Forgiving my rapist

Okay so this is going to be blurted out how I’m thinking it. Today has been the most difficult and incredible day of my entire life so far. For the last few weeks my depression has hit absolute rock bottom, the worst it has been since I was diagnosed 4 years ago.

I never thought about seeking revenge from the person who sexually assaulted me because I was too caught up in my own self blame. I was too busy hurting myself or thinking I had done something wrong.

He seemed far more repairable than how I was left after the situation. No amount of hatred I had or loathing for vengeance would heal my mental scars.

I never once thought I would do what I did today, I never experienced any anger towards this man. Only sympathy, emptiness and guilt. The whole “wrong place, wrong time” saying.

My mind has been replaying these raw emotions in the back of my mind for a few weeks and it really hit the surface only a few days ago. I’d suppressed the memories so much due to how much trauma it caused me at such a young age. I have been barely a shadow of the person I was half a year ago. I’ve not recognised myself recently. 

I decided that the only way I would heal the wounds from what happened was forgiveness.

Today, I forgave my rapist.

I made him aware of the demons I have faced at the hands of what had happened. That my life spiralled out of control after December 24th 2011 at around 10:45pm.

I wanted acknowledgement for what had happened to me so I didn’t feel like I was another rape victim swept under the carpet. I got the apology I so truly deserved.

To many people, an apology would never even begin to heal the amount of suicide attempts, the self injury and the self hatred I had for over half a decade. But to me; it’s enough to move on.

To know I am a strong woman who has dealt with a traumatic experience, speaks reams about how far I have come in this time.

Forgiveness is not going to be everyone’s way to get closure. But it’s finally going to help me heal.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

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13 Reasons Why You Should Stay Alive

In light of the series ’13 Reasons Why’, I thought it’d be an idea to write a list of 13 reasons why you shouldn’t turn to suicide. In the last 365 days, I’ve tried committing suicide 5 times… each time regretting the last. 

I’m not going to sugar coat this blog post in anyway. I’ve been there, tried it multiple times and have come out the otherside. Trust me, it’s dumb. 

Death doesn’t relieve any pain

Once you’re gone, that’s it. Death won and you lost the battle. Your pain ends, but you pass your pain and a lot more onto every person around you. Your parents, siblings, work colleagues, friends and even acquaintances. You’ll leave them with sleepless nights, constant tears, guilty minds wondering what they could have done to stop you from being selfish.

You’ve survived up until now

Youve lived 100% of your life up until this moment, you’ve been alive every single second. You’ve been alive while people are out in space and people are at new depths of the Earth’s oceans. The people who made these things possible are just like you and I. Why don’t you achieve greatness too?

You become a statistic

When ONS publish their statistics on suicide, your name won’t get mentioned. You get shoved into a number of anonymous people who ‘were too weak to face life’. All the time you’re here on this planet, you can get your name spoken and your story heard. You can do anything if you stay here another day.

You will find people who are in a similar situation

I’m talking about you – ECS girls! Going through therapy, especially a group setting can really help you piece together your own mind. I met some mad hatters in my last therapy group, but they’re the best and I know they’re always there for me to talk to if I need to!

You owe it to youself to heal

You should allow yourself the chance to mend, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You may think that the end is nigh because right now is difficult. It won’t stay this way forever.

Everything is temporary

“This, too, shall pass”. 

This quote has many different connotations to religion and human history. Nothing will be the same in an hours time, after all… the darkest hour is only 60 minutes long right? Hang on in there for 60 minutes, I promise you’ll be grateful that you did.

The butterfly effect 

If you’re not familiar with this concept, it means that if a butterfly were to flap it’s wings one side of the world, that it could cause a hurricane over the opposite side – small things factor into larger consequences. So if you were to kill yourself, if a butterfly could cause a hurricane… what would your loss cause? Armageddon?

Desiderata

My dad showed me this poem only last night, but a particular section in it resonates with me so much.

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”.

You were placed into this universe for a reason and you should not take that privilege lightly.

Things can’t get any worse 

You want to kill yourself, this is the worst it can be. Now it’s a steady climb back up, you have to hit rock bottom before you can start again.

Think about it

As my favourite author Matt Haig said in his book ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’; “three in the morning is never the time to sort your life”. It’s also not the right time to think about ending it either. You should be in a blissful sleep, not aware of your surroundings.

Make a crisis plan

This was the best thing I’ve ever done, my psychiatrist has a copy of my crisis plan incase I ever try and do something stupid again. All I need to do is get someone to phone the MHT and they’ll be guided through what I put down would help me when I’m in distress. Crisis plans include what to say to you/not say to you. Who should be around you and who shouldn’t. Things that can calm you quickly, I have a particular song that zones me out in seconds. Trust me, a crisis plan is literally a life saver.

You are the only ‘you’

You’re made up of star dust, you walk the land that prehistoric creatures roamed hundreds of thousands of years ago. You breathe the same air as every animal on this planet. Heck! You share a large amount of DNA with a banana! You’re such a perfect array of atoms. There will never be another you.

I’ll miss you

I may not know you personally, I may not ever cross your path in life. But every day I take a moment out to mourn in some way to all of the people who are no longer around. Whether I know them or not, I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt to know that most of the people who have committed suicide would probably have regretted it if they had failed and survived. From how close I’ve been to death, regret was the only thing that surged through my body. Your soul is too beautiful to destroy.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

Going Out When You’ve Been Signed Off Work

This is a major taboo that a lot of people think is a bad idea. “What if a work colleague of mine sees me out while I’m signed off? Will they think I’ve made it all up? Maybe they’ll tell everyone at work how I look ‘okay’…”

These are things I’ve struggled to answer in my head when I’ve been signed off due to my Mental Illnesses screwing me up in the work environment. 

The thing that everyone needs to remember when being signed off due to stress/anxiety/depression etc… is that staying cooped up inside constantly for two weeks is going to only cause havoc in your mind. It’ll make whatever you’re experiencing ten times worse. Obviously, don’t go out and get drunk… that’s a call for disaster if you’re unwell and signed off – people have lost their jobs over that.

But do try and get fresh air each day, yesterday I went to the beach with my niece and mum to calm my head down… but I was so worried that a colleague of mine would see me out and think I was in tip top condition. Today I’m heading out with a friend to do a spot of shopping… do things that calm you and make you a lot more level for when the time of going back to work approaches. 

Ignoring signs of work-related stress can be detrimental as I found out last week… for days I would shut myself in the toilet and cry constantly for no obvious reasons other than I was so stressed out. I started to become irritable – it didn’t help that my anti-depressants had been lowered either.

Even though I work in Mental Health… I was still worried of the prejudice I’d receive for starting to deteriorate at work. I was worried that I’d lose my job, I was worried what everyone would think… this meant I didn’t speak to anyone sooner. If I had, I could have nipped things in the bud quicker… My work have been so understanding and have taken everything completely seriously. I’m truly blessed to have the job I do.

If you’re struggling in work, I urge you to speak to someone! Leaving it can drive you to stupid lengths to get out of the situation.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

Anxiety and I

The anxious mind is a vulnerable one, anxiety means manipulation and coercion are far easier to commit against people. Both the sufferer of anxiety and those who are around them feel the full force of just how difficult this illness is.

Anxiety causes huge stress over things that many people find simple. Having a conversation with someone over the phone, eating out in public or traveling on transport. Many things become arduous and make life feel like a living hell every waking moment. 

Anxiety is my alter ego… one moment I can be fine in a room full of people, the next my breathing is erratic as I frantically try and find the closest exit.

Here are some situations I have been in where I’ve been okay to start with and my anxiety has kicked in and made tasks a pain in the bloody arse!

Walking over 3 drains

Rational mind – “It’s only part of the ground, nothing will happen if I don’t walk over them”.

Anxious mind – “What happens if you get hit by a car on your way home, or if someone attacks you? It will be your fault for not walking over the drains… turn back around and walk over them. You NEED to turn around and walk over them, something bad is DEFINITELY going to happen if you don’t… WALK OVER THEM“.

This becomes really quite embarrassing when I’m having a mini argument with myself, especially in a public place.

When people say ” just ignore your anxiety”

Rational mind – “They’re right, I just have to not focus on the anxiety and it will go away”.

Anxious mind – “HEY! Hope you didn’t forget about me, I’m going to make this walk to the shops the worst experience of your life. Someone’s following you, make sure you look over your shoulder every 4 steps you take, tap your fingers together in a sequence of 4’s each time you take a step. Don’t mess it up though! Or you’ll have to start ALL OVER AGAIN! 1, 2, 3, 4… 1, 2, 3, 4… You just walked past a black cat… Make sure you do this all twice as quick or something bad is going to happen”.

The more you focus on not thinking about anxiety the more prominent and worse it becomes.

Public transport

Rational mind – “I’m just going to pop to x’s house for a coffee and a catch up, it’ll be a lovely surprise”.

Anxious mind – “Look at all these people talking, they’re obviously talking about you. Look! That woman’s laughing, I told you and now she’s laughing at you! There’s no empty seats so you have to stand! Everyone’s judging how fat you are, look at your fat legs… No wonder everyone’s looking… you look like something out of a freakshow”.
Anxiety is like having a bully taunting and ridiculing you 24/7, there’s no shutting yourself away from this bully though. 

Anxiety is a hard illness to deal with, especially when it stops people from being able to do normal daily tasks. If you know someone who suffers from anxiety… please, let them take their time to leave the house… hold their hand in the lift while they’re scrunching their eyes shut… Let them check, double check and triple check the front door is locked before going out. Be there for them like you would be there for someone with a visible disability.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you!

🙂

The Grass Is Greener

It’s the saying everyone uses when they have hindsight, when they can look back and see that they’re in a better place than they previously had been. This is what’s really hit me over the last few days.

I finally started my new job in the NHS Monday just gone. I’m finally working in a Psychiatric Unit with some of the most gifted Nurses and Doctors on the South Coast. I’ve started in a Unit for patients with moderate to severe Neurological Damage induced mainly by chronic substance abuse.

In three months time I shall be transferring wards to the Functional Mental Health Ward down the corridor . Having been through the psychiatric system since I was around 13, I feel like it’s really going to hit home when I start working with people that I can see parts of my old self in.

The first week of working in the Hospital was an experience I’ll never forget. It’s an entire world away from outside the walls of the ward. It’s a strict regime of constant observations, confidentiality, understanding, patience and empathy. 

I’d be lying if I said my first week has been easy – it’s been a true test of my character and I’ve been put into some very difficult situations already. However, I wouldn’t change my job, my colleagues or the patients for the world. 
Waking up in the morning to see my crisp, new uniform with the words “NHS Professionals” embroidered onto the chest makes me punch the air mentally at just how far I really have come in the last 8 years.
If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

BPD and Relationships

I’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder for around a year now, just as I was meeting my last partner. The diagnosis lifted a massive weight off of my shoulders… but also started to bring on more things that I couldn’t deal with.

Borderline Characteristics

The main characteristics of BPD are a mixture of the list below:

  • Impulsive behaviours
  • Over the top reactions to situations
  • Self harm/suicidal thoughts
  • Intense, quick relationships 
  • Abandonment and rejection worries
  • Emotions are black and white
  • Delusions and hallucinations

Impulsive Behaviours

During my most recent relationship, I acted very irrational sometimes. I drunk a lot to the point he and I were arguing tons about it. I was spending money like there was no tomorrow, again causing a ton of arguments. I felt like I needed to be in control of my own actions and whenever someone told me something, I’d shove two fingers up at them and would do the complete opposite.

Over The Top Reactions 

When we were in the midst of an argument about my drinking or spending, I’d go ham and spend more or drink more just out of spite. It would be me subconsciously saying “I can do what I want and you can’t stop me!” I didn’t want to do it, but I felt I needed to prove a point.

Self Harm and Suicidal Thoughts

These were major issues that I struggled with last year. If we were in bed and I had woken up in the middle of the night. I would feel a huge amount of jealously if he was still asleep, I’d start clawing at my skin until it was broken and bleeding. If I couldn’t get my own way I’d be irrational and would start planning out how I could kill myself with objects in the room. I thought about how easy it would be to grab the fish tank hosing and hook it round my neck. I thought about taking a ton of my anti depressants and downing my bottle of rum that I had barely touched.

Intense and Quick Relationships

I was already talking about how many children I wanted, their full names, where I wanted to live, how I wanted to decorate the house, my wedding dress, the place I wanted to get married, the colour scheme etc. Obviously to anyone this would be a huge throw back, my BPD was saying to me “we’ve been together for 4 months, why has he not decided whether or not he wants to marry me? Is there something wrong with me? Does he not love me? How can I make him love me more? What if I’m jilted?”

My brain would go into unnecessary overdrive, I never told him and I’m sure he just thought I was a grumpy shit most of our relationship.

Abandonment and Rejection Issues

This was a huge part of my concerns when it came to our relationship, especially as it was long distance. I always worried that he’d meet someone else while I was away. That he’d stop tracing MY tattoos with his fingers, that he’d stop tucking MY hair behind MY ear. He wouldn’t want ME anymore. So I started to push him away, when all I wanted was for him to be closer than ever.

Emotions are Black and white

I fail to see the shades of grey between emotions, I’m euphoric or hysterical. There’s rarely an in between, recently I’ve become far better at being able to tone down the extremes of my emotions to a somewhat ‘normal’ level.

Delusions and Hallucinations

These aren’t the sort of delusions/hallucinations where I see fire breathing panda birds. They’re disassociation mechanisms for when I can’t handle my own mind. When things get too much, I’ll zone out and I feel like I’m floating above my own body. I zone into certain sounds like the clock ticking and find it incredibly difficult to pull my attention away. Even when I’m not around a ticking clock, I still hear one sometimes… while I’m walking or on the bus. I’m learning to block them out though.

Dating someone who has BPD, is very tough. But we are some of the most loyal, respectful, all in people you can find. I’d go to the ends of the earth for the people I love. I will forever put them first, but when I hate someone, I feel a huge overwhelming rage whenever I hear someone mention their name.

I’ve got that all under control though, so there shouldn’t be any mayhem caused by me in that respect! 

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂

Facts about Mental Illnesses

After countless Google searches about statistics on young adults with Mental Health Illnesses… and with not a lot of luck with what I was trying to find out. I took it upon myself to conduct my own research into just how many of us have to battle these demons.

In this survey I conducted, there were 59 respondents who ever so kindly took part, so I thank each and everyone of you for taking your time to complete the questionnaire.

As you can see from this first question, the majority of people who answered the questionnaire were female. The reasoning for this could be that males felt less comfortable to share the information. Or it could just be due to the fact that I don’t know many males… Who knows!

q2

In this next question we can see that the main age range of the people who answered the questionnaire were between 21-30 years of age. 56% were to be exact, 35% were younger and 9% were older. This again could be due purely down to the majority of people I know being around this age.

q3

100% of people who answered the questionnaire were inside of the United Kingdom. This may be the response that it is due to the narrowed sharing of the questionnaire to just my personal profile on Facebook, which contains mainly people from within the UK.

q4

This is where the statistics start to become more interesting… 90% of the people who participated in the survey suffer from a mental illness of some sort. if we times that by 10, that’s 90% of my friends list on Facebook suffering from something. It’s rather sad to think about.

q5

47% of people were diagnosed with a mental illness within the last 5 years. Now, again… This could be due to the fact of the age of the majority of people who answered these questions.

q6

67% felt that they could talk to someone about their troubles, however… 26% felt like they could not. I wonder if this is due to the stigma of feeling weak if they ask for help.

q7

Now approximately 73% of the people who answered suffer from a form of anxiety, while not far behind is 65% of people suffering from depression. These are two of the most common forms of mental illness… Yet there are still so many people struggling to find help… This needs to change. Other answers I got that I didn’t mention in the answers were OCD, Major Depressive Disorder and Body Dysmorphia.

q8

And again, a saddening statistic, 98% of people know someone who is suffering from am Mental Illness right now.

As an employee of the NHS and a current sufferer of Mental Illnesses, I feel that we need far more funding to support the people who so desperately need help. Currently only 15% of the people who suffer from Mental Illnesses are getting the help they need. What about the others? The people who can’t speak up due to fear, judgement and prejudice.

The NHS needs more like-minded people to get their services running at the best of their abilities. Please, if you have the chance to jump at a job in the NHS and more specifically Mental Health… Please take it, we need all the help we can get in such an under budgeted sector.

If Kiwi can cope, so can you.

🙂