Learning to be vulnerable

I used to be a lot more open about my emotions; I could cry, laugh and yell when I needed to, admittedly the crying and yelling was in an unhealthy amount, In hindsight this was probably due to my BPD but my point is I didn’t have such a big guard up around me.

You see this behavior got me singled out as “emo” “weak” and “strange” and I was bullied for it when all I had been was vulnerable and in our world being vulnerable is considered the same as weak and sharks like to take advantage of this “weakness”

This bullying led to me having panic attacks, crying and self harming almost every night, keep in mind this bullying was added to trauma from assault, abandonment and being a young carer for my sister who has autism basically I already thought my life was pretty shit even before the bullying and the exposure to such things gives your brain a right battering, hence making you more vulnerable.

I understand now that the bullies were most likely going through some shit themselves but instead of letting themselves be vulnerable, they put on a front and took out their issues on people like me who were more expressive with their vulnerability.

After a while I “toughened up” but for me that meant bottling up the tears and the anger; not letting myself be honest about my feelings and this clashed with my values of being true to yourself and being honest, this only encouraged my self harm as I took on the bully mentality and would basically bully myself for feeling like crying for “stupid” reasons.

I learned yesterday how truly unhealthy this “toughen up” attitude is and got me thinking we should be more encouraging for people to show their emotions and let people be vulnerable sometimes. I’ve spoken about this before where I’ve said that schools could do more to help children and young people understand mental health, teaching them how to not only help others with difficulties but themselves as well. There are so many lessons that can be taught on how to express our emotions in a healthy way instead of hurting ourselves and/or others.

Yesterday was the first time I let my guard down in a setting I considered unsafe to do so and nothing really happened; the counsellor gave me some tissues and let me talk things out, I then went to the bathroom to clean myself up and grabbed myself some chocolate and a cuppa tea. So I relied more on myself than I did the counsellor which is empowering but the counsellor helped because she didn’t make me feel judged and I felt safe to be vulnerable with her and that’s how a school, college and busy workplace should feel SAFE.

  • Safe to be yourself
  • Safe to be vulnerable
  • Safe to be honest

I learned that vulnerability isn’t weak, in healthy amounts its good to let your guard down to truly communicate to people your needs. Honestly if I saw one of my bullies cry I wouldn’t hurt them how they hurt me, I would help them and let them know the safety they need to be vulnerable and hope that my compassion would promote their sense of compassion not just for others but themselves as well.

Thanks for reading,

NI2M ❤️

 

 

 

 

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Starting over is f*cking hard

I didn’t mention this before but I’ve started at another new college to study business I want to study it because it could open so many doors for me professionally and I do want to start my own business as well.

What I don’t want is to be bullied or judged or gossiped about which is what I feared would happen once I came here and it was this fear that landed me in trouble… With myself

You see there was some gossiping but no one was really picking on me and they didn’t seem to be judging me. In fact I think I was being more judgemental than they were.

All through the day my anxiety had been chipping away at me but during lunch I spent some time alone, practised meditation and I was alright until… Sports day

Now I like sports just not doing them with other people especially teenagers. In high school PE (sports class) was an opportunity for my bullies to physically attack me and make it look like an accident.

I’ve had balls thrown at my face, I’d been tripped and pushed, made fun of for the way I run and picked last for teams, exposing just how much of an outsider I was and I hated it.

Nothing like that happened but the fear of it stopped me from doing pretty much anything because no one else wanted to do it and I wanted to fit in for once and not draw any attention to myself.

Eventually it was over and I ended up in the counsellor’s office crying my eyes out and venting all my frustrations that had been piling up for the past couple of weeks. That was also part of the problem, I was so sad, anxious and frustrated but those feelings couldn’t find a way out until today…in college… On my first day.. FML.

I was hoping for a fresh start, that I could put my past behind me and move on, I forgot about Post Traumatic Stress (not the disorder) for me that means remnants of bad experiences are left in the back of my mind only rising when something I associate with that bad experience (i.e. Sports= Bullying) comes up.

I need to look for CBT and DBT therapy, its honestly so frustrating how the mental health team in my town just don’t get it and just dose me up with more medication which (excuse my language) pisses me off and stresses me out even more! they didn’t even want to let me have talking therapy alongside the medication, just the medication but what the hell am I supposed to do in situations like this when I don’t have the necessary tools to overcome the bad thoughts and anxiety?

I’m not anti-medication, it has helped a lot with the emotions but with the thoughts I’m in a constant cycle that I know I need help getting out of. I think I’m going to have to start being more assertive. They say “ask for help” but now it seems like I have to demand it!

In a way though I am thankful for what happened today because it finally meant I could release those pent up emotions and face one of my fears… Being vulnerable in front of people.

I’ll probably get more into that in another post but, for now, thanks for reading ❤️

 

MeetMeOnTheBorderline: Paranoia, Here I Go Again…

When I’m really stressed out I can have episodes of paranoia lasting days, weeks or longer. I remember at school I was getting so stressed out from exams and bullying that I used to think people were talking about me ALL the time, I used to think I heard my name in someone’s conversation but later find out that wasn’t the case. I used to worry about being hacked and watched through my laptop/phone so would always turn off the wifi after a while thinking that would help stop the hacking.

I also used to be paranoid about how I smelled, honestly my anxiety was so bad during high school and college that I was having severe stomach problems (I’ll let you decide what that means) because of this I would constantly worry about smelling bad so would take body spray and perfume everywhere as well as I wash myself two, three times a day but even then I would sweat and shake from anxiety which would, ironically, make my stomach issues worse and I fell into this cycle of constant worry.

When I was even younger at primary school we were learning about germs and the Plague. After being taught about the plague I was filled with so much horror that I had a nightmare on the same night. This triggered my anxiety and paranoia and I became a lot more cautious about germs and illness, getting so stressed and washing my hands so much that I developed eczema which is where areas of your skin (back of the hands for me) become dry and chapped. I remember it got so bad my hands started bleeding and my mum had to come into the school with some cream for it. I’ve started using moisturising soap which helps.

Now it’s manifest itself in an even stranger way, I feel like I’m being watched by people in pictures, it gets so bad sometimes that I want to hide every photo from my sight, I also worry about being watched by ghosts/spirits or that they are able to read my thoughts so I feel I have no privacy. I also worry when friends aren’t answering my messages, I think they’ve had enough of me and they’re talking to eachother about me instead of to me.

I am aware I’m being paranoid but it feels so intense and real at times that logic doesn’t stop it. These episodes didn’t really ease up until I started fluoxetine and I think it would be worse now without my medication as when I stopped taking it for a while I found that the anxiety/paranoia would invade so much of my mind that I could barely do anything but worry, its still there but less intense with my meds.

Two songs with this post because both have a theme of fighting your inner demons and I couldn’t choose between them;

 

 

Thank you for reading,

NI2M ❤

DepressionDiaries: The Box

I’ve been looking back on my life recently (I know, bad thing to do) and I’ve come to realise… I’ve spent my life living in a box. Not an actual box obviously but a metaphorical one.

For years I thought I would grow up to be an actress but then something changed, my heart wasn’t in it anymore and I realised the main reason I wanted to be an actress was because I felt it was the only thing I had going for me, the only thing about me people appreciated. I also had people all through my life (teachers, peers and my parents) telling me that I SHOULD do drama at GCSE, that I SHOULD be on stage, that I SHOULD go to drama school. I know I’m a talented actress, hell, pretty much everyday I would act like everything was fine and people believed me but that doesn’t mean I HAVE to be an actress.

In my second year of college I felt that acting just wasn’t my thing anymore, I didn’t need it. For a long time I used acting as an escape from myself but now I wanted to be myself, I was sick of pretending. It was at this point that I felt I was being pushed down the acting route by so many people that in the end I started pushing back.

I’d been living in a box; obeying people’s orders, listening to hurtful things and not standing up for what I believe in. The box was created by me and it was made of people’s insults, my acting talent and fear of disapproval. All of these things trapping me in a “comfort zone” although it was never very comfortable, the box prevented me from exploring my other talents and myself as a person.

It wasn’t until I started straying away from the acting route and “lifting the lid on the box” that I realised how trapped I was. I’d discovered more interests such as gaming, photography, art and writing. All of which I could pursue with the time I had once I’d left college. I have felt lost since leaving my life box as I’d been so focused on what others were saying and telling me to do that I had no idea who I am.

I realise this box was probably to do with my BPD; having a fear of others disliking and leaving you so you do what they want you to do instead of listening to yourself but that means you spend your life walking the footsteps of someone else instead of creating your own path which then leads to your identity being a blank slate and greatly influenced by others. Now I’m pretty much alone in my life, I have to figure out my true self. I’ve already figured out that I’m bisexual,I’m a blogger and I enjoy reading  but I’m not sure what I want to do career wise. I’m sure that will come in time though…

 

 

DepressionDiaries: My Sexuality 

I didn’t realise I was attracted to girls until I started going to college. I was extremely reluctant to admit to myself that I may not be straight.

I had a close bond with a girl in high school so close that there was a rumour that she and I were lesbians. Not true because at the time I didn’t even think about other girls in THAT way or even boys. I didn’t like many people in high school and spent most of my energy getting the grades I needed to get the hell out of there instead of relationships.

Nevertheless this friend and I received relentless bullying from most of our year group (the ring leader actually turned out to be gay herself, she’s got a girlfriend now)

This experience made me feel guilty and disgusted with myself when I did start thinking of dating girls as well as boys. It was also around the time I failed my exams so that on top of questioning my sexuality meant my depression had a lot of ammo.

It’s not all girls or all boys I like. Some girls I could see myself with but others (such as the girls I knew in high school) I think hell no. Same with boys some I like, others I don’t. I’m more the type to fall for one person very hard at a time. I’m still not over my former college crush even though we don’t see each other anymore.

I started joining Facebook groups for young people in the LGBTQ+ community to give me a place to belong and I made a friend in college who was also bi (we don’t talk anymore) so for months I had their support instead of that of my family because not even my mum knew (though I had been dropping hints)

I came out to my mum in I think the strangest way possible. I had tried smoking and my mum found the cigarrettes; she was so mad at me and I thought well in the shadow of me smoking being bi doesn’t look so bad so as my mum was ranting I said “I’m Bi”

She paused, tension in the air, I knew she didn’t have a problem with homosexuality but she had said something like “being bi is just being greedy” before which made me worry about what she would think when I came out. Her response was “Are you sure?” And I could have laughed if it wasn’t so serious.

I’d explained that my sexuality had been bothering me for some time and on top of college problems it made my brain a mess with all the conflict and self disgust going on. Which is why I tried smoking, I wanted some kind of stress relief besides self harming (I didn’t like smoking though so I just went back to self injury) she eventually came to terms with it and understood, though she was more bothered by the fact that I’d been smoking.

With my dad it was a similar response. I went to lunch with him one afternoon where I had decided I would tell him the news. I did and his response was “when did you decide this?” again I nearly burst out laughing but he was cool with it.

With friends I came out on Facebook, some I messaged personally but on New years day 2016 I decided to see who truly mattered so I came out in a facebook status and basically told anyone who has a problem with my sexuality to get lost. Luckily for me pretty much everyone supported me and didn’t treat me any differently which I am truly thankful for considering the years of bullying I had linked to sexuality.

Honestly right now I’m not interested in pursuing a relationship with anyone at least until I get most of my act together. I’ve had offers but declined, the person who I go out with will have to be very special and I just haven’t found that girl or boy yet.

NI2M ❤

DepressionDiaries: MIND Matters

I was with this service called ACE for a while, they basically arrange activities for you to do during your spare time if you have a mental health problem with no work. A lot of their activities I’m doing are with MIND, a charity organisation that work with mentally ill people, I did a fundraiser for them a couple of months back (I have the shirt to prove it, literally)

Today was my first proper session with MIND and we had a university student come in and ask for our help with an app he wanted to create to help people with mental illness. I was the youngest of the group and the others were at least 10 years older than me and more so they didn’t entirely get what apps are but I found myself speaking up a lot more than I thought I would considering I was new and the youngest. I was talking to the student about apps I’ve tried and gave him suggestions based on what I know of my generation and social media.

We also all got into a discussion about mental health services, hospitals, medications etc. The older people were interested in what I had to say and honestly from what they told me about the very little help they got a few years back, services have improved at least a little; It’s still a mess though, at least here in the UK it is. I remember before I went to hospital for my treatment I was very stuck, I was at too high risk for a service called Wellbeing that my GP counsellor referred me to because he wasn’t qualified enough to deal with my trauma and BPD but I was at too low risk to get help from the crisis team.

The Crisis Team… Where do I start with them? as soon as I mentioned them there were groans from my fellow service users, everyone in the UK with a severe mental health problem has likely had to deal with the crisis team, I have multiple times. I’ve had visits from really nice team members but it doesn’t stop the system from being absolute garbage; they treat mental illness like a joke and don’t really take the people they are supposed to be helping seriously. I remember the first time I dealt with them and I had an assessment by an arrogant prick who thought he knew everything and clearly hadn’t listened to me; I told him that my sister has severe autism to the point where she can’t hold a conversation with you and I was telling him that I found that hard to deal with as at the time we were fighting a lot physically (because she can’t communicate properly verbally) and yet what advice does he give me? “Go home and talk to your sister” I could have flipped the coffee table that was separating us and punched him in his smug stupid face.

That wasn’t all, another one I remember was that I was so low that I was disassociating and giving up on life, I didn’t know where I was going or what the point of going on at all was and the crisis team assessor (different one this time, that’s also a thing, you get a different person with different opinions, approaches and personalities practically every time you’re visited) what she said to me was “What do you want me to do?”honestly it sounded like she was just as helpless as I was which was not what I needed. Like I said there were some good ones but they didn’t stick around long; saw them once, maybe twice out of all the times I had the crisis team visit me. Overall the whole group could agree that the crisis team is shit; I’d rather go back to the hospital than deal with them.

Anyway, rant over, the student will be coming back next week to get our stories and ideas, I look forward to it 🙂 As someone so young (18) in the generation where technology is basically your life and apps are downloaded as much as a stamp collector collects stamps combined with my passion for mental health, I’m more than happy to help with his project.

NI2M ❤

DepressionDiaries: The Psychology Team

Today after being promised an appointment months ago I finally got to see the psychology team for an assessment.

It was a very difficult session as of course we had to talk about my history including things I find hard to talk about such as my intrusive thoughts and trauma both of which I’ve been trying to keep out of my mind especially the stuff that’s happened recently but the psychologist wanted to know how I ended up being admitted to a psychiatric ward honestly I couldn’t remember the details probably due to detachment/disassociation or something like that, I kept having to try and remember what I wrote on my blog at the time.

When the psychologist asked me what I thought I needed help with I answered fairly easily that I need to work on my relationship with others as keeping friends and getting along with people are things I definitely struggle with.

They’re going to discuss putting me in group therapy which will hopefully help with my interpersonal relationship skills and I’ve been referred to ACE,a service that provides activities for the mentally ill who have a lot of spare time so that should help keep me entertained now that I’ve left college…Again.

After the hour of talking to the psychologist about school, family, friends and everything while she took notes and the student psychologist observed I felt emotional and sick because I had to resurface the memories I wanted to forget and discuss my dark inner thoughts which I had been very reluctant to do but at least I did talk about them. For a while I was down but after grabbing some lunch and doing some Christmas shopping for my parents I did brighten up. Now I just feel drained and dearly want to sleep so I think that’s what I will do now.

'...I just have a general mistrust of people.'

NI2M ❤

DepressionDiaries: I have Anaemia

Recently I got my results for my blood test and it turns out my iron level in my blood is a bit too low which would explain the chronic fatigue I’ve been having over the past couple of months.

You need a good amount of iron for your body to be able to produce haemoglobin in the red blood cells. Haemoglobin carries oxygen around the body so with a lack of iron comes a lack of haemoglobin therefore not enough oxygen is passed quickly round the body causing fatigue.

Symptoms of anaemia include;

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • pale skin
  • insomnia
  • leg cramps

There are more but the ones above I’ve been experiencing notably recently. So as well as melatonin tablets to increase my melatonin levels I will need to take iron tablets to increase my iron levels… Not fun but necessary.

I have officially quit college as now I’m not only mentally ill but physically also and I don’t think I would have been able to cope with the course much longer but it was well worth the time I spent there as I learned enough to be confident to get a DSLR camera which is pretty awesome.

Anyway, I’ll leave it here for now.

Sincerely,

NI2M ❤

DepressionDiaries: Sick Leave 05/11/16

So today I didn’t go into college… Again. I just felt like I’d rather sleep. I did go back yesterday and it was a pretty good day but, you know, severe mood swings and identity crises basically everyday with BPD.

So my mum took me to the doctor to discuss my problems which are chronic fatigue, indecisiveness and questioning my life choices. I think I returned to college too early considering all that I’d been through over the last few months, I was probably better off taking a sort of gap year to get my act together.

Thing is I like the people at my college and using the camera but I really don’t like the coursework, the criteria is too specific and if you don’t meet their requirements you fail.

This college is better than my old one but it always comes down to sacrificing your enjoyment of a subject so you can do your work a certain way to get a certain grade even though photography is supposed to be about being creative and expressing yourself.

What I’m saying is I think I need to explore my interests more before I decide to do a university or college course. I don’t know about going back to college but I’m on sick leave thanks to the doctor for the next week so I’ll have time to rest and maybe work if I decide to stay but I’m not certain so I’ll just have to see how this week goes.

07/11/16

I’ve been doing pretty well since I’ve been on sick leave. I’ve been spending my time relaxing and taking care of myself while also working on my novel (I have a good feeling about this one) I’m fairly sure I won’t be going back to college but I’ve emailed my resubmission work to my tutor just in case I change my mind and want to go back.

I feel bad for quitting so soon. I feel like I’m letting so many people down, especially you but I hope you understand that this is what I believe is best I may go back to college as a mature student one day, hopefully by then I’ll know exactly what I want to do with my life but for now I think I’ll just explore my interests.

I hope you understand, I’m sorry if I let you down xx

NI2M ❤

DepressionDiaries: Stay or Go?

6 weeks into my year at my new college. Honestly the struggle has been real to leave my bed, arrive on time and do my work to the best of my ability. 

My attendance is 91% while my punctuality is at 75%… not good. My mum says it’s because I’ve been out of education for six months so I need time to get used to the student  lifestyle again.

 While it has been a stuggle to get through this last 6 weeks I’ve managed to come out of it in moderately good condition. Which I am proud of myself for.

It’s done me good considering I would be doing absolutely sod all if I wasn’t in college so it keeps me busy but at times I think I would rather be at home working on a new idea for a book or just doing nothing but sleep.

Some days I really hate being at college other days I really enjoy being there. It’s hard to predict what kind of mood I would wake up in and what kind of mood I would go to bed at night in.

I’ve been enjoying our new project which is portrait photography I’ve been able to get a lot of ideas for my shots but at the same time my ideas have to be good enough for the people that mark my work.

The fact that I didn’t do well in the previous project has knocked my confidence as well. So question is do I leave the college or Stay there?

After some thinking I decided I would give myself two more chances. The Resubmission of my first assignment to show that I can take feedback and improve.

Then there is my new project which I can see myself doing better with than the previous project. So next week is the resub deadline then the week after is the portrait project deadline. 2 or 3 weeks that will help me decide my future. 

At the same time I need to raise my attendance and punctuality. Those things I’m not so sure I can sort out.

NI2M ❤