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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Come here – Go away

**Trigger warning – self harm thoughts**

A lovely blogger, Zoe, has been writing posts on the topic of boundaries this week, and having read them, I realised I have a lot of issues around this area.

One of the posts was on the difference between healthy and defensive boundaries. The bit that seems to be most relevant to me (at the moment anyway) is Split off boundaries. In particular, this bit:

  • Relationships are threatening both abandonment and invasion wise

  • It manifests as ‘come here, go away,’ indicating both a need for distance and closeness.

I realised that this is a MASSIVE problem for me. My boyfriend, S, has to put up with this all the time and it must be difficult for him (and confusing.) I seem to be sending mixed messages all the time – come here and go away. I’m so scared of being left/abandoned and I want him to be there for me (that’s the “come here” part) and at the same time I’m scared to be close because I don’t like relying on him (because he could leave me) so when I get scared I end up pushing him away (“go away” part.)

It’s very strange, but these things happen very naturally and I feel like I don’t have much control. For example I am terrified, and I mean TERRIFIED, that he’s going to find someone else and cheat on me/leave me for someone else (like the ex did.) I know it’s irrational, I know he wouldn’t hurt me like that. And more embarrassingly, I am terrified that he’s going to realise that one of our mutual friends (Sheep) is effectively a better version of me. We are very similar in personality, except she doesn’t have all of these “issues”, and she’s thinner than me… They went to the pub together last night and S didn’t bother to text me after work. He always rings me after work, but yesterday not even a text. And I’m so paranoid and jealous, and I don’t know why. Sheep is one of my best friends and I know that (even if S turned out to be a cheating idiot) she wouldn’t do that to me. And yet I worked myself up about it.

And so when I spoke to S last night (after I had had a couple of cocktails – probably a bad move) I was upset that he didn’t bother to text me. We ended up arguing about it, and as usual I created a massive negative spiral… You didn’t text me, that means you don’t care, you don’t love me, you’d rather be with Sheep anyway… I’m not good enough, you’re going to leave me… and on and on. And I told him I don’t want to be with him anymore. That’s not true, I just got scared. I wanted to leave before he left me, I can’t go through being left like that again.

It’s scary being with someone, letting them in. Because S could tear my world apart (if he wanted to.) He knows pretty much everything about me. I rely on him a lot too much and I hate myself for it. I feel like I need him. And I need constant reassurance because I don’t think I’m good enough. I don’t think I deserve to be loved. And it’s all scary because I could get hurt again. And I don’t think I could go through it all again.

Things have definitely gone downhill in the last few weeks. I think since around my birthday, I’ve become really scared, paranoid, jealous, clingy… everything I don’t want to be. And I can’t seem to stop. Even if I don’t say these things I go mad in my head thinking about them. Last night I had such a massive urge to hurt myself. And when I was walking home I thought about if someone came and killed me, it would be so much easier, and then it wouldn’t be my fault. I didn’t do anything but the thoughts were there, and they were strong. I haven’t been thinking like that recently so I definitely think this is a sign of things getting worse.

I don’t know how to control all of this. Come here, go away. I love you, I hate you. I want to be with you, I don’t want to be with you… It’s all a mess. And sooner or later he is actually going to get sick of it, and then I will be on my own.

Why can’t you get this into your thick skull Ellie?? He loves you that’s why he’s with you. That’s why he’s still there after nearly a year and a half. And he always tries to help, even when you’re acting irrationally. Why do you have to push away someone that really cares? Why can’t you be rational? Why can’t you be happy, you have everything.

You may have noticed my head is a bit all over the place at the moment. I don’t quite know why. But I’m going home today, just until Monday. S is meeting me at the station and I know I need to talk to him. I just don’t know what to say anymore, I’m so broken. I just want to feel safe.

Busy being busy!

I still haven’t got back into my blogging routine yet as everything seems to be go go go all the time at the moment!

I currently have a friend staying with me for a few days, and then I’m off back to Lancaster for the summer term! I’m hoping then I will get into a routine and will be able to catch up with all of your blogs and start writing regularly again.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I’ve been busy. Busy doing some good things, and actually enjoying some things too! Things are definitely on the up, and I can’t believe how much better I feel than I did a few months ago (although there’s still a long way to go).

I had the nicest evening with the boyfriend the other day. We went out for dinner and then came home and watched lots of videos of funny animals (because we are that cool) and it was nice to just spend time together and chat and just be happy.

Today I have been showing my friend the sights of London – big Ben, Whitehall, Trafalgar square, Covent Garden, and of course – Oxford Street! And I managed to refrain from buying anything on our shopping trip! 

I’ve been putting off all the important things I should be doing at the moment, like CBT stuff and revision because they remind me that things are not all lovely and happy. Thinking about depression stuff kind of makes me sad because I remember that actually I’m quite a long way away from being “normal”/”happy” because I’m still massively affected by flash backs, nightmares, low self-esteem etc. but I know I need to confront these issues rather than hide from them which has been my method of choice for a long time – and clearly it hasn’t been helpful!

Just thought I’d do a little update. Very disappointed in myself for being so inconsistent with my blogging! I want to get back into the routine of reading everyone’s blogs each evening and writing everyday (or close to it) but sometimes life gets in the way!!

I’ll be back soon!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Like a completely different person

I am back. Back in England, and back to my blog!

Everything has been go go go for quite a while so haven’t been around much at all! I have a lot of blogs to catch up with, which I’ll be doing this week – I haven’t forgotten about you all! 

I got back from Germany today. I flew out for a few days to stay with my friend (sheep) who is doing her year abroad this year, in the region of Hessen. We visited Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Wiesenbaden, as well as looking around the town where she is living (Bensheim). For the first time in a long time, I just let all my troubles go for a few days, and just enjoyed myself. It was great and this is the closest to relaxed I’ve felt in a very long time! 

We walked up a massive hill in Bensheim, and you can see for miles around from the top. It is very quiet and peaceful there, and I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a good spot to do some writing!! I hope that I can find somewhere like that wherever I end up on my year abroad next year! 🙂

I was talking to Sheep a lot about how things are, and she said when she thinks about how I was at Christmas, it was like I’m a completely different person. And it made me think. And it made me realise, I’m feeling more like me. And so maybe it’s true – recovery sneaks up on you, and it’s gradual, very gradual. But *touch wood* things are getting better.

Sure, I still have down days, I still have moments of high anxiety, but they are not every day anymore (at the moment anyway) and so I’m going to enjoy these better times while they are here, and try to remind myself of them when I am feeling low. 

Now I’m back I’ve got to get on with some work – I have a lab report to write and lots of revision to do. It’s not going to be easy or fun, but right now, I feel like I can do it. And that’s a huge change in itself! Also, seeing how happy my friend is on her year abroad, and spending some time in Germany made me feel more optimistic for my year abroad, and now I’m quite excited (still terrified as well!) I was surprised that I could understand a lot more German than I expected, and even managed a few conversations myself which was good practice! 🙂

I really need to start doing my CBT homework too… I am meant to spend about an hour each evening reflecting on thoughts/feelings/behaviour, but I’ve been so busy that it has escaped my head for a couple of weeks!

I find myself wondering why I am feeling better. Is it the medication? Is it the CBT? Is it a combination of the two? Or is it something different altogether? After a lot of consideration, I came to the conclusion that I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m feeling better, the cause for that doesn’t particularly matter.

I’m not completely better. I’m not under the illusion that there won’t be more down times, and I am not claiming that I am miraculously no longer depressed, but things are better, and that’s progress. It will be interesting to see how things are now I’m back at home, and then when I go back to uni. I am going to try and write my blog (and in my little CBT book) often so I can see how things change over time.

Going to get some sleep now, and I’ll be back tomorrow.

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

End of term!

By some miracle it’s here… the end of term!

I didn’t finish all my coursework – had to get an extension on 1 essay, but managed the rest.

This week I had to hand in a lab report, a project and a language portfolio, do a german presentation and a statistics exam… so I’m pretty glad that I managed to do all of that, even if I couldn’t manage the essay as well.

And now it’s the easter holidays. Back to London tomorrow, for a month of “holiday”.

Unfortunately I can’t really take much time off, there’s this essay to write, another lab report and revision to start… but term 2 of year 2 is done, and for now at least I am going to take a bit of time for myself!

So tomorrow I will start playing catch up with reading blogs. I may not manage to read every single post, seeing as I’ve missed LOADS, but I’ll try 🙂

I have quite a lot of write about, like my CBT session this week, anger, relationship stuff and general stuff that’s been going on, but I’m too tired right now.

Tonight, instead of going out with my housemates, I decided to stay in my (nice warm) house and watch Don’t tell the bride on BBC iplayer, relax and get an early night.

I am proud to say I didn’t give in to peer pressure and subject myself to another bad night out. But after the last time when I ended up running out of the club in panic, I decided it would be more sensible to have a night in (even if that makes me boring).

So looking forward to reading everyone’s blogs, I’ve really missed WP while I’ve been away!!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

One week to go

Thought I’d check in as I haven’t been blogging so much recently, like I said, too much work!

Hope everyone is doing ok here, and once I am done with my work I will catch up on all the posts I’ve missed.

There is 1 week left of term. This time next week, I should have: handed in 4 pieces of coursework, done a german presentation, done a statistics exam and finished all lectures/seminars for 2nd year…

It’s going to be a close call and I don’t know if I will get all of that done. But I’m going to give it a damn good try. I decided I’m sick of not being able to do my work, so I’m ploughing through anyway. I probably won’t get as good grades as I am hoping for, but I’m doing my best, and right now, my best isn’t fantastic but that’s the best I can do.

I am saying this cautiously, as I don’t want to jinx things, but things seem to be looking up. I am still having lows, but also having days that are ok, good even, this week. The psychiatrist said that once I start feeling better it will be gradual, there will gradually become more good days and less bad days until ta da – you’re better!

There is definitely a long way to go before I feel better, but progress is being made. I don’t know if it’s the CBT, or the medication, a mixture of the two, or that this week has randomly been a bit better, but the point is there is hope, and things will change.

I’ll be back soon!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

A little bit quiet

I’m feeling a little bit quiet at the moment.

I am still here but I don’t feel like writing much and I don’t have much to say. A lot is going on in Ellieland and it’s all a bit much at the moment.

I’m trying to keep up with reading blogs but I haven’t been commenting as much because I can’t think of many pearls of wisdom, and like I said I’m feeling a little bit quiet at the moment.

I’ll be back to writing lots of posts again soon, I’m sure.

But I’m just keeping on for now, and things are quite hard. 

Take care everyone!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

I just want to do something

I just want to do something; something that will make me feel better.

I’ve tried writing  I’ve written two poems this afternoon (that’s the first time in a long time that I’ve written anything) but they are rubbish. Need more work.

I thought about doing some painting or something. But I don’t know if I’d feel better – I’m rubbish at art so would it just make me feel like a failure?

I just want something to make me feel better. Something other than hiding away and sleeping.

I’ve given myself today off – no work, just trying to relax. I might pop to the shops later, I have basically run out of food, and maybe some arty stuff would be good.

I wish I had a talent that I could do. Some people are musical, arty, sporty… everyone seems to have something, but I don’t. Or maybe I haven’t found mine yet. Who knows?

I’m feeling very fed up at the moment. Fed up and lost. I don’t really know what I’m doing with myself. There’s always so much to do and yet I don’t feel like doing any of it. I’ve told Mr Maps that I’m doing work. Well that’s a lie. Not today.

Any ideas of ways to feel better (just for a little while)? Or ways to relax, or even – have fun?!

Tomorrow is the day

I await tomorrow morning in anticipation. 

Am I scared? Yes. Excited? Yes. Nervous? Yes.

Tomorrow morning, at 9am I am having my first CBT session. I am probably hoping for too much. I should try not to build it up like this, but after all this waiting, I’m hoping so much that it will work. 

I have done my “homework” and kept a mood diary, almost every day. I tried to rate my mood, but that’s always hard. I made a timeline of my life too. She said it’s to look at how I got to where I am today. Looking at it, I still don’t really get why I feel this way. Sure, not everything has gone right for me, but I’m sure people deal with worse and they’re fine.

I’m hoping it doesn’t snow tonight. I’ve got to walk up hills in the morning, which won’t be fun if it’s icy! But don’t worry folks – it appears that Lancaster doesn’t get snow! (Not when I’m here anyway!)

I really want to get back into proper writing soon. Like stories and poems and stuff. Instead of just writing down updates of my life. I guess they are boring to read.