A self indulgent poem about depression

Help

It’s choking me

A thick black gas

Invading my lungs

Filling my heart

It cuts like glass

Help

it’s back again

I’m still battle weary

I need time to mend

Don’t make me do this

Not again

How many times must I fight

The same fight

The same war

Night after night

Help

It’s back again

And I’m already in doubt

That I’ll survive this

That I’ll find my way out

If you only ever keep one promise…

If you only ever keep one promise…

TW content: References to suicidal ideation and awkward train metaphors

Today is one of the bad days

You may not know I have good days because I only tend to write when I’m low, it’s a form of self care. It’s something I can do that makes me feel as though something positive and productive can come out of something that’s painful.

When I have my good days I’m usually too busy doing important life things and taking advantage of all the energy and positivity I have because on my bad days, I can do very little. Days like today are spent just toughing it out, trying to use all the skills that DBT gave me.

Anyone who struggles with mental health difficulties will know about the negative thoughts that come into their head. “My head tells me lies” is one of my favourite mantras, it reminds me that the thoughts occurring are not true. I am loveable, I am not useless, my life is worth living. Luckily, my bad days have become less frequent and severe thanks to medication, therapy and hard work. But still, I have bad days and these bad days will probably always happen, I will always struggle with my BPD to varying degrees throughout my life… and this is the hardest thought to have because it is not a lie. When I was growing up I thought I would grow out of the crippling anxiety and crushing phases of depression. That I’d eventually stop feeling disconnected from others, that I’d feel less empty and isolated. I thought my mood swings would get less, that my ADHD would miraculously disappear when I hit 20… and since then I have become increasingly despaired and frustrated that it hasn’t gone away, in fact in many respects it got worse. I won’t grow out of it… because this is who I am. That thought always makes the pain harder to tolerate on the bad days because what immediately follows that thought is… “is it worth it?”

How much more money will my parents have to pour into my healthcare? How long will they have to support me? How long before my friends and family cannot further tolerate me and my issues? How much am I considered a burden to the people I love?

Oops. There I go again. My head tells me lies.

This thought train leads me down the same track every time and it terminates at Kill Yourself Land! – not a very creative name but hey, at least it’s direct. Choo! Choo! All aboard!

STOP. Do not let this runaway train take you to your termination.

The one thing that consistently prevents me from getting too close to purchasing the one way ticket is my promise. The promise that I make to myself, to my friends, to my family, to my therapist and most especially… to my dog.

I’ve promised that I will not hurt them in that way. I’ve promised them that I will not be the cause of someone else’s trauma.

The one caveat to this is that in order for this promise to remain effective you have to remember that you are loved, that you are not just a burden and that you will most certainly be missed.

This is why the number one weapon in my armoury against suicidal thoughts is pictures and messages. I print and keep my favourite pictures of friends and family close to me, pictures where we’re all smiling, memories that prove to me that I matter too much to give up. I’ve also asked friends to send me letters or messages telling me why they are my friend.

I highly recommend doing this. Reading the messages I have from the people I love is a way for them to be there for me and support me even if they cannot come to the phone at that very moment (or more likely, if I feel unable to contact them when I’m feeling this way). Those messages interrupt that negative train of thought that is trying so hard to take me to Kill Yourself Land.

Finally, I recommend getting a pet, a furry unconditionally loving dependent that will be so lost and confused without you. Who’s going to care for them when you’re gone and how will you know that they’re doing right by your fur child?! It’s best to stick around and do it yourself.

So if there is only one promise you decide to keep in your life… keep this one. Keep making and reaffirming this promise to yourself and to your loved ones, on your good days as well as your bad. Eventually you’ll find that your promise will interrupt every suicidal thought you have and although you may never fully escape those thoughts, they will be less powerful and that’s something.

There are many other methods that can be used if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, these are just the ones that I find the most helpful. If you are currently struggling with such thoughts please know that you are not alone and although I cannot guarantee that you will never feel like this again I can tell you that emotions are temporary and this feeling will pass. Don’t be afraid to go to your local A&E if you feel at risk of hurting yourself.

 

SUPPORT

If you find it difficult to talk to someone you know, you could:

  • call your GP – ask for an emergency appointment
  • call 111 out of hours – they will help you find the support and help you need 
  • contact your mental health crisis team – if you have one

Another option is to contact one of these support lines.

Samaritans – for everyone 
Call 116 123 
Email jo@samaritans.org

Papyrus – for people under 35 
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm 
Text 07786 209697 
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Childline – for children and young people under 19 
Call 0800 1111 – the number won’t show up on your phone bill

The Silver Line – for older people 
Call 0800 4 70 80 90

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men 
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day 
Visit the webchat page

*I’d like to take a moment to be thankful to my wonderful family and friends for being my anchor that keeps me from being lost to the darkness forever. I owe you my life. I love you. I promise I will not give up.*

A tired toy

I find myself falling into my mind
a tunnel drawing me in

I am falling inwards and outwards
as I split in half
Body and Mind

My body hums a numb white noise
You can touch me
but the echos of touch will be drowned out

By that numb hum

My body a mechanical thing
A tired toy losing
what it is

That makes it run.

Fighting myself

As the hot water passes over me, my legs quiver and the needles still stab in my chest as I gather my breath. As my heart rate slows and my head swims with negative thoughts. “I wish I could be proud of myself”

“Why am I never good enough?”

“Why do I hate myself?” 

“It’s no wonder I’m borderline. I’ve brought this on myself” 

Another voice echoes in my head 

“Stop it. Be kind to yourself” 

My bitter insides twist in response and say 

“You’ve let this happen” 

I try and remember to be mindful

I try to focus on the water running down my face, on the pulse in my ears

But still I can’t drown out the voices that say “not good enough. You’re to blame. Pathetic. Weak. Attention seeking. Lazy. Fat. Unmotivated. Lost. Lonely. Loser. DISGUSTING. WORTHLESS!” The voices press down on me. Pushing me to my knees. My invisible enemy ripping me inside out. 

Why do I hate myself?! 
But…
I didn’t buckle did I? 
I know what I wanted to do. I know the pain I wanted to feel. I know I wanted to feel punished. 
So… I ran. I jumped, I pressed, I crunched, I pushed myself harder and I forced myself through the pain. 
Till my heart drowned out the inside screaming and all I could think of was breathing. 
Relief. For a moment. 
And in the shower the voices may be back and they may be pushing in… but they didn’t win did they? 
I didn’t try to tear them out my skin.
I push against the shower wall and whisper to myself: “I am enough. One battle at a time.” 
I turn off the water, take a deep breath, and get ready to face the world again.
Cos like it or not. I can’t escape the skin I’m in. 

Coming out the other side of a depressive episode

It’s hard to remember, what life was like before a depressive episode. In that state everything is black and white and days pass in a slow fog… I remember when I first saw the Psychiatrist:

“Are you suicidal?” 

“I have suicidal thoughts but I’d never do that to my family”

“How do you know you won’t act on them?”

“I keep telling myself I’ve got better before, and I’ll get better again”

Sometimes it was a fight to cling to that knowledge. It’s been a couple of months since I left the psych hospital and since then its been a bit of a bumpy road but I’ve been heading in the right direction all the same. Now, after completing my first month of DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) colour is flooding into my life and I feel myself waking up.
Everyday I have to work at getting better. I do my DBT homework, I follow my therapists advice, I take my medication. The work is paying off though, my motivation has improved, my attention span is longer, my mood is more stable. Suddenly I realise that I’m no longer enduring my life but living it.

Today, as part of my DBT homework I created a photo wall as one of my ACE activities (activities that give you a sense of Achievement, Closeness to others and Enjoyment)

I ordered polaroid photographs of my friends and family and strung them up as a reminder of all the positives in my life.

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Remember to look after yourself and to plan things that will bring you fulfilment.

This is a list of my ACE log

  • invite a friend to dinner (or even just a phone call if you can’t manage dinner)
  • Do something kind for someone else
  • Exercise
  • Sing along to music
  • Have a hot bath
  • Go for a walk
  • Bake
  • Write
  • Clean and decorate around the house (best done in small chunks)
  • Meditation or Mindfulness exercise
  • Setting a side a time for ‘life admin’ tasks

I consider myself very lucky to have a supportive network of friends and family around me that have enabled me to never lose sight of what’s important. I wouldn’t have made the progress I have if it wasn’t for their help.

For any readers that struggle with mental illness please take that step to reach out and ask for help from a friend, family member, or you talk to your GP or call Good Samaritans.

Endnote: This post is slightly more serious than the usual banter and for that you have my most sincere apologies (soz, not soz). Please feel free to message me if you have any questions or want to chat. I hope that sharing my experience can help others. 

My Attention Light is Blinking

Sometimes I will send annoying texts, repetitively poke someone (in a non-sexual manner) or just generally behave in an annoying and obnoxious manner. Sometimes I just simply but my head into the person like a dog wanting love. When any of these things happen it is because my attention light is blinking.This is an actual system that has somehow gradually developed with my friends and family. I can just tell them now that my attention light is blinking and that I require love and affection. I can be quite a needy person… when I’m not busy being completely aloof.I always justify my need for attention by explaining that I have Attention Deficit Disorder and so really, by receiving attention from others they’re really just helping me with my deficit…

These days, attention seeking has negative connotations. If we seek too much attention we’re called “attention whores”. If a Facebook post is overtly emotional we say the person is just looking for attention like it’s a bad thing. Or the one I hate the most… how self-harming is a cry for attention, which in a sense can sometimes be true but it is too often said in a way that trivializes the persons actions.

I know I’m not the only person who has had these thoughts, I’m pretty sure I read a blog on this very subject not too long ago (and to whoever blog’s it is I apologise, I couldn’t find the article again to reference it). But I whole heartedly agree that asking for attention should not be considered a bad thing. We all need attention and we should all be willing to give our attention to others. Sometime’s all a person needs is to feel noticed, and if a person feels the need to hurt themselves in order to be noticed… I’d say they’re entitled to ask for some attention.

Don’t be afraid to ask for attention when you need it, and don’t be stingey with your attention when you see someone else crying out for it. Let’s all be a little bit more giving, and a little bit more loving.

Kumbaya, Namaste, Gesundheit etc…

(but seriously, it’s nice to be nice)

Motivational-ish quote of the day

I just came from watching The Secret Life of Pets with my mother. Which was an interesting experience since there were a lot of other kids there with their parents as well. Only difference was the children were about 20 years younger than me. Still, I’m young at heart. Besides, nothing cheers me up more than animated anthropomorphised animals going on wacky adventures.

I also got a massive metal bucket full of sweet ‘n salty popcorn which was awesome, and I’m going to keep it as my future sick bucket… because I get sick more often than I eat popcorn and every household needs a decent sick bucket.

Anyways, I digress. My point is that there was a poignant moment in the movie where Max is swimming for his little doggie life towards a life saver and Duke is cheering him on by saying. (This may be paraphrased as I don’t remember the quote exactly):

“Keep going! You’re doing great! Well, not really… But you’re not drowning so that’s something!”

And there, right in that small moment… contained the perfect metaphor for struggling with an illness, mental or otherwise. Because half the battle is keeping your head above water.

So When you’re being hard on yourself because you haven’t got much done that day, or that week… or that month. Just remember: You’re not drowning… so that’s something.

IMG_4197
My amazing popcorn bucket that’s soon to be my sick bucket. Everyone needs a good sick bucket.