Before we begin, I wanted to say, if you’ve stumbled on this post while browsing blogs I apologise. This is a post that I’m not going to publicise, it’s the most honest I’ve ever written and probably the most honest I’ve ever said, even to the closest people around me. It also may get triggering, so watch out! But tonight I felt the need to write, I see statuses and blogs talking about the darkest parts of physical illness. It makes me think, my illness is physical too, it’s classed as mental but it’s in my brain and my brain is a part of my physicality so why do i treat it any different? Why shouldn’t I talk about my darkest parts as well!
So let’s get down to it shall we.
I work in what can be a pretty intense setting and the people in that setting that know me well ask me some pretty difficult questions about my mental health. I was asked one of those questions a few evenings ago.
“So how do you keep yourself well?”
I know the answer I should give, I know what keeps me well and that is the answer I gave that person. It involved things such as –
I’m honest with the people around me
I self soothe
I get professional help when I need it
I am unashamed and don’t feel guilty about it.
Truth is, all those things are right, they are the things that help me. But am I doing them things? Am I fuck!
Do I believe there are choices in recovery? Yes
Am I making them choices? No
And I think anyone with mental health issues can get to the point where they can’t make those choices themselves anymore, there is no motivation, no willingness. That’s where I’m at right now.
I had a depressive stage for a few months last year, from around September to mid December. My mood came up then. I thought to myself, “thank fuck that’s over.” I made it, I lived through it and I assumed it wouldn’t happen again for a while. I had a great Christmas and New Year, I settled into my family and work again and I was loving each aspect. I even visited my brothers… I never do that!
Fast forward to now. That probably lasted a whole 3/4 weeks before I was plunged back into the state I find myself. What is that state I hear no one ask?
It’s sitting in the bath, quite drunk, after continuing my bulimia relapse, with razors to hand ready to self harm again and the collection of pills I’ve made to over dose on next to me, wondering how the fuck I’m going to get through the next hour without dying (sorry, I told you it was going to get real).
Luckily I’m in a place where I know I can work hard and keep myself safe, where no matter the relapse superficial harm may be done but I won’t push it into being unsafe unless something awful happens.
Luckily I have distractions and don’t have trouble sleeping at the minute so I know I can go to bed soon and it will all be over for a few hours until I start again tomorrow.
But tomorrow is the issue because right now, I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to work my actual job. I don’t want to sing. I don’t want to talk about fashion and beauty and I definitely don’t want to film a YouTube video. I want out.
I don’t want to call crisis lines and I 100% don’t want to send a needy text to my friends, colleagues or counsellor. I don’t want to call my doctor. I don’t want to.
It’s easy for me to lie about my mental health, I’ve had a lot of practice. I’m good at disclosing one thing I’m struggling with and keeping the rest to myself to make people think I’m being honest. I’m good at focussing conversations around work and family and friends, making it appear I’m OK because I’m functioning in them aspects. I’m good at hiding issues with food because I’m plus size, so no one questions or really notices weight loss, its not an issue people expect.
Truth is everyday I have off work I’m drunk, it’s the only way I can make it through. Truth is that I can’t sleep unless I have self harmed in multiples of 25. Truth is I take to many pills, trying to find middle ground in the urge to overdose but not doing to much damage. Truth is I’ve lost two stone in the past 2 weeks and nothing is more satisfying. Truth is I’ve had to take more fag breaks at work, I’ve had to hide in the office because I can’t function for the amount of time I’m needed in one go. Truth is, and this is the hardest truth to tell, I’ve been hearing things again and having compulsions which have found me screaming in my car or taking to many diet pills or snapping at My colleagues for no reason.
Truth is, this is my new routine.
Every part of me screams you will never be happy, end it now. My conscience tells me it might get better. My brain argues back and says it never will. My conscience says this stage might last a while but soon it will be over and my mood will change. My brain says it’s not worth holding out for.
That’s the reality of mental illness and recovery I guess, it’s 2 steps forward, 1 step back. But even in the 1 step back, we’re moving forward.
My favourite mental health analogy comes from Renee Yohe. One of my all time favourite public figures.
She says this –
If you were walking across a room, from one door to another and you fell in the middle, you wouldn’t get up and go back to the first door to start the journey again, you’d get up and continue walking from the place you fell. That’s how we should treat our mental health.
One of my favourite bands when I’m in the state are called life house they say –
“I’d rather be broken that afraid”
I like that, because, again, truth is I can’t be bothered to get up off the floor and walk towards either door.