterwards, when you can take a step back, that you see the relationship (and the boyfriend) for what they really are.

When you are with an abusive partner, it may not be explicit abuse. You may not be raped, you may not be covered in bruises, but there are other, more subtle forms of abuse that can be just as damaging. My ex boyfriend was controlling, manipulative, and clever. Every time he did something horrible, and I got upset, he would turn it round so it was MY fault… suddenly I’d be apologising for making him react that way, or apologising for wanting a life outside of our relationship.

This type of abuser is very clever and calculating. They will make you feel guilty, they will control you but make you feel as if the choices you make are your own. You will start lying to other people (friends/family) if anyone questions anything in your relationship, and you will strive to do better, to  make him/her happy – since it “must be your fault.”

I was 15 when we first got together, and we split up just 2 weeks before my 18th birthday. For me, that period of my life has been ruined; I can’t think of it, it hurts.

I want to raise awareness of domestic abuse… Of course physical and sexual abuse are both horrific, but it’s the less noticeable things that people don’t know about. At the age of 15, I had no reason to believe that it wasn’t normal to be controlled, to be constantly asked where I was and who I was with, to have huge explosive arguments weekly…

I believe that schools should educate teenagers on this (both female and male) because had I have had the knowledge I have now, I would’ve seen the red flag; I would’ve realised that THIS IS NOT RIGHT, and maybe I could’ve got out quicker.

I can’t change the world, as much as I wish I could. But here’s me trying to do my little bit to raise awareness of domestic abuse and abusive relationships, in all of their forms.

Writing this is difficult for me. Even a year and a half after the relationship ended, I still have flashbacks, I still get scared, I still expect my current boyfriend**** to treat me the way that the ex did. Every time I do something “wrong”, or don’t do what he says, I expect him to shout at me, maybe even hurt me, but he won’t. It’s difficult to adjust to a “normal” relationship, and it must be a lot of hard work for him.

I’m one of the lucky ones; I am here to tell the tale, and I’m free from the ex’s grips. But not everyone is that lucky; so if you know anyone and you think they may be in an abusive relationship, or if you yourself recognise the things I am saying, please help them get out!

*I am not an expert on this, everything I say in this post is either information I’ve found on websites or my own opinions

**Not a very reliable source, but who doesn’t love Wikipedia?

***I have made a list of lots of different types of abuse, however this is not an exhaustive list.

****Who is lovely, and not abusive in any way

Triggers

****Trigger warning – (I guess, as it’s about triggers!)****

Following an incident tonight*, I’ve decided I’m going to write about triggers.

Having being involved in the WordPress mental health blogging scene for a little while, I have become aware of many bloggers using “trigger warnings”, and I also use them myself in some of my posts. I did know what they meant by “triggers”, but usually the only ones that applied to me were posts about suicide and self harm, as the thoughts described often matched my own thoughts, and could make me want to act on them. However, I am generally able to maintain control, and so usually read posts which  have “trigger warnings” (unless I’m in a really bad place, in which case it is unlikely that I will be reading, and more likely that I will be writing.)

The reason that I’m writing about triggers tonight is that I realised what a massive effect my past has on my present. In particular, I mean what a huge impact my ex had and still has on my life.

~   ~   ~

I was out with friends for Mr Map’s birthday, and I was feeling alright, and although I wasn’t really in the mood to drink or go out (it is extremely cold, and I went out and got fairly tipsy last night) I was happy to go out because I wanted Mr Map to have a good birthday.

All was going swimmingly** until I was talking to one of my friends (Table thrower) who was very very very drunk, and decided it was a good idea to push me up against the wall. I freaked out, I ran away. I started crying. I was in panic mode. My heart was beating so fast, and I started to hyperventilate. Things like this remind me of what a huge impact my ex still has on my life, even though he is not a part of my present.

He is holding me against the wall, I am unable to breathe. Terrified. I can see the anger in his eyes…and I’m crying, and I’m apologising. My arms hurt from where he’s holding me, I hit my head on the wall as he grabbed me. I want to die. I want this all to be over. It’s all my fault. I’m sorry…please, I’m sorry.

And then I’m back in the club. I’m sitting on the toilet (lid down!) and I’m crying. I’m curling myself up, but the memories still haunt me. I can’t seem to escape them. Now the anxiety has kicked in, there is no escape.

And suddenly, it’s New Year’s Eve. I was late out of work. 10 minutes. I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. And he’s angry. He drives me home. We go into the empty house. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. And he’s angry. He’s shouting, I’m crying. WHY ARE YOU SO PATHETIC? And his hands are round my neck, I’m pinned against the wall. The wall I have to see everyday I’m at home, the wall in my bedroom, a place that’s meant to be safe. I’m sorry. Please. I’m gasping. Can’t breathe. Please. Stop. He throws me to the ground. We’re on the landing. He’s on top of me, holding me down. Scared. Please. Stop. Please. You’re hurting me. Please, I’m sorry. I won’t be late again, I’m sorry. He stops. My ears still ringing, tears still pouring, heart still pounding. Run! Downstairs. Vodka. I drink it straight from the bottle. I need to escape. He’s coming. I’m going to be drunk, then it won’t hurt. I throw myself at him. “Come on let’s go upstairs, I’ll make it up to you.”

Just thinking about these memories still gives me shivers. I feel sick and I can’t enjoy myself anymore. I wanted to go home, I didn’t want to ruin Mr Map’s night. I didn’t go home. I went out, Footballer was looking for me. We went back out onto the dancefloor. The sound of booming music rushes through my ears. The crowds of people swirl around me. I’m standing there, hoping it’s time to leave soon.

~   ~   ~

Everyone has different triggers. Mine are usually based on actions rather than reading words. Sometimes the smallest, most insignificant thing can be a trigger…a smell, a taste, something someone says.

The way I react to a triggering situation like this is probably not the best way, but it’s probably not unusual either. Rationally, I know this is a completely different situation, I don’t need to be scared. But the fight-or-flight system kicks in, and before  I know it, I’ve run away and I’m hiding in the toilets.

I also had a similar experience last night, although it only caused minor panic. My friend put her arm round me , and ended up with her arm across my neck. I freaked out, as it reminded me of similar situations to the ones described above. On that occasion  I only had a minor freak-out, and I was able to regain composure very quickly.

I think triggers are a very important part of dealing with mental illness. I hope to tackle some of these memories in counselling (when I eventually get to see someone!) It really brings the realisation that even though I am feeling pretty good at the moment, (read about it here!!) there are still HUGE issues that need to be dealt with.

It also reminds me that I want to help other people who are suffering or have suffered abuse. Abuse comes in so many forms: physical, mental, verbal, sexual, emotional…the list goes on. Abuse is not ok. In this post, I have described some memories from my time with my ex, who did not treat me well at all, but a lot of the abuse wasn’t physical like this, more of it was mental/verbal/emotional, and ALL types of abuse are valid…they are not okay, and they are not any less significant than physical abuse. If anyone is reading this and they are being abused in any way, I want to say that I am always here if you need a chat (anxiouselephant@hotmail.com) and that you need to get out of the situation. There are many organisations that can help people who are being/have been abused.

I am ashamed to admit that I let my ex treat me in the way that he did, and as you can read from my thoughts, I still blame myself for a lot of it. This is something I still need to work on. It was not okay, and it was not my fault. These are the two things I try to keep reminding myself.

*as I am writing this, it is currently 3:27am on Sunday 4th November, although by the time this is published, it will be Sunday afternoon.

**For some reason the word “swimmingly” is an appealing word to me. It also reminds me of Finding Nemo, although I’m not sure why it reminds me specifically of Finding Nemo.

Writing prompt challenge – 18

Day 18 —Take a reader behind the wheel with the worst driver you’ve ever known.

“Maybe you should get some help… like anger management or something?”

The car starts moving, before she even has time to put her seatbelt on. She quickly jams it in, as the car picks up speed, and he grows angrier. He looks at her, with a look of disgust and anger “Oh so I’m crazy now, am I?” he pushes his foot down further on the accelerator, “I need help, do I?” The wheels spin faster and faster, and she sees the world whizzing by, growing less and less clear as the speed increases.

“Look, I’m sorry, please will you -” she starts, as he slams on the brakes to avoid a collision. They lurch forward, the car coming to a stop just behind the vehicle in front. “slow down” she continues, at a whisper. “Slow down?” he asks, mockingly. He speeds up again, driving along country lanes, picking up more and more speed, overtaking cars that are in his way. “Does it scare you?” he asks, daring her.

“Please, just slow down. You’re scaring me. Please.” She cries. He starts to swerve – on purpose, to scare her. “Am I scaring you now?” he taunts her. The car wiggles along the (empty) road, with the steering wheel being jerked around erratically by the angry driver.

“YOU’RE SCARING ME. STOP THE CAR.” she shouts, the fear evident in her voice, as it trembles with the tears. Her heart is beating fast, it feels like a hammering in her chest. He continues to swerve, speed and suddenly brake as their journey continues. She can’t see the speedometer but she knows it’s fast. Too fast.

“Ok then.” he says, his voice surprisingly calm now. “I’ll go to the hospital. I’m mental. I’ll hand myself in shall I?” and the swerves become more dangerous. She is sure they will come off the road. There are near crashes, as he meets traffic on the road to the hospital. He beeps the horn. She’s crying, begging him, making all sorts of promises, just begging him to calm down, and slow down.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Please. I’m sorry.”

Disconnected

Trigger warning: talk of suicidal and self harm thoughts.

In case anyone is wondering how I’m doing, it’s not going well. I’m not coping.

I’m still trying to catch up with all the blog posts I missed, but it’s taking a while and my concentration is bad, but I will get up to date soon I hope.

I am not really posting like before because I don’t feel like writing. I don’t feel like doing anything. I’m going through the motions of life, but I’m not living.

I feel lost, empty and so so so tired. I want to give up. I know it’s not an option, but now it’s starting to creep into my mind as an idea. I want out. I want it to be over. Every night I wish that this will be it, the end.

I wake up in the morning (or afternoon quite often) and I ache. I’m still tired. I drag myself out of bed. The willpower it takes is insane. Sometimes I don’t at all. I am coping – to the public eye. I am attending lectures, seminars, meetings, even some socials. But I can’t carry on. I can’t run on nothing forever. I don’t want to do it. None of it. I am taking on lots of things. I know I can’t do it. But I need to. I want to prove I can do it, I am coping, I’m fine – I’m good. But I’m not. It’s all a mask. It’s all pretend. It’s catching up with me. I’m going to drown.

I don’t know if anyone notices. In real life or on here. My blog stats are very low at the moment, I guess that’s because I haven’t been here much. Or maybe no one cares. My friends are clueless. They know I’m “depressed” but I don’t think they even understand what that means. I don’t think they know the extent of how shit and awful I’m feeling. And if they did, I don’t think they’d do anything anyway. How many of my “friends” are real?

I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want someone to tell me to “get over it”, or that “everything’s going to be fine”, and I especially don’t want anyone to tell me “you’re over reacting” or to “man up.”

But I can’t do this by myself. I am so thankful for my amazing boyfriend. Who answers the phone at 1:30am? He does. Who talks to me whenever I’m feeling down, and won’t take “I’m fine” for a response, because he know’s when I’m not? He does. I’m so lucky to have him, it’s just a shame he’s so far away.

I just want to fall asleep tonight and not wake up. I keep thinking about taking my knife and dragging it down my legs and arms. I can’t stop fantasising about the bag of tablets I have downstairs (I’m on 4 medications and just came off 1 so have a lot) but something stops me. I don’t want to hurt anyone. Except me.

I wonder, would he ever find out? If I got my knife again? I’d feel guilty. I’d tell him. He would be sad. He would be angry. And he would be disappointed.

I just can’t believe I’m feeling like this and I’m classed as low suicide risk. Do I have to try and kill myself before anyone will help me? Why don’t they listen?

Sorry about the rant. It’s all mismatched and it doesn’t make sense. It’s disconnected. My brain feels disconnected from the world.

I just sit. Or stand. Not looking at anything, not doing anything. Just there. I switch off. I drift out of conversations. I don’t know what’s going on.

Every time I think I’ve hit my lowest point

I fall further.

Paranoid. Lost. Lonely. Tired. Sad. Empty. Angry. Negative. Hopeless. And it feels like my brain is broken. I can’t think.

Let’s sleep away the pain.