Break Ups

I don’t want to reread my last blog post so I may or may not be filling in the gaps. I’m pretty sure I told you about how I was dating RH or at least that we had done stuff. We dated for about a month and I had sex with him twice (he wasn’t great) before we had another messy split and I do mean full on messy. After the break up… He didn’t care. I got drunk a lot. It was bad. Luckily I had GC to pick up the pieces, not that I could tell him why I was so down without explaining the overlap of RH and GC dating. But as far as I can tell both myself and RH have moved onto other people and I deleted him on everything but snapchat and then he deleted me on that. We won’t be contacting each other again I don’t think.

I won’t go through why he and I broke up because I’m honestly trying to put that behind me because it was so hard trying to get over him and I can’t say I’m fully there yet but I’m in a better place with it. I’m not getting drunk and crying at least. So there is that. But I will say that after a large deliberation, there was fault on both sides before the break up and he was a fucking awful prick afterwards. He hurt me without directly talking to me and ignoring me but again, it isn’t really fair of me to say without explaining it but I think that’s the best I can say. One day I may fully explain what happened but I really just want to put RH behind me.

GC is someone new. I got with him after RH broke up with me the first time and then when RH and I broke up again a week or so later I had him there for me. But due to overlap I couldn’t tell him about RH.

GC is 26 years old so there is a reasonably big age gap which at first kinda caused issues because he fell head over heels for me whilst I was, for most of our relationship, trying to get over RH so I didn’t fall as fast as he did. So his ‘I love you’ (which I have returned), his talking of moving in together, marriage, kids… all seemed a bit premature for me. An 18 year old who just found the world again.

I did actually warm up to the idea of moving in together especially what with me and my dad at odds all the time but when I had warmed up to that, the marriage/engagement thing got more serious so that whilst what I thought was a joking (though uncomfortable) discussion between him and his niece when we were in town about weddings became a little less of a joke when he took me to get my ring finger measure in a ring shop. I didn’t react straight away because of the borderline personality disorder (yep another diagnosis btw), I don’t trust myself to react so I gave myself some time to digest what happened. I talked to my friends. JS (who I knew from college and got back into contact with again actually due to RH), EC and FM and they all thought “what the fuck” like I did.

So my original plan was for me to tell him last Sunday I wanted a break. No sleeping with other people or anything but just some time to feel less smoothered. But when I was coming home from a youth council meeting, he could tell something was off. I had apparently not returned his ‘I love you’ 3 times that day (one of those times I did realise I did because I wasn’t supposed to be on my phone so kept it short and sweet) and whilst I kept saying everything was okay, he asked if he could call. We ended up talking it out and he got really upset and I didn’t ask for a break because I didn’t want to be alone this weekend. So we made up and he’s slowed down a little bit. Which is good.

We do however have plans to move in together this summer which I don’t know whether I want to go through with or not. Not so much because I don’t love him or want to be with him but I’m starting school again so I don’t know if it’ll work practically. See, I signed up for school just before RH and I met up and I signed up for counselling course. Which costs about £465 (I think) and I had to put a £50 deposit down. After RH and I broke up but I had been around his nieces and GC nieces and nephew, I realised I was good with kids and wanted instead to do a childcare course so I signed up for that one. Now these two colleges are about 30 miles apart. If I live with GC, I live closer to town so I can get the bus and train to these places (the childcare college is close to town about a 20 minute walk from the centre and also means it’s easier to get to the train station to the counselling one as well) but it also would make it a lot more expensive and my dad wouldn’t be able to take me if i didn’t live with him… Also I feel he wouldn’t speak to me again if I did move out because of money.

But all of this sounds like I’m beginning to put my life together and I am a little bit. I didn’t think I’d see this day. But the thing is that the bipolar is mostly okay now and stable but the borderline is very obvious not the bipolar has gone and has very detrimental affects. Please read this to know more about the disorder. My abandonment issues vary from clinging to a person or pushing them away so I don’t get hurt (which is what I did with RH but trying not to do with GC). I am very self critical and insecure but luckily GC is just as insecure as I am.

I still take lithium and have regular appointments with my psychiatric nurse which I’m glad of because I very desperately need people to talk to. Recently, I have found and it might be related to the bpd that I can’t be on my own. I get very depressed if I don’t have someone to be around. Even if it’s a skype mic chat in my room or a phone call with someone. I need that because I can’t deal with myself and my thoughts. I spend just about every weekend now with GC and try and fill my week with my friends.

This week is half term so I didn’t have girls group and voice group. So I spent bank holiday Monday with Guy until about midday and then I went to see JS but that wasn’t as great as the other times because she brought her sister along so we couldn’t talk about personal stuff. I saw EC and her new house on Tuesday and slept over until Wednesday when I then had to get the bus back to the city and buy some stuff for people and today my brother and I went to the cinema and we saw Unfriended. Tomorrow I have my psych nurse and the doctor whom I am seeing about issues with my foot turning in. Saturday I am seeing my older brother which I kinda feel forced into doing because I missed seeing him last time because I was spending time with RH. So I missing my weekend with GC to see him and then seeing GC on the Sunday and possibly Monday too. Though seeing him on Monday could raise some issues as I need to be home in the mornings to take my brother to school so I can’t sleep over Sunday. I’m willing to spend all day with him but I need to help my brother with his anxiety so I’ll have to work that out.

Overall, when I’m good, I’m really good and when I’m feeling bad I’m really bad. Once I’m fully over RH, I think the emotional depression when alone will lift and be easier but for now it’s what I’m stuck with.

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Nocturnal

I recently learned that I prefer emails and writing blogs to instant messaging. I never thought I’d say that. But I find that if you write an email or a blog then the conversation is really changed. In an email, at least the ones I write, the first paragraph of a reply is the reply to your first paragraph so there could be multiple topics in the email but they can all be answered to and with a blog, the comments are usually about the blog that has been written. I find that either I’ve lost my personality, my ability to make conversation or people have become just plain ignorant and so instant messaging is boring and the conversation is easily changed.

Which is kind of my problem. I’ve been (at least internally) begging for someone to talk to but honestly, it doesn’t seem like anyone cares. I tell a mentor on a chat website specifically there to help with mental health problems, she will change the subject to herself. I talk to my friend an “okay” is the best I can get. My dad either doesn’t listen so he can pretend it doesn’t exist or he just does not care but when I do my next stupid thing and let’s face it, I have a next stupid thing in my future. I bet you Every. Single. One. of them will say “Ohh why didn’t you say something?” – I tried. You just wouldn’t listen.

Anyway, so I did a grown up thing on Wednesday. A Christmas party. I haven’t had a Christmas party in years and they were usually last day of school and was just Christmas music and snacks – they were rockin’ times. But this was an adult Christmas party which even though at a pizza place was still a big thing for me. For the days beforehand I was honestly stressing, unfortunately when I get stressed I jump immediately to the ultimate exit clause – suicide. But I kept putting myself down, calling myself a coward and in a twisted way it worked. I didn’t do anything but suicidal idealization is pretty much my only coping mechanism at the moment.

The Christmas party went better than expected. The social interaction wasn’t so tough but it reminded me of when I was younger and I was quite literally the life of the party but I got through it and well, the eating in front of people was hard but mainly because IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) means that I can’t eat large meals and this was a full sized plate pizza so I used the skills I developed when I had an eating disorder to make it look like I had eaten more than I had… Turns out there can be a healthy-ish use to those skills.

For desert I was full but had one scoop of vanilla ice cream and when the leader asked what we had she called mine boring and I’ll explain my problem with that…

I then had to walk home whilst everyone else was picked up and it kind of annoyed me because when I was 17, I couldn’t walk home alone. Wasn’t allowed out in the dark basically. But now I’m 18, no concern. But it’s whatever.

Now my problem with the desert this is ???? I don’t actually know I was just so personally offended and it was a kinda drastic thing to get offended about and this isn’t the first time so recently I’ve been questioning my bipolar diagnosis. Whether it is bipolar or borderline personality disorder or both? There’s a massive overlap in symptoms though but just my recent problems with relationships kind of highlights the possibility of me having it and plus all the “dissociative” symptoms that keep getting tossed off as PTSD and yet when I google to find ONE sources backing it up even one lousy forum post – nothing. I thought about bringing it up with my psychiatrist but some days bipolar is a better fit. It is possible to have both but BPD’s main treatment option is therapy and I won’t do that so I guess in this case: what’s in the label?

Right now I haven’t slept and I really want to but I have plans with my brother since he has a half day of school (go to mcDonalds because we live the wild life) and no matter what time I go to bed or what time I get up, I still can’t go to sleep until about 11am now. Which is why I apologise for how this might sound because I am working on four hours sleep about 19hrs ago so I’m tired as hell.

Does anyone feel like their mental illness is a dirty word?

Sometimes when I wake in the middle of the night (usually because I’ve gone to bed not at 3am in the morning) and I feel philosophical and rather zen. So I tend to research things, admittedly it’s either things to do with money like researching buying a new costume or a ticket to something or I research my disorder. I research my disorder because I like knowing what could come. My disorder began to develop in the last few months of 2011 and I couldn’t tell it was different, I didn’t even think the insomnia was a problem because I began to thrive. The late nights meant I was always on top of homework, the hypomania gave me the energy to study and the creativity to make links others could not and in those times depression wasn’t so bad. Depression just gave me a mild sinking feeling in the bottom of my stomach added onto a feeling of sadness. Until one day, around May that year. I suddenly had a bad depressed episode, self harmed and my worried father who’d already pointed out he saw my problems before made me go to the GP. I went and he told me it’s possible bipolar was my condition. Fast forward a few months, passed my first psychiatric appointment. Up to my first hypomanic episode that was more a hindrance than a help to my life but still what I deemed amazing. I was convinced everyone was wrong and that I was experiencing a stronger batch of teenage hormones. Had I have researched even a bit about my disorder – past the diagnosis sites and onto the forums – I would have seen that bipolar can get worse and it can go really negative so now late at night when the depression is taking over my mind. I find solace on these website that people can get better but I’ve also found things about people being torn about getting rid of the worst thing and best thing about them and one day I’ll be on my own and having to make that decision. So looking at research helps me. Looking what the scientists have found or what Jenny from Michigan thinks about her disorder, it’s all helpful.

But thanks to our support systems we tend to not even try a trial period off medication. A strong support system for mental illness is like an onion. In the middle we have family and friends. The annoying people who keep you in check and probably the reason you sought help in the first place. The next layer is therapists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, etc actually medicating and dealing with your disorder. Then doctors, GP. The ones who will take over prescriptions, write out new ones when your medication is giving you pain. The layer after is school or a work force and even if you don’t tell them your bipolar or depressed or have BPD  or OCD or any other disorder, the stability and structure it can bring support by itself. Then there are external sources, suicide hotline, Samartians and others. Which I would say, personally for me is my last line of support, some people probably have their own onion support system but I imagine it’s fairly similar.

Blog for Mental Health 2013

Mental health awareness, an issue near and dear to my heart, is being put in the spotlight with the “Blog for Mental Health 2013″ theme, being passed from blog to blog at this time.  Rose recommended my blog to pledge this year.

I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

I’ve had mental health issues for years and at age 10 suffered from depression, anorexia and several impluse and anxiety disorders. I would say I am in recovery of my eating disorder but have found that if I am away from home, in a stressful environment I tend to fall back into eating disorder habits. Anxiety disorder developed into panic attacks at age 14 but continued for only a month and somehow faded out on their own.

At age 15, I developed insonmnia due to nightmares at the same time as I developed mood swings. I am still suffering with this since the insomnia seems resistant to medication based treatment and the nightmares continue. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and currently am being assessed for bipolar disorder but have problems with my psychiatrist which means I am not being treated for this properly.

This pledge is my opportunity to commit to mental health awareness. I can publicly display this badge to instantly tell my audience what this is all about. I encourage others within the mental health community to do the same.

This is not an award, but merely a mention of bloggers who I believe are true to intimately blogging about the struggles they have with mental health.  I would like to invite five others to pledge to Blog for Mental Health 2013:

Bipolar on Fire

Living With BPD

bipolar2dad

laurennjade

knitting whilst manic

A special shout-out also to Canvas of the Minds for the coordination of this event!

Now, let’s get blogging!

blogformentalhealth20131

 

Dissociative Disorders

As you all know I suffer my fair share of problems of the dissociative kind. So I thought I should do a blog about, explaining about each one.

So the first question we have to ask is:
What is dissociation?

Your sense of reality and who you are depend on your feelings, thoughts, sensations, perceptions and memories. If these become ‘disconnected’ from each other, or don’t register in your conscious mind, your sense of identity, your memories, and the way you see things around you will change. This is what happens during dissociation.

Everyone has a period of this at some point. Everyone has periods when disconnections occur naturally and, usually, unconsciously. We often drive a familiar route, and arrive with no memory of the journey or of what we were thinking about. Some people even train themselves to use dissociation to calm themselves, or for cultural or spiritual reasons. Dissociation is also a defence mechanism that can help us survive traumatic experiences.

Are there different forms of dissociation?

Yes.

What are they?

Occasional, mild episodes are part of ordinary, everyday life. Sometimes – at the time of a one-off trauma or the prolonged ‘identity confusion’ of adolescence, for instance – more severe episodes are quite natural.

Amnesia
This is when you can’t remember incidents or experiences that happened at a particular time, or when you can’t remember important personal information.

Depersonalisation
A feeling that your body is unreal, changing or dissolving. It also includes out-of-body experiences, such as seeing yourself as if watching a movie.

Derealisation
The world around you seems unreal. You may see objects changing in shape, size or colour, or you may feel that other people are robots.

Identity confusion
Feeling uncertain about who you are. You may feel as if there is a struggle within to define yourself.

Identity alteration
This is when there is a shift in your role or identity that changes your behaviour in ways that others could notice. For instance, you may be very different at work from when you are at home.

What are the different types of dissociative disorder?

Dissociative disorders occur when you have persistent and repeated episodes of dissociation. These usually cause ‘internal chaos’ and may interfere with your work, school, social, or home life. However, some people apparently function well, which hides their distress.

Depersonalisation Disorder:You will have strong feelings of detachment from your own body or feel that your body is unreal. You may also experience mild to moderate derealisation and mild identity confusion.

Dissociative Amnesia:This is when you can’t remember significant personal information or particular periods of time, which can’t be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. You may also experience mild to moderate depersonalisation, derealisation and identity confusion.

Dissociative Fugue:
You may travel to a new location during a temporary loss of identity. You may then assume a different identity and a new life. You will experience severe amnesia, with moderate to severe identity confusion and often identity alteration.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID):
The most complex dissociative disorder. It’s also known as multiple personality disorder (MPD). This has led some to see it as a personality disorder, although it is not. The defining feature is severe change in identity. If you experience DID, you may experience the shifts of identity as separate personalities. Each identity may assume control of your behaviour and thoughts at different times. Each has a distinctive pattern of thinking and relating to the world. Severe amnesia means that one identity may have no awareness of what happens when another identity is in control. The amnesia can be one-way or two-way. Identity confusion is usually moderate to severe. It also includes severe depersonalisation and derealisation.

Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS):
Each of the five types of dissociative response may occur, but the pattern of mix and severity does not fit any of the other dissociative disorders listed above.

But that’s not all, there are additional problems:

Such as depression, mood swings, anxiety and panic attacks, suicidal tendencies, self-harm, headaches, hearing voices, sleep disorders, phobias, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive behaviour and various physical health problems. These may be directly connected with the dissociative problem, or could mean that you also have a non-dissociative disorder. In DID, these problems may only emerge when a particular part of the fragmented identity (an alter personality) has control of your behaviour, thoughts and feelings.

Many mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, also have dissociative features.

So what causes dissociation?

The causes of dissociative disorders are complex. Studies show that a history of trauma, usually abuse in childhood, is almost always the case for people who have moderate to severe dissociative symptoms. But not all trauma survivors have a dissociative disorder, so the relationship is not one of simple cause and effect.

A fuller understanding comes from looking at your childhood relationship with your parents or guardians. If the relationship was insecure and you were abused, then you were, and are, more likely to use dissociation to protect yourself from the trauma. The combination of an insecure relationship, trauma and dissociation can result in a complex dissociative disorder. Recent studies show differences in the brains of people with trauma-related dissociative disorders, but it is hard to know if this is a cause or effect.

A number of experts agree that the following factors have to be present for a person to develop the most complex dissociative disorders e.g. Dissociative identity disorder (DID), or DDNOS with features of DID:

  • abuse begins before the age of five
  • abuse is severe and repeated over an extended period
  • the abused child has an enhanced natural ability to dissociate easily
  • there is no adult to provide comfort; the child had to be emotionally self-sufficient.

But there are other theories:

Some sceptics argue that DID does not occur naturally and that the symptoms are caused by poor therapy with vulnerable, suggestible clients.

Some have also suggested that DID is a North American phenomenon and should be viewed as a culture-specific diagnosis. But dissociative disorders have been identified and studied in many different countries and cultures.

So how common is it?

Dissociative disorders are likely to be more common than the current low rates of diagnosis suggest.

A British study used a standard dissociative disorders screening questionnaire and interviewed 59 mental health inpatients on an acute psychiatric unit. None of the patients had previously been diagnosed with a dissociative disorder. It found that 30 per cent experienced significant levels of dissociation and it’s probable that 50 per cent of this group had an undiagnosed dissociative disorder. People who are eventually diagnosed with Dissociative identity disorder (DID) or other complex dissociative disorder have often had several earlier misdiagnoses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar or borderline personality disorder. Others never have their dissociative disorder diagnosed. DID may be as high as one per cent in the general population.

Several factors may explain the low rates of diagnosed dissociative disorders.

How are dissociative disorders diagnosed?

Several questionnaires can be used to screen for and diagnose dissociative disorders. The most common are the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders (SCID-D). Research shows these are accurate tools which discriminate DID from other dissociative disorders and from other mental health problems. Clinicians who use these assessment tools should have specialist training and a good understanding of the dissociative disorders.

If you have experienced a combination of any of the symptoms opposite, you may need an assessment for dissociative disorders. For DID, the following are non-specific clues for diagnosis. They are not the only indicators (e.g. men can also have DID and it is seen in older people), but they are a useful guide for when to seek assessment for dissociative disorders.

  • history of childhood abuse/trauma
  • female
  • age 20-40
  • reporting ‘blank spells’
  • hearing voices and/or believing there are external influences on the body and/or other unusual beliefs (apparently delusional thinking) and/or reports of other people’s thoughts intruding
  • previous diagnosis or suspicion of borderline personality disorder
  • previous unsuccessful treatment
  • self-destructive behaviour
  • no thought disorder.

Please note that dissociative states are a common and accepted feature of cultural activities or religious experience in many non-Western societies and are not regarded as a mental health problem.

If it’s that easy, why are people not getting diagnosed that much?
Well there are several reasons:

  • GPs and mental health professionals often receive insufficient training on dissociative disorders, so may not ask the right questions or consider the possibility of a dissociative disorder.
  • Many signs and symptoms identified during routine mental health assessments (e.g. depression, anxiety, insomnia, self-harming, hearing voices) are common to other mental health problems more familiar to the clinician. Thus a standard assessment will often not identify a dissociative disorder.
  • There is often confusion surrounding the term ‘multiple personality disorder’ (for DID). It can result in a diagnosis that is not valid, as the clinician may be looking for personality disorder symptoms instead of dissociative disorder symptoms.
  • Until recently, clinicians did not routinely ask about history of childhood abuse and trauma at assessment. Also, even when asked, people may deny a history of abuse. One reason for this may be because they do not remember it (dissociative amnesia).

Are there any behavioural signs?

Almost everyone coping with dissociative difficulties tries to keep them hidden from others.

We know everything now, right? Well.. no. Aren’t you wondering about the effects?

      Dissociation can affect perception, thinking, feeling, behaviour, body and memory. So, if you experience a dissociative disorder you may have to cope with many challenges in life. The impact of dissociation varies from person to person and may change over time. How well a person appears to be coping is not a good way of telling how severely affected they are. For instance, few people with Dissociative identity disorder will switch rapidly and openly between identities, in the way portrayed on TV and film. Nor is the classic ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ shift of identity common.

The effects of dissociative disorder may include:

    • gaps in memory
    • finding yourself in a strange place without knowing how you got there
    • out-of-body experiences
    • loss of feeling in parts of your body
    • distorted views of your body
    • forgetting important personal information
    • inability to recognise your image in a mirror
    • a sense of detachment from your emotions
    • the impression of watching a movie of yourself
    • feelings of being unreal
    • internal voices and dialogue
    • feeling detached from the world
    • forgetting appointments
    • feeling that a customary environment is unfamiliar
  • a sense that what is happening is unreal
  • forgetting a talent or learned skill
  • a sense that people you know are strangers
  • a perception of objects changing shape, colour or size
  • feeling you don’t know who you are
  • acting like different people, including child-like behaviour
  • being unsure of the boundaries between yourself and others
  • feeling like a stranger to yourself
  • being confused about your sexuality or gender
  • feeling like there are different people inside you
  • referring to yourself as ‘we’
  • being told by others that you have behaved out of character
  • finding items in your possession that you don’t remember buying or receiving
  • writing in different handwriting
  • having knowledge of a subject you don’t recall studying

Okay. I’m beginning to get it now. So what do I do if I think I have this?

First, call your GP, unless you are already a patient of the specialist mental health services. Ask your GP, care co-ordinator or psychiatrist to refer you to a professional aware of dissociation, for a full diagnostic assessment. Or, if this fails, look to the voluntary or private sector.

But what will they do? How will they help?

For all dissociative disorders the aim of treatment and self-help is to increase the connections between feelings, thoughts, perceptions and memories, and to develop a sense of empowerment. This will make you feel more ‘whole’ and reduce the internal ‘chaos’ you may be feeling. In turn, this will lead to less disruption in work, social and home life. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation gives guidelines for the treatment of Dissociative identity disorder (DID).

And obviously the talking cure is the best.

It is important to look at underlying causes as well as the effects of the dissociative problems. So, although effective treatment for dissociative disorders may combine several methods, it always includes psychotherapy or counselling, usually over several years. The therapist should be familiar with trauma work and ideally have experience of working with dissociation. However, it is the quality of the therapist-client relationship that is most important; and so inexperienced therapists may provide effective therapy if supervised by a professional who is experienced with dissociation. The therapist should be accepting of your experience; willing to learn how to work with dissociation and trauma; able to tolerate any level of frustration and extreme pain you may experience; and be prepared to work with you long term.

Getting such help through the NHS may depend on where you live and may not be always be easy to access, even after a dissociative disorder has been diagnosed. Those who have received appropriate NHS-funded help often report that it was only through their own persistence and/or with the help of someone else (an advocate). The short to medium-term therapy most commonly available from the NHS may not be effective in the long term for dissociative clients. Appropriate low-cost or free therapy may be available through voluntary organisations. Therapists in the private sector are another option if you can afford it – some offer fees based on your ability to pay.

Awesome. But… er… I’m not really a big fan of the ‘talking cure’ can’t I just take a pill and make it stop?

Unfortuantely not but medication can help treat symptoms you may also be experiencing, such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia etc. Regular antipsychotic medication is not generally helpful.

In DID, medication should only be used when the targeted symptom is widespread throughout the system of identities and/or is experienced by the dominant personality state(s) who manage everyday life. It is important to monitor dosage and effects carefully.

 

Mental illness and the reactions.

Before I branch onto this very large topic I shall tell of my day. It was not too bad. I think part of the reason for this is because I didn’t have to spend my time in the library because my dad drove into a ditch. His eyes may be bad but if he thought for a second he would have got out but instead drove himself into a big hole, literally. Due to the fact he wasn’t concentrating. So I went back home and got into bed. Missing the library. I then had science and history. Both good, history as odd as always. Got a B on the test, little disappointed since I got an A* on the exam next year but least I know my head is just above water. My dad has his eye check up tomorrow and so because the bubbles and floaters haven’t gone he’s worried that they’re permanent. I said to him: “Dad you have like 3, 4 surgeries on your eye, you’re expecting a lot for it to be better in 5 weeks”. I also had a visual hallucination today which didn’t make a lot of sense since I was really only flirting with the line between mania and mixed episodes. It was a shadow boy, in my eyeline, crossing the road and I almost got my dad to stop the car again but I recognised he wasn’t real before I made him stop. It’s difficult because for a few long seconds you’re not sure. It’s difficult to argue with the evidence in front of us especially when it doesn’t disappear with blinking. But it’s something you have to be able to tell the difference between because it’s a dangerous thing to try and stop for something that’s not real in front of real, speeding cars. Also, I’ve been sleeping more since I’ve deterioated further but I still have nightmares which actually make my entire day worse and honestly, they are in my top 5 triggers. So I wish I was sleeping less. I sleep 4-5 hours at the moment, sometimes only 3. Which is good because I’m sleeping more but quantity doesn’t matter compared to quality and the quality is very poor. But at this current moment I am dipping in and out of mania and depression and from something I once read that is also part of mixed episodes.

So yes, mental illness and reactions. This is a general thing for anyone for mental illness because there IS a massive stigma and I didn’t realise that until I became openish about bipolar disorder. Maybe because I’ve never been around anyone who openly admits they’re mentally ill until now. But even I am shocked at the reactions of some.

I’ve found there are two extreme poles in this area: mocking, ignoring or patronizing and at the other end complete worry you’re going to fall off the wagon anytime soon so that you’re not allowed to do anything. Neither are very nice. But least the worrying makes sense because it means they care enough to worry and are sensitive enough to realise that it hurts. But if you need your freedom to be able to deal with your illness in your own way than it’s not very much welcomed.

But then there’s the mocking side of things. People think it’s okay to bring your illness up in front of everyone and the truth is whilst none of us should be embarrassed about it, I don’t think many people want to make it public knowledge. Then they make comments about how “you’re crazy” even if they put it in a positive light by saying “I don’t think we could be friends if you weren’t crazy.” As if it’s a unique trait, it’s not. It’s not a trait, it’s an illness. We wouldn’t glorify an infection or sickle cell anaemia so why have people come into this “mental illness as a fashion” thing. I don’t just mean eating disorder as to be skinny like a lot of models. I mean depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, BPD all sorts of mental illness being used as a fashion. The problem then arises that people, admittedly primarily teens then begin to fake mental illnesses, this is an article from the Mirror (A British Newspaper) from 2010:

MENTAL illness is the latest fashion accessory for teenagers, a survey revealed today.

Youngsters are faking serious conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression and self-harming in an attempt to look cool and copy celebrity sufferers.

The teens said stars such as Kerry Katona and Britney Spears, who have spoken about their problems, have been an influence.

An alarming 34% admitted lying about having a mental illness in the past, according to online therapy service mentaline.com.

The website’s founder Jesper Buch said: “It’s shocking that so many young people think mental health problems are fashionable.

“It’s a very sensitive topic, so to see that many teenagers are blasé about the whole thing isn’t good at all.

“Many young people are too quick to say ‘I’m depressed’ or try to gain attention by pretending to have some kind of personal issue. Your teenage years should be spent enjoying life, not convincing people that you have issues that should be taken extremely seriously.”

Almost half of those who thought mental illness fashionable claimed it made people “unique” while 24% said it was “cool”. But the majority, 61%, said it “should be taken very seriously”.

3The top five phantom problems were:

1. Eating disorders – 22%2. Self-harming – 17%3. Addiction – 13% 4. Depression – 12%5. Bipolar disorder– 9%

We could blame the celebrities that seem to glamourise it but do they glamourise it? Do any of them really glamourise it? Sure, some do but just because they have it. Just because they come forward to the world and say “hey, I have a mental illness”. But if they don’t come forward they’d be painted as people ashamed of their illness and a disgrace to everyone who suffers with their same illness and it’s just not true.

But because some teens act this way, all teenagers and young adults are tarred with the same brush. Go onto yahoo answers and any teen saying they are depressed are brushed off with teen angst. Some of them probably are just a case of teen angst but some of the people who are truly suffering now are ashamed to come forward to get help.

So in a way can we blame the people who see mental illness in others a glamourous feat? When it is portrayed so much in TV shows and the media and so inaccurately too. As much as I and I imagine many others hate people glamourising our illness, can we blame them fully? I suppose we can’t if we don’t tell them. But if you tell them (hinting doesn’t count) and they still do it, it’s them and not the media and some people still do it because they can’t see the pain. It’s not a cut on your hand, a line of stiches on your stomach or even a tumour on your lung, it’s inside your head and people can’t see it. They don’t even understand how it causes physical problems. Insomnia which causes sleep deprivation, forgetfullness, sluggishness, slow motor ability. So I think it’s a lack of education. We have started to educate children about racism, sexism and homophobia (which are all worthy causes) but what about discrimination against the mentally ill? The ones who not long ago were locked in bedrooms, put in ‘asylums’ and hidden as the poor relation and yet there is little education and the little education there is, is about one mental illness which is depression. Even then depression is either layed on too thick or too thin. So even though anxiety disorders are much more common, we only talk of depression because of the suicide rate but not everything is depression and that’s what the world needs to come to understand.

I don’t recognise the face here in front of me.

My dad got my out of bed at 7am to put his drops in. His right eye was filled with blood, pure red. This shocked me, it’s supposed to happen but I just wasn’t expecting it. So I said “hold on, let me have a moment”, I got myself together and started putting in the drops. I got through two sets of drops and just this immense sense of nausea swept over me and I began to feel very woozy, so I quickly put in the other two and ran to the bathroom in case I was sick. I thought it was food poisoning or something because never in my life have I been that woozy at the sight of blood. Not even when my dad essentially cut the top of his finger off by a bicycle chain. I told my dad that I was feeling really ill and I was going back to bed. Dad then left for his check up. Everything is fine and is healing like it should be. I was in bed, with my phone on silent so I didn’t realise that a blocked number (it was actually my dad) was calling me, my brother did though. So when dad got home and his friend was waiting for us. I was pretty mad to find out I didn’t have time to get ready. Which considering I was anxious and depressed anyway, it wasn’t the best thing.

We got into the his car and he tried to make idle chit chat. I tried to continue it to dispell the awkwardness but it eventually went back to silence. Part of the problem was he was listening to music; his daughter singing in fact. She was a good singer but my brain is torn between social ettiqute and depression. Social ettiquete being to make small talk and depression making me want to curl up in a ball and not talk. I don’t see what is so wrong with uncomfortable silence.

My brother and I got out ourselves at the shop and we had to do it ourselves. I didn’t mind; we had a list. We started to shop. Shopping was overall the easy part. I didn’t anticipate how big the crowd was, I wobbled but I didn’t fall down (fall down meaning have a panic attack). I also have no upper body strength so I couldn’t control the trolley but we managed to get everything we needed and remember my dad’s pin code. So all in all it went well. I got my brother to ask about getting my prescription and going to do the lottery because I was just socially worn out.

I was walking past a mirror today and I stopped and I was staring in it, for just a few minutes. I was just dumbfounded, I didn’t recognise me. The tired eyes, the pale skin, the raggity clothes, the pulled back hair style. Just didn’t look like the me from several years ago. I don’t mean the anorexic one because actually they are all quite similar. I mean when I was 12/13, I just used to wear a headband and have long hair, I had colour in my cheeks and skin and my eyes weren’t THAT purple underneath. I don’t really pay close attention to anything when manic so there is no comparison there but it just honestly shocked me. There was a lot of sadness in my eyes and I recognised that and that probably scared me more than anything. I think the saddest part about my depression is that it makes me feel exactly like I did when I was younger and I remember how hard it was for me to recover from it last time but this time is different. It’s a deeper depression with high periods. I know I could make myself feel even slightly better, have a chance of doing something extrordinary if I could just get everything straight but I am off the deep end, just essentially all the time which is why I think my friends are sick of drowning in my sorrow which is why I feel like I’m doing them all a favour by cutting the ones I feel I hurt the most or the ones that hurt me the most (which tend to overlap) out. I figure, on new years day I just delete all the contacts on my phone of the people I no longer have interest in.

But overall today went better than expected. I have to do it next week though, so that sort of sucks. The only thing that has truely irritated me today is my left shoulder. I have problems with the muscles anyway but I’ve been having tingling in the shoulder and the top muscley bit, what’s that called again? I think it’s a trapped nerves. My back also hurts but I’m going to try and focus on the positives. Today went okay.

Side note: New chapter posted here: http://www.wattpad.com/10097121-not-a-girl-not-a-woman-just-mentally-ill-chapter

And on my blog. Enjoy 🙂